Surrounded by stunning scenery of rolling hills in the Sierra de Lijar, the typically whitewashed village of Algodonales offers a delightful southern Spanish ambience within its orange tree-lined streets. In the background, the restful sound of water can be heard from its twelve fountains and during the much-celebrated festival of Corpus Christi, the church square of Santa Ana is decorated with a wonderful display of colour.
Situated just north of the picturesque inland lake of Zahara, the town forms an ideal base from which to explore the picture-postcard scenery of the surrounding area: the lakeside village of Zahara de la Sierra with its hilltop castle, the imposing peaks and abundant wildlife of the Sierra de Grazalema and the pretty whitewashed ‘pueblo blanco’ of El Gastor are all just a short drive away.
Órgiva is conveniently located between the Moorish city of Granada, home of La Alhambra Palace, and the sandy beaches and marinas of the Costa Tropical. Nestled within the National Park of the Sierra Nevada, it is an ideal base to go hiking, cycling and horse riding through the olive groves and countryside dotted with lemon and almond trees. Órgiva is within easy reach of the quaint white hilltop villages of the Alpujarras and also the spa town of Lanjarón. The popular market each Thursday is an opportunity to purchase local produce including hams, cheeses, olives, fresh fruit and vegetables.
Perched in the Serrania de Ronda mountains, on the edge of an impressive gorge, Ronda is a delight for all who visit. Ronda claims to be one of the prettiest towns in Spain, and rightly so. There is plenty to discover and explore. The iconic bridge leads into the old town, with its labyrinth of little lanes and hidden squares, interior patios, historic monuments and thrilling views into the dramatic landscape below. The bustling new town is a hive of activity, with tapas bars, restaurants and shops offering plenty of local products, with large squares to sit and watch the world go by and soak in the atmosphere of this romantic town.
A nature lover’s paradise, Grazalema nestles into a backdrop of steep limestone rocks and verdant pine forests. It is a charismatic whitewashed village, with tightly packed houses adorned with colourful potted plants, friendly people, and a good choice of small cafés and restaurants in which to sample typical Andalucían dishes. Local crafts such as leather goods, honey, cakes, cheese, ceramics, wines, and wool blankets and shawls, can all be found in the plentiful local shops. The surrounding area is perfect for walkers, birdwatchers, photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. With a multitude of rocky ridges, gorges, and fertile valleys, there is an impressive array of wildlife to be enjoyed.
Known as the balcony to the white villages, 360° views can be enjoyed from many points around this traditional Andalucían village. El Gastor is a place to get away from it all and feel that time has stood still. Meandering through the maze of narrow streets, exploring its many hidden treasures, visitors can expect to be welcomed with a friendly smile. A relaxing time can be spent sipping a cool drink in a small café in the church square, and, just as the unhurried locals do, watch the world go by. For the more energetic there are some stunning local walks. During the summer months kayaks are available on the lake at nearby Zahara, and amongst various other activities, cycling along the Via Verde at nearby Olvera is popular.
Ubrique is at the very heart of the Grazalema National Park, and is a great base for exploring the charming whitewashed villages nestled in the surrounding mountains. Home to a flourishing leather industry, Ubrique is an ideal place to shop for leather goods and souvenirs. Not to be missed is a stroll through the medieval old quarter, whose narrow streets and picturesque corners are filled with fountains and potted plants. Plenty of restaurants, supermarkets and a variety of local shops are close at hand.
Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de la Frontera is home to sherry wine and, along with Sanlucar de la Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria, forms the "sherry triangle". A visit to one of the bodegas is a must. The city is also the home of the Carthusian horse. It is possible to visit La Yeguada stud farm and the Royal Andalucían School of Equestrian Art to see these incredible dancing horses. In the centre of Jerez you will find the cathedral, numerous churches, monasteries and the Moorish Alcazar Palace, as well as fantastic tapas bars and boutique shops. The bars in the Barrio Santiago are famous for impromptu flamenco shows. The city is served by excellent road, train and bus links and is just a 15 minute drive from the sandy beaches of El Puerto de Santa Maria, also renowned for its seafood restaurants.
Arcos de la Frontera
Arcos de la Frontera is a picturesque white hilltop town, perched on the edge of a cliff face overlooking the open countryside towards the Sierra de Cadiz. Declared a National Monument of historic and artistic interest, this quaint town is full of interesting sights such as the Plaza de Cabildos, numerous gothic and baroque churches, a castle and a myriad of winding cobbled streets full of tapas bars, local shops and markets. At the bottom of the hill the lake beach of El Santiscal can be found, great for sunbathing, swimming or practicing water sports.
Vejer de la Frontera
A pretty whitewashed town, declared a National Monument of Tourist Interest, Vejer is perched on a hill, 200 metres above sea level. The old town is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets, archways and geranium filled patios, as well as churches, a castle, the old city walls, a Jewish quarter and the Plaza de España with its famous fountain. In recent years Vejer has become a gastronomic hub and offers a delicious choice of traditional Spanish tapas as well as locally caught Almadraba tuna, Retinto beef, Italian, Moroccan, French, Japanese cuisine, wine and sherry bars. The town is conveniently located 10 kilometres inland from the wonderful Costa de la Luz beaches of El Palmar, Zahora, Los Caños de Meca and Cape Trafalgar.
Conil de la Frontera
The fishing town of Conil, with its long stretches of sandy beaches, sheltered coves and pine forests, has long been a popular destination with Spanish tourists. Its promenade is lined with fish and seafood restaurants, and its pedestrianised centre is full of local tapas bars and artisan shops. The west facing beach bars are ideal spots to watch the sun set over the ocean. For those wishing to keep active, this coast has surf and kite schools, as well as centres that rent out bikes, kayaks and snorkelling equipment. The weekly Friday flea market is not to be missed.