The Best Villages in Cádiz to Visit
Cádiz is a province of Spain that, once you step on it, you immediately fall in love. Not only because of weather, but because of the people, culture, nature and so many hidden places to discover. Cadiz has some of the most beautiful villages in Spain.
We have chosen our top 5 favourite white villages from all the amazing places in the entire province. We chose these villages because they each have something special – architecture, views, landscapes. But ALL of them are stunningly beautiful – an Instagrammer’s dream! All of them have a unique character that you should explore to understand what makes them so special!
1. Setenil de las Bodegas:
This village has it all – the views, local food and very helpful local people. Setenil is such a unique village because it is built within the caves of a canyon. The caves are formed naturally by the water from the Burgo Creek. In fact, scientists have found evidence of a large community of prehistoric people living in the caves of this village. Setenil is therefore one of the oldest inhabited areas of Spain.
While the Calle Cuevas del Sol (pictured below) is the most photographed spot in the village, you’ll quickly see this is not the only beautiful street. The cave houses extend well beyond the centre of the village. Take some time to explore the narrow streets. Make sure to peek inside some of the shops or buildings to see how the cave forms the back wall.
2. Vejer de la Frontera:
Vejer de la Frontera is a beautiful white hilltop village. In fact, it is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in all of Spain! While it showcases stunning views around the village, the people are also what gives it so much character. Locals are very helpful and friendly around the village and the entire village is dotted with independent, trendy shops and bars to explore.
Vejer was used as a defensive outpost, at least since Phoenician times, when they used this location to defend their fishing ports against the Iberians. The architecture is very broad, from Roman, to medieval buildings, to having a great Moorish influence. One Moorish feature most of the old buildings have is internal patios. Upon entering an open door, you are welcomed with a jungle of colour and scent from wall-to-wall flowers. Vejeriegas (as they are known) are proud of their patio gardens and there is a festival every spring for the best ones.
Another standout feature are the traditional windmills along the outskirts of the town. While they are no longer used, you can still enter one of the windmills at the Parque de los Molinos and learn how it looks from the inside. This is the perfect village to base yourself for a holiday in Cádiz, because El Palmar beach is only a 10 minute drive away. You can make the most of a trip balancing beach and beautiful village scenery in one go! If you want more information about Vejer de la Frontera, you can read more about it in our blog “Five things you must do in Vejer de la Frontera”.
3. Zahara de la Sierra:
The view of Zahara de la Sierra speaks for itself. It has one of the most picturesque views, making it one of the most beautiful villages in Cadiz. If you arrive on a sunny day, the water of the lake is perfectly turquoise, standing out against the surrounding habitat. This village is perfect if you want to get away from it all. There are nautical sports centers where you can rent boats to voyage across the lake. Or you can just relax at one of the local restaurants and just enjoy the view!
The 13th century castle at the top of the hill has witnessed a lot of history. Zahara’s castle was one of the main fortresses protecting Ronda and Malaga during the Christian reconquering. If you just want to visit Zahara you can see the best points in a couple hours. However, there are a lot of outdoor activities to do over longer periods such as hiking, birdwatching and cycling.
4. Arcos de la Frontera
Arcos is a relatively larger village than the others, on the top of a sloping hill, surrounded by steep cliffs. Two rivers naturally formed the cliffs alongside the hill, resulting in a dramatic landscape. There are beautiful views from the different viewpoints that are located around the old town. You can find many restaurants and bars throughout the town with great, local food.
You can mainly find a mixture of Roman and Moorish architecture, as it was the capital of the Taifa (a Moorish kingdom) with the same name, and Baroque architecture after the Christians reconquered it. You’ll also notice there are arches along many of the narrows streets throughout the village. The villagers built the arches following the 18th century earthquake, which damaged buildings in the area.
Most of the communities in this province were used originally during prehistoric times. Here you can see many caves, in one of which, “Cueva del Higueral de Valleja”, they found prehistoric burial remains and paintings. You’ll also find several churches throughout the village. Many of the villages that were founded on the frontier between the Moors and the Christians from the 12th to the 14th century, had the main mosque destroyed and a large church built on top.
Grazalema is the last wonderful white village of our list. It is another impressive village, located in a valley where you can see the mountain system in the back. It was founded by the Romans, and held by the Moors, almost until the end of their time in the peninsula. If you are coming from “Arcos de la Frontera”, or “El Bosque”, you will have wonderful views along the route of the landscape and the most stunning villages in Cadiz.
A very interesting fact of this municipality is that the mountain system of Grazalema is the rainiest place in Spain. So if you come to visit remember to bring an umbrella just in case! Grazalema also has some great shops to try some local products. You can find local queserias (cheese shops) such as La Pastora or Las Hazuelas. Or try some of the local honey, produced in the wild!
If you want to enjoy a wonderful day, from Jerez de la Frontera or Vejer de la Frontera, by visiting three of the most picturesque villages in Cadiz in a stress-free and in small group size, book our White Village Tour now!! We will visit the different landmarks of each village, see the best views of the surrounding landscapes and of the village itself. We will enjoy as well tasting local traditional food!