The Best Things to do in Olvera, Spain
This post is about the best things to do in Olvera Spain. Olvera in Spain is one of the charming white villages or ‘pueblos blancos’ in the heart of Andalusia. The picturesque village is perched high on top of a hill at an altitude of 538 meters.
Olvera is just one of many white villages in Spain. What sets Olvera apart is its stunning location on the ‘Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos’ that winds through the hills of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
The ‘Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos’ is a popular road trip because of the spectacular landscapes and beautiful villages. Some people drive it in a single day. I recommend taking a bit longer to explore this area and base yourself in the picture perfect village of Olvera.
Why visit Olvera Spain
So why base yourself in Olvera? First of all, it is one of the bigger towns on the ‘Ruta de los pueblos blancos’. It has all the facilities you need, but it has also kept its relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. Secondly there are a number of things to do in Olvera.
Olvera is an important historical town. It has a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its ancient buildings, narrow streets, and traditional architecture. The town has been inhabited by Romans, Moors, and Christians, and each group has left its mark on the town’s culture and traditions.
Olvera is strategically located on a hilltop with an impressive Moorish castle that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The rolling hills offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding and wildlife watching.
Olvera is near the Grazalema Natural Park and the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. The area has a rich biodiversity. Most people come to see the griffon vultures that you can see soaring above the rocky outcrops around Olvera. But with a bit of luck you might also see ibex mountain goats or wild boar.
It’s this unique combination of Andalusian village life and the natural beauty of Grazalema that makes Olvera such a special place to visit.
The best things to do in Olvera Spain
Among the top things to do in Olvera is wandering along the Calle Calzada. The Calle Calzada is a narrow, winding street that runs through the center of Olvera’s old town.
The street is lined with white-washed houses. Many of which date back to the Moorish period, and features a number of arches and staircases that add to its charm.
One of the highlights of Calle Calzada are the views. As you make your way up the street, there are stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside, including the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the rolling hills of Andalusia.
Castillo de Olvera
The Calle Calzada ends at the Olvera castle. The castle of Olvera is the highest point of the town. And therefore offers the most spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.
The castle was originally built by the Moors in the 12th century as a defensive stronghold to protect the area from Christian forces. After many battles, it was eventually conquered by the Christian King Alfonso in 1327 who rebuilt the castle.
Museo de la Cilla
Inside the castle is a small museum about the history of the Olvera castle and other Moorish castles in the area such as Zahara de la Sierra and Zuheros.
I was a bit surprised to learn that for tourists, the cemetery was among the popular things to do in Olvera. I had my doubts, but I must say that it was indeed a rather unique place to see.
It has a beautiful location right under the castle. One of the most striking features is its layout. The cemetery has the shape of a cross. It is divided into four sections, each of which represents a different direction.
The cemetery is also known for its beautiful white-washed tombs and mausoleums, which are adorned with colorful flowers and decorations.
Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación
Although the Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación is in a rather new building, its history as a holy place is much older.
The first church was built on the foundations of an Arab mosque. The architecture of the church was in the traditional gothic mudejar style combining Andalusian Moorish designs with Christian traditions.
Unfortunately the small church fell into disrepair. A new larger church was built in Neo classical style in 1822.
Sanctuary of our Lady Los Remedios
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Los Remedios (Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios) is a small church two kilometers outside the town of Olvera. It is believed to have been built in the 17th century on the site of an old hermitage dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The interior of the church is richly decorated, with beautiful frescoes, paintings, and sculptures.It is home to a statue of the Virgin Mary, which is believed to have miraculous healing powers.
You can see that this church is very popular among local pilgrims that come to seek the help of the virgin Mary. On the first floor is a room where people left all kinds of personal things to thank the virgin Mary for her help.
Cycle the Via verde de la Sierra
The Via Verde de la Sierra is a popular cycling route that runs through the beautiful Andalusian countryside, and is one of the best cycling routes in Spain. Olvera is at the beginning (or end) of the trail.
The Via Verde de la Sierra passes through stunning natural landscapes and takes you through the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. It is one of the best places in Spain to see griffon vultures and there is an observation center on the Via Verde de la Sierra.
Because it is on an old railway line, the terrain is relatively flat despite the surrounding mountains. Therefore, cycling the Via Verde de la Sierra is relatively easy and suitable for cyclists of all levels
Festivals of Olvera
Olvera hosts several festivals throughout the year, such as the Semana Santa, a week-long celebration of Easter that includes religious processions and colorful parades.
