One of the crown jewels of Cádiz tourism, nationally and internationally acclaimed, is the well-known Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos. A 19-municipalities compendium located in the Sierra de Cádiz, famous -among many other reasons- for the immaculate whitewash of their facades; a characteristic sign of the buildings that gives the route its name.
Arcos de la Frontera, Bornos, Espera, Villamartín, Algodonales, El Gastor, Olvera, Torre-Alháquime, Setenil de las Bodegas, Alcalá del Valle, Prado del Rey, El Bosque, Ubrique, Benaocaz, Villaluenga del Rosario, Grazalema, Benamahoma, Zahara de la Sierra and Algar set the conglomerate of villages that make up the Route.
This ensemble of small and charming towns has witnessed the passage of many civilizations throughout history. Since the first prehistoric settlements, through the Nasrid conquest and the subsequent Crusades, the different remains of this eras; scattered throughout the Sierra de Cádiz geography, will approach us to the life and customs of those who considered the Pueblos Blancos their home once.
One of the most beautiful natural sites of the province, the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, is located in the north of the Sierra de Cádiz. Considered the first Biosphere Reserve in Spain by UNESCO in 1977, this environment has more than 50,000 hectares, a perfect setting for adventure sports such as hiking, different types of mountaineering, kayaking or canyoning. This massif has become home to a wide diversity of fauna and vegetation, from which we can highlight tree species such as the Spanish fir. Being one of the great natural attractions, this species of pine unique in the entire Iberian Peninsula has adapted itself to the climate of the area and settled along the highland geography.
Straddling between Cádiz and Málaga, we find the Los Alcornocales Natural Park, an extensive area of almost 170,000 hectares that houses a total of 18 municipalities, among which are Algar, Benaocaz or El Bosque. Considered one of the largest natural parks in Spain, this settlement is named after the largest cork oak forest in Spain and the world. An enormous forest mass favored by its characteristic Mediterranean microclimate with Atlantic influences. The host of archaeological remains, together with the diversity of fauna and flora species, make Los Alcornocales a mandatory stop on the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos.
The natural environment, in which the different municipalities are located, provides a unique gastronomic diversity. From tasty game to the exquisite quality of its horticultural products, its recognized cheeses or its traditional baked goods, Pueblos Blancos constitute an unbeatable gastronomic route suitable for all tastes and budgets.
Heritage tourism lovers also find their place in this route thanks to the architectural diversity of the temples distributed by the 19 towns. The group of hermitages, churches and parishes that we can visit throughout the highland geography, inherit from the different cultures that have resided throughout history in the different municipalities to which they belong. Thus, we cand find religious building with Nasrid, Romanesque or Gothic influences.