So, you’re planning a trip to the magnificent region of Andalusia in Spain and are hoping to stumble across the best, and most authentic Pueblos Blancos while you’re there?
You’re in the right place.
I recently returned from my 4th trip to Andalusia and while I am still a long way from seeing all the magical Pueblos Blancos I want to see in this vast region, I now feel armed to share the best of what I’ve found so far. If you’re planning a trip to Andalusia, first check out my
Spain’s Pueblos Blancos are definitely no secret. If you’re planning a trip to Andalusia you’ll likely already know about these pretty white villages. I’m twenty years late in discovering Andalusia’s magical Pueblos Blancos. I can only imagine how remote and untouched some of them were back in the 80’s and 90’s. I spent my twenties focused on surfing my way around Asia and central America, continental Europe and its pretty towns never got a look in. That was until I moved to Portugal in 2016 and I finally realised the wealth of culture and experiences on my doorstep. Since then I have been travelling across Portugal, Spain and Italy extensively. After years of planning solo road trips, remote village stays, beach get-aways and mountain hikes I now help others plan their perfect trip to Europe. With a focus on experiencing every destination fully, constantly seeking out the most authentic places and unique stays, my guides are different from most you can find online. Never rushed, never regurgitated, and only ever written from personal experience. All photos are my own – please do not use without credit.
Why Visit Andalusia?
There are many reasons why Andalusia is the perfect travel destination. Not least to mention the diversity of coast and mountain, sand and snow, wine and…sherry?, and cheese, oh my the cheese. But perhaps above all, the best reason to visit Andalusia is the heavy sprinkling of white villages that cover the region, better known as Pueblos Blancos. Some sprawling, some teeny tiny, some towering high like royalty, others crumbling down to the earth; all of them with tales of an interesting past. Thanks to its many influences throughout history, Andalucia’s culture is rich and diverse.
What are The Pueblos Blancos?
‘Pueblo Blanco’ translates as white village in Spanish. The “official” Pueblos Blancos refer to 19 picturesque whitewashed villages in Andalusia located between Cadiz and Malaga. However most guides also include the dozens of other white hilltop villages that can be found across the region under this same title. The villages I mention in this travel guide are a mix of “official” Pueblos Blancos and some lesser known white villages; all of which are worth your time.
This guide is focused on the Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia. If you want a more in-depth look at the region then check out my Andalusian Road Trip Travel Guide. You can also take a peek at the following individual Spain travel guides…
So, let’s get this show on the road! Which Pueblos Blancos are the best to visit in Andalusia? Here’s my picks…
Arcos de la Frontera
One of the biggest and more well known Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia, Arcos de la Frontera is a must-visit stop to add to your road trip itinerary. Arcos is a well organised town and despite the jumble of streets you’ll find your way round in no time.
Top Tip: Don’t try and drive to the old town. The streets are extremely narrow. Keep these streets for the locals. There is free street parking just before you reach the old town, although this can get busy. Alternatively you can use the underground parking.
Where to stay in Arcos de la Frontera
I spent a night at La Casa Grande but it could have easily been 4. It reminded me a little of the luxury riads you can find in Morocco. The rooms all have original features and the rooftop balcony surely has the best view in town.
Where to Eat + Drink in Arcos de la Frontera
Best Experiences in Arcos de la Frontera
A fun and novel experience in Arcos de la Frontera is buying convent cookies from the nuns at Comunidad de Mercedarias Descalzas. Enter the convent, choose your cookies and request them through the tinted screen. the turnstile will then reveal your cookies. It costs between €7 and €8 for a box of handmade cookies and the money goes back into the convent.
Vejer de la Frontera
One of my absolute favourite Pueblo Blancos. Situated only 20 mins from the coast and just 45 minutes from Cadiz. Small enough to feel special, big enough to fill a day or two of your itinerary. Seek out hidden rooftop cafes and soak up the sun in Plaza de España.
Where to stay in Vejer de la Frontera
Casablanca Relax y Baño Termal. This boutique hotel has a spa and a hot spring bath (check the photos – honestly it’s stunning!).
There are lots of airbnb type properties in Vejer too, this apartment would be my pick for no other reason than that amazing terrace view.
Where to Eat + Drink in Vejer de la Frontera
Best Experiences in Vejer de la Frontera
I’ve written a complete guide to Vejer de la Frontera so for a more in-depth look at this gorgeous hilltop town >> VEJER DE LA FRONTERA TRAVEL GUIDE.
Zahara de la Sierra
The roads leading to Zahara de la Sierra are nothing short of spectacular. The lake appears suddenly as you round a bend, like a sparkling blue mirage. Then the castle topped village pops up ahead with a ribbon of white houses – one of the official 19 Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia.
Where to stay in Zahara de la Sierra
Where to Eat + Drink in Zahara de la Sierra
I accidentally found Grazalema while driving between Ronda and Zahara de la Sierra. At the time I thought I had discovered a hidden gem (it definitely has that kind of undiscovered vibe still) but Grazalema is well known within Andalusia and for good reason. This village sits in the middle of the natural park and has breathtaking views of Sierra del Pinar. This is another area that shouldn’t be rushed. Take your time driving here and definitely head out on a hike or two in Sierra de Grazalema natural park. Grazalema is a Pueblo Blanco I will continue to return to time and time again!
Tambor del Lano is set in nature with a year round pool, about 2km from the centre.
