Here's our little white Fiat Panda parked at the top of one of the towns. Sadly I don't even remember its name, as there are so many of them on this route. Along the road there are viewpoints that you can look across the valleys to see white villages clustered here and there.
This is part of map from one of these viewpoints. It's kind of hard to see but there are at least a dozen villages shown here--and that's just a small part of the area.
The first one we visited in depth was Ronda, which is really more of a white city as it's quite large with a population of 37,000. It's situated high up above a gorge and has been there since the 9th Century BC. The city was an important Islamic cultural centre and it has a colourful and romantic past in Spanish folklore. We actually stayed about 10 miles outside of Ronda in an old olive mill that's been converted to a lovely hotel, so our experience of it was limited to a walk around the following morning.
The next pueblo blanco we visited was Vejer de la Frontera, which had been recommended to us by the girl in the car rental agency when we asked her about places without a lot of tourists. This town is very old and surrounded by walls. It's absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful. It did have some visitors but essentially it felt like a real living town with children and dogs in the plazas and people walking by on their way home from church. Here's what it looked like inside the walls.
Finally, just before you get carried away in romantic fantasies, here is a view from the top plaza of Medina Sidonia, another of the car rental girl's recommendations. This may be the oldest city in Europe according to some sources. It's set on a huge hill that rises above the plain east of Cadiz and may have been founded by the Phoenicians in the 2nd Century BC. The name in Arabic means City of Sidon.
Tonight we are in Arcos de la Frontera, yet another white town. We haven't walked around yet as we're in out hotel getting ready for our flight to Lisbon tomorrow. We'll head down to the centro for dinner and I'm sure it will be as beautiful in its own way as the others.
By the way, our hotel is in a white building with a top floor that's like a large open patio. Here is where I'm sitting writing this post. Isn't it lovely? It's actually called a Hostal, a basic hotel, and we love it, especially for the 33 Euro price.