What to see in Arcos de la Frontera, Cádiz (White Villages)

Arcos de la Frontera, the gateway to the White Villages, is one of the jewels of the province of Cádiz. This town is located 67km from the capital, being one of the most historic villages in the province and also one of the most visited.

They emphasize its narrow streets full of memories of when the Muslims reigned and that forgotten one kingdom of taifa That marked its architecture. Arcos de la Frontera is a fortress among fortresses and it is not surprising to open your eyes wide to its impressive location. It is wonderful to see those churches, palaces and convents created during the thriving Christian era still seeing those white houses dominating the Andalusian horizon. Arches of the border on its own merits, it is by far the door of the doors to visit the white villages of Cádiz.

Arches of the Border

A little history before visiting it

Since before the Muslim era its strategic position on a hill above the Guadalete River It has already called the attention of the Romans, arriving to call it Arx-Arcis (fortress in height). But it was not until the arrival of the Muslims and named kingdom of taifa when Arcos de la Frontera began to take the form of what has come to this day. In that flourishing time the city was walled and inside it formed a network of apples with narrow streets like the ones that have come to this day.

With the arrival of Christians in the thirteenth century began the construction of convents and churches and more than one palace, but with the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, which affected this part of Spain, several churches collapsed and many of its inhabitants they had to move creating the "new" part of the city.

Arches of the Border

Today the "smell" of old history and memories soaks the city. The city has changed, and although it is full of restaurants and shops for tourists, it is still possible to find solitude in those narrow streets that shrink the soul of anyone who visits them.

That you can not miss its historic center

Starting from the Sliding street uphill, always leaving the river Guadalete on the right, you can access the monumental route of Arcos de la Frontera. The route runs through streets such as Bethlehem slope, the Alley of the Nuns and squares such as the Town hall o Apothecaries. All on foot, since the car must be left outside the historic center and with luck, near it, since in high season the influx of visitors requires parking a little far from the center.

Arches of the Border

For us, Arcos is a town to be known, it is simply beautiful and is possibly one of the jewels of Cádiz, without a doubt.

 See tours in Arcos de la Frontera

We recommend you, if your stay is one day, you will go through the tourist office which is on the Cuesta de Belén. There they will give you a map, since it is easy to get lost in the alley.

10 places you have to know

1 The Bethlehem Slope

One of the first points you see inside the historic center and where you can see places like the Hospital o Church of San Juan de Dios, 16th century. In it the la oldest picture of Arcos de la Frontera, the Christ of Veracruz.

Arches of the Border

2 Town Hall Square

It is possibly the square with more things to see in Arcos de la Frontera. The square is guarded by monuments such as the Minor Basilica of Santa Maria de la Asunción, the most imposing building without a doubt, the town hall, he Ducal Castle, he Convent of the Barefoot Mercedaries (the only closing that remains) and the National Parador.

Alley of the Nuns
Town Hall Square

3 The best viewpoint of Arcos de la Frontera

Next to the Plaza del Cabildo is one of the best viewpoints towards the Guadalete River. If you enter the Parador, in our view, there is thebest viewpoint of Arcos de la Frontera. In addition, they have a great terrace that is usually empty with these magnificent views.

Arcos de la Frontera from the Parador

4 Between Boticas and Maldonado

Between the streets of Boticas and Maldonado are much of the monuments of the monumental route. Just behind the Convent of the Barefoot Mercedaries is the Boticas Square, where these two streets come from. In addition to beautiful terraces and restaurants you have places like the Teatro Olives Veas, from the early twentieth century, the Pinacoteca, the Andalusí garden next to Palace of the Mayorazgo (the facade impresses) or the Convent of the Jesuits.

Canaanite Square
Arches of the Border

5 St. Peter's Church

This church imposes upon seeing it. It was a former collegiate church of the fourteenth century and sits on an old Muslim fortress. The current tower is baroque from the 18th century. Many people come to take pictures on their steps, a classic that you will surely want to do. 🙂

Practical data

How to get there and where to park?

Arcos de la Frontera is 67km from Cádiz. It is accessed from the A382 and from Cádiz almost everything is by highway.

Map Arcos de la Frontera

The closest parking area is the Sliding street, but in high season it is practically impossible mission. Besides, it is a payment area. It is not advisable to climb much more since it is forbidden to park or drive in the historic center, so look for the letter P for parking. It is better to walk than to take a good fine.

Our next destination on the White Villages route was Zahara de la Sierra, possibly the most spectacular of all. We went by rental car with SIXT, giving us a mini craving that already deserved the route :).

White villages of Cádiz

When to go?

Any time is good to go to visit Arcos de la Frontera, but if we are realistic, in summer, or what is the same, the high season, it can be done a little unbearable by heat and for the amount of people. If you can not go other dates try, at least, avoid weekends.

Tours in the area

If you want to know the history of the city, with its legends, accounts and hidden corners, we recommend you book a tour before visiting the city.

See tours in Arcos de la Frontera

Where to sleep?

Here are several hotels with charm and unbeatable quality-price.

  • Charming Inn Vault House. A hotel to fall in love with its views and the warmth of its rooms. From € 60.
  • The big house. Fabulous views, interior Andalusian duck and charming rooms. And from € 64 a night.
  • Bed & Breakfast Casa el Sueño. The name says it all. Minimalism, views and exquisite taste. From € 65 a night.
  • Best hotels by Booking in Arcos de la Frontera