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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 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 106 - Sleeps 12

    This amazing villa is surrounded by acres of landscaped olive groves. The style of architecture is Andalusian with a distinctly Andalusian inspired flavour - warm, welcoming and inviting … this is a villa you will never want to leave.

    From 6950 €

  • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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€

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