When you hear about Spain, it is still mostly the big famous cities or the beautiful coastline they have. But go inland and discover the rich history and culture. In April 2023, I visited the Sierra Subbéticas in Andalusia. This is the nature reserve above Malaga, Sierras Subbéticas UNESCO Global Geopark is the official name of this beautiful vast area.
Sierras Subbéticas is a unique rugged area with many karst rocks and contains quite a few caves and beautiful canyons. There is plenty to do in this area such as hiking and cycling on the Via Verde or in the canyons. In this blog, I share the nicest and most beautiful white villages of Sierra Subbetica to visit.
The most beautiful White Villages of Sierra Subbéticas – Andalusia
About 75,000 people live in the Sierra Subbéticas Nature Park ( this is an old count ) and the geopark has about 8 villages. I visited some of them and am happy to share this fun inspiration with you.
I list the most beautiful white villages of Sierra Subbéticas for you in order of how much I liked them 🙂
The white city of Priego de Cordoba
The first of these most beautiful white villages of Sierra Subbéticas is secretly a town after all. But what a nice town! I could spend a whole day in the white town of Priego de Cordoba, with its small streets, pretty squares and beautiful views from Balcon de la Villa over the surrounding olive groves. And so for me, this one has got the first spot here by a bullet.
I spent most of my time wandering around this old part ‘Barrio de La Villa’, walking the streets several times from different angles. Lovely to wander and get lost in the narrow streets. But also be sure to visit the castle in the city centre. Grab that highest spot to get a nice view over the olive plantations in the area.
Enter the church in the centre of Priego de Cordoba and marvel at the baroque/ rococco style interior. In the main church, you really should take a left into the little chapel. On the right wall is a donation box where you can put a euro in, really. That’s really recommended and is really worth a euro. The lights then go on and you get a really good view of all the splendour.
In Priego de Cordoba, they have another fine tradition. A religious tradition that reminded me of the poaskearls who go vlöggeln in the Dutch city of Ootmarsum every year…. Here they do it every Saturday night. Dressed in the dark and quite traditional too, they walk through the town and play a song.
Initially, only men walked along but I understood that women are also welcome. Afterwards, there is quite a bit of drinking of course…. This is done from another church (Iglesia Virgen de la Aurora y San Nicasio) which was at least as beautifully decorated and which we also entered briefly. There you can also see the clothes of this tradition hanging and the lanterns they carry with them.
But don’t miss the beautiful old market hall, Carnicerías Reales, with its photogenic twisted staircase in the right corner.
Visit the most beautiful white villages of Sierra Subbéticas
on a road trip through this unique area
The white village Iznájar
You cannot avoid it when you are in Iznájar, the great reservoir. It is the largest reservoir in Andalusia and the second largest in Spain. It is an important water supply for people but also for the agricultural sector. Sierra Subbéticas is overflowing with olive groves and of course some water is needed for that too. At the time of my visit, the lake was only 20% full.
In summer, the lake is a draw for tourism. Think swimming, kayaking, etc.
In the picture, you can see a wide bare edge along the reservoir. The water should really have been up to there. Especially in spring, when most of the rain falls or has already fallen. Wonder how people will manage in the summer of 2023.
Also take a nice city walk in Iznájar. The village streets are so nice, so colourful and give such different views of the area or village each time. Due to the hilly area of the Sierra Subbetica, the views are a surprise every time.
Go all the way up to the castle and view the surroundings from the tower. Even then you will get an even better view over the lake and the hills with the thousands of olive trees of Andalusia.
Most Beautiful white villages of Sierra Subbéticas – Patio de las Comedias
Close to the castle you have the most beautiful patio! I couldn’t resist and stood there for a moment on my head. Patio de las Comedias. There are a number of houses bordering this amazing little square and 1 of the occupants came out for a moment. Right after this, she invited us inside to show us what she was baking. It was a light cake with white sweet coating, and yes, of course we all got a piece.
Did you know that the people who live here on the square do not have to pay water consumption charges to the municipality? This is because they maintain Patio de las Comedias so beautifully, which of course costs a lot of water. This attracts a lot of tourists which generates income in the village. How good huh?
Read more about this unique geopark on the website of Sierra Subbéticas.
Hop from village to village in the Sierra Subbéticas
The white village Cabra
Cabra has a sizeable old city wall, some of which has been restored in recent years. You can also still see a lot of the Moorish influences in Cabra. There is a nice walking route through the old part of town, near the old city wall and past beautiful big old doors. If you download an app, you can scan the clues found in stones in the street and get background information.
I love these old streets, don’t you?
We were taken into the old monastery. It now houses a school and you have to plan a visit in advance. It really is a beautiful building to see, though. There are museum pieces everywhere, so unusual to see a class at work right next door. The children leave the museum pieces alone, so they can stay together in this way.
The turret with its beautiful stained-glass windows is really special but the church at the bottom of the building is also worth visiting.
Also visit patio Circulo de la Amistad de Cabra which used to be a club for richer people to have a cafe con leche 🙂 Or as they used to do, play some board or card games in the shade at the hottest part of the day.
The white village Zuheros
Zuheros also really belongs in the list of the most beautiful white villages of Sierra Subbéticas. Zuheros has a beautiful castle, of which unfortunately not much remains but which has a unique strategic location in geopark Sierra Subbéticas. You can spot it from afar over the olive plantations!
The first photo in this blog was also taken in Zuheros. Walking through the village again gives you super pictures, just like all those other villages of course! The white houses along the old streets with the many flowers so springtime gives everything a lovely sight.
The museum in Zuheros houses many old implements and tools and lets you get a good idea of what life was like on Andalusia’s olive plantations in earlier times.
In Zuheros you can also visit a smallest house. This is where they used to live with up to 15 people I have been told. It has now become a passageway from one street to another. But if you pay attention, you can still see into the old kitchen to the left, which has nothing left, and when you cross the courtyard you come through the part where the animals used to be. The courtyard also had a toilet situated against the left wall. You can’t imagine it….
The suspension bridge behind the castle is also a nice one to walk over for a while. And that way you round off your walk back to the start of the village. This is because you end up on the road at the bottom of the village; if you walk up here again, you’ll end up at the museum again.
The cave cueva de los murciélagos can also be found here. This one is also worth a visit. You can do a guided walk in the cave and if you are interested in the night sky, ask if the observatory is open and you can join them for an evening of sky gazing.
The white village Rute
Rute is known for turning into Christmas as early as mid-September. This is why this village in the Sierra Subbetica is especially a must visit during that period. I was there in April and didn’t get to experience it but if you get there later in the year go and experience the Christmas atmosphere in Rute.
In particular, Anselmo of Museo del Anis and his patio transform into an oasis of Christmas.
So a real must-see in the white village of Rute.
We had a lovely lunch at that most beautiful Patio con Duende in Rute. A lovely spot tucked behind a beautiful bodega in the streets of Rute.
In Rute, also visit the Museo del Anis where you can taste many different anise liqueurs. Next to the museum, you will find the little factory Machaquito del Anis. Here you will learn all about the background and process of anise liqueur. These two museums are located at the central square in Rute. A place where you can sit in the shade and let Spanish life pass you by.
Just outside the white village of Rute, you also have a donkey sanctuary. I have not been here but it seems to be a super nice place to do visit if you have time.
Village hopping in the Sierra Subbéticas – Roadtrip Andalusia, Spain