|The layout of today's old quarter dates from Spain's Islamic period,
quaint narrow cobbled streets & abundance of patio houses. The main
historic monuments go back to this era, such as the castle, built in
the Taifa period, the Santa Maria Church, formerly a mosque and the San
Pedro Church, previously an Arab Fortress. |
But we also catch glimpses of Visigoth & Roman occupation: testimony to the latter are the many roman columns built into the corner of buildings, some even positioned upside down. Retrieved from a nearby roman settlement by later generations, the columns were recycled as a protective barrier to prevent passing donkey carts from destroying the corners of homes & monuments.
Later buildings, such as the "casa-palacios" (grand houses), convents & monasteries date from Spain's Renaissance period, when vast fortunes were made in the newly discovered lands of the Americas. Those lucky enough to find their fortune returned home to show off their new wealth.
Some of our guests have compared walking around Arcos' streets to that of wandering around a film set, as the atmosphere evokes strong feelings for a past long gone & yet curiously still present, lending the old quarter a surreal quality.
Flamenco, both dance and song, remains a significant art form in Cadiz Province, & Arcos is no exception. Peñas (Flamenco Clubs) in & around Arcos offer genuine & lively shows aimed at local aficionados. Visitors are also welcome to come & enjoy the atmosphere.
Birders & nature lovers can book to go on specialist tours in the Sierra de Cadiz with birdingandaluciatours.com, run by a local, born & bred in Arcos with in-depth understanding of the area's birdlife & fauna.
For Golf Lovers, Arcos Gardens offers a superb course, offering spectacular views of the town & is just 5 minutes drive from Arcos. Information on day & weekly passes are available through arcosgardens.com
For those looking for some relief from the heat of summer, but not wanting to go to the beach, we can recommend a lovely pool, set in Arcos' countryside, some 5 minutes drive away.
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|Arcos is blessed with the perfect position for taking day trips further afield: located right in the middle of Cadiz Province, the nearest beaches are 40 minutes drive away, as is Cadiz capital. The sherry bodegas & señorial houses of Jerez de la Frontera are just 20 minutes by car; the Sierra de Cadiz, to the North of Arcos, a mere 20 to 30 minutes drive with its numerous & charming white towns (pueblos blancos) & breathtaking scenery. The famous gorge at Ronda is 55 minutes by car and the flamoyant Andalusian capital, Seville, just 1 hr 20 minutes.|
A little further afield is Italica, the Roman town that sits just outside Seville, and where it is said the Roman Emperor Hadrian was born. Towards Tarifa, on the coast, is the lovely coastal village of Bolonia, home to the spectacular Roman Ruins of Claudio Baelo, which sit just above a sandy cove which in turn overlooks the coastline of Northern Morocco, so near you feel you could reach out and touch it.
You can't get more romantic than that!