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The classic mountain route

One of the most beautiful itineraries through Andalusia!
Far away from the big cities this travel route permits visits to small and medium sized villages in the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz with a special emphasis on landscape and nature attractions.
There is not just one "White Villages" route, but many other possibilities. We support a longer tour, which can be split up into smaller sections.

 

Highlights

- Natural Parks
- Arcos de la F.
- Grazalema
- Ronda

 

 

Essentials

 

Description
Itinerary through the mountainous regions Sierra de Grazalema, Serranía de Ronda and Los Alcornocales. Can be easily combined with visits to Cádiz, Sevilla and Málaga or with beach holidays on the Costa de la Luz  or the Costa del Sol. Possible excursions to the Nature Site El Torcal (Antequera) or to the rock of Gibraltar.

 

The white villages owe their name to the way their residents often scatter lime on the walls of their houses. These seem to be inserted like bird nests into the mountains and are usually adorned by a castle. Red tile roofs and narrow streets complete the appearance of a typical "pueblo blanco".

 

Itinerary
From Arcos to Ronda and Castellar de la Frontera.

 

Time needed
2 or 3 days. Towns as Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera even permit some extra time

 

Distance
approx. 300 kilometers/185 miles

 

Best travel season
Spring/Early Summer (March until June) and Autumn (September until November); possible even during the Winter (February).

 

Landscape an protected areas
The most of the described white villages are situated in the western part of the Bética ranges. The highest elevation is the Pico de Pinar (1654 meters) close to the village of Grazalema, the number one rainy region of all Spain. On the other hand, the Serranía de Ronda, just a few miles east of Grazalema, has a dry climate. Cork and holm oaks and the very rare Spanish fir ("Pinsapo") grow in the forest. In the west, close to Arco de la Frontera, predominates farm land.

Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
With 51.695 hectares one of the bigger natural parks of Andalusia with a rich flora and fauna. 13 villages lie on the territory.
(Information centre El Bosque)

Los Alcornocales Natural Park
Territory of 170.025 hectares with 15 villages. Belong to the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz. As seen in its name, the main growing tree is the cork oak.

 

Tourist infrastructure


Tourist information

Arcos de la Frontera
Plaza del Cabildo
Grazalema
Plaza de España 11
Ronda
Plaza de España 1
Puente Nuevo
Ubrique
Moreno de Mora 19a

 

Accommodation

Many hotels and hostelries along the route, especially in Arcos de la Frontera and in Ronda. Also many campsites and some country houses (rustic apartments).

Activities

Algodonales
Hang-gliding, Paragliding
Arcos de la Frontera
Horseriding; Hiking
El Bosque
Horseriding
Casares
Hunting
Castellar
Horseriding
Grazalema
Horseriding; Hiking
Jimena
Horseriding, Hiking
Prado del Rey
Horseriding
Ronda
Flying; Off-Road
Villamartín
Horseriding

 

Feasts/Festivals

Patron Saint Feasts / Ferias

almost each town celebrates its own patron saint, a procession and/or its "feria" (fair).


Pilgrimages - "Romerías"

Algatocín
San Juan (24.6.)
Algodonales
Virgencita (31.5.)
Arcos de la Frontera
Santo Cristo del Romeral (13.9.)
El Bosque
Los Cañitos (13/15.6.)
Casares
Virgen del Rosario (May)
Espera
al Mármol (May)
Grazalema
San Isidro (May)
Olvera
Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (one week after Easter Sunday)
Prado del Rey
San Isidro (May)
Ronda
Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza (2nd Sunday in June)
Setenil de las Bodegas
San Isidro (May)
Übrique
Cañada de los Gamonales (May)

 

Others

Arcos de la Frontera
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Velada de la Virgen de Agosto (3.-5. Aug)
Zahara de la Sierra
Corpus Christi

 

Itinerary

 

Arcos de la Frontera (Miles 0;
31,250 Inhabitants)
Situated on a mountain range 160 meters high above the Guadalete river. One of the most beautiful villages of Andalusia.

Espera (Miles 10; 3,912 Inhabitants)
very old settlement with an Arab castle and the Santa María de Gracia Church.

Bornos (Miles 15; 8,022 Inhabitants)
Castle del Fontanal,
Fortified castle de los Rivera; Santo Domingo de Guzmán church; Convent of Corpus Christi.

