Far from the crowded beaches of the Costa del Sol, the picturesque white villages in Andalucia clinging to steep hillsides seem a world away and will instantly have you under their spell. These off the beaten track “pueblos blancos” are brimming with charm and local colour, so we wanted to share some of our favourites:
Gaucin is a tiny whitewashed village perched on the Serranía de Ronda mountains, boasting spectacular views over the Rio Genal valley, Gibraltar and, on a clear day, the North African coast. These views, coupled with winding cobbled streets and the village’s position amongst olive groves and poppy fields, have attracted many painters and photographers over the years. For the art lovers out there, take note: the resident artists of Gaucin open their studio doors over several weekends in May, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to view their work.
A short journey from the popular coastal town of Nerja, Frigiliana’s Moorish heritage is clear when wondering around the maze of narrow cobblestone streets dotted with beautiful mosaics overlooked by remains of the old Moorish fort. Often said to be one of the most beautiful villages in Spain , we can’t help but agree. There are lovely bars, restaurants and shops hidden down the lanes and even a tourist train starting and ending at El Ingenio, if you’re not feeling up to the (sometimes very) steep hills.
Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer is a typical Moorish hilltop town – in fact the ending “de la frontera” refers to the ancient Muslim and Christian borders (“frontera”) of this location. Long, unspoiled beaches are only a 15 minute drive away on the Costa de la Luz, and you will find fewer tourists here than in other coastal areas of Spain. Vejer is full of history, and parts of the ancient 15th century defensive wall still surround the old town today. When exploring the winding streets, make sure you check out the colourful courtyards filled to the brim with flowers – a beautiful contrast against the bright white casa walls.
Setenil de la Bodega
If you are staying in Ronda, nearby Setenil de la Bodega is not to be missed. An impressive town, literally carved out of caves and rocks, with the roofs of some homes even made from rock. The streets are extremely narrow, so if you are driving there, we recommend parking outside the main areas and exploring on foot. You will find restaurants serving delicious food and tapas bars hidden under overhanging rocks. A unique experience!
If exploring Andalucia off the beaten track sounds like your kind of holiday, check out our Travelling Classroom – an amazing opportunity to combine learning Spanish with discovering authentic Spain and, of course, visiting the beautiful white villages in Andalucia at the same time.
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