White Villages Route
This extensive area is filled with spectacular landscapes, unique species and beautiful white villages, of an extraordinary architectural and ecological wealth, and is known for its gastronomy deep-rooted in age-old traditions that have managed to retain the charm of the genuine article.
The villages are snapshots of everyday life of Al-Andalus, thanks to their urban layouts, the economy linked to producing oil, the traditional means of producing leather goods and the typical pastries dating back to the Andalusi era.
And the Moorish influence can even be seen in the name of the majority of the 19 villages along the route: Benamahoma, which means the house of Mohammed, Alcalá (the Castle), Algar (the cave), Zahara (the fort).
Yet the Berber heritage here blends in with the Roman roads, the Christian invasions, the American conquerors, the arrival of the French troops, the legends of the bandits and the railway track of a train that never ran and which today is the Sierra de Cadiz Greenway.
Another of the most noteworthy features of the White Villages Route is the abundant amount of archaeological remains dating back more than 250,000 years old. This series of archaeological sites ranges from dolmens to whole cities. There are three routes to discover this historical wealth: the pre-historic route, the route of the Roman cities and the Spanish-Nasrid frontier route.
An important legacy of hydraulic engineering structures has been generated by the use of water and the production of oil, including mills, oil presses and other buildings.
And the Sierra de Grazalema countryside, declared to be a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO, is as full of history. It is the area with the highest rainfall in the Iberian peninsula, full of numerous caves and canyons as amazing as the Garganta Verde (Green Gorge). It seems unbelievable that this countryside is only just a few kilometres from the coast.
Along this iconic route through the province of Cadiz, you will find extreme sports, nature, adventure and rural tourism amenities and activities.(click "Routes")
TOWARDS THE NORTH OF THE SIERRA
1.- Arcos de la Frontera- Algar
Arcos de la Frontera is the starting point for the options along the White Villages Route. The gateway to the Route of the White Villages, Arcos is probably one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and has been declared a historical-artistic sitet. Perched on a rock, the town looks out over the surrounding countryside where fighting bulls and horses are raised and with its groves of oranges, almonds and olives, and vineyards. The best views are from the Balcón de Arcos, a look-out point in the Plaza del Cabildo, the main town square.
One of the best ways to see the town is to go on one of the guided visits organised by the Tourist Office, including one that features its magnificent Andalusian and Moorish courtyards. The town is particularly known for Holy Week processions declared to be of National Tourist Interest and for the way it celebrates Christmas, where the whole town becomes a living Nativity Scene, declared to be of Andalusian Tourist Interest.
Apart from spending time exploring the monuments and sights of Arcos, it is a first-rate base for watersports in the city's reservoirs or hang-gliding or gliding from the nearby heights.. You can also discover its magnificent wines under the "Tierras de Cádiz" denomination by visiting one of the wineries and join in the tasting or pairing sessions, lunches or other activities for the visitor.
Algar is near Arcos, given its privileged location, there are many leisure options on offer for visitors to the town, the hill-walking in the Tajo del Aguila, fishing in the river Majaceite, while the Guadalcacín II reservoir offers kayaking, sailing and a beach. A compulsory date for your agenda is the "Subida a Algar" Rally, which draws many fans of cars and motor-racing every year.
The next village along the road (A-384) is Bornos, on the banks of a reservoir, a town that has grown up around its iconic monument, the Ribera palace-castel (site of cultural interest - BIC), where Renaissance palace and gardens were built on the site of the Arab castle whose keep and part of the walls can still be seen. Bornos reservoir is a fantastic spot for fishing or bird-watching.
The Carissa Aurelia site, currently Espera, was a former settlement dating back to the Neolithic era and which was at its heyday during the Roman era (2nd to 4th centuries). The castle ruins overlook the whole village; the Fatetar castel (13th-15th century), which has also been declared a BIC, still has its walls, keep and the cisterns.
There has been a settlement on the site of this white village surrounded by fertile land on the banks of the River Guadalete since time immemorial thanks to its strategic situation as a natural meeting point of different routes. Proof of this is the Alberite dolmen, one of the oldest megalithic structures of the peninsula, with the Torrevieja dig where data found has confirmed the Neolithic, Tartessian and Andalusi presence at this place that is now known as Villamartín. The dolmen is 4 km from the town along the A-373 towards Prado del Rey.
