Olvera is a white village (pueblo blanco) in Sierra de Grazalema, Cadiz province, Andalucia, Spain - the Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion (the Parish of Our Lady of the Incarnation) and the Moorish castle

20 Most Beautiful Andalucian White Villages in Spain

The famous White Villages in Spain are the legacy of Andalucia in southern Spain.

Notoriously picturesque, they are full of authentic culture and decorated with blooming flower pots hanging off little balconies where abuelas chat. Below, beautiful white-washed lanes are filled with the competing aromas of orange, jasmine, and pots simmering home-cooked soups and meats.

Many of these Andalucian villages were once fortresses that marked the borders between Christian and Moorish territories. And today, while Spain’s cities like Madrid and Barcelona are stunning, nowhere quite matches the authentic feel of the Pueblos Blancos in Spain (white villages), which seem stuck in time and still conserve a slow pace of life and their unique small town traditions and ferias (festivals).

This is the essence of the experience in visiting the white towns of Andalusia. Whether you’re planning a southern Spain road trip or some day trips to a few of these villages from nearby places like Seville or Malaga, wander through the hilly narrow streets, linger over lunch at a small cafe, and browse in the artisan shops selling handmade goods to soak up the traditional charm of Andalucia’s Pueblos Blancos.

To help you choose and plan your trip, I’ve put together this guide with the best white villages in Andalucia all based on my own trips to southern Spain, as well as a map to show you where each one is and how to get there.

Map of the White Villages of Andalucia

On the white villages map above, you’ll find the white villages marked in blue and bigger towns and cities in the region marked in yellow. This makes it easy to see, for example, which of the towns are near Malaga or Cadiz so you can plan a logical route of the white villages.

Given their countryside location, the best way to reach many of the white villages in Andalucia is by car. While buses do run to many towns and villages throughout the region, you’ll be able to make the most of your time much more easily by having a car.

If you’re not driving and only have a couple of days in your southern Spain itinerary dedicated to seeing some of the Pueblos Blancos, consider going with a guide for a day trip. There are options from Seville, Malaga, Granada, and Cadiz that will help you experience Spain’s white villages without the hassle of the logistics with public buses.

Best White Villages in Spain – Andalucia

White Villages Spain Zahara de la Sierra

1. Zahara de la Sierra

Nature enthusiasts – we’re starting off with a white village designed for you. The little town of Zahara de la Sierra sits just above a reservoir, seemingly sprawling out from a rocky outcropping. The mountains of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sierra de Grazalema Nature Park stretch out in the distance and tempt you with the promise of some of the best hiking in Spain.

The town itself is quaint and cute, made up of winding streets of whitewashed houses decorated with bright pink bougainvillea flowers that grow along building facades.

On a cliff above the town, there’s an old Moorish fortress, the Castillo de Zahara de la Sierra, which was originally built as a defensive structure between Seville and Ronda. From the town square, follow the signs pointing to the castle. It’s about a 15-minute walk up to the top along a steep path. It’s well worth the effort, though, because you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the town, valley, and surrounding mountains.

2. Grazalema

Grazalema Andalucia Spain

This white village’s location right by the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the Sierra del Pinar makes it a popular stop for hikers who have come to explore the surrounding hillsides and peaks. But even if you’re not planning on packing your hiking shoes for this trip, Grazalema is worth a visit. In fact, it’s also a popular stop for white village day trips from Seville.

The town is shadowed by the Peñon Grande limestone cliffs that tower over the village and give off an imposing first impression, but once you get into the narrow cobblestone streets of Grazalema you’ll find friendly locals, picture-perfect white houses, and the opportunity to watch daily life unfold in a small countryside village.

The main square is particularly ancient-looking with its knobby trees and church dating back to the 1500s.

Grazalema’s history is intricately woven with the textile industry, which is still alive today. To learn more, head to the wool blanket-production factory after strolling around the town’s historical center.

ProTip: Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra can easily be visited on the same outing. They’re just 30 minutes from each other by car. Both are about 45 minutes by car from Ronda.

