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The white villages. Andalusian essence

One of the classic routes to discover Andalusia’s essence is the white villages one, which runs through about 20 locations in the provinces of Malaga and Cadiz.

Traditionally, Andalusian houses are painted white or whitewashed to avoid,as far as possible, the hot Andalusian summer. This way to relieve the heat, joined with the affection their inhabitants use to decorate streets, squares and balconies with flowers and plants, make these towns picturesque postcards.

The route of the white villages heads to special beauty and natural environment areas as the Parque Natural de la Sierra de Grazalema -Biosphere Reserve. The ideal is to try to visit all the beautiful villages, since each has its attractions and special characteristics. But if you only have two or three days, there are some stops that, in our opinion, are of main interest.

Arcos de la Frontera is one of the most common places to begin the route, as it is located near Cadiz and the Jerez airport, while the beautiful Ronda would be the natural endpoint. In Arcos de la Frontera you can admire the Basilica of Santa Maria from the Plaza del Cabildo and continue with a walk through the steep and narrow streets with baroque facades scattered through the town, up to the walls of the Castle of the Dukes.

Another town that should not be missed is El Bosque. It lies at the foot of the mountains, starting the stretch of the Sierra. It is a good place to gather information about the Grazalema Natural Park in the Tourist Center and an excellent area for trekking.

Although it requires a little detour, Ubrique is a worthwhile stop. It is the leather city, where you can buy a nice piece of tanned leather done as in the Arabic tradition.

Along the way, we find other locations that do not belong to the official route, but that are worth a visit. For example the strech to Benmahoma, that passes through forests of pine and eucalyptus and whose top rewards us with spectacular views. Before arriving in Ronda, we can not miss places like Zahara de la Sierra and Alcalá del Valleo or Setenil de las Bodegas, with their houses carved into the mountain and along the river.

Ronda, the Dream City - like the poet Rilke called it-, is the usual destination to complete the route; an ancient city seated on a stone plateau.. Worth walking calmly to appreciate all its nooks and monumental works. It preserves traces of its Moorish past, being one of the last strongholds before the Reconquista, which are reflected in the so-called ancient Arab city or Arab Medina, along the Guadalevin shore.

It is divided by a gorge over 100 meters above El Tajo and crossed by three beautiful bridges. Dating from the eighteenth century, the main one is the most iconic landmark of the city.

Besides its cultural interest, this Andalusian architectural gem has many restaurants where you can enjoy delicious recipes and products from the Serrania.

Picture Zahara de la Sierra vy Grez | Olvera by Tomas Fano | Villaluenga by El Pantera

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