8 May, 2024 @ 13:54
2 mins read

Must-visit: This ‘pueblo’ inside a CASTLE will transport you to medieval Spain – and is a short drive from the Costa del Sol

IT’S no secret that Spain is filled with picturesque pueblos that attract millions of tourists to the country each year. 

Their white-washed homes and winding cobbled streets transport you back in time and offer a charming escape from the hustle and bustle of bigger cities. 

Often, the best examples of such villages are nestled in deep inland territory, forcing you to drive for several hours to reach them. 

Enter Castellar de la Frontera, in Cadiz, which is less than an hour’s drive from the Costa del Sol.

READ MORE: How Andalucia’s ‘frontera’ towns got their names

The entrance to the medieval castle in Castellar de la Frontera (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS/LAURENCE DOLLIMORE)
The old town of Castellar de la Frontera

One of the many ‘frontera’ towns in Andalucia, it is actually made up of three nuclei; the Old Town, the New Town and the Almoraima. 

However it is the Old Town of Castellar – nestled inside a medieval fortress – that brings in the visitors. 

It has managed to survive over the centuries thanks to its strategic location at the top of a mountain. 

I arrive on a sunny Sunday and leave my car in a parking area right below the village. 

I am immediately taken aback by the grandiose architecture of the castle, which dates back to the 13th century. 

It was first built by the ruling Arabs during the Al-Andalus period, and was a strategic battleground between Christian and Muslim kingdoms. 

Stunning: Views from Castellar de la Frontera (COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS/LAURENCE DOLLIMORE)

Its flanking towers and arrow slits for archers remind you of the fierce battles that were fought here. 

As I approach the castle, huge, colourful butterflies flutter around me, while packs of vultures are seen circling above. 

It reminds you just how rich the wildlife in Andalucia is, a fact often forgotten by those living on or visiting the coasts. 

Entering the old town is like stepping back in time. As with many pueblos in Spain, the streets are winding and cobbled and the homes are painted white. 

But Castellar is also filled with colourful plant pots and lemon trees that give it that extra splash of character – as do the multi-coloured doors of the tiny homes. 

You’ll soon notice a number of resident cats who are more than happy to welcome you to their charming pueblo.

One of the many cats who roam Castellar de la Frontera

After getting lost in the winding streets, make sure you head to the Balcon de los Amorosos, which offers incredible views of the Guadarranque valley and reservoir. 

If you’re feeling peckish, you’ll be well looked after by the very small number of bars in the Old Town, offering typical Andalusian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Castellar de la Frontera was incorporated into the official list of Spain’s Most Beautiful Towns (Pueblos Mas Bonitos) in 2020. 

It is part of a unique club of 111 small municipalities (containing less than 15,000 people) that have met the 40 different criteria to be branded among the most beautiful.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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