3. Mijas Pueblo

Picturesque street of Mijas with flower pots in facades. Andalusian white village. Costa del Sol. Southern Spain

The town of Mijas is very close to Costa del Sol’s most famous resorts just near Malaga, and because of that, it gets pretty busy in the summer months. It’s similar to a lot of the other white villages in Andalucia, with its classic Andalucian ambiance, rural mountain surroundings, and epic sea views. These are the reasons Mijas is so popular with visitors, some even deciding to forgo their return flights and put down roots.

Another amazing thing about Mijas is that it has stunning views that stretch as far as the Rif Mountains in Morocco on a clear day, and from Benalmadena to Gibraltar even on cloudy days.

The town is famous for its burros taxis (donkey taxis) that still run today and are the preferred mode of transport for visitors! This white village is a perfect day trip from Malaga. It’s only 30 minutes by car or about 60-90 minutes using the direct M-112 bus.

4. Frigiliana

Mosaic staircase in Frigiliana Spain with white houses on either side

This sleepy white village is just an hour and a half away from Malaga, and it’s so postcard perfect that it made it into a Coca-Cola ad and is often thought of as Spain’s most beautiful village.

There are two parts to this little town, the new town and the Moorish old town which is higher up the hill. Rows of hanging baskets line the walls of the houses while brightly painted blues and greens adorn the entrance doors. Combine this with the vibrant orange and fuschia flowers in bloom that are draped over whitewashed facades and balconies and you have some seriously drool-worthy curb appeal.

Stroll through the Moorish old town and soak in the views of the glistening Mediterranean in the distance. Next, have a lunch of cold gazpacho soup and a side of battered and fried eggplant drizzled with sugarcane syrup, a regional favorite!

Count all the hidden plazas (town squares) around town and enjoy wandering aimlessly through the narrow, winding alleyways! There’s nothing in particular you need to see – so relax and enjoy your day. Perhaps pop into a few of the shops where you’ll find handmade shoes and traditional Andalucian souvenirs.

Frigiliana is just 15 minutes by car from the popular seaside town of Nerja and just under an hour from Malaga.

5. Arcos de la Frontera

Arcos de la Frontera Andalucia Spain

This little white village earned itself a title as a National Historic and Artistic Monument and is thought of as the gateway to the white villages. And what a gateway it is with its perched position, defensive walls, and Basilica at the top of the town. (Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the church tower for breathtaking views of the Spanish countryside and the river below!)

The village sits atop a high clifftop and the streets are a web of alleys that lead you through white-painted arches.

For part of the 11th century, the town was an independent Berber-ruled taifa (the name given to tiny kingdoms). It was later reclaimed by Alfonso X El Sabio (a Christian king). Arcos de la Frontera was right on the frontier between the Christian and Moorish kingdoms within Andalucian territory for many centuries, hence its name!

Another great thing about Arcos de la Frontera? The surrounding area is known for its wine!

Spend the afternoon sampling locally grown Petit Verdot and Tintilla de Rota grapes turned into wine varieties, perhaps after a morning at the nearby Arcos Reservoir. During the early part of the year, it’s home to flamingos and storks migrating through the area.

It’s about an hour away from both Cadiz and Seville and just 30 minutes from Jerez de la Frontera. So it’s an easy town to take a day trip to from these cities.

6. Setenil de las Bodegas

Setenil de las Bodegas Andalucia Spain

While all the white villages are characterized by their white facades and traditional small-town feel, few can say that their houses are built into caves and under overhanging rocks! This alone makes Setenil de las Bodegas one of the most popular white villages in Andalucia.

Sentinel de las Bodegas has all the best features of a traditional white village, plus a little more as it’s built into an old gorge. The town is split in two by the River Trejo and its caves have been inhabited since the Stone Age (about 12,000 years ago!).

It’s an incredible sight to see, particularly along the streets where the massive boulders appear to have landed on top of the houses! If you come across an open door or window, peek inside to see the walls and ceilings of the houses are, in fact, the rock with only the white facades having been built around the stone.

This one-of-a-kind “Pueblo Blanco” is a great destination to add to your white villages of Spain bucket list if you’re in Cadiz, as it’s about 90 minutes away and just over an hour’s drive from Malaga. Conveniently, it’s just half an hour’s drive from Ronda too!

