The best white towns of Andalusia and the south of Spain

Best places to visit in southern Spain
Best places to visit in southern Spain / Pixabay
24 June 2021, Redaction

With its beautiful beaches and its pretty white towns, the south of Spain is one of the most attractive things about Spain. If you’re thinking about your next holiday destination, why not consider one of these spectacular villages in southern Spain, including pretty white villages in Andalusia, Murcia and Extremadura.

Whether it's because you want a sun and beach holiday, or because you're looking for a place to disconnect from the world, these pueblos blancos as they are known in Spanish, are perfect for you. Don't hesitate to visit one of these best white towns in Andalusia and the south of Spain this summer. Here are our recommendations.

Setenil de las Bodegas

A town built into a rock face / www.setenildelasbodegas.es
A town built into a rock face / www.setenildelasbodegas.es

One of Andalusia’s best white villages is Setenil de las Bodegas in the province of Cadiz. This small town has just 500 inhabitants, many of whom actually live inside rocks! The houses in Setenil have been built right into the natural local feature of the overhanging cliff ledge, an architectural wonder that leaves visitors lost for words.

This village is also home to a river that separates two of its most important streets: Calle de Sol and Calle de Sombra (translating as Sun Street and Shade Street respectively). When you visit the charming white town of Setenil, you can't miss a visit to the 13th century Nazarene Fortress which is also famous for its Holy Week Easter celebrations if you decide to visit in the Spring.

Cabo de Palos

The Cabo de Palos lighthouse / flickr.com/photos/homeofbastian/
The Cabo de Palos lighthouse / flickr.com/photos/homeofbastian/

This town in Murcia was originally a fishing village and to this day, you can still see a range of small fishing boats on its coast. Walking down its charming streets, you can feel a unique spirit and rhythm from another time and a peacefulness that you can’t find anywhere else. The best way to enjoy this special feeling is by sampling the local cuisine. You can't leave without trying the "caldero del Mar Menor", a rice soup that contains a selection of local fish.

If you drop by Cabo de Palos, there are two main things you have to do in this white town in Murcia. First, we recommend visiting the spectacular lighthouse, which no longer has a maritime function but is still provides the chance to take a really charming walk along one of the prettiest coastal roads on the Mediterranean coast. As well as this, you can take advantage of your summer holidays to learn to scuba dive and discover incredible sea beds in this area of Murcia.

Frigiliana

Pretty, flowery streets / flickr.com/photos/yellowmo/
Pretty, flowery streets / flickr.com/photos/yellowmo/

About 5 miles from the famous town of Nerja in Malaga is the wonder known as Frigiliana. This white village near Malaga has a rich history, deriving its name from its Roman past: Frexinius-Ana, or place of Frexinius. It also has a rich Arab historical background, which you can discover by visiting the old town, also called El Barribarto. The winding white streets are adorned with pretty flowers and studded with hidden cave houses, all of which sure to make you fall in love with one of the best white villages in Andalusia.

If walking is your thing, then this village is also a great option, as you have a 5-mile hiking route on your doorstep to climb all the way to the top of the hill that looks over Frigiliana, known as El Fuerte (the Strong One). While in the summer months you'll need to set off early to avoid the extreme heat, getting up early for a hike is worth it, as the hill offers you unparalleled views of the Andalusian landscape. For more casual walkers, we recommend going to the top of the village for a short walk where you will see the ruins of Frigiliana Castle with a nice view of the town.

Last but not least, you have to try the local cuisine, including olive oil, wine and cane honey that is made here, as well as trying the choto, which is a local delicacy of baby goat stewed in an almond sauce.

Zafra

Palace of the Dukes of Feria in Zafra / Wikimedia commons
Palace of the Dukes of Feria in Zafra / Wikimedia commons

The town of Zafra in Badajoz, known to many as "little Seville", has been famous since the Middle Ages for its fine handicrafts including ceramics, leather and silver, and above all, for its livestock markets that are still running today. Located in the Spanish region of Extremadura, the historical-artistic legacy of Zafra is overwhelming, with the Palacio de los Duques de Feria palace especially standing out for its beauty.

The old wall that surrounds the village has 8 city gates which are also worth visiting, espcially the Puerta de Jerez which stands out as it leads you down small, twisting alleys full of houses with flowers overflowing from their balconies. Take the time to wander the charming streets of this charming white town, especially in the centre of the village where you can spend some time in the main squares, once the scene of Medieval markets and fairs but which today are a great place to enjoy good tapas and typical food from the south of Spain.

Mojácar

View over Mojácar / Wikimedia commons
View over Mojácar / Wikimedia commons

Mojácar is typical of the white villages of Cadiz and the Alpujarra of Granada in the province of Almería. It has the perfect mixture of seaside and mountain and was one of the cradles of the hippie movement in Spain. You can still breathe some of that special bohemian atmosphere in some areas of the village.

To get to know Mojácar properly, put on some comfortable shoes and take a leisurely wander through the town's steep, narrow and above all beautiful streets. This spot is a favourite for keen photographers who delight in the many beautiful corners that Mojácar has to offer.

Just a couple of miles from the village there are countless beaches and coves with crystal clear waters which are perfect in the spring and summer, if you’re a bit of a party animal, the nightlife of Mojácar Playa is the place for you this summer.

Vejer de la Frontera

The white village of Vejer de la Frontera / Wikimedia commons
The white village of Vejer de la Frontera / Wikimedia commons

Sitting on the crest of a hill on the banks of the river Barbate, the beautiful village of Vejer de la Frontera overlooks much of the province of Cadiz. Over the years, the town has been home to Carthaginians, Phoenicians and Romans, and in its winding streets you can feel the vestiges of more than 5 centuries of Muslim occupation.

The iconic architecture of Andalusia, together with the majesty of its walls, the beautiful cathedral and its patios full of scented flowers have all served to make Vejer one of the best villages in Cádiz and possibly the best white village in Andalusia. Take a trip to Vejer and experience the amazing food and people and you won't be disappointed this summer. 

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