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TRAVEL ABCs: Blinded by the white, Southern Spain

The White Towns of southern Spain – the W in my ABC favourites series – are reminiscent of, but perhaps lesser known, then their whitewashed cousins in the Greek Islands. But no less appealing.

Impossibly perched on hilltops, often overlooking the sea or inland foothills, national parks and river gorges, with buildings sometimes carved out of the hills themselves, the “pueblos blancos” are distinctive with red or brown tiled roofs and Arab-style architecture.

Take Mojacar (pronounced Mo-hawk-a): the whitewashed jewel on Spain’s south-eastern Mediterranean coast near Almeria is renowned for its ancient cube-style buildings – described as a “snowfall of sugar lumps” – clinging impossibly to a hilltop and bearing reminder of the town’s 500-year-old Moorish ancestry.

I lingered for a magical summer there once, accompanied by a couple of Canadian friends and a wider cast of characters, both permanent and temporary – among them a former UN scientist living out her days alone with her cats, the Dutch mailman and barfly known only as “Gary Goodlife,” and local celeb, Douglas ‘Gordon’ Goody, alleged mastermind of the Great Train Robbery in Britain in 1963 who lived there and ran the beachside Kon Tiki bar.

Tourism routes in Andalucia and elsewhere string the white towns together for visitors, each, like Mojacar, with their own unique histories, stories, festivals, and personalities.

Often located within easy reach of Granada, Cordoba and Seville, the towns are quintessentially Spanish, but seem spiritually miles away from the tourist hubs with their quiet, winding alleys, overflowing flower boxes, relaxed patios, tempting tapas restaurants and sometimes a cool cave hotel or two.

Visiting can feel like a step back in time and a glimpse of another side of Spain and with dozens to discover, there’s a favourite for everyone. You’ll be blinded by the white.

Mojacar, Spain

Honourable mention: Wales
Bucket list: Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

Unlike the song, I have not been everywhere, so please don’t wonder why one of your favourites wasn’t one of mine. Instead, tell me at baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

I’m already thinking about my next list.

Stay tuned to future issues for the rest of the list. And for previous entries, click HERE.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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