Oh, and did I mention it’s also famous for its mouthwatering chorizo sausages?

7. Ronda

Ronda-Spain Puente Nuevo

If you’re a fan of museums and history and you want to do as much sightseeing as possible, Ronda is the perfect town for you. While in most of the white villages in Andalucia, there’s not much to do other than wander through the town, eat local food, and savor the charm of it all. But, Ronda has all of that alongside a long list of sightseeing musts.

The town was built on the top of the gorgeous El Tajo gorge, and it has a lot of Mudejar architecture (the style mixes traditional features of both Spanish and Moorish architecture).

While you’re there, look down into the gorge from the 18th-century Puente Nuevo bridge, visit the exceptionally well-preserved 13th-century Arab Baths, go on a tour of the famous Plaza de Toros, then dash in and out of the town’s many churches, museums and famous buildings like the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor and the Casa del Rey Moro.

Less than 2 hours from Seville and only 80 minutes from Malaga, I’d put Ronda at the top of your white village tour priority list and even consider spending a night in the town or the countryside just beyond. It’s hands down one of the most beautiful white villages in southern Spain, while also being an incredibly interesting destination!

8. Tarifa

View over the white houses and rooftops in Tarifa Spain on a blue sky day

One of my personal favorites, Tarifa is a hub of sports, local culture, historic architecture, and alternative scenes. It’s sort of the “surf town” of Spain in terms of vibe. Though it’s not the best place to come if you want to go regular surfing. Instead, it is one of the most famous windsurfing towns in the world!

There are windsurfing tournaments year round you can watch from the beach. The sand flying everywhere and whipping at your legs can get a little annoying but it’s very impressive to see.

On the other hand, the city center is riddled with hipster shops and local restaurants serving up freshly grilled fish.

The most famous beaches in town are the Playa de Bolonia Tarifa, Los Lances Beach, and Playa de Valdevaqueros. Along Tarifa’s shoreline, you can also see where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet.

Take a hike along the Parque Natural del Estrecho and visit the Castillo de Guzman el Bueno. Some of Tarifa’s most interesting spots and discoveries come from wandering through the narrow streets, popping into the local market or small church, or stopping for lunch in a hidden square.

Looking for some nightlife? Go to the trendy Surf Bar Tomatito and meet some of the hip locals.

If you’d like to do some of the best tourist activities nearby, go on a quick trip to the archaeological site of Baelo Claudia, an ancient Roman city by the sea or head out into the ocean on a dolphin-watching tour! You can even take a day trip to Tangier in Morocco from Tarifa!

While most of these Spain white villages can easily be seen in a day, it’s really worth coming to Tarifa for at least the weekend because there’s so much to do.

9. Orgiva

Alpujarras of Granada Orgiva village in andalusia of Spain

This peculiar little town nestled behind the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a bit more offbeat than some of the other Pueblos Blancos on this list. It is surrounded by three very alternative hippie villages, Cigarones, Beneficio (the most famous), and El Moreno – some of which aren’t even on the map!

The village has managed to peacefully integrate its traditional background with the rise of alternative communities in the area. It’s also been extremely welcoming to a mix of Europeans who’ve decided to call Orgiva home.

Soak in the varied facets of this very unique white village in the Alpujarras on a Thursday when you go to the local market and find that the Plaza de la Alpujarra is full of bohemian stalls selling homemade cosmetics, jewelry, and art, while just across the road there’s a cluster of Spanish locals selling fried chicken, inexpensive clothes, and local produce.

Looking for the best food spots? Go straight to La Baraka (make sure you order the falafel wrap, you won’t be disappointed), or enjoy plate after plate of free vegan tapas (one per drink!) at Pizza and Love.

10. Pampaneira

Alpujarras blankets rugs Pampaneira Andalucia Spain

Situated further into the hills of Las Alpujarras, above Orgiva, Pampaneira is the epicenter of artisans. They have incredible hand-woven rugs in all shapes and sizes, leather products, and the finest local produce. If your timing is right, you’ll get to see a rug being woven on an old-time loom. Seeing this always amazes me because of the precision it takes to know the color of thread needed to create the intended design!

