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Olvera, Spain. A Place in the Sun.
Olvera, once a Moorish fortress, now an olive growing community.
With fewer than 9,000 people, Olvera might be one of those villages stuck in the hills of Spain that is mostly forgotten by the tourist trade, and mostly, she is. Yet a fair number of Brits and other ex-pats retire here, content to live in a one of the loveliest and quaintest villages you can imagine. She is olive tree rich and her olives provide the best olives in Andulasia, a province in the far south of Spain. Olvera has been awarded the Denominación de Origen de la Sierra de Cádiz for her excellence in olive production. The community also prides herself as having a very high number of businesses run as co-operatives for which she has been acknowledged by the government. Seville, a city with a Moorish heritage is on the one side, and Malaga and Granada on the other.
Many pensioners and retirees find their way to Olvera and there is a sizeable English community in the village. Some of them appear to be working out of the village, spending weeks in other countries, then coming to Olvera for their off-time. Others have bought holiday homes in the village/town and rent them out for anything from about £75/$100 per month to about £300/$450 per month.
Olvera has a 'pueblo blanca' policy: buildings can only be painted white.
A Backpacker's Deligh!
Olvera is right in the centre of Andalusia, so if you're planning on spending a month or so in this area, it's inexpensive and gives you easy access to Cordoba, Malaga, Seville, Cadiz, and many delightful small villages.
It also has a very active ex-pat crowd who are very friendly and will include you in the social activities in the area.
That's Nigel and Steve (Blue Raiders) playing in Olvera on a Wednesday night. It's an evening for ex-pats!
Views from Olvera
I've lived in many places in my life, across the continents and over the seas, in far flung villages and world class cities. This little town has the best views I have ever come across. It doesn't matter where you stand, there's a view. Having watched the TV series, 'There's a place in the sun,' and knowing how important views are to some people, I could easily recommend it on that criteria alone.
Of course, where there are views, there are hills, and they are very serious hills. There is a bus that does a circular route between eight in the morning and two in the afternoon. That way you can avoid some of the hills...
The prettiest graveyard you've ever seen!
The necropolis just below the Arabian castle is probably the prettiest cemetery I have ever seen. Painted in white with tombs built into walls, it is immaculately clean, plus has spectacular views to boot. On the day I visited, there had been a funeral the previous day, and it was apparent from the size of the wreath and the flowers.
The tourist sites in Olvera
Although Olvera seems to have tours visiting, it's not really a tourist town. There's an Arabian Castle from the days of the Moors that overlooks the town plus an impressive cathedral - Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación - built in 1822 by the Duke of Osuna, indirectly on top of the ruins of the old Mosque that used to be there. Mostly what tourists come to see are the lovely white houses with their black burglar bars, flowers inside them, narrow streets, and to get the feel of an authentic Spanish village, untrammelled by tourists and time. Below are some photos I took of the Arabian Castle and the Cathedral, both inside and out.
Cost of homes and living expenses in Olvera
If you wanted to retire in Olvera, or perhaps you wanted a place to chill for a few weeks each year, and then rent out your holiday home while you were away, you might be interested in the cost of homes. The range would be from about $10,000/Eu8,000/£7000 up. I kid you not. Of course, the more you pay, the nicer the home. A two bedroom 45 square metre (490 square feet) with one bathroom would set you about about EU46,000. That's the equivalent of £32,000 or $52,000. In the photos below, I have given links to the site where you can browse to see examples of the kind of architecture and homes you can buy for very little money.
Around the village
Are you looking for a home in the Med?
Directions to Olvera from Seville, Malaga, and Granada.
There are only two ways to get to Olvera - by bus or by car. It cost me EU9 by bus to get from Seville to Olvera and it took somewhere between two hours or three hours. I slept most of the way because I had done an all-nighter at Gatwick Airport in London in order to get the dirt cheap Easy Jet flight at 6.25 in the morning. In any event, the bus fare was about $10.00 (about £6). Buses also run from Granada and Malaga. Seville, Granada, and Malaga all have international airports so you can fly direct to them and then take the bus.
Lastly, my favourite picture of Olvera!
When one travels with a camera in one's hand, there are invariably some shots that are better than others. So here's the last shot I am going to share with you. Enjoy. :)
Taking the bus to Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Malaga, etc.
There are buses leaving Olvera for the bigger cities every half hour, and they're inexpensive ranging in price from about 5 to 10 euros. On the weekend, the locals take the bus to Cadiz (about an hour) so they can spend the day on the beach. Cadiz, however, is a lot more than a beach town. It was a Moor stronghold, and the architecture is divine. I stood on the old fortress where Pierce Brosnan played his Bond part!
About a mile down the road from Olvera, Pruna buzzes with night life and culture
Bits about Olvera
It is excessively hot and the town closes down for a few hours in the early afternoon. Siesta! Supper is late - about ten in the evening. There is a free bus that circulates the town every half an hour. There are lots of taverns around town, and all the basics - food, clothing, drink, etc. can be found.
© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger