Cadiz is a fascinating city where the term travelling deeper is taken to a whole new level. It encourages you to look underground, out to the horizon and be amongst the rooftops. Succumb to the easy…
To really get to know Andalucia it’s often best to head away from the crowds and instead seek out the quiet solace of village life. This is the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing villa break here in Spain.
In “Los Pueblos Blancos” you can escape the daily grind, and take a step back in time to a place where gentle fountains animate quaint town squares, and the slow pace of life is often interrupted only by children kicking around a ball, or by the town’s old folk enjoying animated debates at their favourite bench.
When you choose to spend a villa holiday on the Costa del Sol you can find a surprising number of charming sleepy villages within easy reach, just waiting to be explored. Here is a quick run through of some of our favourite white villages in Andalucia:
Casares is fifteen kilometres inland of Estepona, to the west of Marbella, in the Mšlaga province of of Andalucía. It is perched on the side of a mountain close to the Sierra Crestellina national park, approximately a twenty five minute drive from Estepona.
It is a breathtaking village which has been described as ‘sugar cubes’ on the side of the mountain and looks particularly stunning when lit up at night with the blue/green street lights. The best view is from the approach into Casares so be sure to take the time to stop and take in the sights before you get there.
Casares has a spectacular 12th century Moorish castle, several churches and chapels, each one as beautiful as the previous one, a visitor centre, fountain and is close to the Baths of La Hedionda which are Roman baths and sulphur springs said to have been used to cure a skin infection of Julius Caesar! It is known as the ‘Hanging Village’ due to its precarious location on the Cliffside. There are many great restaurants and tapas bars and lots of village shops to explore, if you are lucky you will see some eagles soaring above the cliffs around Casares.
As well as the national festivals such as of Andalucía day on the 28th of February, the Easter festivities and the Three Kings parades on the evening of the 5th of January, Casares has its annual feria in the second half of July and a second feria in the first week of August so it’s a great time to visit around then.
Frigiliana is to the east of Mšlaga and only a ten minute drive from the coastal town of Nerja in the area of Andalucía known as the Axarquia.
Voted most beautiful village in of Andalucía for several years running, the village’s cobbled streets gently wind up through the beautifully maintained white houses of the old town, splashes of colour wherever you look from the balconies and doorsteps full of beautifully kept flowers. The houses are painted every year and it is traditionally the women of the village who carry out this work.
Frigiliana has a great infrastructure including many shops, bars and fabulous restaurants, several hotels and a working molasses factory right in the centre of town. The streets are hilly here and there are beautiful mosaic covered steps leading to the tiny narrow residential streets from the main road.
The very famous Frigiliana festival, Festival de las Tres Culturas, is celebrated at the end of August each year, drawing crowds of hundreds to watch the fabulous concerts and many other festivities. There are also other fiestas throughout the year including Saint Sebastian day in January, the patron saint of Frigiliana. The day of the cross is in May each year and the annual Frigiliana feria is in June.
North of Casares, also to the west of Marbella, in the Mšlaga province of of Andalucía, is the white village of Gaucin. It is approximately nineteen km from Casares and a thirty minute drive from the coast.
Gaucin is around 600 metres above sea level in the Sierra del Hacho and has great views over Gibraltar and Morocco. It is surrounded by cork forests and because of this the local shops sell many items made from cork to tourists. The surrounding mountains provide a fabulous backdrop to the pretty white village, with contrasting colour from the wild poppies, orchids, olive groves and almond blossom.
At the very top of the village is a medieval castle, Castillo del Aguila or Eagle’s castle, where you can see eagles over the mountains as the name suggests. It is a sleepy, laid back town with a few similarly laid back bars and restaurants serving the traditional fayre of the area. The narrow winding streets of Gaucin have always been an inspiration for artists and photographers and there is a large artistic community here.
Among the many festivals of Gaucin, of particular note are the release of two bulls on Easter Sunday which are left to run around the village and chased by the more adventurous or crazy villagers. The annual feria is in August, around the fourth, and involves three days of live music, eating, drinking and dancing.