There’s not much to do in Pampaneira other than walk around and purchase beautiful locally-made souvenirs, so make sure you leave some space in your bag. Pop into Abuela Ili’s chocolate factory while you’re there and try all the free samples with a view into the kitchen where all the magic is made – one of my favorite things to do in town.

Pampaneira is just over an hour’s drive from Granada.

ProTip: Pampaneira is typically grouped with 2 other tiny villages nearby, Bubion and Capileria. Pampaneira is at the lowest elevation of the villages. You can drive up to the other villages, with the views from Capileria making the drive worthwhile. If you’re hoping to get into the mountains, you’re in luck. There is no shortage of hiking opportunities.

11. Casares

View of Casares in Spain

Casares is a white village in Malaga Province and it brings the idea of postcard-worthy to an entirely new level. The combination of white square houses clustered around one another, crowned by an old Moorish castle and a church on a mountaintop and surrounded by the greenery of Sierra Crestellina National Park is breathtaking!

As you wander through the town, be sure to take the road leading from the main square up to the castle. The remains of the 12th-century Castillo de Casares boast spectacular views that you’ll want to capture in photos and videos.

And although the nearby Iglesia de la Encarnacion isn’t open, the panoramas on a clear day extend to Gibraltar and the northern coast of Africa. Like many churches in southern Spain, the 16th-century church was built atop of former Mosque, with the bell tower hinting at its minaret past.

While the town you see today has a history that dates back to the Arabs, the first settlements where Casares now lies were constructed under the order of Julius Caesar himself as an act of gratitude after he was healed by the waters of the Baths of La Hedionda.

ProTip: Either as you arrive or as you leave Casares, stop by the viewpoint named Mirador de la Plaza Marcelino Camacho for that perfect postcard photo!

12. Olvera

Olvera is a white village (pueblo blanco) in Sierra de Grazalema, Cadiz province, Andalucia, Spain - the Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion (the Parish of Our Lady of the Incarnation) and the Moorish castle

Handily situated along the borders between the provinces of Cadiz, Malaga, and Seville this white village was built 2,100 feet above sea level and it has an imposing presence from the minute you spot it as you drive in.

It has a long history, dating as far back as the Phoenicians. Later it became a Roman settlement before it was won over by the Arabs and became an important strategic town with many fortifications, including an imposing Moorish castle positioned to spot even the tiniest speck of an invasion on the horizon.

The Christians did manage to win it back during the Reconquista period, but not before a failed first attempt after which Olvera’s Muslim ruler Ibrahim-ibn-Utmain negotiated a peaceful surrender that allowed the town’s inhabitants to keep their homes.

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion is Olvera’s cathedral. This neo-classic beauty is a like a beacon over the town and can’t be missed, literally or figuratively. Head up to the castle, too, for stunning views of the countryside. As you peer beyond the town, all you’ll see are olive groves! Olvera is famous for producing Andalucia’s best olive oil.

ProTip: Olvera is not far from Grazalema, Sentenil de las Bodegas, Zahara de la Sierra, and even Ronda. If you’ve got one day to explore Andalusia’s white villages and for example, you’re coming from Seville heading toward Ronda, you could focus on this cluster of towns. Ronda is better suited to its own dedicated day. However, 2-3 of the others can be visited on the same day.

13. Montefrío

Montefrio Andalucia Spain

Montefrio is one of those rarely visited jewels that have somehow managed to stay hidden from the flocks of tourists that make their way to the white villages despite having been recognized by National Geographic as one of the best views in the world.

Tucked away northwest of Granada, it is surrounded by acres of olive groves and watched over by two churches that sit on the top of the hillside and cliffs that border Montefrio. You can (and should!) take in the entire picturesque scene from the Mirador del Paseo viewpoint.

No trip to Montefrio is complete without a hike up to the Iglesia de la Villa which was built on the site of an old Nasrid Castle. It’s really worth going for the sunset, the skyline lights up in orange and deep red hues that glisten over the surrounding valleys.

Go to an art exhibition at the Casa de los Oficios while you’re there, visit the Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological site just outside of town known as the Penas de los Gitanos, and go into the dome-roofed Iglesia de la Encarnacion.

