One of the typical images of the Spanish scenery comes with lush green shrubs and red soil, dotted with white villages. Indeed, the tradition of painting houses in bright white is very common everywhere in Spain. They appear to be especially charming in Andalusia, where the light is particularly bright. Visitors interested in seeing these jewels have the option of following the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos, the White Villages Route. This is a route that will not only lead to a lot of great views and impressive sceneries, but will also guide your way deep into history. Many of the towns and villages you will encounter go back to Roman or Phoenician settlements, a fact that reflects in the architecture of these places.
Some of the most notable villages along the route include:
One of the towns with a history going all the way back to the Roman Empire. The ancient town wall remains as a witness of those times. The town has also made a name for itself as a place where traditional Spanish guitars are being manufactured. Algodonales is a hub to explore the nearby Grazalema Natural Park with its hilly scenery.
- Arcos de la Frontera
The most remarkable thing about this town of 30,000 inhabitants is its location. Perched on top of a towering, vertical sandstone ridge, one can easily imagine how this place has been a major battleground in medieval wars. There are many historic buildings in town, including a medieval castle.
A small historic town centered around the ruins of a castle built in the 8th century. In addition to several historic buildings, the town has a great location within the Sierra de Grazalema natural park.
The town with a population of 6,000 is one of the essential stops for any trip along the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos. Casares has the long history going back to Roman times and it has the characteristic architecture with the houses clinging to a cliff. Most notably, it has the accompanying views – you can see Gibraltar from here and the Spanish island of Ceuta off the North African coast.
To get to Gaucín, visitors will have to master an ascent of more than 20 kilometers. Those making the trip will be rewarded by a medieval castle towering above town and by views going all the way to Gibraltar.
Located at the foot of the Sierra del Pinar mountains, Grazalema is located in the nature park of the same name, where hikers and other outdoor fans find a lot of opportunities. The town has a very pretty main square, from where many of the typical white houses can be seen.
A town surrounded by hills bearing millions of olive trees on all sides, Olvera is marked by a majestic Arab castle from the 13th century that is set on top of a steep rock. Below it. the ancient town center with its narrow streets is built around a central square. A major sight is the tall waterfall at the Alameda, which in turn is set below a Christ statue set in a rock garden.
- Setenil de las Bodegas
Famous for its production of meat products,parts of the town are notably built into the rock cliffs that rise above a river. Setenil has the ruins of an ancient castle and several historic buildings.
- Villaluenga del Rosario
One of the most scenic of the White Villages, Villaluenga is built against the backdrop of the Navazo Alto mountain. It is located within the Sierra de Grazalema natural park and at an elevation of 870 meters above sea level, making it the most elevated of the villages. A great view can be head from the mountain.
The White Villages of Andalusia route is in the Cadiz and Malaga provinces in southwestern Spain. The towns mentioned above can be easily reached from these cities.