The Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia

Published on 13/04/2010 in Places of Interest

Narrow madieval streets, whitewashed homes nesteled into the mountains, old ladies sitting in wooden chairs gossiping, and children playing in the streets, while the all pervading aroma of lunch time cooking hangs in the air; this isn't Africa or some third world country. These are the pueblos blancos of Andalusia, and they are only an hour away from Malaga airport.

White village AndaluciaThe white villages get their name from the limestone whitewash used by the original settlers from Morocco who founded many of them shortly after the Muslim invasion of Iberia in 711AD. Specifically, the pueblos blancos are only found in Malaga and Cadiz provinces of Andalusia, and in most, the color of the village is protected by local law.

Almost all are mountain villages built in easily defensible positions with a castle or fortress tower at the top, surrounded by the homes of the villagers, and then the farms and orchards in the valleys below. Pastureland would be used for goats and sheep, the Muslim faith preferring to avoid pig, however with the reconquest of Andalusia by the Christians many of the sheep were replaced by pig.

Several of the villages are now renowned for manufacturing meat products made from pork, such as jamon on the hoof, the spicy suasage chorizo, zurrapa de lomo etc. Amongst the most famous, is the village of Benaojan around 15 minutes from Ronda, the largest of the pueblos blancos and a city in its own right.

Many of the white villages are ever popular with visitors because they retain their old world charm despite the march of time and modern conveniences. Wrought iron windows with colourful flowers, traditional festivals such as the village feria or Semana Santa, small tapas bars with pine nut shells scattered around the floor, these are some of the things you can expect to find.

Outside of the villages the terrain is spectacular, valleys that are green and cool, mountains that bear the full brunt of the Spanish sun, birds and butterflies, and wild flowers too, many of them completely unique to the area, and surrounding the villages, several of Spain's most important biosphere parks such as Grazalema, Alcornocales, Sierra de las Nieves, Donana.

Visiting the pueblos blancos of Andalusia could very well be one of the things to do that should be on every persons list of places to visit at least once in their lifetime, and you won't regret it. The people are friendly and will always take delight in hearing the handful of Spanish words you can muster, accommodation is plentiful and of a high standard, and traveling from village to village a memory to cherish.

Written by: EOS Team

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Paul Whitelock said:
03 September 2011 @ 13:31

Nice article. Who is the author?

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