If you are planning a trip to Andalucia be sure and include a tour of the regions beautiful Pueblo Blancos (white villages) for the stunning scenery and epic photo opportunities.
Pueblo Blancos: Andalucía’s Most Beautiful Villages
Covering the southernmost part of the Iberian Peninsula, Andalucia is just one of the seven autonomous regions that make up Spain and includes the city’s of Malaga, Granada, Seville and the holiday hotspot of the Costa del Sol. Malaga airport is a perfect location to begin your journey and plan your itinerary from this central point.
Nearby to the above destinations, you also have a unique set of white-washed villages all built in strategic locations with views that stretch for miles. Despite some of them having a history that dates back the Phoenicians, it was the Moors who shaped the villages we see today during their 800-year rule.
Just like an Arab Souq, the streets of the Pueblo Blancos are a warren of twisting, turning narrow alleyways with random houses built side by side. The uniformity of the white colouring was not done by accident either and while now it is forbidden for owners to paint their house any other colour the original white lime wash was used in order to reflect the sun and help keep the houses cool inside during the summer.
Visiting white villages from the Costa del Sol
When researching Andalucía’s white villages you are sure to come across what is referred to “The Route of the White Villages.” Basically, it is just a guide as there is no official route. Let your holiday destination and how much time you have, dictate which villages to visit. A selection of the prettiest areas are located just a few miles inland from some of the Costa del Sols biggest resorts.
Mijas Pueblo is a prime example of a Pueblo blanco that makes a perfect day trip from the coast located 400 metres above sea level just over 8 kilometres up a mountain road from Fuengirola and the beach. It is also only 30 kilometres from Malaga and a popular day trip for cruise ship passengers.
Crisscrossed against the dark mountainside, the bright white walls of the village really stand out like an oasis in a desert with narrow streets and wrought iron balconies. Add to this picturesque attraction are the flagrant adornment of vibrant coloured flowers.
The centre of Mijas Pueblo is the most popular for tourists with plenty to see and do including the famous donkey taxis. If you want to save a few euros and still taste some delicious local delicacies, try and eat and drink in the lower part of the village away from the crowds.
While you will come across plenty of zealous visitors, don’t imagine that the number of people will spoil your visit as there are an abundance of quaint alleyways and hidden squares where you can discover Mijas charm all by yourself.
Often called “The most beautiful village in Andalusia” Frigiliana occupies a strategic position not far from the town of Nerja, yet hidden from the masses. Slowly becoming as well known as Mijas, Frigiliana is situated on the less developed part of the Costa del Sol with a unique vantage point overlooking a valley that stretches down to the Mediterranean Sea. During the Reconquista, Frigiliana was the setting for numerous battles that are commemorated by ceramic plaques placed throughout the village. Interesting and unique views await the visitor around every corner providing the perfect chance to take an Instagram worthy selfie.
Make sure to have lunch at one of the rooftop restaurants centred around the main square and you will understand why Coca Cola used Frigiliana as a location in their latest commercial.
Combine your trip to Frigiliana with a stop in Nerja for the Balcon de Europa and a few hours sunbathing on Burriana Beach.
Not quite as convenient to get to like some of the other Pueblo Blancos, being located over an hour and a half drive inland from the coast, Ronda is still a town you should try and visit if you have a chance. You may prefer to get a taxi to Ronda as some of the roads are not the easiest to find. The highlight of a trip to Ronda is the spectacular Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) that spans a deep gorge separating the old and new parts of town. First settled properly by the Romans in the first century AD, Ronda has always played an important part in the history of southern Spain and is regarded as the home of bullfighting. American novelist Ernest Hemingway travelled to Ronda on numerous occasions using it as a source for his books “Death in the Afternoon” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
If you are holidaying in Marbella a visit to the Casco Antiguo (Old Town) offers up all the charm of a Pueblo blanco be it without the mountain setting. Yet unbeknown to tourists the traditional unspoilt white village of Ojén is only a 10-minute drive away. Ojén is located in the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and retains much of its Moorish heritage and a museum dedicated to the towns biggest money maker anise liqueur.
For those of you who are not staying on the Costa del Sol we put together a few other white villages and Andalucia that are worth a visit.
Vejer de la Frontera
Considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a traditional white village, Vejer de Frontera is built on the ruins of an ancient castle overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar. The drive alone is worth the trip with the whiteness of the village standing out against a blue sun filled sky. When you arrive at Vejer de la Frontera you are greeted with a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets winding their way between quiet squares, perfect not only for taking photos but also as a place to cool off with a nice refreshing glass of tinta verano.
If you decide that you would like to visit Vejer de la Frontera we recommend you stay in Cádiz where you can learn about the city’s 3000 years of history while also spending time at some of the prettiest beaches in the region.