Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Four Enchanting Pueblos Blancos in Andalucia

"My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth's loveliness." Michelangelo 

Plaza de España in Grazalema

In the valley of the Sierra del Endrinal sits a peaceful town of a few thousand residents. Grazalema was our first stop along the pueblos blancos route. We had heard of their "cabello del angel" pastry and were curious about this "angel's head". We picked up some at a bakery off the plaza. They were sweet, as sweet as little angels who lovingly keep us out of harm's way.



Zahara de la Sierra

It's a hairy drive to Zahara de la Sierra through winding mountain roads offering spectacular views of the Embalse de Zahara, a reservoir surrounded by green peaks and valleys. In the center of Zahara is a mirador, a large terrace with a sweeping view of red rooftops spilling down the hill to the blue waters of the man-made lake below.


Setenil de las Bodegas stands apart from other whitewashed villages because many of its houses are built under and inside rock overhangs. It was once known for its wineries, hence the bodegas designation but an insect infestation wiped out the vineyards in the 1860s. The bodegas have since been replaced by manufacturers of chorizo (sausage). Setenil also produces almonds and olives.

Olvera

My most unforgettable memory of Olvera was our drive up to the church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion on a narrow stretch of road that wraps around this hilltop town. I was afraid we would meet a car on its way downhill as we drove to the top of Olvera. But as it was siesta time, we encountered no one. I thought that we would probably not find a parking space near the church since the town is packed full of houses and was therefore surprised to find a spacious plaza with a panoramic view of the beautiful countryside. Olvera refers to woodland or olive grove and yes, olive oil is one of its main products.

How to get to the Pueblos Blancos from Ronda:
The best way to see the pueblos blancos at a leisurely pace is by renting a car. Or take a tour offered by a taxi company, Ronda.taxi, to three or four white washed villages for approximately 120€ per taxi. (Rates as of November 2015). Their brochures are available at most hotels or at the tourist information offices in Ronda. 

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Images by travelswithcharie


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