Located north of the Costa del Sol in the Cordoba province of Andalucía is the beautiful town of Iznšjar. It is around one hour drive from Mšlaga and one hour from Granada.
Iznšjar has a unique location overlooking the Embalse de Iznajar which is the largest lake in of Andalucía and has a lovely clean, sandy beach which is very popular in the summer months with whole families arriving in their cars, driving straight onto the beach, unpacking gazebos and tables and spending the day there swimming, sunbathing and eating. The village is nestled on a rocky outcrop with amazing views of the lake below. It is dominated by a majestic Moorish castle which is sadly in ruins but is lovely to walk to and the views from there are spectacular.
The village offers bars, restaurants and a lakeside hotel as well as a municipal museum. On the lake you can go fishing, learn to sail and you can rent out pedalos and kayaks from the campsite right on the beach. The lake is clean and safe to swim in and there are several beach bars to shelter from the sun in the hot afternoons.
The local festivals of Iznšjar include a fabulous carnival, with parades and dressing up, in February. The patron saint of Iznšjar, San Marco, has a special day on the 25th of April where the whole town heads off for picnics in the countryside. The feria is around the 7th of September every year and usually lasts for three days and includes a candlelight procession through the town.
Jimena de la Frontera is in the province of Cadiz in Andalucía, it is about a thirty minute drive west of Gaucin and directly north of La Linea and the border of Gibraltar.
The village is surrounded by the Alcornocales Natural Park and is overlooked by a Moorish castle which was built around 750 A.D. It has been occupied since prehistoric times and here you can see cave paintings, at the archaeological site of La Laja Alta, which are the only examples of maritime cave paintings from the Bronze Age in Spain.
Transport links make Jimena easily accessible from all directions and the road and rail network is much improved in recent years. There are several beautiful churches and other buildings to visit. Other activities in the area include bike riding, horse riding and hill walking due to the proximity of the beautiful Natural Park.
As well as the national festivals of Spain, Jimena has several of its own throughout the year. The Carnival with parades of floats is in February, the agricultural fair is in the second week of May every year. There is an annual music festival in the second week of July and the Jimena feria is generally in the first week of September.
Mijas pueblo (village) is a short twenty minute drive from Mšlaga airport in the Mšlaga province and is only fifteen minutes from the coast at La Cala de Mijas and Fuengirola.
Mijas is situated in the Sierra de Mijas mountains and is surrounded by beautiful pine forests. It has the best of both worlds with its white village charm, winding cobbled streets, breathtaking views and close proximity to the sea. If bullfighting is your thing, Mijas has its own bull ring which is still in use and is also used for horse displays. There is an auditorium which is used for concerts throughout the summer and there are also two museums to visit.
As well as being close to the coast, Mijas has its own fabulous infrastructure which includes shops and a wide and varied range of restaurants, all the usual supermarkets and other food shops and, perhaps best of all a chocolate factory!
Special festivals in Mijas include Mijas International day which is a multicultural festival giving people from all over the world the opportunity to tell others about their culture and lifestyle, it is usually held in the first week in May. San Juan is celebrated on the night of the 23rd of June and is the celebration of the longest night of the year with festivities including dancing and fireworks.
Ronda is in the Mšlaga province of Andalucía and is a one hour twenty minute drive from the airport at Mšlaga. It is situated north and inland of Marbella and Estepona.
The village of Ronda is third only to Seville and Granada in the most visited places in Andalucía. It is famous all over the world for being perched on the edge of the El Tajo gorge and offers fabulous views and countless photo opportunities. It is the modern birthplace of bullfighting and its bullring ‘Plaza de Torros’ is now a museum and attracts many thousands of visitors each year.
Ronda is accessible by road and rail, the drive to the village from the coast or from further inland is quite spectacular. There are two tourist offices here and a whole host of fabulous shops selling traditional, and not so traditional, Spanish crafts and other goods.
The ‘Fiesta de la Virgen de la Paz’ is the celebration of the patron Saint of Ronda and is held on the 24th of January every year. The feria is around the 20th of May and the main events of the year are held in the first week in September with the International Folklore Music and Dancing Festival and other festivities.