14. Trevelez

Trevelez Andalucia Spain

This mountain village tucked away deep in the Alpujarras, behind the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is known for its high-quality produce and award-winning jamon serrano.

Granada is the only province left in Spain where the “one drink, one free tapas” policy still applies, so make the most of your time in Granada’s white villages tapas hopping in pueblos blancos like Trevelez! The little bars lined with ham legs and a host of grumbling locals are the perfect place to start your tapas tour in town.

Afterward, discover the town’s three distinct neighborhoods, Trevelez Bajo, Medio, and Alto, each identified for the low, medium, or high position they occupy within the town. Follow the path leading through each neighborhood to find the prettiest spots in the village!

Trévelez is also a gateway to hiking routes in the Sierra Nevada. Eager adventurers come here to take on multi-day and single-day hikes. One of the best routes is the Siete Lagunas climb up to a series of lakes nestled just below the tallest peak in Spain, the Mulhacen. But these routes aren’t for amateurs, it’s a steep climb all the way!

15. Iznajar

View of the reservoir of Iznajar from the courtyard of the comedies, Iznajar, Cordoba province, Andalucia, Spain

Iznajar proudly sits by Andalucia’s largest lake (well, reservoir), which means there’s a lot of water sports on offer in this little village! Bring a towel and a picnic and chill by the lake for the day. If you’re up for some adventure, rent a kayak and glide along this olive grove-lined lake or go on a sailing boat tour.

Stroll around the Patio de las Comedias, which back in the medieval period was a marketplace and today is one of the prettiest patios in southern Spain! Next explore the town’s streets, which are arranged around an old medieval fortress.

There’s a Moorish castle and church built by the Moors in town too! Iznajar is found in the province of Cordoba, near the Genil River.

ProTip: Like many of the pueblos blancos in southern Spain, Iznajar has a few designated viewpoints where you can take in the gorgeous vista before you. Mirador del Postigo and Mirador Embalse are worth a visit so you can see the village with the surrounding reservoir and countryside.

16. Antequera

Antequera Andalucia Spain

Antequera is a hotspot of culture, art, politics, and history amongst Andalucia’s famous white villages. It was named after the Roman word for ancient, Antikaria, and then adapted to Antaqira by the Arabs, and later to Antequera.

Given this long history, the white village comes with a 14th-century Alcazaba and Roman ruins. Used during Moorish times for defensive purposes, today you can step along the ramparts imagining yourself with a bow and arrow ready to defend against an invasion. There’s also an audio guide to take you back in time.

When you finish inside the Alcazaba, take a little time to admire the Roman baths before strolling through the town to visit its squares and churches.

Hidden away between the mountains of the Sierras de El Torcal, Antequera has some great nature spots too.

Be sure to take a hike in the Arco Calizo Central mountain range, which has huge chunks of limestone, sharp cliffs, and areas of rough terrain that will challenge avid hikers.

Next head to the Peña de los Enamorados (the Lover’s Meeting Point) that sits just outside of town and where legend has it lovers came to meet secretly.

Thanks to its location between Upper and Lower Andalucia near Malaga, Antequera is home to a lot of history. There are several archaeological remains, like the Dolmens of El Romeral Viera and Menga, and the bronze figure of Efebo of Antequera. You can learn more in the town’s museum!

17. Estepona

Estepona Andalucia Spain

Captivating and full of history, Estepona is a gorgeous small city known as the “Garden of the Costa del Sol”. A network of white streets adorned with blooming flower pots brings in tourists from nearby cities who are looking to escape the noise and enjoy the quintessential Andalucian feel of the city.

Estepona first arose in the time of the Phoenicians. It’s estimated they were here as far back as the 9th and 7th centuries B.C. They founded local settlements and remained in the area until the Romans, followed by the Arabs, and then the Christians in 1456, took over!

Another plus that Estepona has over other white villages is that it’s by the beach! So you can soak in the traditional feel of a white village in the city center, then escape to a prime position along a beach on the Costa del Sol – the best of both worlds.

