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Rustic Blue Holiday Guide to Arcos de la Frontera

Considered by many to be Spain's premier "pueblo blanco" there is no doubt that Arcos has a situation which is truly spectacular …

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The Church of Santa María at the very top of town Perched on top of an impressive sandstone ridge, Arcos overlooks the meandering Rio Guadelete Entering the Plaza del Cabildo Church of Santa María Downtown Arcos The town at night On top of the world
Arcos de la Frontera, Los Pueblos Blancos



50 to 195 metres

Distance from Málaga

180 kilometres

Distance from the Coast

60 kilometres

Patron Saints

Nuestra Sra. de las Nieves

Fiesta Dates

The Fiesta Patronal, in honour of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (Our Lady of the Snows), on 5th August.

In the last week of September, the Feria de San Miguel.

Holy Week processions have been declared of national importance


At little more than sea level and with no nearby mountain ranges, winters are very mild, summers hot! (temperatures can rise to the low 40's in mid summer). Plenty of sunshine (over 3,000 hours per annum)


Fabulous views

Perched on top of an impressive sandstone ridge, the view from the top of town is staggering, over the golden cliffs and out across the river plain far, far below.

Considered by many to be Spain's premier "pueblo blanco" there is no doubt that its situation is absolutely spectacular. It perches on top of an impressive sandstone ridge, Peña Nueva, overlooking the meandering Rio Guadelete which flows around it on three sides.

The view from the Plaza del Cabildo at the very top of town is staggering, across the broad, fertile river valley far, far below, celebrated in ancient ballads for its horses. To the other side, the ridge overlooks the Lago de Arcos.

Historically an impregnable fortress town, its location is enhanced by its low white houses and fine sandstone churches, giving the town a similar feel and appearance to Ronda - although Arcos is a little less affluent and less visited.

The old town is at the highest point on the ridge. A labyrinth of narrow streets lead up to the Plaza Cabildo, overlooked by the Gothic Church of Santa María, the old castle (castillo) and by one of Spain's better Paradores.

The north side of the plaza is open and this is the place to take in the view, over the golden cliffs and out across the river plain.

A labyrinth

The old town, at the highest point on the ridge, is a maze of steep narrow streets leading up to the Plaza Cabildo at the top.

Legend has it that Arcos de la Frontera was founded around the time of the Great Biblical Flood, some 2,000 years BC. Be that as it may, it has certainly been inhabited since the earliest of times, witnessed by the honeycomb of ancient cave dwellings in the ridge itself.

The Romans gave it the name of Arcobriga and it later became a Moorish stronghold under the Caliphate of Córdoba. It fell to the Catholic Kings in 1264.

The landscape all around is predominantly open, fertile countryside bedecked with olive and citrus groves, vineyards and fields of sunflowers.

It is an area which is highly regarded for its herds of bullfighting stock and beautiful horses. The low-lying terrain ensures that it enjoys a truly Mediterranean climate, although, be warned, it can be very hot in mid-summer.


Part Moorish, part Renaissance, here and there shady streets open into small squares where there's usually a tapas bar or two offering authentic hospitality.

The old part of town is a fascinating mix of Moorish and Renaissance, a maze of steep narrow streets (which in places are little more than two metres wide) and there are arches in abundance.

There is a plethora of churches here. Apart from Santa Maria perhaps the most interesting is San Pedro Chapel set right on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Guadalete river valley. The unsurpassed Holy Week celebrations in Arcos have been declared of national tourist interest.

Here and there the shady streets open into small squares where there's usually a tapas bar or two: no frills, just authentic 'Andaluz'-style hospitality.

You will also find some excellent craft shops (painted ceramics are the speciality), a busy farmers market and good-value restaurants.

Easily accessible, Arcos is less than an hour's drive from Sevilla, Cádiz and Ronda as well as both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. So, it's well worth a visit if you are in this part of Andalucía.

