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Perhaps you can be bothered at first. Yes, it is very early and we are on holiday, but we promise it will be worth it. We propose you watch the sunrise on top of a castle that is actually 3 in 1: a Roman castellum, an Arab fortress and a medieval castle. There must be something special about this place, besides some spectacular panoramic views of the centre of the province of Cadiz.
Taking advantage of the cool, we will take a walk to see how the whitewashed streets of Medina Sidonia awaken and we will have breakfast in the charming Plaza de España.
At this point the town will be at work and it is a good time to go to the grocery market to open the senses to the colours and smells that fruit and vegetables give off. Look out for the Spanish oyster thistle, wild plant that is characteristic of this area and some eggs that will have you licking your lips.
Well, you have already seen the sunrise, the explosion of colour of the market and now we propose you take another turn and enter the darkness. Medina Sidonia jealously hides underground a great secret: its network of Roman sewers that can be visited in the Archaeological Ensemble. Although they are almost two millennia old, they were discovered in 1969! (It opens every day in the morning and in the afternoon). The walls are made of sandstone and the orifices of the vaults that connected with the houses because ... you can imagine what their function was. Don't fear, modern sewage systems do not use this infrastructure!
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Fortress between fortresses and gate to white villages. We suggest you now make progress on the route to Arcos de la Frontera. This is one of the jewels of the province and, for many, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Its steep streets to the top of the cliff where it sits were not designed to circulate by car, but to be impossible to conquer. It's best to park before in the suburb and walk to its old town.
The best place to merge with its splendid Artistic Historic Site is the Puerta Matrera, the only one that remains from the walled enclosure. Crossing it is to immediately go back in time. Look out for monuments such as the Castle of the Dukes (15th century) or the Basilica of Santa María. In Turismoarcos.com you can download for free a very practical monumental guide with basic explanations. In addition, very interesting guided tours depart from the Tourist Office (Cuesta de Belén 5). You can check directly with them the days and times.
After the walk, you have to eat and drink a wine with unbeatable views. We recommend the terrace of the Parador de Arcos. We bet you will never forget it! If you decide to have lunch or dinner here you will find delicious local gastronomic options such as oxtail or bass in red pepper sauce. Of course, you can also sleep in these superb facilities if you fit the budget. Another very good option is the El Santiscal farm, very close to the reservoir. Impossible not to relax in the gardens and pool of this elegant manor house.
Good morning! If you want to celebrate this day of freedom with a toast, very close you have the Huerta de Albalá winery, halfway between Arcos de la Frontera and Bornos, our next town, where you can arrange a visit, simply make a tasting or buy your wines with a lot of recognition despite their youth. Around the winery, more than a quarter of a million vines are lined up ... have you ever seen so many?
The route continues to the quiet village of Bornos on the edge of a large reservoir. Here there are numerous places to eat well at a good price. One of them is Casa Pengue, with varieties of Spanish cuisine or the El Pinar inn, ideal if you are a large group. The tapas in this Cadiz town are good, nice and at a good price. Guarantee of success.
What if we move that body a little now? You will see that in the reservoir several nautical activities are practiced, being the kayak the most habitual one. You can contact Bornos Activo, a centre for tourist and sports activities located on the Lake. Right there you can rent a kayak and paddle through its tame waters just for the pleasure of sailing and taking a bath.
Bordering the swamp to the north we find Villamartin, a town that is home to one of the largest concentrations of payoya goat, an autochthonous race of the Sierra de Cádiz. And small cheeses produce! The Pajarete cheese factory is one of the most recognized for its 100% natural production and without preservatives. It has some of the best cheese awards in the world. We do not exaggerate a bit. You can approach the establishment of direct sales in the same factory. If your love for cheese goes beyond and you want to know the whole production process live, contact Pajarete to see if you can join some of his scheduled visits.
It is time to finish this route with accommodation at the height of the circumstances. In its surroundings, the el Rosalejo Estate: a palace of colonial style that the Viceroy of Mexico ordered to build in the Sierra de Cádiz. We also suggest the Buena Suerte Estate, which combines its agricultural and livestock production with a rural hotel with charm of family treatment.
Estimated driving time: 1 hour and 44 min.
Recommended number of days: 2
Attractions: Culture, nature, gastronomy, sport.
See route in map: Google Maps