Road Trip through the Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia

Our family is not what you would call adventurous, we are not into bungee jumping, deep sea diving or riding on the many crazy rollacoasters or running after bulls… We couldn’t  even handle watching a bull fight at Seville after we learnt that the bulls are actually killed at the end of the fight.  I understand it is part of the culture in Spain just not something me or my family can stomach…  Our idea of adventure is doing a road trip in a country that we are visiting.. taking a day to drive from Point A to Point B with an energetic boy, a sometimes moody teenager, navigating unfamiliar roads stopping at different points during the road trip for some site seeing and local refreshments along the way.  We have done road trips in Tuscany, Amalfi coast, looking for lavender in Provence…. Some of the sites we stop at briefly warrant a couple of days to linger wander and see it all, but our goal here is the journey with our family more than the destinations – so we stop briefly enjoy the site and drive on, listening to music, talking, listening in on the kids as they have their inside conversations. Believe me we hear more on this 6 to 8 hour road trips than a year back home, we really get to know them better, they are in a lockdown situation with us, no running away to watch netflix or play on gadgets.  No friends, snapchats or other distractions where you start a conversation to watch it trail off as the teenager starts giggling because she is looking at her tiny screen and not you anymore.  Thank god for no wifi when road tripping on a different land!  So on this trip to Spain we went on a road trip starting from Seville we stopped at a couple of white villages and Ronda before arriving at Granada – a Road Trip through the Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia.

What and Where are the Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia?

We each have our roles when going on a road trip, Mr. Suburbia does all the driving while I plan out the route and navigate.  Ms. Teen is our DJ and makes sure there is some upbeat music so that daddy does not veer off the roads or is not driving on the wrong side of the road.  D makes sure we stock up on  munchies and local snacks for the trip. We rented our car from Seville and dropped it off at Granda, we use AutoEurope you can compare rates from different supplier, find great deals and sometimes get upgrades.

Between the Atlantic in the west and the Mediterranean in the east, lies some of the prettiest hidden towns of Spain. If you are visiting or living in Andalucia, southern Spain, you cannot miss a trip to “pueblos blancos”, also known as white villages. We stopped at the tourism office in Seville right behind the Cathedral to get some maps.  We had a GPS in the car but always good to have a good old fashioned map in hand, the tourism office gave us one marked “Route of the Pueblos Blancos or White Villages”

The “route of the white villages” is a tourist route that spreads from region of la Sierra, the region of Janda, in the province of Cadiz and the Serrania de Ronda, in the province of Málaga . The official route goes through these villages and towns: Alcalá del Valle, Algar, Algodonales, Arcos de la Frontera, Benaocaz, Bornos, El Bosque, El Gastor , Espera, Grazalema, Olvera, Prado del Rey, Puerto Serrano, Setenil de las Bodegas, Torre Alháquime, Ubrique, Vejer de la Frontera, Villaluenga del Rosario, Villamartín, Zahara de la Sierra. These white villages, with whitewashed walls, red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets and ornate churches atop cliffs are rich in history. They date back to the Romans and Moors, offer spectacular flora & fauna, historical walking routes and are havens for birds watchers & wildlife lovers.

Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia Itinerary at a glance 

Our itinerary was Seville – Arcos de la Frontera – Grazalema – Ronda – Granada
Our estimate for the drive was –
Seville to Arcos de la Frontera – 1 hour
Grazalema – 1 hour
Ronda – 1 hour
Ronda to Granada – 3 hours

Andalucia white villages

The view of a White village from the plane

Map for the Road Trip through Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia

Road Trip through the Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia

Most Andalusian towns were once fortresses that stood along the frontiers between the Christian and Moorish realms. This is why some of their names have are very similar ending “___ de la Frontera” meaning “of the frontier”.  We stopped first at Arcos de la Frontera. the roads were so narrow, you really need to know your way to get up to the church.  We got lost in the middle, even though we had a tiny car, it still was difficult to navigate around the one ways streets.  a kind local man came to our rescue and offered to drive us up to the church when we pointed to it trying to say we were trying to get up there. But we lost quite some time in the getting lost so we declined his offered and decided to drive on to our next destination.

Road Trip through the Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia

Our little car ready for the trip, so is Mr.Suburbia!

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Our Road ahead

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Arcos de la Frontera

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An afternoon in Grazalema

Next stop was at Grazalema, a natural park with splendid flora and fauna that varies from Spanish fir, maple woods to deers and Iberian wild goats. It’s known for it’s great hiking routes and outdoor activity options. Grazalema Natural Park has a trail of white villages going through it, many of which belong to the Natural Park, we stopped at one of them for lunch.

An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia

An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
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An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
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An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia

My vegetarian tomato salad with goat cheese and some herbs was divine.  The rest of the meal was good as well and we polished everything off and walked around town for a bit, before driving to Ronda our next stop.

An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
An afternoon in Grazalema, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia

A few pictures at the outskirts before leaving the town of Grazalema.

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A quick stop in Ronda

We drove to Ronda, parked and walked over to see the new bridge of Ronda, we saw the Plaza de Toros(Bull ring)  the oldest and most monumental in Spain and some orange trees along the way.

Ronda, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
Ronda, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
Ronda, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
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Ronda to Granada was faster and on the highway.  We stopped for some coffee before making our way through the last leg of the road trip.

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Our little road trip took us about 7 hours. We made it to Granada on time to catch the sunset over Alhambra.

Sunset over the Alhambra in Granada

We were excited to have made it to watch the sunset from San Nicolas overlooking the Alhambra.  There was such a feverish energy, we watch the Alhambra glow lit by the setting rays of the sun to the beat of drums and dances from the crowd.  It is a memory forever etched in my memory!

Alhambra in Granada, Spain
Sunset over Alhambra in Granada, Spain - Photo by Outside Suburbia
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We celebrated our successful road trip with a dinner at Il Gondolier, a nice Italian restaurant in Granada!  Their salads and pizza was good but we really enjoyed the deserts and homemade limoncello the most!!

Until next time, Cheers!

You might also like – Other road trips we have done, Things to do in Barcelona, Andalucia Itinerary, Why you should visit Malaga and other posts from Spain

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13 thoughts on “Road Trip through the Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia”

  1. Wow, you certainly packed a lot in! I love the white houses and your photos capture the Andalucia’s countryside superbly. I’ve not explored this part of Spain much but I certainly would love to! It just looks wonderful. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your road trip. Visiting Andalucia is near the top of my wish list for travel, but for now I have to visit vicariously. Love the photos of sunset over the Alhambra. The shrimp salad looks good too. I’m hungry now!

  3. So many beautiful places! Great to know road trips work well for your family. We just came from Spain and are planning to return (maybe next year). We want to visit the South this time. It would be great to include a road trip as yours.

  4. Great post. It brought back memories of my family traveling all over in a car. I agree with you, so much talking, sharing, learning about each other and what was happening in all of our busy lives. My girls are grown up now, but we all still love to road trip together and in a few weeks we’ll be doing it in Japan. Fun!

    Thanks for linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration!

    1. Thanks Debz, we loved Costa Bravo as well. There are more little towns that are part of the white village trail that we didn’t get to. You are right they were lovely!

  5. your photos are fun! I showed this blog entry to my mother, who spent a summer in Spain (a long time ago lol) to “learn Spanish.” She said she learned how to drink sangria with seafood appetizers and order rum and coke for breakfast after a night at discotheques. 🙂 She’s forgotten much of the Spanish.

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