2 Jun, 2024 @ 10:00
3 mins read

MUST VISIT: This charming town once dubbed the ‘rural capital’ of Spain remains one of Andalucia’s hidden gems

I VISITED Spain’s former ‘rural capital’ near Ronda and was surprised to see it was still as charming as ever.

In 2021, Olvera was awarded the prestigious title of Spain’s ‘rural capital’. 

Just a twenty minute drive over the valley from the famous Setenil de las Bodegas, it is a wonder that this destination is still missed by many tourists. 

As you drive up the winding road to the town, you will instantly recognise why it is popping up more and more often on social media. 

READ MORE: This green ‘paradise’ has been named the best rural destination in Spain for 2024

Olvera is THE place for people who love gazing at beautiful views.
Photo: Turismo Andalucia

The church and castle sit on top of a hill, providing a striking contrast to the blue skies and green valleys. 

Once in the town, drive to Plaza Matadero for free parking just below the main sights. 

From the moment you step out of your car, you will be surrounded by views of never ending olive groves on all sides, given the town its name. 

After taking them, turn right to make your way up the hill towards the Plaza de la Iglesia, where you will find the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion and the castle. 

Although some reforms were taking place, Olvera was still very pretty.
Photo: The Olive Press

The church was closed when we arrived, but the plaza is still the epicentre of Olvera’s tourist attractions. 

From the plaza, you can admire views of the town, the valleys and olive groves before visiting the tourist information centre. 

There, you can purchase tickets to the castle and museum for a budget friendly €2. 

The museum is found within the tourist information centre and provided an interesting insight into Olvera and its role as a key battleground of the reconquest of Spain. 

READ MORE: Five stunning National Parks in Spain that come alive in the spring

The museum provided a great insight into Olvera’s history. Photo: The Olive Press

It also provided a fascinating insight into life in both muslim and catholic Spain at this time. 

Upstairs, there was an art gallery featuring local artists and I loved seeing the talent that could spring from such a small town. 

Some of the art was simply beautiful.
Photo: The Olive Press

Then, head to the castle, armed with your new found knowledge of the historic Olvera. 

The main attraction of the castle is the views. 

As you ascend the steps to the tower and look out points, you can admire the stunning church and surrounding countryside.

This view has been plaguing my TikTok and Instagram feeds recently and with good reason, it makes for an excellent photo. 

Olvera’s castle is now a popular photo spot.
Photo: The Olive Press

However, there is more to the castle than just photo opportunities. 

The castle has panoramic views for miles.
Photo: The Olive Press

Rising some more, you can admire the panoramic views from the tower and learn more about the town’s history via the free audio guide. 

Photo: The Olive Press

Once done with the castle, we recommend coming down via the equally picturesque Calle Carnero, which will lead you into the centre. 

Reforms are currently underway to improve Olvera’s already lovely old town.
Photo: The Olive Press

Although it was the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday, not a soul was to be seen and no shops, restaurants or cafes were open. 

Siesta time, so all shops, cafes and bars are shut in Olvera.
Photo: The Olive Press

Clearly, the town has maintained its rural, typically Spanish status, never disturbing the sacred siesta ritual. 

Nonetheless, it’s still worth a wander around the town, with its typically Andalucian buildings. 

I particularly recommend visiting the Plaza de Andalucia, where you can climb the park built into a rock to visit the Monumento al Sagrado Corazon, Olvera’s answer to Rio’s Christ the Redeemer. 

This lovely park is found on the top of one of Olvera’s ‘peñon’s
Photo: The Olive Press

The gardens themselves are lovely and the views from the top are impressive. 

Olvera is full of stunning views.
Photo: The Olive Press

White washed buildings lead up to the climax, the beautiful castle and neighbouring church. 

This is the perfect way to end your trip to Olvera before a swift caña in the one open bar and a walk back up to the car park. 

I am sure I will remember that stunning view everytime I taste olive oil, the town’s namesake.

READ MORE: I visited Setenil de las Bodegas – a town literally carved into rock in southern Spain… these are my tips 

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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