Visit the San Luis Castle and watch some local flamenco in the El Patio flamenco house. Estepona promises the seaside, great food, and Andalucian wonders.

18. Castril

Typical street in Castril. In the Andalucia community, Granada, Spain

Situated in the north of the Granada province, Castril is authentic and a little less showy than the more famous white villages of Andalucia

Its story began when the Romans set up a simple camp here, and continued after the Arab occupation with the construction of a fortress that was designed to protect the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada.

The town’s history has left it with a fusion of traditions and diverse architecture. There are remains of Arab walls dotted around town, cute town squares, and white-washed houses in the old town.

Surrounded by waterfalls and caves it’s also got a lot on offer for nature lovers. You could spend a day just exploring the outdoors.

One of the more popular hiking routes near town, the Sendero de la Cerrada del Rio Castril, takes you over a wobbly old rope bridge, through a cave, and then to a waterfall.

19. Cazorla

Cazorla castle view with Sierra of Cazorla,Andalusia,Spain

There are white villages all over Andalucia, and it’s easy to get stuck exploring the villages in the provinces of Granada, Malaga, and Cadiz. But this white village in the province of Jaen and just an hour east of that city is worth a mention!

It sits within the largest and most visited protected nature area in Spain, the famous Segura and Las Villas National Park. Shaded by the nearby mountains and surrounded by olive trees, you’re in for a real treat.

It was once a Roman mining town and it later became a Muslim stronghold under the 700 years of Moorish rule the town lived through. It wasn’t taken over by the Christians until 1235.

The town is 2,700 feet above sea level so it can get a little chilly in winter, and it’s cooler than coastal towns in the heat of the summer (which will be a nice change if you visit southern Spain in summer, trust me!).

Some activities are a must in Cazorla, like a stroll to the Castillo de la Yedra, an old castle and fort that looms over the town, and a visit to the ruins of the Santa Maria church.

If you want to escape into nature, visit the stunning Rio Borosa, a river in the hills that has waterfalls, amazing hiking routes, and crystal-clear natural swimming pools.

Walk past the curious Casa de las Bicicletas, whose facade is covered in old bicycles before exploring the local culture and artisanal produce in the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares del Alto Guadalquivir. I’m always wowed by tapestries and the ones on display here were no exception!

20. Vejer de la Frontera

Vejer de la Frontera, Spain. Iglesia del Divino Salvador (Church of the Holy Savior), main church of Vejer, a classic Andalusian Pueblo Blanco (White Town) in the province of Cadiz

Built on a hilltop overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, this little town boasts an old Jewish quarter, an 11th-century medieval castle, and plenty of Mudejar architecture…all of which deserve some of your time as you explore the white villages of Andalusia.

In particular, Vejer de la Frontera is a sister city of Ostuni in Puglia, along southern Italy’s heel of the boot. It’s no wonder because of their whitewashed appearances, there’s a remarkable similarity!

As you arrive at the village you pass through the 15th-century Puerta de la Segur. This ten-foot-high gateway was one of the four gateways built into the medieval outer wall that was once a part of the town’s fortification. It was built by the Duque of Guzman. You can walk along the ancient walls to discover the other arches, as well as see the parts of the walls that remain.

The main square, Plaza de Espana, is one of the prettiest in any of the white villages. The fountain and the palm trees are the perfect accents to the whitewashed background.

During your visit, stop for photos at the numerous viewpoints around and within the village. Famously, the Arcos de la Juderia deserves a spot on your camera roll, as does the view from Mirador Don Quijote.

Nowadays the town is especially known for fruit farming. Because of this Vejer de la Frontera is surrounded by orange tree groves. Make sure you get your hands on some local oranges before you leave!

White Villages of Andalusia Spain

No southern Spain itinerary is complete without at least 1-2 days enjoying Andalucia’s pueblos blancos! These tiny villages have a rich history, often dating back to Roman times or earlier. As a result, they’re great places to experience the region’s blended culture.

Not to mention, Spain’s white towns are among the prettiest anywhere with great views of the countryside and sea nearby! Simply put, whether you have time to visit 1 or 10, they’re not to be missed!

So, what are your questions about the white villages of Spain?

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