Other popular festivals include the Feria de Olvera, a festival that celebrates the town’s patron saint, and the Noche Blanca, a night-long celebration of art and culture.
The best things to do near Olvera
Setenil de las Bodegas
(30 minutes from Olvera)
Not far from Olvera is the small village of Setenil de las Bodegas. Setenil de las Bodegas is known for its unique architecture, with many houses and buildings built directly into the cliffs and rock formations. These “underground” houses are built into the rocky overhangs and provide natural shade and shelter from the sun.
It makes for a perfect day trip from Olvera. The town is not that big, but don’t miss having lunch here. Setenil de las Bodegas is also famous for its excellent gastronomy, with a wide range of traditional Andalusian dishes on offer. There are many excellent restaurants and tapas bars where you can sample the local cuisine.
Zahara de la Sierra
(40 minutes from Olvera)
Zahara de la Sierra is another beautiful white village on the ‘Ruta de los pueblos blancos’ about an hour away from Olvera. Like Olvera, it has a Moorish castle and several beautiful churches. But it has a very different atmosphere.
Zahara de la Sierra is more rural. In my opinion it has an even more stunning location than Olvera. Furthermore, the views over the surrounding countryside when you climb up to the castle are more spectacular as well.
My reason to stay in Olvera rather than Zahara de la Sierra was because of my plans to cycle the Via Verde de la Sierra and the better public transport connections.
If you have your own car, Zahara de la Sierra would be a great alternative to base yourself on the ‘Ruta de los pueblos blancos’.
(1 hour from Olvera)
Ronda is the biggest city on the ‘Ruta de los pueblos blancos’ and therefore lacks the rural charm of the other white villages. But, what a beautiful city it is.
Ronda was an important Roman and Moorish city. Up till this day you can see a lot of Arab influences in the town’s architecture. It has many historic sights, including the Puente Nuevo, a bridge built in the 18th century.
It’s location is equally spectacular. Ronda is on a rocky outcrop and is divided by a deep gorge called El Tajo. The views from the bridges spanning the gorge are simply breathtaking.
Olvera Spain travel tips
Where to sleep in Olvera
I stayed in Olvera at the Estacion via verde. This hotel is in the ancient station building right at the start of the Via verde de la Sierra.
It’s a convenient place if you plan to cycle the trail as it offers all the facilities you need including cycle rental. The only disadvantage is that it is downhill at the outskirts of Olvera, but it is an easy uphill walk to the center.
Where to eat in Olvera
Olvera has a rich culinary tradition. Its cuisine is typical of the Andalusian region and features a variety of traditional dishes such as Salmorejo, Migas, Gazpacho en Flamenquin.
The town is also located in the heart of the Andalusian olive oil region, so you can try some of the locally produced olive oil, which is renowned for its quality and flavor.
In the center there are several restaurants with good Andalusian food.
How to get to Olvera
There are several bus services that operate between Olvera and nearby cities, such as Seville, Malaga, and Ronda. The bus journey from Seville takes approximately two hours.
Olvera is also easily to reach by car via the A-384 highway. The town is located approximately 130 km from Seville, 100 km from Malaga, and 30 km from Ronda.
It is easy to get to Olvera by public transport, but if you plan to visit more villages on the ‘Ruta de los pueblos blancos’, you might want to consider renting a car. This will give you more flexibility and will save you a lot of time.
How to get around Olvera
Olvera is relatively small and can be easily explored on foot, and the narrow streets and traditional architecture make for a picturesque walking tour.
You can also rent a bicycle to cycle through the Grazalema National Park.
When to visit Olvera
The best time to visit Olvera is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild and comfortable. The spring season, from March to May, is an ideal time to visit. The countryside is in full bloom with wildflowers and the weather is pleasant with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C.
The fall season, from September to November, is also an excellent time to visit. The weather is cooler, and the landscape is alive with autumnal colors. The temperature ranges from 15°C to 23°C, making it a great time for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.
During the summer months from June to August, the temperature can reach up to 35°C. This makes summer very hot for outdoor activities. However, you can enjoy the local festivals and events. The Feria de Olvera, which takes place in mid-August, where locals and visitors alike can experience the traditional Andalusian culture.
The winter season, from December to February, can be cool and wet, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C. However, it’s still possible to enjoy Olvera during this time. The town is much quieter, making it perfect for a peaceful getaway.
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