Villamartín (Miles 21; 12,303 Inhabitants)
Agriculture village. Churches: San Francisco, de las Angustias and de las Virtudes; Noble mansion de los Topete;
On the way to Prado del Rey: Ruins of Parajete.

Prado del Rey
(Miles 28; 5,885 Inhabitants)
Nuestra Señora del Carmen church;
2,5 miles away: Roman ruins "Iptuci".

El Bosque (Miles 32; 2,069 Inhabitants)
Entrance to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, situated in a beautiful landscape. Santa María de Guadalupe Church
Excursion to Benamahoma (4 miles): groves of Spanish fir.

Ubrique (Miles 42; 16,884 Inhabitants)
Phoenician foundation. Churches: San Antonio, San Pedro, Nuestra  Señora de la O; Monastery de Capuchinos (Franciscan monks).

Benaocaz (Miles 45; 719 Inhabitants)
Baroque town hall, Renaissance church.

Villaluenga del Rosario (Miles 48,5;
475 Inhabitants)
San Miguel church, bullring built in the mountain rocks.

Grazalema (Miles 56; 2,165 Inhabitants)
Centre of the Natural Park. Nuestra Señora de la Aurora church; Textile museum Artesanía Textil.

 

The Natural Park 
Sierra de Grazalema and its 13 villages


On the road to Zahara: mountain pass Puerto de las Palomas (1357 m/4452 ft.), Hiking paths to "El Pinsapar" (Spanish fir forest) and to "la Garganta Verde" (cave).

Zahara de la Sierra (Miles 65;
1,460 Inhabitants)
Moorish foundation, located on a mountainside.
Remains of an ancient castle, Santa María de la Mesa church.

Algodonales (Miles 70; 5,677 Inhabitants)
Olive groves and fields of vegetables close to the Sierra de Líjar. Baroque church of Santa Ana with a tower and its door called puerta del Perdón.

Olvera (Miles 82; 8,351 Inhabitants)
well conserved Arab fortress in between wooded hills; Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación church.
Towards Ronda (1,4 miles): Pilgrimage church Virgen de los Remedios in Baroque style.

Setenil de las Bodegas (Km 91;
2,856 Inhabitants)
Cave houses inside the rocks overhead the river.
Fortified castle; Gothic church de la Encarnación.

Ronda
(Miles 103; 36,208 Inhabitants)
Jewel of Andalusia and main town of the Serranía de Ronda Region. Invites a longer stay.

Benaoján (Miles 108; 1,523 Inhabitants)
of main interests are the nearby caves "Cueva de la Pileta" and "Cueva del Gato" with pictorial records of its residents (Paleolithic).

Montejaque (Miles 110; 985 Inhabitants)
the Guadares river disappears in the "El Hundidero" cave to appear again in the "Cueva del Gato" cave.

Jimera de Líbar (Miles 117;
414 Inhabitants)
Roman-Moorish castle.

Atajate (Miles 122; 133 Inhabitants)
very old settlement from the pre-historic epoch. Moorish tower

Benadalid (Miles 126; 253 Inhabitants)
has the oldest fortress of the region

Algatocín (Miles 129; 844 Inhabitants)
Roman ruins

Gaucín (Miles 135; 1,671 Inhabitants)
Good view point; Remains of a fort; Renaissance church; convent church in Baroque style;
In the surroundings: "Cueva del Órgano".

Casares (Miles 145; 5,744 Inhabitants)
founded by the Romans in the time of Julius Caesar. Centre of the village in Moorish style. Ruins of an Moorish castle; churches: de la Encarnación and San Sebastián; archaeological excavations.

Jimena de la Frontera (Miles 169;
9,710 Inhabitants)
situated in the beautiful los Alcornocales Natural Park underneath the ancient castle. Restored Gothic church la Misericordia; Pilgrimage church Reina de los Ángeles.
Nearby: "La Laja Alta" cave

Castellar de la Frontera (Miles 185;
3,084 Inhabitants)
Moorish fortress village from the 13th century. From here you can see Africa.

Note: the population dates are from 2014

To combine with...

 

What may be visited after or before these plans:

- Costa de la Luz from Cádiz to Tarifa

- Gibraltar
- Costa del Sol/Route of Al-Idrisi
- Seville and the Campiña
- Málaga

 


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