Our family is not what you would call adventurous, we are not into bungee jumping, deep sea diving or riding on the many crazy rollacoasters or running after bulls… We couldn’t even handle watching a bull fight at Seville after we learnt that the bulls are actually killed at the end of the fight. I understand it is part of the culture in Spain just not something me or my family can stomach… Our idea of adventure is doing a road trip in a country that we are visiting.. taking a day to drive from Point A to Point B with an energetic boy, a sometimes moody teenager, navigating unfamiliar roads stopping at different points during the road trip for some site seeing and local refreshments along the way. We have done road trips in Tuscany, Amalfi coast, looking for lavender in Provence…. Some of the sites we stop at briefly warrant a couple of days to linger wander and see it all, but our goal here is the journey with our family more than the destinations – so we stop briefly enjoy the site and drive on, listening to music, talking, listening in on the kids as they have their inside conversations. Believe me we hear more on this 6 to 8 hour road trips than a year back home, we really get to know them better, they are in a lockdown situation with us, no running away to watch netflix or play on gadgets. No friends, snapchats or other distractions where you start a conversation to watch it trail off as the teenager starts giggling because she is looking at her tiny screen and not you anymore. Thank god for no wifi when road tripping on a different land! So on this trip to Spain we went on a road trip starting from Seville we stopped at a couple of white villages and Ronda before arriving at Granada.
We each have our roles when going on a road trip, Mr. Suburbia does all the driving while I plan out the route and navigate. Ms. Teen is our DJ and makes sure there is some upbeat music so that daddy does not veer off the roads or is not driving on the wrong side of the road. D makes sure we stock up on munchies and local snacks for the trip.
Between the Atlantic in the west and the Mediterranean in the east, lies some of the prettiest hidden towns of Spain. If you are visiting or living in Andalucia, southern Spain, you cannot miss a trip to “pueblos blancos”, also known as white villages. We stopped at the tourism office in Seville right behind the Cathedral to get some maps. We had a GPS in the car but always good to have a good old fashioned map in hand, the tourism office gave us one marked “Route of the Pueblos Blancos or White Villages”
The “route of the white villages” is a tourist route that spreads from region of la Sierra, the region of Janda, in the province of Cadiz and the Serrania de Ronda, in the province of Málaga . The official route goes through these villages and towns: Alcalá del Valle, Algar, Algodonales, Arcos de la Frontera, Benaocaz, Bornos, El Bosque, El Gastor , Espera, Grazalema, Olvera, Prado del Rey, Puerto Serrano, Setenil de las Bodegas, Torre Alháquime, Ubrique, Vejer de la Frontera, Villaluenga del Rosario, Villamartín, Zahara de la Sierra. These white villages, with whitewashed walls, red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets and ornate churches atop cliffs are rich in history. They date back to the Romans and Moors, offer spectacular flora & fauna, historical walking routes and are havens for birds watchers & wildlife lovers.
Our itinerary was Seville – Arcos de la Frontera – Grazalema – Ronda – Granada.
Our estimate for the drive was –
Seville to Arcos de la Frontera – 1 hour
Grazalema – 1 hour
Ronda – 1 hour
Ronda to Granada – 3 hours
The view of a White village from the plane
Our little car ready for the trip, so is Mr.Suburbia!
Our Road ahead
Most Andalusian towns were once fortresses that stood along the frontiers between the Christian and Moorish realms. This is why some of their names have are very similar ending “___ de la Frontera” meaning “of the frontier”. We stopped first at Arcos de la Frontera. the roads were so narrow, you really need to know your way to get up to the church. We got lost in the middle, even though we had a tiny car, it still was difficult to navigate around the one ways streets. a kind local man came to our rescue and offered to drive us up to the church when we pointed to it trying to say we were trying to get up there. But we lost quite some time in the getting lost so we declined his offered and decided to drive on to our next destination.
Next stop was at Grazalema, a natural park with splendid flora and fauna that varies from Spanish fir, maple woods to deers and Iberian wild goats. It’s known for it’s great hiking routes and outdoor activity options. Grazalema Natural Park has a trail of white villages going through it, many of which belong to the Natural Park, we stopped at one of them for lunch.
My vegetarian tomato salad with goat cheese and some herbs was divine. The rest of the meal was good as well and we polished everything off and walked around town for a bit, before driving to Ronda our next stop.
A few pictures at the outskirts before leaving the town of Grazalema.
Ronda to Granada was faster and on the highway. We stopped for some coffee before making our way through the last leg of the road trip.
Our little road trip took us about 7 hours. We made it to Granada on time to catch the sunset over Alhambra.
We celebrated our successful road trip with a dinner at Il Gondolier, a nice italian restaurant in Granada! Their salads and pizza was good but we really enjoyed the deserts and homemade lemoncillo the most!!
Until next time, Cheers!