Traveling in Europe during the summer months can be tiring due to all the tourists visiting the most famous regions and cities. But there are a few hidden gems in Europe which are still peaceful and will take you back in time. The Pueblos Blancos – the white towns and villages of Andalusia – are one of these must see places in Spain. In this post I’ll tell you the most beautiful white towns of the Pueblos Blancos and all must visit places you have to see in the area!
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The Pueblos Blancos – The best towns and places to visit
1. Arcos de la Frontera
One of the most famous and beautiful Pueblos Blancos is Arcos de la Frontera. The town is located on a hilltop with cliffs on both sides for spectacular views over the region and other nearby villages.
Whitewashed tiny alleys with arches above them, make beautiful photogenic motives and will let you dream away. Make sure to step by the center of the old town, Plaza del Cabildo, with the church Santa Maria de la Asuncion from the 13th century, a 17th century town hall, a medieval castle and beautiful view point.
The town hall has been transformed into a unique hotel. From the terrace and rooms you can enjoy the best views in Arcos de la Frontera! So make sure to sip a coffee in their restaurant or stay for a night!
After exploring Arcos de la Frontera you should consider visiting the nearby winery Bodega Tesalia. They offer guided tours and tastings on their property where they produce around 65.000 bottles of the finest red wine every year. Definitely a nice place to relax and enjoy after a sightseeing tour.
Another beautiful town of the Pueblos Blancos is Bornos. I especially loved this one thanks to the palace in the center of the town, right next to the market square. First take a stroll through the Renaissance style palace garden with blooming Bougainvillea and orange trees, followed by a visit of the Castillo – Palacio de los Ribera. Ask the staff at the entrance to visit the rooftop – it is completely free and this spot offers the best view in town!
3. Setenil de las Bodegas
Make sure you don’t miss this unique white town of the Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia cause it is very different from all the other ones: In Setenil de las Bodegas many houses are built right under and even in a rock all around the city. Over thousands of years a river has been flowing through this area. This created caves and rock overhangs which later have been build into houses by adding external walls. Today Setenil de las Bodegas is a wonderful small town for a stroll along the alleys under the rocks (the most famous one is the Calle de las Cuevas de la Sombra) and to relax in one of the many restaurants, enjoying Spanish Tapas.
If you’re visiting the Pueblos Blancos you have to see Olvera. It is one of the “bigger” white towns with different hotels and restaurants. But the main attraction is the Arabic Castle of Olvera and the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación church right next to it. Both of them are located at the highest point of the city with amazing views over the area. It is especially magical during the golden evening light. You can visit the castle for a small entrance fee of 2,- EUR and find a wonderful photo spot while walking up the outdoor stairs to the top.
5. Other beautiful white towns of the Pueblos Blancos:
- Zahara de la Sierra – perched on a mountain with amazing views over the valley and a blue lake.
- Ubrique – The town has a beautiful main square with a colorful church. Ubrique is famous for being the capital of fine leather productions in Spain. Until today it is supplier to the world’s top brands and designers.
Zahara de la Sierra
6. Natural Park Sierra Grazalema
Even though the Pueblos Blancos are mainly known for the picturesque white towns, the area also offers a stunning nature. Most towns are located in then Natural Park Sierra Grazalema which is a Biosphere reserve with impressive limestone mountain peaks and pine forests just as wild rivers flowing through canyons. If you’re an outdoor fan you will love hiking, climbing and bird watching in this impressive Natural Park.
Our two favorite activities were canyoning through the impressive landscape, including rappelling from rocks and jumping into waterfalls.
Another must do is a bicycle tour on the Via Verde de la Sierra which leads through the natural reserve Peñon de Zaframañon which is home of hundreds of griffon vultures. The path is ideal for individual hiking and biking tours while watching the huge birds flying around the rock formations.
Map with the best towns and places to visit in the Pueblos Blancos:
How to get around the Pueblos Blancos?
The best way to explore the Pueblos Blancos and the whole area around the total of 19 white towns, is by car. This will give you the flexibility to visit several towns and different places during your trip. The next big airport is Seville from where you can rent a car and start your road trip.
How many days are ideal to visit the Pueblos Blancos?
Depending on how many different towns you are planning to visit and if you want to enjoy some hiking in the area as well – what I would highly recommend – I would say that 3-5 nights are ideal. Most towns are really small and you can visit two or more of them in one day.
Since you will most likely start and end your trip in Seville, if you travel to Spain by plane, a combination with a trip to this beautiful Spanish city would be the ideal plan!
I hope this list with my favorite towns and places to visit in the Pueblos Blancos will help you to plan your own trip or inspired you to book a trip this summer! These hidden gems in Europe will for sure surprise you with incredible views, food and adventures. But the best: They will show you that Europe during the summer months doesn’t has to be crowded but can also be quiet and peaceful!