When you set off for home, take some of the excellent biscuits made by the nuns at the Convent of Mercedarias Descalzas with you.

Holiday villas

Holiday villas within easy reach of Arcos

  • ZC 40(5) - Sleeps 2 & 2 children

    Anyone looking for rural authenticity will treasure the unspoilt paradise of this vast mountain estate, without doubt, one of the most beautiful locations in Andalucía. This terrace of six villas is for couples, with or without, their small children.

    from 540€ to 650€

  • ZC 41 - Sleeps 14

    This magnificent estate is hidden In the hills, deep in sublime countryside, just twelve kilometres to the north of Ronda. It's truly wonderful here, acre upon acre of mature cork oak forest, parkland and olive groves. Turn through its gates and the outside world simply disappears!

    from 3,900€ to 7,600€

  • ZC 40(4) - Sleeps 2

    Built in a little cluster below an really impressive rock formation, these four cottages offer comfortable studio accommodation exclusively for couples. On a vast mountain estate, it's one of the most beautiful and tranquil locations in Andalucía.

    from 540€ to 670€

  • ZC 106 - Sleeps 10

    Originally belonging to a much larger estate, this country estate house is set in its own vineyards, only ten minutes' drive from the famous city of Ronda. The grounds comprise 3.5 hectares, 2 of those are given to grapes which the owner uses in his own bodega.

    from 940€ to 2,880€

  • ZC 112 - Sleeps 10

    The entrance is through a conifer-lined drive to an Impressive low, wide, white villa with a lounging terrace at the front. Set in beautiful open country side, on the outskirts of the famous city of Ronda, you'll see cultivated fields with tractors and patchworks of ploughed land of all colours.

    from 1,540€ to 3,000€

  • ZC 26 - Sleeps 8

    Surrounded by the exciting landscapes of the National Park, and just a couple of minutes away from lovely Grazalema itself, this farmhouse has been restored without in any way disturbing its ageless country charm. Homely and traditional, it's genuinely rustic, both inside and out.

    from 980€ to 1,110€

  • ZC 42 - Sleeps 2 and a baby

    Described by one client as "the most beautiful house I've ever seen" this is a delectable place to hide away with a loved one. The perfect place for a first (or second) honeymoon …

    from 1,300€ to 1,560€

  • ZC 74 - Sleeps 6

    In a beautiful valley just outside Ronda, this spacious villa has lovely gardens and a pool to match. A great choice for all the family. Simply relaxing here, soaking up the sunshine, taking a refreshing dip or two in the pool, it's a perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life.

    from 1,300€ to 1,850€

  • ZC 12 - Sleeps 6 or 8

    Looking out from the forest above the little village to a heavenly panorama of mountain, hill and wooded slopes, this is an intimate, enjoyable and friendly holiday home. A great place to stay.

    from 1,300€ to 1,760€

  • ZC 33 - Sleeps 10 plus staff

    This magnificent, majestic mansion in the hills has real charisma and exquisite, grandiose style. One of the most stunning and spectacular houses in all Spain - in an equally glorious setting, it is impossible not to be captivated by its sumptuous elegance and comfort.

    from 6,740€ to 7,490€

  • ZC 19 - Sleeps 6

    Perched on the hillside with breathtaking views of Zahara de la Sierra on the opposite shore of its stunning lake, this is one of the most spectacularly situated properties in this wonderful part of Spain. Just rolling hills and the tranquility of nature to keep you company; a rural idyll.

    from 850€ to 1,300€

  • ZC 96 - Sleeps 14 + 1 child

    Although built in 2006, the feel of this villa is one of a traditional Spanish country house, with its terracotta pan-tiled roof, white walls, wrought ironwork and antique doors, the welcome is classic Andaluz. There are no other houses around, but you are still only a short drive from Ronda and all that it has to offer.

    from 6,650€ to 12,250€

  • ZC 75 - Sleeps 4

    Soaking up the sunshine, taking a dip in the pool, reading under the dappled shade of an old olive tree, this is what a holiday is all about. In a beautiful valley just outside Ronda, this spacious villa has lovely gardens and a pool to match.

