We decided to hire a car and explore the area around Ronda on one day of our stay. We set off early on a hot blue sky day.
The first town we visited was Setenil de las Bodegas. We parked at the top of the town (think narrow cobbled one way streets like Ronda) and walked down to the centre. Setenil de las Bodegas is a pueblo blanco “white town” - known for its whitewashed houses which are actually built into the surrounding cliffs. There is a hilltop Castle here which was once an Arab Fortress.
We really enjoyed walking around in the sunshine and had a delicious goats cheese salad lunch at Restaurant Palmero, where we sat outside in the shade and did some people watching.
We also got to see some of the really cool cave houses!
Setenil de las Bodgegas made it onto The Lonely Planets article the “11 most beautiful Hidden Villages in Spain in 2019”. You can read more here. They describe Setenil de las Bodgegas as: “Setenil de las Bodegas is a white town burrowed into the caves under the cliffs of the Río Trejo; many of the original cave-houses still remain, and have even been turned into bars and restaurants”.
Back in the car and back on the road. The second town we visited was Zahara de la Sierra. The drive to here was just beautiful, stunning views and scenery. Zahara de la Sierra is also pueblo blanco. and it is “… is a municipality in the province of Cádiz in the hills of Andalusia. It is perched on a mountain, overlooking a valley and a man-made lake formed by the dam that must be driven over to access the town.”. We parked at the edge of the town and set off on foot.
Later we walked up to the 12th Century Castle of Zahara de la Sierra, not a difficult walk but it was a very hot day! The view from the top is well worth the sweaty walk and you can go up to the roof for an even better panoramic view (have your phone torch ready as it is dark getting up there).
After our walk we grabbed a cool drink in a little cafe in the town and wandered around the streets for a while. For more information on things to see in the town, click here.
We then set off in the rental car once again and drove the stunning Puerto de Las Palomas (Pass of the Doves), an 18 kilometre long stretch of narrow, winding and steep roads from Zahara de la Sierra to the white village of Grazalema, which was to be our final stop of the day. We stopped at the Puerto de Las Palomas 1357m lookout to take in the view, some photos and some fresh air!
Grazalema was the real gem of the three pueblos blancos we visited that day. We just felt it was the most authentic, had the nicest views and the narrow cobbled streets made it picture perfect; it is situated in the foothills of the Sierra del Pinar mountain range. Grazalema is also used a base for those who wish to explore and hike the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and I think we will have to return to do this ourselves! Once again we parked at the edge of the town and wandered on foot.
After some exploring we found ourselves need of some refreshments so we headed to Cafeteria Rotacapa for some cool drinks and tasty tapas before driving back to Ronda feeling very content with our lovely self-guided tour of old Andalusia.
What a great day, highly recommended hiring a car and hitting the road.