4.- Algodonales-El Gastor
As you continue along the route, you come to Algodonales, in the shadow of the Lijar mountains that, thanks to its magnificent location and its climate, has become the Mecca for paragliding, but also for hang-gliding and gliding. The Lijar mountains have take-off areas for any wind direction and ceilings between 1,500 and 4,000 metres.
There has been a settlement here since Neolithic times, but the origin of the current town dates back to the 16th century when it was repopulated. If you have enough time, you should visit the La Muela, hamlet to watch the flight of the Griffon vultures from the top of the mountains.
Algodonales has its own unique festivity, the historical re-enactment of the 2 May 1810, where the battle between the village's inhabitants with Napoleon's troops during the Peninsular Wars and in which all the residents get involved.
The route then takes you on to El Gastor. Perched on a hill close to the source of the River Guadalete, it is called the White Villages' balcony for its magnificent views over the neighbouring towns. There has been a settlement here since pre-historic times, as can be seen from the megalithic monuments to be found there, such as the El Charcón dolmen. Must-see includes the José María el Tempranillo Museum, a museum of popular habits and customs located in the home of the girlfriend of the famous bandit and where you can discover all about the way of life in the mountains in the 19th century.
If potholers can find challenging routes in the caves, including Fariña and Susto, sailors and windsurfers will delight with the Zahara-El Gastor reservoir and hikers will enjoy the paths in Tajo de Algarín and the Grajas.
The village craftsmen are famous for their Gastor bagpipes, a strange instrument similar to the traditional bagpipes in sound but not in form. They were previously used by shepherds to control their flocks and are nowadays played at Christmas to celebrate Corpus Christi, considered as a Festivity of National Tourist Interest.
Declared to be a Historical-Artistic Site , its urban centre is a mixture of popular architecture and its Andalusi legacy with its beautiful monuments. Particularly noteworthy is the Villa neighbourhood, which is home to the Church of the Encarnación, a Neo-classical gem, and the castle, a 12th-century Muslim fort that still conserves its walls, watch towers and the fort. A visit to the Frontier and Castles Museum, located in the magnificent building of the Cilla Mansion, is an opportunity to learn about the important role that the Cadiz mountains played as a border during the Nasrid reign
There is no better way to discover this zone on horseback, by bike or on foot than along the Sierra de Cádiz Greenway, the tracks of a former railway that links Olvera with Puerto Serrano, and which goes past the Peñón de Zaframagón Natural Reserve which is home to one of the largest Griffon vulture colonies in Europe. This route is a real must-do.
This town, along with Algodonales, Setenil and Zahara de la Sierra, is famous for its delicious oil produced under the "Sierra de Cádiz" Denomination of Origin, and where you can visit oil mills, presses and cooperatives and buy the product direct from the mill.
6.- Torre Alháquime
This village owes its name to the Arab family of the Al Hakin who owned a fort located four kilometres from the Olvera castle. The Tower of Al Hakin, which means "the wise" or "the learned" in Arabic", gave its name to the village.
Jose María "El Tempranillo" Route
Turn your dreams into reality in the place where Jose María "El Tempranillo", the famous bandit lived, in the land, rivers and estates that were the setting of the feats of the most famous bandits in the 18th and 19th centuries. If you visit Torre Alháquime, you run the risk of being kidnapped and whisked away by the gang of Jose María "El Tempranillo". Thanks to Bandoleros Tours, a leisure and rural tourism company, you can experience the thrills of being kidnapped and whisked away by the bandits, along with different shows. And for the more daring, the bandits will whisk you away in a hot-air balloon and you can enjoy the beautiful countryside of this town and the surrounding countryside.
7.- Setenil de las Bodegas-Alcalá del Valle
Setenil is one of the main tourist destinations in this area thanks to its unusual and beautiful urban layout, where the houses are set inside the rock face, or under the cliffs, which creates a series of very special spots. The medieval castle (14th-15th centuries), of which the keep and a cistern remain, overlooks the village. Any visitor is bound to be struck by this beautiful village. Its Holy Week has been declared to be an event of National Tourist Interest.
And you might be wondering where the name comes from, why it is called "of the Wineries"
Well, it is easy. This town is located in the north-east of the province of Cadiz and on the border with Malaga. It is near to the Ronda mountains where down through the centuries, the local economy was based on olives, cereals, livestock, but also on vines, and therefore those wineries were based in the village at sometime in the past.
Make sure you remember to try and buy olive oil!
You can also buy cosmetic items made out of this excellent oil.