Viñuela is another white village in the Malaga province of Andalucía. It is inland of Velez Malaga, to the east of Malaga city, and is approximately fifty minutes from Malaga airport.
The stunning village of La Viñuela is set in the breathtaking landscape of the Axarquia and situated next to the man made reservoir of Lake Viñuela which provides the majority of drinking water for the local area. There are many luxury villas nestled in the hills with beautiful views over the lake and the lake itself boasts pretty beaches and non motorized water sports for all. There are picnic areas and barbecue areas all around the lake and the surrounding pine forests provide shade and a peaceful atmosphere for visitors.
La Viñuela was named after the local grape vines from which a delicious sweet wine is still produced today. The town is also famous for its local olive oil which is of particularly good quality. There are many arts and craft shops here including basket making and leather goods. There are also archeological sites in the village dating back to prehistoric, Roman and medieval times.
In May in La Viñuela there is a pilgrimage from the village to the hamlets of Los Gomez and Los Romanes for the Romeria which is a traditional gypsy festival. The annual feria is in mid July and there are three more ferias locally in early August, mid August and mid September.
Our readers would love to hear about your favourite white villages to visit from the Costa del Sol, just leave your comments below.
If you love the idea of exploring authentic Andalucia, then here are our top villa recommendations from our Character Collection.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 242219 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2022-09-12 09:36:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-09-12 09:36:51 [post_content] => Cadiz is a fascinating city where the term travelling deeper is taken to a whole new level. It encourages you to look underground, out to the horizon and be amongst the rooftops. Succumb to the easy going way of life of the gaditanos – relax, eat well and be inspired by this ancient city.
1. Torre TaviraClimb this eighteenth-century watchtower, learn about the watchtowers of Cadiz (some pictured above) and see Cadiz through its camera obscura at the top. C. Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10, 11001 Cádiz. Torretavira.com
2. Playa La CaletaA day on the beach or hit it at 6pm for cake – street food to beach food. Sellers usually roam the beaches from about 5pm to 6pm. Then grab a drink and watch the sunset over the bay.
3. CathedralTaking over 100 years to complete and with its unique golden dome and silver collection it’s worth a visit. Pl. de la Catedral, s/n, 11005 Cádiz. Catedraldecadiz.com
4. Iglesia de Santa CruzThe original cathedral of Cadiz it was build in its form today in 1602. Pl. Fray Félix, 6, 11005 Cádiz
5. Mercado CentralFresh food and casual eateries make the market the heart of the city. Hit the gastromarket side of the market for tapas. Pl. de la Libertad, S/N, 11005 Cádiz
6. Pause in a PlazaMeander and stop for coffees or something strong in one of the pretty squares. Plaza de las Flores and Plaza de la Candelaria are two favourites.
7. Yacimiento Arqueológico GadirThis archaeological museum with a focus on Phoenician culture helps you travel under the city to ancient Cadiz. Address: C. San Miguel, 15, 11001 Cádiz. Open: Tues - Sat 11.00 - 15.00hrs and 17.00 - 21.00hrs. Sun 11.00 - 15.00hrs. Entrance free.
8. Park GenovesBeside the sea this city park has a playground, fountains and it’s a great place to run off little legs or meander after a long lunch. Parque Genovés, Av. Dr. Gómez Ulla, s/n, 11003 Cádiz
9. Museum of CadizFrom archaeological artifacts to art and puppets, the museum of Cadiz is an interesting way to spend a couple of hours if not only to find out the importance of puppeteering in the city. Address: Pl. de Mina, s/n, 11004 Cádiz. Museosdeandalucia.es
10. Castillo de Santa CatalinaA curious shape castle, originally built in 1598 gives great views and an insight into its military past. C. Campo de las Balas, s/n, 11002 Cádiz. Open during summer, Mon - Sun 11.00 - 20.30hrs.
11. Plaza de San Juan de DiosThe old main square of the city is a great place to start discovering Cadiz.
12. Teatro RomanoThis 1st century B.C. Roman theatre in the centre of the old town is the oldest and second largest on the Iberian Peninsula. Address: C. Mesón, 11, 13, 11005 Cádiz. Summer opening times (1st April - 30th Sept) Mon - Sat 11.00 - 17.00hrs and Sun 10.00 - 17.00hrs. Winter opening times (1st oct - 31st Mar) Mon - Sat 10.00 - 16.30hrs and Sun 10.00 - 14.00hrs. Closed the first Monday of every month. Entrance is free.
13. Puppet Museum (Museo del Titere)A good family option, it's somewhat interactive and home to puppets from all over the world. Puertas de Tierra, Bóvedas de Santa Elena, s/n, 11006 Cádiz. Open Tues - Sun 10.00 - 21.00hrs. Entrance is free.
14. See the Sunset at San Sebastian CastleThis castle and lighthouse is on a small island with a walkway linking it (even at high tide) to the end of the pier at La Caleta beach. It's said that the father of Zeus, Tronos, had his temple on the island. The lighthouse that you can see today has Moorish foundations and that is just the beginning of this little island's history. P.º Fernando Quiñones, s/n, Cádiz
15. Oratory of San Felipe Neri ChurchHome to one of Murillo’s finest works and one of the few Andalucian Baroque architectural examples of elliptical arches. C. San José, 36, 11003 Cádiz
16. Gran Teatro FallaFor an evening surrounded by 18th century grandeur, check out this Neo-Mudejar theatre in the old town. (See its program here). Pl. Fragela, s/n, 11003 Cádiz
17. CUEVA CATACUMBAS DEL BEATERIOThese catacombs are much less morbid than you’d imagine with an incredible story. Access is six metres under the city through a courtyard in a residential building. C. Valverde, n3, 11004 Cádiz. Catacumbasdelbeaterio.com
18. CarnivalCelebrated just before the beginning of Lent this very lively week-long festival sees everyone take to the streets in fancy dress. There’s traditional music in the form of satire singing groups that you can hear around the streets and at the theatre. Usually during February, 40 days before Easter.
19. Walk Around the Old TownTake in the feel of the city by wandering around two distinct areas: El Populo and La Viña, the latter of which is the old fisherman’s area. Don’t miss Plaza Tío de la Tiza and Restaurant El Faro.
20. Casa-Palacio Moreno de MoraA fine example of an Elizabethan-style palace from the 1800s. C. Ancha, 28, 30, 11001 Cádiz. Only open on Wednesdays at 10.00hrs via prior arrangement through this email [email protected]
21. Hospital de MujeresA quick visit of this old hospital and chapel offers a magnificent El Greco painting of St Francis and a rather special central courtyard. C. Hospital de Mujeres, 26, 11001 Cádiz
22. Visit El Puerto DE Santa Maria by BoatCadiz is at the end of a peninsula so there are regular boats going across to the mainland. Take a day trip to El Puerto de Santa Maria – see the sights like the Castle of San Marcos and do some sherry tasting. Port: Av. del Puerto, 2B, 11006 Cádiz Castle of San Marcos, Pl. Alfonso X el Sabio, 3, 11500 El Puerto de Sta María, Cádiz
23. Casa de IberoamericaThis Neoclassic building, once a former prison, is now an event and exhibition space. C. Concepción Arenal, s/n, 11006 Cádiz
Useful InformationHow to get to Cadiz by car From Seville airport 129km 1hr 14min From Malaga airport 225km 2hr 20min From Jerez 34.9km 28min From Gibraltar 118km 1hr 24min From Marbella 177km 1hr 49min Tempted you to discover Cadiz city? Have a look at our selection of villas on the Costa de la Luz. [post_title] => 23 of the Best Things to Do in Cadiz [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-to-do-in-cadiz [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-09-13 09:21:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-09-13 09:21:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=242219 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 242167 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2022-07-24 15:17:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-07-24 15:17:35 [post_content] => The Alhambra: crowning the city of Granada, this stunningly decorative fortress-palace complex is one of Spain's most instantly recognisable sights. But it's also the country's most visited tourist attraction – and as such probably needs little in the way of introduction (and promotion). So let’s concentrate instead on some of the lesser-known wonders that this fabulous city has to offer. Here then is our pick of the top things to see and do in Granada – that aren't the Alhambra...
