ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA - GOLF, FOOD AND CULTURAL SITES.
As you may know, I took some time to fly back to Spain and deal with my hip and mood here at my house. I will be traveling with Rob a bit and make some time to see places I haven’t seen growing up because of golf’s busy schedules.
Today I write to you from Madrid, but last two weeks I was at home Cadiz, where I got to spend a lot fo quality time with my family. Which I much needed. During my time in Spain I decided to role touristic mode for a few days, since there are some truly magical places down south that I never got to experience.
Since I left home for college in the US I haven’t been able to fly back as much as I would want. And every time I come back I convince my parents to take me to historial places to explore. There is so much history in Spain and especially the south of Spain which was colonized by the Arabs for 800 years!
Because of golf, most of my teenage years I spent chasing a white golf ball around the world. Not having much time to be with family friends or even getting to know my own country. And when I get moments like this at home, I don’t like to waste one more minute without soaking everything in.
Today I want to talk to you guys about Arcos de la Frontera. Cadiz, is a province that hosts a lot of scattered cute little white towns called ‘Pueblos Blancos’ that expands from west to east and it gives the south of Spain its uniqueness.
Because the south of Spain was conquered by the Arabs for 8 centuries, these Pueblos Blancos enchant you with their mixed cultural inheritance.
Arcos is 1 hour drive from where I live, but if you were to be flying into the nearest airport (Jerez —XRY), you can reach Arcos in less than 30 min.
My recommendation to you is that if you are visiting Spain, bring your golf clubs with you. Because everywhere you guy you can find amazing golf courses that will steal your heart.
Arcos de la Frontera has a superb golf course that for many years it provided me with some of the best practice facilities in the whole province. Sadly, for a few years now, the economic situation in Spain affected some of our most prominent cash flow into the country like golf tourism. And the golf course suffered a bit of an economic upheaval.
The way I schedule my day was to go out and play 18 holes early in the morning with my parents and then head out to the town for lunch and sightseeing. To my surprise, I was impressed on how well they maintained the golf course and their practice facilities, despite their situation. That means that golf transcends economic droughts as well as bad rounds! LOL
The golf course is now picking up its pace real fast and I only wish it can come back to what it truly represents in a few months from now. If that happens, which I have no doubts it will, I would love to host some of you here so you can experience what I experienced that day. Now that I have some flexibility with my time it could be interesting to organize a travel package for you to come down south to play golf with me. What do you think?
Let me share some photos about the amazing day I had playing some golf in the morning and then driving to the town to snap some photos and eat some great food.
Where to eat:
The good thing about Spain is that you find tapas bars everywhere. And all of them are good. One could be more fancy than the others but the quality of food in Spain is so ridiculously good, that you cannot go wrong anywhere you go.
However, there are always some eye-candy restaurants that caught your attention and these are the two ones we went in Arcos.
LA TABERNA DE JOVENES FLAMENCOS
After strolling around the town snapping photos left and right, we decided to stop at Taberna Jovenes Flamencos. It is opposite to Bar La Cancel, which we heard was also a good recommendation. But it was closed that day. At la taberna we ordered a variety of tapas that were all delicious, but we were so hungry that not all of them made the cut for the photo.
Gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimps) are my all time favorite dish. I order them at every single tapas bar I go. And today wasn’t going to be an exception.
In Spain we are very particular in the way we eat our breads. Even though we are hungry, we barely eat bread before the food comes. Because it is a custom to dip the bread in almost every sauce a dish comes with, you need to make sure you save enough bread. The shrimps are good, but dipping the bread in the garlic olive oil is to die for. So DONT FORGET and DIP AWAY!
When I order meat in Spain I only order one type of meat and that is Presa de Cerdo Ibérica. The presa ibérica is the same pork that they use for the Jamón Serrano. It is a very tender fatty piece of meat that is normally served with potatoes and jamón serrano on top. It is my go to meat choice when in Spain.
After the meal we stopped at what it was my first restaurant pick for the day, ALJIBE; but we ended up at the other tapas bar for some random reason. But I convinced them to go to Aljibe for desert and some moorish tea.
I am gluten and dairy intolerant so I was out for the desert order, but my mother swore for the apple crip pie. She said she never had anything as good as that.
My dad and I opted for moorish tea, which was un-freaking-believable!
The restaurant offers a combination of Arab and Andalusi fusion. Like I mentioned before, the south of Spain has a very strong Arab influence and this restaurant did a great job bringing that to life.
Where to park:
I would assume you have rented a car if you have come all the way down in the south of Spain. So I would highly recommend not to drive up to the town. What everyone does is that they park it down and walk up.
The town is up in a hill. Most of the Pueblos Blancos are strategically settle in hilly mounts to be able to defend themselves back then. The walk up its quite pleasant. You can still drive up, many people do, but the streets are very narrow and there almost no parking available up there.
What to snap:
My first recommendation is to start with the overall photo view. I loved spending a little time down there soaking up the views and trying to transport myself to back then, when civilization after civilization had the strategically settlement of their town to their advantage to defend themselves against villains.
The best way to find this place is to google View Point Arcos de la Frontera. Here I have uploaded a screen shot of my phone, because I love when other travel bloggers give me the exact location as to where to take the best photos.
After you have the perfect snap, go ahead and find a Parking spot. And start your way up. It is best to walk up on Calle Corredera. That is the main street, where you will find Aljibe (the moorish- Andalusí restaurant), la Taberna Jovenes Flamencos and the Castle of Arcos de la Frontera. So walk away!
THE CASTLE OF ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA
When you reach the Castle, snap a photo from their bottom stairs and leave the castle to your left. Go up the stairs on your right, the one I snapped this photo below from to make your way to el Balcón de la Peña Nueva.
This balcony is the perfect view point to see the elevation of the town and the beautiful pastures of the south of Spain.
EL BALCÓN DE LA PEÑA NUEVA
BUY HOMEMADE SWEETS FROM LOCAL NUNS
Another local tip I want to give you is to swing my the convent of MERCENARIAS DESCALZAS and right the door bell. You will find the door to be closed but outside, you will see samples of the homemade sweets and cakes they bake. They are to die for. You cannot miss out.
I recommend you to buy these two. They are amazing honestly! And at the same time you contribute to a good cause! ;)
I hope you guys enjoyed my virtual trip to Arcos de La Frontera. I enjoy showcasing my beautiful country and it fills me with joy every time you share with me some of the places you have been to visit in Spain.
Now, share with me, have you been to Spain? If so, where? Which place was your favorite?