Alcalá del Valle (from Al kalat, the Arabic for "castle") is the end of this first route. It was founded by the Muslims residing in Setenil who sought the permission of the Catholic Monarchs in 1484 to settle as vassals in a nearby valley. Water is the main natural resources and is present in all the artistic expressions, such as the Caños Santos Convent and the Main Fountain. The Tomillo Dolemens, a megalithic gem whose main attraction is a rather unusual menhir, are close to the town, in a natural setting dotted with springs, sources and streams.
TOWARDS THE SOUTH OF THE SIERRA
The route yet again starts from Arcos de la Frontera and takes in the main villages of the Sierra de Grazalema natural park. You set off towards El Bosque, but with a stop on the route.
1.- Prado del Rey
There has been a settlement here since Roman times and the Iptuci archaeological site is very interesting. Declared to be a BIC (Cultural Interest Site), it is 5 km outside the town, which confirms the existence of a human settlement here from the Neotlithic era to the 15th century and knew its heyday in Roman times. Some remains of the walls still remain but cannot be visited.
The Phoenicians already operated saltpans here, as there is a salt-water spring within the mountains in an area known as Cabeza de Hortales. These are the last inland saltpans that are operational in Andalusia and are now being run by the fourth generation of the same mountain family. The owners are happy to show visitors around the salt operations. Advanced booking required. The best way to do so is to contact the town's tourist office (Tlf:956724436).
2.- El Bosque
The town of El Bosque dates back to the Modern Era, directly linked to the residence there built by the Ponce de León, the Dukes of Arcos and Lords, among others, of Villaluenga, Ubrique, Benaocaz and Grazalema.
The Catholic Monarchs gave all this land to Rodrigo Ponce de León
Right in the heart of the Sierra de Albarracín mountains and next to the River Majaceite, this beautiful town is set among leafy forests and dotted with spa water springs, which is a perfect spot for any type of outdoor activities, starting with trout fishing in the river, considered to be the most southern in Europe and continuing with hiking routes, such as La Pedriza and Los Pescadores paths and the flagship route: El Bosque-Benamahoma , which follows the bank of the river, between these two towns and is roughly 5 km long.
And people looking for a thrill can go hang-gliding and para-gliding from the Mount Albarracín take-off point just two kilometres from El Bosque.
The main eco-systems of the Sierra de Grazalema mountains can be found at the "El Castillejo" Botanical Garden and is well worth a visit.
Another very special visit to this town is to the Molino de Abajo an ancient mill which dates back to the 18th century, is in a perfect state of repair and still has its original structure, which means you can see an operating mill, as it would have been hundreds of years ago. During the visit, you can also take part in a bread-making session and take it home with you.
Surrounded by impressive mountains and between the Grazalema and Los Alcornocales natural parks, this mountain villages combines tradition and new technologies. The town has been declared a Historical Site and is the centre of the "Ubrique leather" brand. Top quality leather items are made here and are sold by the best market brands: Gucci, Dior, Loewe, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, Adolfo Domínguez ...etc. Just visit the Leather Museum and you will find out for yourself
The town is Roman in origin as can be seen from the Ocuri archaeological site (1st to 2nd centuries A.D.) which can be visited or the stretch of the Roman road between Ubrique and Benaocaz, and which you can hike along. Its old town still retains its medieval layout with narrow streets, white houses built on rocks and beautiful squares
The nearby routes include the Romantic Ravine, the Salto del Pollo and the aforementioned Roman road. There are ideal spots for fishing, cycling, mountain sports and other activities nearby. Another event that attracts many motorsports fans is the "Ubrique Legítimo" hill climb Rally.
This small and delightful village that is Moorish in origin is a Historical Site and still boasts its Nazarid neighbourhood with a maze of narrow streets with its old cobblestones and white-washed houses that contrast with the elegant houses of the 18th century.
Apart from walking along the old Roman road to Ubrique, you can also go hiking nearby along other routes up the Caillo, the Salto del Cabrero and the Buitreras de la Otrera.
5.- Villaluenga del Rosario
It is the smallest and also the highest village in the whole province and is right in the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema natural park at the foot of a huge rocky crag. Its Moorish origins can be seen in the remains of a rather well-conserved medieval road.
This town has the oldest bull-ring in the province (18th century) which is also very unusual as it is not round but rather polygonal, with tiered seating in stone. Then this town is the Mecca for pot-holers, with more than 80 caves and three of the four most important chasms of Andalucía: Cacao Chasm, the Republicanos Chasm and Villaluenga Chasm.
