Southern Spain’s big cities may be the first stop on your route (and rightly so). But if you have a few extra days to explore and need some fresh countryside air, Andalusia’s pristine white villages are the place to go. Called the pueblos blancos, these small towns are nestled into the hills, mountains, and forests of rural Andalusia. Their building facades are all painted a stark white, which is said to reflect the harsh sunlight and keep the air cool inside. Even with modern technology, these areas have kept their architectural tradition, which makes for an idyllic setting and some absolutely stunning photo ops.

While the villages may have a relatively similar design, each charming spot has its own character and unique feel. And with the sweeping views of olive groves or winding streets draped in magenta bougainvillea, it’s no wonder why many were given the distinction of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain.”

We’re offering our personal picks for the best white villages to visit in Andalusia. See a few in just a day (many are quite close together), or take your time and stay overnight in any of the area’s fantastic rural and/or luxurious hotels, and enjoy each to the fullest.

Vejer de la Frontera

Vejer de la Frontera Spain

Vejer de la Frontera is not only one of the best white villages to visit in Andalusia, it’s als one of our favorite towns in the whole country. Historical remains show the village likely existed as early as the 7th century B.C. Many civilizations have left their mark, the most notable being the Moors, whose architecture is visible in the city walls and the network of labyrinth-like streets. Along with the fantastic views of the neighboring coast and memorable sunsets, Vejer has a small but bustling restaurant scene and some fabulous hotels. And you can’t miss a quick drive down to fisherman’s town of Barbate for world-renown bluefin tuna.

Setenil de las Bodegas

Setenil de las Bodegas Spain

Most of the region’s white-washed villages were constructed on top of the mountain to create protection from invaders. But Setenil de las Bodegas was built directly down into the clefts of the rocks. This style of housing provides extra insulation in both the hot summer months and chilly winter season. Houses and shops are built into the walls, and cliffs hang suspended over the cobblestone streets. The main drag, Cueva del Sol, is one of the best spots to see the architectural marvel. A narrow river also runs along the street, making for a lovely stroll through town and an ideal spot to stop for tapas. There are even accommodations built into the rocks so you’ll feel just like a local cave dweller during your stay.

Zahara de la Sierra

Zahara de la Sierra Spain

Not to be confused with Zahara de los Atunes (which we also highly recommended for a few beach days), Zahara de la Sierra is an absolute must. The town sits overlooking a pristine, turquoise-blue reservoir. An ancient castle is perched on the highest point of an elegant rocky incline; the drive up to the town just as impressive as the journey within. Once you’re there, throw on your best walking shoes and take the steep trek up to the castle for some of the most breathtaking views of the Andalusian countryside.

Arcos de la Frontera

Arcos de la Frontera Spain

Surrounded by the Guadalete River, which encircles the town on all sides, Arcos de la Frontera towers over the valley below on its majestic limestone cliffs. Spend the day hiking the trails in the area or kayaking on the river and dam below. At dusk, wander through the historic town and peak out from the many ancient arches (arcos means arches in Spanish) tucked into the city walls. Along with great restaurants offering Spanish-Moroccan cuisine, don’t forget to snag tasty treats on your way out at some of their gourmet food stores. Think local cheeses, freshly-pressed olive oils, and spiced pastries made by the town’s nuns.


Zahara de la Sierra Spain

The contrast of stark-white homes pressed against the vibrant evergreen forest is what sets Grazalema apart from the rest. Additionally, the town sits in a national park, the Sierra de Grazalema, which means you’re close to fantastic hikes deep into the lush pinsapo forests, a native Spanish fir. Also check out neighboring villages like El Bosque and Benamahoma while you’re there for additional routes. The town itself also offers pristine hotels with epic pools for relaxing those post-hike muscles and enjoying the spectacular views.

Other White Villages to Check Out

Zuheros Spain

  • We’ll never stop waxing poetic about Ronda
  • Take in the expansive views of the Costa del Sol and walk the cobblestone mosaics in Frigiliana. 
  • Far less touristy, Zuheros is a sleepy town near Córdoba with jaw-dropping vistas and vertical cliffs (see photo above).
  • A quick drive from Seville will get you into the heart of neighboring Carmona.

Looking to visit the best white villages in Andalusia? We have some especially fantastic guides that specialize in historical and outdoor routes through these dreamy little Spanish towns. Send us a message and find out how to get there.