Best Andalusian Towns

Christina Perez
• Friday, 09 October, 2020
• 8 min read

In no particular order, discover the most beautiful villages in southern Spain; visit a number of these charming and humble towns from your holiday home in Andalusia. Marcos is the gateway to the White Towns of Andalusia (Pueblos Blanco) and is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful villages in southern Spain.

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An inspiration for many Spanish artists, such as the musicians Manuel de Falla, PIO Baroda, Azores, Damask Alonso, and Gloria Fuentes. Its long and narrow streets bring you to the edges of town where you can enjoy a stroll along the largest lake in Andalusia.

A highlight of its gastronomy includes their stuffed pork, which is filled with such things as sausage, egg, bread crumbs, bits of ham and turkey breast. Archaeological remains of the Neolithic age were found here, and the name Cortana is said to be derived from the word “cork”, a great source of wealth for this land in its past.

The town peaked during the Roman era and has since left a legacy of rich and fertile lands and beautiful architecture. It is one of many towns that the ancient Via Augusta travels through and is also home to perhaps the most important Roman monument in Spain, the Necropolis.

This Jaén town is dominated by a characteristic landscape of olive trees, so trying their amazing oils is a necessity! The fortress itself is undoubtedly one of the best attractions in Jaén, a hidden gem just outside the Marque Natural de Cazorla.

Ronda, a city with approximately 35,000 inhabitants, is located only 100 km from Malaga, is known for its famous El Tao. Archaeological sites such as the Roman city of Amino, Arab baths, the Palace of Mon dragon or Del Rey Moro, and its streets full of history make it one of the most visited Spanish towns.

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Church of the Holy Cross Craft shops Bodega la Morale Paseo de Garcia Lorna Chumpaneira Fountain Holiday rentals in Veer de la Frontera are popular as this town is one of the top places to visit in Southern Spain.

Veer has been awarded the National Prize for Beautification and other Andalusian towns can fully appreciate the legacy of other cultures in the streets, such as the Jewish quarter. If you are staying in Almeria and looking for one of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia, Lucien de las Torres is always cited among the top.

Its streets are full of history and you'll be amazed by a very special topography, due to its location along the slope, giving it a unique feel. You might note la Torre del Homemade (the Keep) that stands among the beautiful white houses of this village, from which we can see in the distance the landscape that leads to the Gargantua Verde and its artificial beach.

Gargantua Verde Playa del Arroyomolinos Mirror (lookout) Church of Sent Maria DE la Mesa The Chapel of St. John Lateran Bridge Palominos Clock Tower Extensive olive groves and plenty of freshwater make the area an ideal place to live and a must-visit on your holiday to Andalusia.

Its cuisine is local and traditional and people from this area use an essential ingredient in their dishes, extra virgin olive oil. Maybe it's the amazing views or the bright red geraniums in pots around the village or the winding, cobblestone streets (or maybe all the above).

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In the Sierra de Cabrera in Almeria, you'll find a hive of striking white houses, with narrow streets inviting you to discover its past from prehistory to the present day. Renting a holiday home in Monacan you will experience its unique microclimate where the winters and summers are very mild.

The ancient town was originally built into the rocks for indoor temperature moderation (they're a natural cooling system from the scorching Spanish heat) and has remained so ever since! The houses, as well as shops and bars, in Stencil DE leis Bodegas are under the shelter and protection of a massive rock.

At the top of the hill you will find the grand castle, one that has withstood the trials and elements of time, which together with the white houses make this village truly a place to remember. This Spanish town has a fairly rugged terrain with lush vegetation of pine, chestnut, cork, and oak.

Both religions are portrayed in the town's art, as seen by monuments in the Arab neighborhood while exploring the noble and religious Christian buildings as well. With its curious mishmash of Moorish majesty and Roman relics, rustic Spanish charm and indelibly beautiful back country, where mountains tower above gushing rivers and canyons carve through the ground, it’s hardly surprising that Andalusia remains one of the most visited regions in Iberia.

Threading its way beautifully along a dusty sandstone ridge above the verdant riparian lands of the Guadalupe Valley, the town of Marcos de la Frontera is something like Andalusia’s answer to Greece’s Santorini. Its houses and church spires glimmer bright white beneath the sun, while the organic brown tones of the city’s Castillo are what crown the hilltop.

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Marcos was an 11th-century Moorish stronghold captured by the Christians in 1250 and formed one of the focal points of defense along the medieval frontier lines between the caliphates and crusaders (hence the suffix, ‘DE la Frontera’). Set amidst a sea of olive plantations, swaying barley fields and clusters of pretty poplars and pines, beneath the rising ridges of the Sierra Nevada (tipped with drifts of snow throughout the winter), Alabama de Granada is a town primed for the postcard shot.

The center is perched on the edge of a sheer gorge, which adds a dash of natural drama to the sleepy cobblestone squares and folksy tapas joints touting tortillas and Fine wines. A long-time favorite of day-trippers out of the sun-kissed beach resorts that cluster around Malaga and Marbella, Midas offers a hit of traditional pueblos Blanco (white towns) charm without the need to delve too deeply into the heart of the Andalusian back country.