Yet if this village is famous for something, it is for its flagship product: "the Payoyo cheese". This is the name of one of the types of traditional cheeses produced in the province and is perhaps the best known and acclaimed internationally. This delicious and totally organic cheese is made using the milk from a type of native goat of the Sierra de Cadiz mountain range, the Payoya Goat. You can visit the factory to discover how this cheese is made and made some to take home.
6.- Grazalema- Benamahoma
It is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful white villages. Set right in the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema mountains, it enjoys a special micro-climate that means it snows in winter and has the highest rainfall of the Iberian peninsula.
Dating back to Roman times (Lacílbula), its urban centre has been declared an artistic-historical site and is an example of the typical popular architecture combined with a wealth of monuments.
The many things to do in this town include the Craft Textile Museum where you can learn how the traditional "blankets" and other pure wool garments are made, the Finca Las Hazuelas workshop to discover the traditional Payoyo cheeses and where the visitors can also take part in a cheese tasting session run by a monitor.
And of course, the town is the ideal base to visit the Sierra de Grazalema natural park, which offers a wide range of opportunities for mountain and adventure sports and to create the great outdoors. The Pinsapar, a leafy and bushy forest of Spanish Fir, an unusual species of trees that already existed in the Tertiary Period, is one of the many routes that you can discover in the park, but you will need to apply for a permit beforehand.
Another of its many tourist attractions is "Blood and Love in the Sierra", a historical re-enactment set in 1832 and staring the bandit José María "El Tempranillo". You will be whisked back in time to 1832 and discover the way of life of the gangs and in the mountains at that time.
Benamahoma, from the Arabic Ben-Mahoma -sons of Mohammed-, is a village of Grazalema set in a breath-taking landscape. The Moorish influence can be seen in the layout of its streets and the presence of water, such as the Algarrobo Fountain, an old Arabic cistern, and the Nacimiento spring. There is also the Water Eco-museum at the former Nacimiento mill.
Benamahoma holds its Moors and Christian festivity, which is considered to be the most southerly one in Spain. The spectacle of the rival armies fighting over the image of St. Anthony using gunpowder and at close quarters is held on the first weekend of August.
7.- Zahara de la Sierra
Some people consider this to be the province's most beautiful town, particularly due to its setting. The town seems to be straight out of a fairytale with its bright white houses clinging to the slopes under its 13th century castle and the remains of its walls and its Moorish origins.
It has one of the most stunning festivities: Corpus Christi, which has declared to be of National Tourist Interest and when the town's streets are adorned with flowers and plants.
And its most curious feature is that it has a beach! Right in the heart of the mountains, there is a magnificent artificial beach at the Arroyomolinos recreational area on the Zahara-El Gastor, where the visitors can relax as they enjoy the stunning views or try out one of the different watersports.
When it comes to its gastronomy, Zahara is a major olive oil producer, along with Olvera, Algodonales and Setenil, in these mountains. At the Oleum Viride olive press, you can visit the mill to watch this delicious Cadiz mountain olive oil be made and taste the different types on tasty rustic bread.
Links of interest
Alqutum Rural Tourism Hang-gliding and Para-gliding School. Watersports activities. Hiking. Accommodation.
Address: C/Zahara, 11. Tel: 0034 956 855 730Lijar-Sur Hang-gliding, para-gliding and fly-surfing school.
Aventura Turismo Activo
Para-gliding course. Two-seater para-gliding. Potholing courses. Bungee jumping. Hiking. Survival techniques.
Address: C/ San Pedro, 15. Tel: 956 462 273
El Higuerón de Tavizna
Land Rover and car excursions in Grazalema Natural Park. Introduction to rock climbing. Workshops. Activities. Hiking in Grazalema Natural Park. Nature workshop and hostel. Address: Ctra. El Bosque-Ubrique. Tel: 956 725 950
Horizon, naturaleza y aventura
Hiking. Mountain climbing. Mountain biking. Para-gliding. Natural routes. Potholing. Rappel, rock climbing, etc. Address: Plaza de Andalucía, 5. Tel: 956 132 363
Sierra de Cádiz Greenway- email@example.com
Thirty-six kilometres along the track of the old Jerez-Almargen railway that can be done on foot, on horseback or on bike.