1. The AlbayzinFor centuries, Moorish and Christian traditions coexisted harmoniously in Granada, and the Albayzin neighbourhood is a beautiful and atmospheric relic of this enlightened past. The Alhambra and the Albayzin look across at one another, with each view being just as magnificent as the other. Meander through the narrow cobbled streets, pause in squares to admire the view or stop for a tapas and a cool drink.
Why visit:Revel in the Moorish and Andalucian style that can be discovered around every narrow corner or small square. Take in the view and drink champagne overlooking the Alhambra Palace – El Huerto de Juan Ranas has a great terrace. (Calle Atarazana Vieja, 6.)
Tapas stops:Taberna El Beso. Moroccan food in the surroundings of a beautiful little palace. The owner also has a small collection of antiques and objets from Morocco for sale. (Cuesta de San Gregorio, s/n, 18010 Granada.) Higher in the Albayzin is Casa de los Mascarones. It's a little rough and ready, but offers great tapas with a very local Albayzin feel. (Calle Pagés, 20, 18010 Granada.) Bar Kiki and Cafe Gabriel are two other favourites – see our guide to restaurants in Granada if you're looking for further recommendations.
2. Palacio Dar al-HorraDeep in the Albayzin, this mini palace often gets overlooked. Once the home of Aixa, mother of Boabdil, the last Moorish king of Granada, it has magnificent views of the Albayzin and only takes a short time to visit. The best way to visit Palacio Dar al-Horra is to buy a ticket to the Andalucian Monuments: Tickets.alhambra-patronato.es. This includes Palacio Dar al-Horra, Corral del Carbón, Bañuelo and Casa Morisca (Calle Horno de Oro). You can also buy tickets at the entrance of Palacio Dar al-Horra – it closes between 14.30-17-00hrs. (Callejón de las Monjas Albayzin, s/n, 18008 Granada.)
3. Cathedral & Capilla RealIf you've got more than a passing interest in Spanish history a visit to the Capilla Real, where the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand are buried, is a must. The first Renaissance church in Spain, the mighty Granada Cathedral also forms part of the sample complex and can be visited alongside the Royal Chapel. (Calle Mariana Pineda, 21, 18009 Granada.)
Tapas stop:To the rear of the Cathedral is the fresh food market, San Agustín. Here La Picatería is a great bet for a spot of tapas. (Plaza de San Agustín, S/N, 18001 Granada.)
4. Plaza Bib RamblaGranada doesn’t have a plaza mayor (a main square) per se, but Plaza Bib Rambla more than ably fills the role. As the first square of Granada, Plaza Bib Rambla has survived a long and varied history… from markets, jousting, bull fighting, religious processions and even executions, this square has seen it all. Now there are flower stalls, restaurants and street entertainers. Much more civilised.
Tapas Stop:La Telefonica, just off the square. (Calle Arco de las Orejas, 1, 18001 Granada.)
5. Go ShoppingA memento or two from your travels is always a must. But what should you buy in Granada?
- Spices & tea: Not to be missed are the Moroccan-style tea shops and souvenir shops along Caldereria Nueva, close to Calle Elvira. In the lower part of the Albayzin, it’s a great place to buy some tea, spices or North African cakes.
- Ceramics: Granada (and Andalucia) has a long history of decorative ceramics, dating all the way back to the 15th century. You’ll notice decorative tiles throughout the city. The blue and green pomegranate design ('granada' means 'pomegranate' in Spanish) on vases and plates are a traditional decoration and make for a lovely gift. Ceramics are still produced in the city today at Fajalauza. (Calle Fajalauza 2, Albayzin Alto.)
- Leather: 5V Valverde is a speciality shop from yesteryear dealing in handmade leather shoes, boots and bags. Exquisite quality, one of the best cordwainers in southern Spain. (Calle Reyes Católicos, 32, 18009 Granada.)
- Jewellery: A great option for giftables is Platonica (Platonicajoyeria.com). Locally designed and made jewellery, some influenced by Nasrid culture. (Carrera del Darro, 8, 18010 Granada.)