Arcos de la Frontera – Andalusia, Spain

Home Base for Andalusia’s Pueblos Blancos

The views from the cliff-hanging terrace in the historic center of this old Arab town may be some of the most riveting in Spain. Dramatically perched on a crag crowned by a Moorish castle and overlooking the gorge of the Guadalete River that surrounds it on three sides, Arcos was built in the form of a natural amphitheater.

Its winding streets—some no more than a few feet wide, some disappearing into steps—evoke its Arabian past. The monumental view that moved Charles de Gaulle to write his memoirs while staying at the spectacularly sited Parador Casa del Corregidor—the 18th-century palace and seat of the king’s magistrate (corregidor)—may make you stay put as well.

But then you’d miss excursions to the dozen or so whitewashed villages along the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos, a popular scenic drive. Also famed for its spectacular position and views is Ronda, the picturesque home of bullfighting and a favorite haunt of Hemingway. As a bullfighting aficionado, he was drawn to Ronda’s bullring, built in 1784—the oldest and one of the most beautiful in Spain.

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