Malaga hiking Ronda to Arcos
Grazalema is 31km from Ronda and lies on a rocky surface surrounded by lush green vegetation and overlooking magnificent mountain scenery. In the vicinity there is a forest of Spanish fir, which is unique in Europe.
From Grazalema at 4km there is a turn off for Ubrique via Villaluenga and Benocaz, two small villages with a Moorish air, on the right.
Leaving Ubrique along the way , the traveller soon reaches the fork where the right branch leads to Grazalema and the left to El Bosque. After 16km along the latter branch, the traveller is well on their way to Arcos.
Arcos de la Frontera is an obligatory stopping place on a visit to the Cadiz Sierra. The town spreads over a rocky ridge with the River Guadalete at its foot. The Moorish layout of the streets and the magnificent Christian buildings turn Arcos into a good example of the Muslim towns in Andalusia, which were resettled after their conquest by the noble vassals of the Castilian kings.
From the top, where the fortress stands with the church next to it, there are an observation platform and a Parador overlooking an exceptional panorama. The Gothic structure of Santa Maria church is still preserved despite the successive alterations, which brought the portal, the Baroque tower and some outstanding features, especially the main reredos and the choir. A very valuable example of the Gothic period is the 14C painting of Crowning the Virgin in the left hand aisle.
San Pedro Church dates from the same time and underwent almost identical alterations It has only a nave, also in the Gothic style, and stands on the remains of an old Muslim fortress. It has a Baroque portal and bell tower as well as a rather remarkable series of 16C/17C images and paintings.
On a walk through Arcos the traveller will find that the popular architecture is in perfect harmony with the aristocratic portals of the convents and palatial houses.