    from 1,100€ to 1,600€

  • ZC 13 - Sleeps 6

    This lovely rustic cottage is located in stunning mountain scenery. Renovated with great care, the cottage retains all its inherent rustic charm, enhanced by carefully chosen, traditional furnishings.

    from 850€ to 1,430€

  • ZC 57 - Sleeps 6

    Local style prevails at this holiday home in a stunning setting above the lake at Zahara, a lovely spot on the edge of the Grazalema National Park. There is plenty of room for children to play and some of the best views in Spain.

    from 650€ to 910€

  • ZC 82 - Sleeps 12

    Holiday villas don't come any more special than this! No expense has been spared in converting this impressive hacienda into a luxury villa of the very highest quality. It combines the very best in modern comfort with inherent Spanish charm.

    from 5,760€ to 6,900€

  • ZC 76 - Sleeps 8 & 2 children

    In a beautiful valley just outside Ronda, this wonderful country house has joyous views, landscaped gardens and an irresistible 15 metre pool. Spacious, stylish and immaculately appointed, this is a family home which functions superbly.

    from 3,000€ to 4,400€

  • ZC 10 - Sleeps 10

    Built at the foot of the famous Ronda Gorge, the villa is surrounded by acres of landscaped olive groves. The style of architecture is Andalucian with a distinctly Moorish inspired flavour - warm, welcoming and inviting … this is a villa you will never want to leave.

    from 3,000€ to 3,600€

  • ZC 69 - Sleeps 4 to 18

    Surrounded by some of the most dramatic mountain scenery to be found in Andalusian Spain, this fabulous property, a beautifully restored Casa Señorial (manor house), sits proudly on the edge of the town, overlooking its own lush gardens and pool below.

    from 2,130€ to 3,005€

  • ZC 32 - Sleeps 2 to 6 & a child

    This recently rebuilt and reformed, 200 year old farmhouse has one of the most sensational settings imaginable. Perched on high in the Grazalema Natural Park, views are breathtaking, over the craggy hillsides and beautiful dales all around.

    from 980€ to 1,650€

  • ZC 86 - Sleeps 6 + 2 children

    The location of this ultra-modern villa for visiting Ronda just can't be beaten. The villa is only a ten minute drive from this famous city but is surrounded by 2.5 hectares of private olive groves. Combine the peace of a country holiday with the excitement of Ronda's Andalucian culture.

    from 3,830€ to 4,280€

  • ZC 40(1) - Sleeps 10

    Hugging the hillside like a beacon, this is a house of great character- some would say eccentric - set on a vast, 54 acre mountain estate. Anyone looking for authenticity and tranquillity will treasure this unspoilt paradise, without doubt, one of the most beautiful locations in Spain.

    from 1,730€ to 2,090€

  • ZC 29 - Sleeps 6, 10 or 12

    One of the prime rural properties in Andalucía, this is a genuine Spanish ´hacienda´ set in the beautiful surroundings of its own 350 acre country estate. Quietly splendid and splendidly quiet, it has the unmistakable elegance of good, old-fashioned Spanish grandeur.

    from 910€ to 2,600€

  • ZC 23 - Sleeps 6, 8 or 10

    This immaculately restored water mill is one of the most delightful holiday properties in Andalucía. Lawned gardens, an irresistible pool, trees, birdsong … there's even a huge duck pond, too. Inside, it's all about real Andaluz tradition, taste and style.

    from 850€ to 2,210€

  • ZC 89 - Sleeps 6 or 8

    With a full size tennis court, sparkling pool and three hole practice golf course literally in your garden, this villa is ideal for the full family seeking a sporting holiday. But add to this the beautiful house and the proximity to Ronda and you have everything you need for a great break away.

    from 2,130€ to 2,490€

More photos

More photos of Arcos de la Frontera

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