Setenil de las Bodegas: The Cave Village of Spain
Welcome to Setenil de las Bodegas, the most unique of all the white villages of Andalusia in Spain . This beautiful town is nestled deep within a canyon, surrounded by fields of olive trees. However, its most impressive feature is the huge rocks that overhang the pretty white houses. Wander among the narrow streets, where you’ll find houses emerging from boulders and delicious cave restaurants. Enjoy all the top things to do in Setenil de las Bodegas—a must-see stop on any Andalusia road trip.
Things to do in Setinel de las Bodegas, Andalucia
Setenil de las Bodegas (Bodegas means ‘wineries’) in Spain got its name from a once-thriving wine trade. The wineries are far fewer these days, but it’s still known for its delicious olives and almonds.
However, the town is most famous for its unusual cave houses built directly underneath the boulders of a deep canyon. This canyon was formed naturally by the water from the creek below, creating this incredible landscape.
In prehistoric times, it was believed Troglodytes (cave dwellers) lived within the caves in this village. In more modern days, the villagers built houses in the spaces between the rocks, preventing them from getting too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
All this history and beauty make it one of the most popular towns to visit on an Andalusia road trip!
Calle Cuevas del Sol
The main street in Setenil de las Bodegas is called ‘Calle Cuevas del Sol’ (Caves of the Sun), which is built under a massive slab of overhanging rock. This beautiful, sunny street is home to many cave restaurants sandwiched between mammoth boulders and a charming river. Have a bite to eat (try the wild asparagus soup, a typical delicacy of the village) and enjoy the fantastic views.
Although Calle Cuevas del Sol is the most famous street in the town, we recommend exploring other areas too. Wander among narrow streets like Calle Cuevas de la Sombra (caves of the shade) or go further uphill into the village to look at the white houses and viewpoints.
Visit the Castle
One of the top things to do in Setenil de las Bodegas is to visit the remains of the historical Arab Castle from the 12th century. Named Nazari Castle, it was once very impressive and had around 40 towers. During the period of ‘Reconquista’ between the Moors and Christians, it’s said it took the Christians 15 days to capture the castle and over 7 attempts to take back the village. This story gave the town the name ‘Setenil’, coming from the Latin ‘Septem Nihil’, which means ‘7 times no’.
Apart from the castle tower, you can see plenty of other views in Setenil de las Bodegas. Start by walking along the river, crossing the bridges, and seeing the views of the cave houses and canyon. Once you’ve done that, wander the streets higher up into the village to find other great spots to watch the sunset or take some photos. Some spectacular viewpoints are:
- Calle San Sebastian : A highish part of town with a nice view over the white houses of the village. It’s a 15-minute walk from Calle Cuevas del Sol.
- Calle Ventosilla Alta : An even higher viewpoint. Here is the location.
- Mirador del Lizon : An observation deck open 24 hours a day. It is located here.
- Mirador del Carmen : Prepare to climb 93 steps up; it’s well worth it! Find directions to Mirador del Carmen.
Drive from Setenil to Olvera
The journey to Setenil de las Bodegas is an adventure in itself. Meandering roads travel between olive groves and fields of sunflowers as you head uphill towards the village and the canyon. The best road is the one between Setenil and Olvera (another white village in Andalusia) and definitely one to do on your Andalusia road trip. In fact, the beauty of this drive is part of the excitement of visiting this beautiful cave village!
We recommend renting a car in Spain through Sunny Cars as they work with local car rental companies. When booking through Sunny Cars, the price already includes all insurance. Book your rental car here.