A weekend in the White Villages of Cadiz

  • View of Arcos de la Frontera. Cadiz

If you have a car and a couple of free days, why not explore the White Villages of Cadiz (Andalusia)? These are 19 villages with whitewashed houses around the Grazalema nature reserve. If you're pressed for time, you can choose just three: Arcos de la Frontera, Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra.

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A weekend in the White Villages of Cadiz


Many consider Arcos de la Frontera to be the gateway to the White Villages, so we can start from here. Its streets, typical of the area, are steep and narrow and lined with little whitewashed houses. To charge your batteries before setting off, try a piece of toast with 'manteca colorá'. Then, up to the top of the peak where you'll find Arcos and enjoy the views. As you go round the town, note the Minor Basilica of Santa María, the church of San Pedro and the Andalusí garden. For lunch there are bars and traditional rustic restaurants where you can enjoy typical dishes in streets like Marqués de Torresoto and Maldonado. At a distance of 47 kilometres along a lovely mountain road you'll come to Grazalema. Your a walk round the town will take you to some key places to stop such as its three viewing points, the churches of San José and San Juan and the Museum of Traditional Blanket Manufacturing.

A weekend in the White Villages of Cadiz


We suggest spending the morning engaged in outdoor activities. In Grazalema you can go up to the 'pinsapo' forest (a tree in the same genus as the fir). In fact there are various companies that organise hiking routes. Then come back to the town to have lunch and relax at the Grazalema spa. Irresistible. Go on for 13 more kilometres along a road offering spectacular views, and you'll come to Zahara de la Sierra. From here there are excursions on horseback organised through the Sierra de Grazalema Nature Reserve. What's more, just before Zahara you'll come to the Acebuches pass, which marks the start of a well-known route through the Sierra de Cadiz. After this active morning, you'd probably like to see more of Zahara and the remains of its 13th-century Nasrid castle, and maybe have lunch there. Then you can take a stroll and visit the church of Santa María de la Mesa and the Nasrid settlement. When you leave Zahara, you may want to visit the Molino del Manzanillo mill, where they produce a local olive oil.

A weekend in the White Villages of Cadiz


There are various companies throughout the area that arrange activities such as paragliding, caving, abseiling and climbing. The area is famous for its arts and crafts. Why not pick up a souvenir? You'll find sightseeing experiences such as 'Four days by MTB around the White Villages of Cádiz' on the www.spain.info website.