Arcos de la Frontera is one of Andalusia’s famous white hill towns (puebla blanca), situated on a steep hill with cliffs. The area has long been inhabited by man, with archaeologic remains found in nearby caves dating to the Stone Age. It’s surrounded on three sides by the Guadalete river and, given it’s geography, would have been a strategic defensive community in past centuries. Today the town provides some dramatic views of farms in the region. The town’s name originates from it being at the frontier of Spain’s battle with the Moors, which didn’t end until Granada fell in the 15th century.
After the expulsion of the Moors from Arcos in the 13th century, ending two centuries of Moorish rule, the town became a center of Christianity. Victorious King Alfonso X of Castile (1252–1284) constructed a Gothic cathedral in Arcos de la Frontera, which to this day still sits high on a ridge. The church is famed for its ten bells which tolled throughout the war with the Moors.
My wife and I spent a pleasant day in Arcos with friends Bernd and Monika, climbing its steep and twisty roads and lanes , enjoying its lovely buildings and courtyards, and taking in the wonderful views from the city of the adjoining cliffs, river and surrounding farmland.
You’ll find a Moorish Medieval Castle in the town, Castillo de Arcos, but that is private property and not accessible. Several fine churches can be visited, but more on that at a future date. We ate two meals in Arcos and the food and service at both establishments was excellent.
Well worth a diversion to see this town if you’re in traveling in Andalusia, if only for some of the great views!
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