Part of the “Route of the White Villages” in Cadiz, Andalusia and at the top of the list in European Best Destinations 2019, this unique village is worth a visit.
The whitewashed houses in Setenil de las Bodegas are buried in the sandstone cliffs that form the village. Even though records show that there has been a human settlement here since at least the Arabic Almohad period in the twelfth century, modern Setenil de las Bodegas begins in 1484, relatively late in the Christian Reconquest. The town’s name is believed to have been taken from the Roman Latin phrase “septem nihil”, “seven times no”, a phrase possibly linked to earlier invasions.
What To See
Setenil de las Bodegas is easily reachable by car from the city of Malaga (97 km) or Cadiz, where you will have the chance to spot the numerous white villages of the province. As soon as you arrive, park your car immediately as the streets are so narrow it is practically impossible to drive through the village. Then you can wander through Setenil’s picturesque streets at your own pace.
Two of the main streets, Caves of the Sun and Caves of the Shadow, are on the two sides of the river that crosses the town, creating the perfect spots to enjoy the views of the rocks. As you walk through the narrow streets the view changes with every step: a tropical terrace with arches covered in green subtropical plants, Calle Herreria, located below the Arab fortress and leading to the central Plaza de Andalucia, where you can take a photo under the sign “Besame en este rincón” (kiss me in this corner), and lots of houses sitting above and next to each other with barely any space in between.
So, next time you are in Andalusia, don’t forget to visit this unique and picturesque village and take a ride through the beautiful whitewashed villages the region has to offer.