Grazalema Natural Park. Grazalema Tourist Information Centre
El Molino de Abajo-El Bosque
RAAR - Andalusian Network of Rural AccommodationsParador Turismo Arcos
Rural houses Tajo del Águila- Algar
The cuisine of the Sierra de Cádiz mountains is famed for its game stews made out of partridge, venison, boar or quail, and each of the local villages has its own speciality. Charcuterie, black pudding, butifarra and chorizo sausages are typical throughout the Sierra de Cádiz region. Golden thistles, which Cervantes refers to in El Quijote, asparagus, artichokes and snails are also common ingredients in the seasonal home cooking.
The olive oil of the Sierra de Cádiz mountains, which was awarded a denomination of origin since 2002, is an essential ingredient of all the dishes This oil is noted for the wild aromas of the mountains. It is slightly spicy and bitter. It is made out of olives harvested from trees that grow on the steep slopes where mass production is impossible.An exceptional oil.
The Sierra de Cádiz has been and is traditionally an olive growing zone and produces magnificent oils, including the "Dehesa Vieja" olive oil from Olvera that was the first oil with the Sierra de Cádiz denomination of origin to be launched on the market. The Prado del Rey olive oil has also been certified as "organic" by the Andalusian Organic Committee in recognition of its traditional characteristics.
If you would like to learn more the production method, make time to visit one of the oil mills open to the public. There is the "El Vínculo" mill open to the general public and it offers accommodation in Zahara, along with La Extractora, a shop where oil and local craft products are sold. And you can also visit the "Oleum Viride" mill, where you can also buy its first-rate oils.
Special mention should be made of the payoyo cheeses from Villaluenga del Rosario and the El Bosque, Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra cheeses, which have obtained numerous international and national awards. Using traditional methods, the cheese is made out of the milk of the Payoya goat, a native species from the Sierra de Grazalema mountains.
Nearby, in El Bosque, it is typical to ask for trout, a traditional dish from this mountain village, where the fish factory is also a tourist attraction.
The roscos de huevo (ring-shaped pastries made with egg), the tortas de aceite (oil cakes), piñonate (cake of Arabic origin containing pine nuts) and quince jelly are some of the confectionery specialities. Gañote (spicy doughnuts fried in special shapes), "pestiños" (honey-coated pancakes), pasta flora (Spanish jam tart), Huevos Nevados (similar to trifle), suspiros (meringue cookies), borrachos (tipsy cakes), Carnival French toast and cakes, together with hornazos (cinnamon and almond turnovers), buñelos (fritters), cortadillos (cakes filled with pumpkin paste) and cider turnovers are part of the traditional and homemade cakes along the White Villages Route.
Alcalá del Valle
Holy Week March - April- Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
Easter Sunday is the climax of the celebrations with the Easter Pastry Parade and the "Carrerita de San Juan" race, where the statue of St. John is carried by young people at great speed through the streets until he meets the Virgin Mary to tell her about the Resurrection of her son. This biblical staging is a popular deep-rooted tradition.
Pilgrimage to Honour Saint Nicholas, the Patron Saint. June
Historical re-enactment of 2 May 1812. May
The battle between the local residents and Napoleon's troops is re-enacted. Hundreds of the town visitors and visitors take place in this event on a huge scale along the streets.Arcos de la Frontera
Holy Week March - April- Festivity of national tourist interest.
The steep and extremely narrow streets where the "pasos" or floats carrying the holy images, can barely fit and scrape between the walls, the incense wafting through the air, wax, carnations, irises, the tunics of the penitents and silence take us back to the Jerusalem of that time.Aleluya Bull Easter Sunday
Nearly 30,000 people flock to Arcos to watch the young men take part in the bull running with the Aleluya Bull.
Living Nativity scene December
The whole town is decorated with palm leaves and lit using flaming torches. The local residents make sure that every last detail of their costumes are correct to recreate the setting of the birth of Jesus.
The Saints's day of St. Blas, the joint Patron Saint February
BornosCarnival March- Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
Carnival is the high point of the year in Bornos and is famed for its lively atmosphere, where the emphasis is on fun and everyone throws themselves into the celebrations. The highlights of the Carnival are the competition featuring the local groups, a mask contests and the Great Parade when a fancy dress competition is held along the route.
Festivities to honour St. Anthony of Padua, the town's Patron Saint. June
The festivity includes a popular pilgrimage, dance in the evening and fireworks.
Corpus Christi. June- Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
The sun rises over a town covered with leafy branches and sedge. The streets and walls of this usually white village are covered in green.
The Annual Gastor Bagpipe Contest, even though its name is rather deceptive as it is a wind instrument similar to the Moorish chirimilla, is held in the evening.
