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Arcos de la Frontera - gateway to Andalucia's white villages

The old town sits atop a limestone ridge while the newer part of town lies down in the valley

The old town sits atop a limestone ridge while the newer part of town lies down in the valley

15th century Arcos Castle is a medieval fortress of Moorish origin; like many of the sights, it is not open to the public

15th century Arcos Castle is a medieval fortress of Moorish origin; like many of the sights, it is not open to the public

St. Mary's Minor Basilica from the 18th century; the tower was left unfinished after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake interrupted construction

St. Mary's Minor Basilica from the 18th century; the tower was left unfinished after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake interrupted construction

Arcos is only 30 minutes from Jerez de la Frontera which is the heart of sherry production in Spain

Arcos is only 30 minutes from Jerez de la Frontera which is the heart of sherry production in Spain

Ducal Castle was a military fortress during the Muslim period; today it's a private residence but I couldn't identify the owner

Ducal Castle was a military fortress during the Muslim period; today it's a private residence but I couldn't identify the owner

16th century church; in the historic part of Arcos little has changed in hundreds of years

16th century church; in the historic part of Arcos little has changed in hundreds of years

The town gained its name by being the frontier of Spain's 13th century battle with the Moors

The town gained its name by being the frontier of Spain's 13th century battle with the Moors

If you're looking for a quiet spot away from the crowds of Andalucia then Arcos would make a nice base

If you're looking for a quiet spot away from the crowds of Andalucia then Arcos would make a nice base

The steep, narrow streets and lack of any must-see sights have probably saved the town from mass market tour groups

The steep, narrow streets and lack of any must-see sights have probably saved the town from mass market tour groups

The Guadalete River provides a reliable source of water to the fertile lands surrounding Arcos

The Guadalete River provides a reliable source of water to the fertile lands surrounding Arcos

The 15th and 16th century palaces are now small hotels, government buildings, restaurants and schools

The 15th and 16th century palaces are now small hotels, government buildings, restaurants and schools

It seemed like I was the only person in town on my walking tour (OK, it was very hot and right during siesta)

It seemed like I was the only person in town on my walking tour (OK, it was very hot and right during siesta)

Arcos is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain but can easily be seen in a couple of hours

Arcos is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain but can easily be seen in a couple of hours

We took a nice (for some) day trip to Gibraltar from Arcos

We took a nice (for some) day trip to Gibraltar from Arcos

16th century St. Pedro's Church; 18th century main facade is Baroque

16th century St. Pedro's Church; 18th century main facade is Baroque

Old Arab wall remains; town population currently 31,000

Old Arab wall remains; town population currently 31,000

Arcos, set on high cliffs,  is surrounded on 3 sides by the Guadalete River making it an ideal strategic location

Arcos, set on high cliffs, is surrounded on 3 sides by the Guadalete River making it an ideal strategic location

The narrow streets maximize shade while their maze-like design protects against invaders

The narrow streets maximize shade while their maze-like design protects against invaders

Like a scene from The Birds; Arcos is one of the most famous of Andalucia's pueblos blancos or white villages

Like a scene from The Birds; Arcos is one of the most famous of Andalucia's pueblos blancos or white villages

Town Hall on Cabildo Plaza; doorway crowned by Archangel Saint Michael, patron saint of the city

Town Hall on Cabildo Plaza; doorway crowned by Archangel Saint Michael, patron saint of the city

Posted by VagabondCowboy 04:34

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