A dash of dazzling white across the verdant ridges of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, Gain has been the source of inspiration for poets, painters and artists since it was first discovered by mainstream travelers sometime in the middle of the 19th century. That bucolic character still oozes indelibly today, between the sleepy squares and hidden restaurants, through the sylvan swaths of cork plantations and chestnut trees, in every detail of the vistas that roll out on all sides, from the wild Cordillera Sabbatical in the north to the outline of Gibraltar far in the south.

Cascading elegantly down the southern edges of the Sierras de Tejeda some 30 miles east of Malaga, Era juts its way out above the scintillating shore waters of the Mediterranean Sea in a blast of shimmering, perfect white. Touched by the shaping hands of Roman, Moor, Christian and modern-day seaside tourism, the town now juxtaposes crumbling aqueducts with chic condominiums and Mudéjar architecture with the bubbling mix of coffee shops, seafood restaurants and sunbathing spots that coalesces on the Balcony of Europe promenade.

Small, sleepy and compact, the center is a bucolic conglomeration of rough brick pueblo cottages and lonely, leaning church spires, encompassed by alluring groves of chestnut trees and oaks and the occasional Mediterranean pine. All around, hiking trails wind their way further into the hills, the snowy tips of the Sierra Nevada loom and the creak of farmers’ wagons mingles with the occasional click of footsteps moving between the adobe homes.

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The town itself is a postcard-perfect image of a traditional whitewashed Andalusian settlement, finished off with dashes of terracotta red, crisscrossed by swaying washing lines and dotted with the occasional sun-kissed plaza where al fresco tapas joints spill out onto the corners in a medley of super-fresh olives and regional broths. It’s hailed as one of the most breathtaking pueblos Blanco in the region, boasting a dramatic perch on the side of a mountain amidst the rugged foothills of the Sierra del Jamal, awash with winding cobblestone streets and dotted with enchanting sites like the pretty, painted Santa Maria DE la Mesa Church and the whitewashed Torre del Below, oozing at every corner with Andalucian-come-Moorish charm, a remnant of the Muslim rulers who dominated these lands until the early 13th century.

Nestled in its very own mountain enclave at the heart of its eponymous natural park, the little town of Azalea is one of the few urban spots to grace the wild interior of the Sierra del Ending. Famed for its natural setting and startlingly white veneer, this one is encompassed by swaths of impossibly green Spanish firs and oodles of untouched meadows which bloom into kaleidoscopic life with the coming of spring.

The true essence of Spain is here, along the intricate cobbled lanes of a blindingly whitewashed village, in a majestic cathedral that soars into the blue, inside a buzzing neighborhood tapas bar where a bunch of proud, red-blooded locals watch a football game. Whether it’s a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, a breathtaking nature scene, or a ravishing coastal town overflowing with old-world charm, there’s no better way to capture the romance and drama of Southern Spain than by visiting these beautiful places in Andalusia.

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierras de Tejeda, just above Era, its distinctively Mudéjar historic center is all cobblestone steps, steep sinuous lanes, and carefully preserved whitewashed houses draped with geraniums and bougainvillea. Colorful tiles, exquisitely carved wood, and beautiful calligraphy adorn the fortress’ sumptuous interiors, while outside, serene pathways meander through a gorgeous ensemble of pools, patios, and fountains, closely resembling the Garden of Eden.

Locally known as Cisco Antigua, this whitewashed warren of shops, restaurants, and small flower-filled balconies is a blissfully atmospheric place to while away the afternoon chatting over a tornado or just people watching in the central Plaza de los Navajos (Orange Square). Spanning 280 square kilometers of arid ridges, dry river beds, and bizarre rock formations, the protected national park feels more American Wild West than Andalusia.

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The ritzy marina and entertainment complex is just a short drive from Marbella city center along Costa del Sol, and resembles a traditional Andalusian village, with narrow, winding streets and whitewashed houses shimmering against the splendid backdrop of Sierra Blanca. Located in the province of Jaén, the park is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve, encompassing some of the richest and most exceptional flora in the Mediterranean, including the nation’s largest continuous area of pine forest.

The area is brimming with characterful tapas bars, craft shops, and flamenco venues, and the orange trees lining its myriad of pretty squares spread a lovely sweet fragrance through the streets. Barrio de Santa Cruz is worth a visit for its intrinsic charm alone, but this seductive neighborhood is also home to some of the city’s most extraordinary monuments, including the Cathedral, the Archive of the Indies, and the spellbinding Alcázar.

Roughen whitewashed houses and elegantly crumbling aristocratic palaces dazzle in the bright, intense light of Cádiz, while the sound of flamenco floods its cheerful medieval lanes and colorful plazas. History emanates from almost every corner of its characterful neighborhoods; brilliant museums shelter splendid marble Phoenician sarcophagi; and the idyllic sandy beaches fringing the shoreline invite hours of lounging and playing in the languorous Andalusian sun.

Typical architectural features such as small water fountains and brightly colored ceramic decorations add to the spectacular fairytale-like atmosphere, and so does the sweet scent of orange and jasmine permeating the air, or the romantic rhythms of flamenco playing in the background.

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