Arcos de la Frontera is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. The municipality is perfectly located on a rocky rock. In the vicinity of the town, the Guadalete River is nearby. Due to its great natural and architectural beauty, it is an important tourist destination within the province of Cádiz.
Arcos de la Frontera is the largest municipality in the Sierra de Cádiz and was declared a National Artistic Historic Set for its surprising natural beauty, its monumental importance and its archaeological wealth. It has a strategic position between the Campiña de Jerez and the Sierra de Cádiz.
Its boundaries are Bornos and Espera municipalities to the north, Villamartín to the northeast, El Bosque and Prado del Rey to the east, Ubrique and Benaocaz to the southeast, Algar and San José del Valle municipalities to the south and, finally, to the west is Jerez de la Frontera.
Their antecedents are very distant,we can prove with the Cave of the Higueral of Valleja, where they have been found prehistoric burials and cave paintings. But it is in the Muslim era when Arcos de la Frontera emerges as a true prosperous and flourishing city, becoming in the 11th century, in a small Kingdom of Taifa. In this period the enclosure of the town was walled. Reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th centuries.
During the 18th century, the city developed definitively outside the walled enclosure.
The 19th century with yellow fever and the confiscation of Mendizabal, and the first half of the 20th century with social revolts, civil war and the postwar period, brought to Arcos de la Frontera misery, unemployment and stagnation.
In the last third of the 20th century and especially in the actually 21st century, Arcos de la Frontera is the entrance to the Route of the White Villages and Historic Artistic Set. Together with its magnificent landscapes, they make it a tourist destination of the first order in the province of Cádiz, which constitutes its main source of income.
Its urban center has a very important monumental heritage, which include:
Palace of the Earl of the Águila: Gothic Mudejar style, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, located on the Cuesta de Belén.
Castle of Arcos de la Frontera: Military construction that is located at the highest point of the town and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
Parochial Church of Santa María de la Asunción: Of Mudejar origin of the 14th and 15th centuries with deep remodeling carried out during the first half of the 16th century, in the coexistence of other Renaissance and Baroque styles.
We can also highlight other places of interest in Arcos de la Frontera, such as the Convent of San Agustín, from the 16th and 17th centuries; the Church of San Pedro, from the 15th to 17th centuries; the Palace of the Mayorazgo, of the 17th century; the Town Hall, from the 17th century; the Church of San Francisco, from the 16th and 17th centuries; the Matrera Gate, of the old Arab wall, or the Hospital of Charity and the Church of Charity, from the 16th and 17th centuries and the Roman Ruins of Calduba.
In addition, their houses are Baroque and Renaissance, with narrow streets and abundant arches, which give clues of their Muslim influence. In fact, the Arabs were responsible for the current urban configuration of Arcos de la Frontera and one of its main characteristics, the courtyards.
Many of the houses are small orchards, because they are raised around a central patio in which a well opens that serves to feed an endless number of flowers and plants. Arcos de la Frontera becomes a small labyrinth of interlaced alleys that adapt to the difficult orography of the hill. To move around the town, you must leave the vehicle and walk the place.
The neuralgic center of the population is the Cabildo Square, the highest point of the city. The square is a set of interesting monuments: the Santa María Basilica, the National Parador and, of course, the wide viewpoint Balcony of the Peña that overlooks the Andalusian countryside.
It is possible to visit in the locality tourist sites of interest accompanied by specialized guides. Among the places to visit we can highlight the following:
Peña of Arcos: It has a balcony at high altitude and has been declared a Natural Monument of Andalusia.
Junta de Los Ríos: Also known as the Dam of Arcos. It has an artificial beach next to the Nautical Sports Center. It is a beach with a length of 250 meters. Next to the beach, on the same lake, there is the Nautic Club of Arcos where you can practice canoeing, paddle surfing, sailing, boating and water skiing. All well integrated and with guaranteed security.
In Arcos de la Frontera there are different tourist routes that the visitor can carry out starting from Arcos de la Frontera, including the following:
Route of the White Villages: It includes a large part of the villages of the Sierra de Cádiz and some of the La Janda region, also in the province of Cádiz, and the Serranía de Ronda, in the province of Málaga. Many of these towns belong to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, which gives them an additional factor of tourist interest.
Coast route: Departing from Arcos de la Frontera we can take a route along the Costa de la Luz in the province of Cádiz, from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, next to the Doñana National Park, to Tarifa, the capital of surfing, passing through Chipiona, El Puerto de Santamaría, Cádiz, Chiclana de la Frontera, Conil de la Frontera, El Palmar, Caños de Meca and Zahara de los Atunes.
Routes of wine: We can choose between two routes, the Wine Route and the Jerez Brandy, which starts in Chiclana de la Frontera, passing through El Puerto de Santa María, Rota, Chipiona, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Trebujena, to end in Jerez de la Frontera and where the best fine wines, brandies, odorous and chamomiles of the world are produced. The other is the Wine Route of the Sierra de Cádiz, it combines the appeal of its white villages, its streets and patios adorned with multicolored flowers, the warmth of its people and the indisputable offer of great white wines and red wines. Wines that have been gaining popularity over time and that are currently very well considered.
Route of the bull: This route goes from Jerez de la Frontera to Los Barrios, along approximately 100 kilometers, through Los Alcornocales Natural Park, and crosses those cattle areas where brave bulls are raised and the autochthonous breed of retinta cow, appreciated for its meat. It is a route of enormous landscape and cultural value.
You can take the opportunity to visit Arcos de la Frontera to coincide with some of the festivities that take place in this town.
Holy Week: Declared of Tourist Interest, it is sounded early on Good Friday, when the procession of the Nazarene, the most popular among the inhabitants of Arcos de la Frontera.
Other festivities to highlight are the Carnival in february; the Evening of Our Lady of the Snows, which is the patron saint of Arcos de la Frontera and is celebrated the first week of august; the San Miguel Fair at the end of september; the May Crosses held in the old town; and the Bull of Alleluia, which takes place on Easter Sunday and is one of the most peculiar festivities in the province of Cádiz.
Highlights include sausages, the garlic to the mill, the soup of closing, the gazpacho serrano, the asparagus soup, the tomato soup, the cabbage, the chickpeas with thyme, the asparagus scrambled or the dishes cooked with game meat, pork and lamb.
In sweets, easter buns, pestiños, patties or compota watered with mountain honey. It is also a must visit if we go through Arcos de la Frontera, go to the Convent of the Mercedarian Nuns to buy its excellent pastry, famous throughout the area.