Visiting the Andalusian hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera

From the road to Vejer de la Frontera, the city seems to float into the air. The white Andalusian facades stand tall through the thin veil of feathery white clouds that surround the hilltop upon which the city is built. Located in the Cádiz province, Vejer de la Frontera is one of the area's most spectacular sites, thanks to its geographical location, as well as its history.

 

A fusion of past and present

The road to the town winds up the hillside among trees and boulders - you'll notice the rising altitude in your ears and from the views below. Driving along, small white houses pop up as the outskirts of Vejer de la Frontera become more and more visible.

Opening the car door, the fresh air brushes your face and an impressive sight of lush forests, fields, and clusters of white villages stretch out as far as the eye can see. This small mountainous village, standing at 200 metres above sea level, is home to 12,900 inhabitants. The city is built into the old castle ruins; visiting this special place is like taking a trip back to the past of southern Spanish society. 

The streets are made of cobblestone and the historic centre is virtually free of cars, with the sole exception of the local residents who will sometimes be seen driving their vehicles through the streets.

It is recommended that you park your car as you arrive at the town (or else you might end up down a narrow dead-end where it can be difficult to get out). The entrance to the city is also where the tourist office is located; they provide a free map of the area, making it much easier to navigate the narrow, winding streets.

The town is not very large and can easily be covered on foot, which is also the best way to explore, giving yourself the time to fully appreciate the many cozy nooks and fine details that are definitely worth checking out.

The historic town

Vejer de la Frontera is a mecca for history enthusiasts and all those who love good restaurants, unique specialty shops, and beautiful squares - make sure to visit Plaza de España and its beautiful fountains.

The city's economy is primarily based around tourism, which explains the wide range of good restaurants and cozy cafes. You'll find many options tucked between the white houses and castle ruins.

The castle ruins clearly stand out in the cityscape. The castle was built in the Gothic style around the 14th century, but the building's settlement dates back to the 10th and 11th centuries. It is built on top of an ancient mosque that originated from back when the Moors conquered the region. In 1931 the castle was declared a national monument due to its historic past and importance to the area.

Houses are built directly into the castle walls, creating a unique atmosphere that you will find nowhere else. The cobblestone streets run through the large brick archways and greenery winds up of the raw castle walls that stand as a relic of the past. Look out for the small well hidden in a corner where the castle facade still stands intact and allow your imagination to run freely back to the medieval times.

Vejer de la Frontera is rich in culture. The sound of flamenco music flows out into the streets from an authentic flamenco bar where the beautiful Spanish music and dance unfolds every night.

It is also possible to visit typical Andalusian homes, their interior courtyard patios a familiar image from the city of Córdoba. Some of the city's residents have opened up their private homes so that visitors to the town can see how life is lived in southern Spain. Take the route past the 'Casa del Mayorazgo', as it also provides access to one of the castle's towers. Admission is free, but leaving a little tip is welcomed.

Vejer de la Frontera can be best described as a beautiful fusion between the past and present. The city contains several interesting sights, each worth a visit to see the ways of the past. Sites to visit include the old windmills, which have been restored today and stand in the most beautiful setting.

 

Vejer de la Frontera windmills

'Los Molinos de Viento de Vejer de la Frontera', the windmills of Vejer de la Frontera, are a number one must-visit site when you go to this Andalusian mountain village. Three beautiful windmills are located on the hilltop behind the historic district. Like the castle ruins, these show a glimpse of the past of Vejer de la Frontera; in the 19th century, the village was namely home to several windmills used to grind grain and corn from nearby farmers.

Due to the city's high altitude, it has excellent conditions for windmills, as the strong Mediterranean winds blow with all their force to the mountain top. The windmills now stand as a beautiful symbol of the past, welcoming visitors interested to gain an insight into former agricultural traditions. There is free access to the park where the windmills are located and the doorway to one is also open to the public. Antique utensils and old photographs hang on the walls, and baskets of corn add to the authentic atmosphere.

 

A small spiral staircase leads to the upper floor where all the machinery can be seen, in addition to the sweeping views through the small windows. The farm is a wonderful place to bring children, who can explore both the turbines and the connecting play area complete with a suspension bridge, slide, and much more. Beside the three windmills there is also a typical Andalusian house with a myriad of flowering plants hanging on the walls. The house now functions as a small bar where a cold beer and the great view can be enjoyed.

  

Vejer de la Frontera is the perfect destination if you're in the mood to travel back into the past, take in southern Spain's cultural traditions, and hang out in cozy restaurants. Furthermore, the city is located at just eight kilometres from some of Andalusia's best surfing beaches including El Palmar de Vejer, a paradise of blue-green waters, beach hair, and a great nightlife at small beach bars.

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