Pueblos blancos route.
This is a route designated by the Spanish Tourist Board, it takes you on a journey through two Natural Parks - Parque Natural de la Sierra de Grazalema and Parque Natural de los Alcornocales.
These beautiful white hillside towns straggle between Malaga, Algericas and Seville, from a distance it’s a painter’s dream, white buildings reflecting the scorching sun in a deep blue sky.
The towns on the route are Arcos de la Frontera - Algar - Bornos - Espera - Villamartín - Prado del Rey - Puerto Serrano - Algodonales - Olvera - Ubrique - Benaocaz - Villaluenga del Rosario - Grazalema - Zahara - Torre Alháquime - Alcalá del Valle – Setenil – Ronda.
It’s a glorious discovery of town after town, each unique with winding mountain passes and breathtaking views at every bend. Arcos de la Frontera is the chosen start for the tourist route, ending in the amazing town of Ronda with its huge viaduct.
But you can start anywhere, this is unspoilt Spain, miles from the beaches and tourist bars. Here its goats, high mountain peaks and plenty to see, let alone to walk. Quaint bars abound under leafy trees, so if walking isn’t on your agenda, just relax and let the world go slowly by.
That’s the one word I’ve really taken away from here, slow. Life definitely isn’t rushing anyone here and its not even summer yet. In fact it’s probably advisable to keep clear in the pounding summer heat, especially if you do hope to do some walking.
Man-made reservoirs bring welcome relief and add to the beauty of the whole region, although you’ll find yourself on weaving and winding roads to get around the vast flooded areas.
The countryside is simply stunning and the cobbled white towns a welcome change when some sign of life besides you is sort after. Depending on the time of year you can drive for hours and see no other sign of human life. The peace and restorative effect needs bottling – to be inhaled as needed.
If it’s a short trip you’re making be sure to include the second highest pass in Andalucia, the CA513, also called the Pass of the Doves, near Grazlaema, which lets you see the Giganta Verde a huge ravine with a 300m deep gorge, home to a colony of griffon vultures.
Jerez de la Frontera is the nearest airport although it’s small and has limited international flights, Malaga is the nearest larger airport.