Arcos de la Frontera

Our day started with breakfast in our hotel’s dining room. Our hostess, like the young receptionist the previous day, spoke no English. However with some pointing and gesturing we managed to order a toasted open roll covered with a delicious tomato paste and some orange juice for me and tea for Karen. Breakfast completed we headed out. We could go down the hill into the townor up the hill along the ever narrowing road into the old part of the town.Just as we came out the front door we noticed an unusual set of figures opposite so we decided to take a closer look.Nearby we found the Hospital of John of God, which was proudly celebrating 450 years of service to the Arcos community.The entry was very impressive with its patio garden and wrought iron gate.Heading uphill we soon came to the local Tourism Office.After a quick visit inside we came out armed with a guided walk of the old town, thanks to a very helpful lady on their staff who spoke good English. Our first stop was the minor basilica of Saint María de la Asunción but due to cleaning being in progress we could only check it out from the exterior.Standing on the steps leading up to the basilica did give me the chance to safely photograph the narrow main street. We were certainly glad not to be driving, having taken up the kind offer of our hotel to park in their parking garage. As you can see it was very narrow indeed and we had already taken refuge in a couple of doorways on our way up just like the people in this next photo.Passing through the plaza at the side of the basilica we came to the Balcón de la Peña Nueva. Now it was daylight we could take in the view below which the previous night had been pitch black.Continuing our guided walk we made our way further up passing galleries and cafes along the way.Next we came to the mayoral residencewith a courtyard garden open to the public.The layout was a lovely formal one.At the high point of the town we came to another church, the Church of St Peter.From there we began a descent passing more cafes and hotelsuntil we reached the Mirador de Abades.From this viewpoint we could see the town, below the wall and further to the Guadalete River.We continued our exploratory walk. The narrowness of the streets still continued to amaze us. Small cars and skilled driving would have been the order of the day if we had chosen to drive within this old part of town.By now it was well into lunchtime so we started to check out the menus at each cafe or restaurant as we passed by. Eventually we found a table at Taberna Jovenes Flamencos, which was well recommended on Trip Advisor. The food was quite good but we found the waiter quite pushy at first and inattentive as time went by. Overall, an underwhelming dining experience. After lunch we headed down the main street past our hotel and at the Plaza De España turned sharply down to the left. This brought us onto a path leading down below the city wall and the cliffs they are built on.As the path kept descending we had an entirely different view of the town from below. It was also surprising to see quite a few Australian eucalyptus trees.You could certainly see how difficult it would have been to successfully attack this town in former times. After a while the path followed the Guadelete River for a bit. We were happy to keep going.However when we came to a point where the path started to turn left, below where we had been at the Mirador de Abades before lunch, we decided to retrace our steps as it was a long way around the town if we kept going.Back to our hotel we went for a rest before heading out to dinner up in the old part of town. This time we chose to eat at Bar Alcaravan which was tucked away down Calle Nueva off the main road, Calle Dean Espinosa. Part of the restaurant/bar was like a cavebut we chose to eat at the other end where the light was better.Karen ordered a salad and I had a generous serving of venison accompanied by beans and potatoes. Dinner finished we took a short walk around this quiet but atmospheric part of the old town before retiring to our hotel.

2 thoughts on “Arcos de la Frontera

    • Hi Brendan, Thanks for your comment. Lots of travellers visit Jerez (famous for sherry), Cadiz or even Gibraltar when in this area. However we wanted to see some of the ‘white villages’ which are less visited to have a feel for this area. Seeing Arcos, Grazelema National Park and other villages such as Zahara on our way to Ronda appealed. Hope you find the next post interesting too. Cheers, Mark

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