THERE is no better way to discover rural Spain than on two wheels and the Serrania de Ronda and Grazalema Natural Park boasts some of the most beautiful Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) in Andalucia and indeed Spain with Ronda, Setenil and Olvera all being listed in the Top 25 most beautiful villages in Spain.
I’d add to that Zahara de la Sierra and Grazalema as two of my personal favourites.
Claire and I moved to Montecorto near Ronda in 2004 to set up the Andalucian Cycling Experience and our White Villages of Andalucia Tour combines our passion for pedalling with our passion for excellent cuisine and wines.
Whilst cycling in the heart of rural Andalucia, through beautiful white villages with picturesque and dramatic scenery we will also recommend places to stop for lunch and provide you with a comprehensive list of local wines and tapas to try enroute.
During the White Villages Tour you’ll have the opportunity to dine at three of our favourite restaurants in this area.
Riding on a combination of country lanes and dirt tracks, your week’s cycling meanders through the Andalucian countryside by rivers, lakes, cork forests, the Via Verde and many beautiful white villages that are synonymous with Andalucia visiting Benoajan, Montejaque, Grazalema, Zahara, Prado Del Rey, Olvera, Setenil de las Bodegas and of course Ronda.
This village to village adventure starts in Ronda , one of the oldest and most beautiful cities of Spain.
Situated on an impressive plateau and surrounded by mountains Ronda is famous for its spectacular gorge ‘El Tajo’ the cliffs are spanned by a bridge, a popular place for travellers to admire the breathtaking views.
We start the White Villages Tour riding through the Guardiaro Valley towards Benoajan, where you can stop for a swim at a fresh water lagoon followed by lunch at Molino Del Santo, (one of Claire and my favourite restaurants in this area) before riding through Benoajan and Montejaque and on to your accommodation for the night, the stunning Cortijo Las Piletas where you can relax and unwind around the pool enjoying a sangria or two before dinner at the hotel.
Your tour then takes you to Grazalema, a pretty mountain village, set in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and surrounded on three sides by mountains.
Its steep cobbled streets are lined with white whitewashed houses whose window boxes bringing a splash of colour to this lively little village.
After lunch you’ll then ride onto Zahara de la Sierra, a Moorish town which was fiercely fought over by the Moors and Christians.
The prominent Moorish Castle, which can be seen from miles away, towers above this stunning hilltop village which is located at the foot of a beautiful lake.
Your hotel has an infinity pool that looks out towards the Sierra Lijar. In the evening you can dine at the hotel or go to Restaurant Al Lago (another one of Claire & my favourite restaurants in this area) and dine Al Fresco on the terrace enjoying sunset views over the lake.
We then move onto Prado del Rey, Puerto Serrano and Montellano staying over night in a traditional Spanish Hacienda where, once again, you can relax and unwind around the pool enjoying a beer or glass of local wine or two before dinner at the hotel.
Next you ride along the Via Verde, an old railway line, perfect for cycling, as it rolls through the breathtaking scenery of the Andalucian countryside where we see the historic, cultural and natural delights of the ‘real’ Andalucia.
The Via Verde will bring you to Olvera one of Andalucia’s most dramatic ‘pueblos blancos’ which is overlooked by a Moorish castle and stunning church here you can stop for lunch before riding onto Setenil de la Bodegas.
Setenil is a unique little town with the overhanging limestone cliffs providing shelter from the elements and forming the shops, cafes and cave houses that run through the centre of this village.
You’ll stop in Setenil for the evening giving you chance to explore the bars and restaurants set in the caves. We’ll recommend our favourite places to dine in the tour notes.
Finally we end your tour back in Ronda, visiting the Roman Ampitheatre at Ronda La Vieja along the way.
Once back in Ronda you’ll have the chance to explore this historic town which has established itself as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain and has become reknown for its fine cuisine.
We’ll recommend our favourite places to dine in the tour notes, notably Restaurant Almocabar (another one of Claire and my favourite restaurants in this area) or our favourite Tapas Bar La Taberna.
Amongst the many highlights of the trip are; the beautiful Grazalema Natural Park, the Moorish castle at Zahara, the Peñon Zaframagon, a craggy out crop which is the home to the largest colony of Griffon Vultures in Andalucia and last but by no means least the stunning Gorge, which splits Ronda in two.
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