Holy Week March - April - Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
Festivities to honour Santo Cristo de la Angustia, the town's Patron Saint September
Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
Moors and Christians festivity August
In early August, Benamahoma recalls its Moorish past and gets dressed up to celebrate the Moors and Christians festivity. The merrymaking will take you back to a time when this area was the frontier of the Nazarid kingdom of Granada and there were constant skirmishes between both side.
Holy Week . March-April - Andalusian festivity of tourist interest
The Pilgrimage of Quasimodo Monday. March-April- Andalusian festivity of tourist interest
It is held on the second Monday after Easter Sunday where the local residents make their way to the shrine to Our Lady in the Herriza de los Remedios fields.
The pilgrimage dates back to the long drought that the village suffered in 1715 and the villagers prayed to Our Lady of Los Remedios for the rains to come. Legend has it that it then started to rain and the pilgrimage is held every year as thanks.
Prado del Rey
SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR Pilgrimage. May
The state of San Isidro is taken in a procession accompanied by the faithful on foot, in carriages and on horseback.
Traditional Aguardiente or Spirited Bull Running. 1st. January.
Setenil de las Bodegas
Holy Week- March - April. Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
This Holy Week has a deep-rooted cultural tradition among the local population and is noted for the rivalry between the Santa Vera Cruz (the whites) and Nuestro Padre Jesús (the blacks) brotherhoods, a rivalry that climaxes in the so-called "war of the gangs".
Given the steepness and narrowness of its streets, some of the pasos or floats have to be partially dismounted in some sections and some streets are even widened with extra walkways.
St. John's Pilgrimage. June
The statue of St. John leads the procession of the faithful on foot and on horseback as they make their way to the Trejo mill.
Ubrique - Benaocaz Hill Climb April
Motor racing hill climb where the scores count to the Spanish Mountain Championship. The route sets off from Ubrique to Benaocaz.
Gamones Reed Crackers- 3 May- Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest.
On the day of the Cross, there is a cross adorned with flowers by the villagers. A bonfire is lit at the foot of each cross where "Gamones", which are a kind of reed, explode once heated in the fire and produce loud bangs.
Villaluenga del Rosario
San Roque Festivity. "Toro de cuerda" (Bull on rope) August.
St. Matthew livestock Fair and Patron Saint festivities- September -Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
The oldest livestock fair in Andalusia, which was first held in the 16th century.
Zahara de la Sierra
Corpus Christi June- Festivity of national tourist interest. Andalusian festivity of national tourist interest
The first ceremonies were held in Lieja in 1230. Pope Urban IV extended them throughout the whole church in 1261. The Tarragona Provincial Council introduced the Corpus celebration in 1301.
Leather is worked in the towns of Ubrique, Prado del Rey and Villamartín. Ubrique is most probably the best known of them and different civilisations including the Romans and Moors passed through there down through the centuries. The leather-making tradition boomed in the 18th century, when many factories were set up.
The Roman road running between Ubrique and Benaocaz and Villaluenga played a key role in setting up the leather industry. The town now has the highest concentration in Europe of hand-crafted leather workshops. The leather is of such quality that items are produced here for the most important brands in the world: Loewe, Cartier, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Nina Ricci, Dunhill, Balmain.
Thanks to the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of the local residents, Ubrique has become famous for its leather products throughout Europe and the world. The sector is also more strongly committed than ever to quality, design and innovation.
Wicker and Rattan
Setenil de las Bogedas and Bornos are known for their outstanding wicker or rattan work. The area was particularly famous for its traditional basket weaving.
Arcos de la Frontera is in fifth place in terms of both the number of workshops and the production volume the craft sector in the province of Cadiz. It is therefore a town where the range and wealth of crafts have developed significantly and begun to make their mark on the market.
You can find small potter's shops where different styles of ceramics are turned out, from the most traditional work of Ramón Carrillo or Andrés Oviedo to the most innovative work of Pascale Pérez.
The Agodonales guitars are famous and the factory is worth a visit if only to watch the hands of their craftsmen modelling the instruments.
The Gastor bagpipe is a simple reed instrument similar to other rustic clarinets to be found throughout the peninsula. The term "bagpipe" is rather misleading as it is not a bellows instruments.
Furniture and leather work
The traditional industries of El Bosque have been carpentry and leather work, that are so typical of the zone. The manufacturing of handmade furniture has been boosted greatly in recent times. The El Bosque furniture companies have been family run for generations and their products still retain a traditional feel.