Casita Panorama 3 bedroom house with amazing views
Casa de la Abuela 1 bedroom apartment with terrace and pool
Best Experiences in Grazalema
Grazalema’s best kept secret is the municipal pool. Arrive for opening and pay the huge sum of 1 euro to enjoy what I guarantee will be one of the best swimming pool views of your life. Wander the streets and pick up local products such as honey or handmade straw baskets.
I’m claiming it – my favourite Pueblo Blanco in all of Andalusia (so far). This tiny little village is conveniently situated close to the popular Ronda and tantalisingly close to the edge of the Grazalema natural park yet feels totally undiscovered. It’s tiny but still packs some beautiful streets, a couple of local bars and a swimming pool.
Where to stay in Montecorto
I love Montecorto but I would be lying if I said that El Molino Abuelo had nothing to do with that. This sustainable family-run guesthouse is one of the most memorable places I have stayed in Spain and probably my favourite stop of my 10 day Andalusia road trip. I stayed in the Celestine room; the comfy bed, spacious bathroom and the balcony view were just a few things that I loved about this special place. If that hasn’t sold you then look at the rooftop pool! Do yourself a favour and order the breakfast too.
Where to Eat + Drink in Montecorto
El Molino has a kitchen where you can prepare snacks to enjoy on the terrace. I spent an afternoon sipping wine and eating Iberian ham with those incredible views of the natural park.
Best Experiences in Montecorto
Montecorto itself doesn’t have any particular attractions but it does have an outdoor pool and is the start of a couple of hiking trails. Apart from this, pull up a chair at one of the local bars, soak up the sun and watch life go by. This little hidden gem is the perfect place to unwind and be still.
Another impossibly pretty Pueblo Blanco just begging to be walked around. I only spent a few hours one afternoon here and so don’t feel totally equipped to give you all the details but I will say it’s definitely worth a stop off and I’ll absolutely be staying for a night or two next time I’m in the area. Let me know what you find!
Where to stay in El Gastor
Ronda is probably one of, if not the most popular Pueblo Blanco in Andalusia. In the summer months it can get very busy but crowds aside there is no denying the beauty of the town. It’s well worth a visit, even more so if you can come outside of season.
Where to stay in Ronda
Best Experiences in Ronda
Arrive early in the day and marvel at Mirador de Aldehuela before the crowds. Take a drive to Cuevo del Gato for a swim in this turquoise pool with waterfall. End the day with wine tasting at Finca Descalzos Viejos.
Castillo de Castellar de la Frontera
This little gem was a complete accidental find when planning my drive between Estepona and Jerez. I walked up to the town from the bottom car park and what looked like an abandoned castle slowly morphed into a hidden Pueblo Blanco full of tiny streets and flower pots. There are some amazing rural stays inside the walls but you may have to book in advance to enjoy one.
Where to stay in Castillo de Castellar
Tugasa Casas is one of the only available stays in the castle walls. It’s such a unique location. The town is mostly set up for tourists so there isn’t loads to do there but it is undeniably pretty and I would definitely recommend staying a night.
Alternatively you could stay at the bottom of the hill in this hotel.
Where to Eat + Drink in Castillo de Castellar
I didn’t get a chance to try out any restaurants when I was here but there were a couple of lovely looking places including Peña Flamenca.
This Pueblo Blanco was recommended to me by a friend. I was disappointed with myself for not already knowing about Iznájar because it is exactly my vibe; perched high up on a hill, overlooking a massive blue river with a beach and full of very authentic tapas bars and restaurants. You can reach Iznájar in just 1 hour 15 from Córdoba, and it sits just below Parque natural de las Sierras Subbéticas.
Where to stay in Iznájar
I spent two nights in Villa Moana just a few minutes walk from the famous blue potted streets and the guesthouse is up there with my Andalusian favourite stays. A huge delicious breakfast is included and if you happening to be traveling solo the private patio with the single room is a lovely bonus addition to your room.
Best Experiences in Iznájar
Patio De Las Comedias is the most photographed street in town and definitely worth a wander. It’s impossible not to feel uplifted by the bright colours. Walk up to this miradouro for sunset and then order a few drinks (with free tapas) at the best bar in town – the open air theatre.
Just an hour away from Córdoba Zuheros sits on the edge of Parque natural de las Sierras Subbéticas and is the start to some great hiking trails. The compact size of Zuheros doesn’t take away from the charm of this little known Pueblo Blanco.
Where to stay in Zuheros
Los Castillarejos Apartamentos Rurales is a short drive away and has unbelivable views.
Best Experiences in Zuheros
Wander the village before setting off on and easy 2.4km hike.
How to Travel Around Andalusia
The best way to travel around Andalusia is by car. Without your own wheels you are limited to public transport (of which there is very little outside of the cities) or guided tours which remove the freedom and flexibility to discover the region at your own pace. You don’t have to search far on my website to see I’m a huge road trip advocate. If you really want to make the most of Andalusia and get up close and personal with the many Pueblos Blancos the region has to offer bring a car or hire one.
I always use Zest to help me find a hire car in Portugal, Spain and Italy. After one too many bad experiences with providers when I found Zest I finally took a sigh of relief. I mention them in my guides a lot because they really have taken me on driving adventures all over Europe.
I really enjoyed writing this guide on the best Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia but not as much as I enjoyed visiting them. I hope this can help get you started on which Pueblos Blancos to add to your Andalusia Itinerary.
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