About Olvera

As one of the largest of Andalucia's famed “pueblo blancos”, Olvera is as picturesque as they come. The “white villages” are known for their white washed houses that create an amazing picture of lush greenery with pristine white buildings.
Set on a hillside in the most north-easterly corner of the province of Cadiz, Olvera’s restored 12th century castle dominates the village. Dazzling white houses, shops, and other establishments then cover the side of the hill. From the bottom of the hill, Olvera seems surreal, more like a white painting than an actual town.
For tourists, the village’s intriguing history and locally made crafts are of major interest. Olvera is a small town with less than 9,000 residents living in the area but its culture and history make it an interesting and pleasing destination.
There is archaeological evidence that Olvera had residents more than 10,000 years ago. Not much is known of the town’s earliest beginnings, but it is known that the Roman’s settled in Olvera due to the noted Roman Pliny’s mention of the town (then called either Hippa or Hippo Nova.) Eventually, the area became populated by Visigoths who dominated for a number of years before being driven out by the Moors.
The Moors recognized the military benefits of Olvera’s location high on a hillside. They built a huge fortress on the top of the hill where they could see invaders coming from miles away. This allowed the Moorish armies to prepare for battle long before their attackers arrived.
However, in the fourteenth century, Olvera was finally overtaken by King Alfonso XI. The Moors attempted to reclaim their city but failed every time. Olvera settled into the quiet agricultural town that it is today.
Sites of Interest:
Built during the twelfth century, El Castillo de Olvera is an amazing fortress. At times, it appears the castle was actually carved into the rock face. The castle is open to visitors and the Museo de Castillos y Fronteras, located in the old prison, details the area’s history.
The Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación was built during the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Church is an amazing site, packed with incredible detail, religious artefacts and imported Italian marble. Built on the site of a former mosque, the building blends several different architectural styles.
Built in the eighteenth century, the beautiful Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is located two kilometres from the village centre. Every year, two weeks after Easter Sunday, the people of Olvera make a pilgrimage to the sanctuary to pay homage to the Virgen de los Remedios. The fiesta is called "Lunes de Quasimodo" and celebrates the end of a severe drought in 1715 after prayers were said to the Virgen. Afterwards, family and friends join together for dancing and music in the nearby olive groves.
In the middle of May since 1935, Olvera holds its annual cattle fair. During a four-day period, local horses, donkeys, and cattle are sold or auctioned to interested buyers.
There are many walking trails, in particular the Via Verde, a 36km long disused railway track from Olvera to Puerto Serrano in the west. With no vehicles allowed, it is an excellent attraction for horse riders, cyclists and hikers alike. There is much wildlife to be seen including impressive griffon vultures, booted eagles and wild mountain goats.
Located in Spain’s prime olive tree country, Olvera is one of the area’s largest producers of olive oil. Olive oil exportation brings in much revenue to the area.
Tourism is limited, but does bring in some revenue, especially during the annual pilgrimage, when the town receives many visitors.
Many farmers and ranchers earn and contribute to Olvera’s economy by breeding cattle, donkeys, and horses. Animal husbandry is one of the most common occupations in Olvera. With many horses and cows in the area, skilled craftsmen and craftswomen work hard making harnesses by hand out of leather.
Olvera’s claim to producing incredible olive oils helps shape its culinary style. Breakfasts usually consist of Tortas de Masa that are fried pieces of bread dipped into honey. Another local favourite is toast with either sausage made from pig liver or deep-fried pieces of spiced pork belly.
Many meals include rounds of tapas brought to the tables. Small titbits of local fare ranging from fresh olives to cheeses and more hearty dishes such as pork and cheese wrapped in locally smoked ham. For main meals, other local favourites are rabbit stew or cold meat and sausage platters.
Bars and Restaurants:
There are reputed to be 99 cafes and bars in Olvera,  most of which serve tapas alongside their homemade wines known as mosto (white wine that has not aged). In addition, there are many fine restaurants serving a delicious variety of local dishes and more traditional cuisine. 
Within the village there is a well equipped medical centre, several dentists, a good variety of shops, a bus station, schools and colleges, sports facilities, a municipal swimming pool, library, theatre and cinema, equestrian centre, indeed all that you would expect in a modern society. The nearby village of Almargen offers rail connections to all main towns and cities.
 There are few people in Olvera who speak fluent english so to enhance your experience of the "real" Spain it is of real benefit to learn at least a little of the language. Any attempt you make at conversing in "Andaluz", the local dialect, will undoubtedly bring a smile but will also be greatly appreciated and earn you the respect of the truly friendly, warm and generous people that live here. 
Olvera is in the perfect location to explore all that Andalucia has to offer. By car, the cities of Seville, Malaga and Cadiz are approximately 90 minutes away. Granada and Cordoba can be reached within two or three hours. The beautiful town of Ronda is 45 minutes away and Jerez de la Frontera just over an hour distant.
In the more local area there are many smaller villages, each unique and well worth a visit such as Zahara de la Sierra, Algodonales, El Gastor, Grazalema, El Bosque, Setenil de las Bodegas and many, many more.
The Natural Parks and stunning scenery of the Sierra de Grazalema and the Sierra de las Nieves are also not too far away and within easy driving distance. 
Along the route of the “pueblos blancos”, Olvera is one of the prettiest towns in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Declared a nationally protected area for historic and artistic reasons, Olvera is a town rich with history and beauty. The castle and Church offer breathtaking images and make for fantastic photographs as does the stunning scenery around.