7 Things To Do in Olvera, Cádiz
Updated: Jan 16
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You can't say you've visited southern Spain without exploring at least one of the pueblos blancos. And believe me, there are a lot to choose from. One of the lesser known white villages in Andalusia is Olvera, located in the Province of Cádiz. The origin of Olvera is still debated by historians, but archaeologists have found Roman remains where the present castle stands. Its history is also tied to the Moors from the 9th century, who remained there until the Christians conquered the area in the 14th century. It's definitely an unusual village to visit, and there are a few interesting things to do in Olvera as well.
I chose to visit Olvera as a day trip from Malaga, but it's also ideally located within driving distance of other popular southern Spain cities such as Cádiz and Seville. You'll be able to spot Olvera from a distance as you approach it, rising high above the landscape, with its castle perched on the edge of a cliff. Parking in Olvera is very easy, and there is ample free parking along Calle Bellavista, which is less than a 10 minute walk to the main attractions. Here are my tips for the best things to do in Olvera, that'll hopefully make you add this charming white village to your itinerary of southern Spain:
1. Walk Along Calle Calzada
Calle Calzada is the most photographed street in the white village, and even on a cloudy day it's beautiful to walk along. Normally I wouldn't put a street on my list of things to do in Olvera, but it has a lot of charm to it and is very picturesque as you climb up through the village. The street begins at the lower half of the village, and continues up the hill where you'll come across all of the main attractions in Olvera. From where I parked on Calle Bellavista, it took less than 10 minutes to arrive at this street which was ideal. I arrived very early in the morning, so the only people around were those who were cleaning the front of their stores or delivering goods - the perfect time to get photos (even on a partly cloudy day)!
2. Grab a Photo With the Olvera Sign
At the top of Calle Calzada is Plaza de la Iglesia, which is home to Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, the tourism office, the entrance to Castillo de Olvera, and some incredible views of the surrounding landscape. As you can see in the photo there's also a very colourful 3D Olvera sign which really stands out among the white washed buildings and the pale yellow church sitting next to it. The sign wasn't on my list of things to do in Olvera, so it came as a pleasant surprise as I was making my way to the castle.
3. Gaze at Castillo de Olvera
On the left hand side of Plaza de la Iglesia, you get an amazing view of Castillo de Olvera sitting high up on the cliff, which just so happens to be the main thing to do in Olvera. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the steps you need to climb on the right in order to get to the castle itself. The weather in Spain is usually very nice, especially in Andalusia, but I picked a day where it was incredibly windy and threatening to rain. It did however make the castle look even more dramatic! Entrance to the castle is only €2, which you pay inside the tourism office before being escorted to a locked door where you can access the castle from the base.
4. Look Back at Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación
On the very steep climb up the castle's stone steps, there are a couple of spots where you have space to turn around and see Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación in its entirety. Visiting the church is one of the top things to do in Olvera, and since its only a small village with not too many tourist attractions, I would recommend stopping at it. The church was completed in 1843 after the demolition of an older church bearing the same name. Although not a medieval church, it's beautifully positioned overlooking the village and you can see it very clearly as you approach Olvera by car.
5. Explore Castillo de Olvera
When I made it to the top of the steps and actually walked around the castle, I was surprised at how large it was. Castillo de Olvera dates back to the 14th century and is built on the site of a 12th century Moorish castle which was built as a defense against the Kingdom of Castille. The castle has an unusual plan due to its situation on top of the cliff, which makes it really interesting to explore. The steps up to the very top of the castle tower are extremely narrow - I even had a hard time squeezing through - so if you suffer from vertigo I would give that a miss. This is the main thing to do in Olvera, so make sure you check the opening times online before visiting as they change with the seasons. I visited on a Monday which is when it's supposed to be closed, but as you can see the doors were open!
6. Take in the Views from Castillo de Olvera
When you're finished exploring Castillo de Olvera, don't forget to walk around the perimeter of the castle walls and take in the fantastic views on all sides. A lot of the pueblos blancos in Andalusia are set high up in the hills, so the views are always stunning. Olvera is no exception and the views from the top of the castle simply can't be beaten. There aren't a lot of things to do in Olvera, so make the most out of the main attractions! I spent a couple of hours in the castle taking photos as there was no one else visiting at the time.
7. Museo de la Cilla
Included in your entry fee for the castle is entry to Museo de la Cilla, which is located directly next to the tourism office. I stopped by the museum after visiting the castle and really enjoyed looking at the photos of how Olvera has changed over the years. There's also a lot of information on its medieval past to read through, but unfortunately it's all in Spanish so if you only speak English you're out of luck. Even so, it's still worth visiting and is one of the few things to do in Olvera.
BONUS: Drive to Ronda
If you're thinking of visiting Ronda during your road trip in southern Spain or as part of one of your day trips from Seville for example, you can knock two places in Andalusia off of your list in one go. Ronda to Olvera only takes 45 minutes by car, and since there aren't too many things to do in Olvera, you can easily drive down to Ronda as well (which is what I did). Ronda is a lovely village in Spain to visit, and of course is famous for its bridge - Puente Nuevo. If you want to get down to this viewpoint (La Hoya Del Tajo), there is a walking path that leads down to it from the village, or you can take an extremely difficult drive down to it on a very dodgy road as well - much more fun in my opinion! You can also visit the Roman ruins of Acinipo which are located a short drive from Ronda.
There may not be many things to do in Olvera, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth taking a trip to this white village in Andalusia. I was pleasantly surprised by Olvera, and would definitely consider it to be one of the best hidden gems in Spain. So, if you're thinking of visiting southern Spain in the near future, remember to add this little corner of the Province of Cádiz to your itinerary! Olvera is also very close to other pueblos blancos such as Arcos de la Frontera, Setenil de las Bodegas, and Zahara de la Sierra - so you can visit a lot of white villages in Spain during your trip to Andalusia if you plan ahead.
I would love to hear about what white villages in Spain you've visited, whether that be in Andalusia or in the northern provinces, so drop me a comment below! You can also follow my travels on Instagram, and see more off the beaten path places in Spain!