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Olvera, Spain. A Place in the Sun.

Updated on November 26, 2017
TessSchlesinger profile image

Tessa left her home country for Lesotho in 1973. Since then, she has travelled extensively, and has no plans to stop.

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.

Olvera has a 'pueblo blanca' policy. This means that all homes must be painted white.
Olvera has a 'pueblo blanca' policy. This means that all homes must 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...

A view of the old Moorish fortress from lower down.
A view of the old Moorish fortress from lower down.
Source
Some of the village.
Some of the village.

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.

Olvera Necropolis

The prettiest cemetery ever!
The prettiest cemetery ever! | Source
Necropolis in Olvera, Spain
Necropolis in Olvera, Spain | Source
Source

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.

Olvera, Parish of Our Lady of the Incarnation.
Olvera, Parish of Our Lady of the Incarnation. | Source
Source
Shot of cathedral taken from the fortress
Shot of cathedral taken from the fortress

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

Typically Spanish, pot plants decorate every empty corner and wall
Typically Spanish, pot plants decorate every empty corner and wall
Windows, so typically Spanish, are a tourist sight-seeing opportunity all on their own.
Windows, so typically Spanish, are a tourist sight-seeing opportunity all on their own.
I couldn't resist taking a peep inside someone's home! Virtually all homes have access to the roof, and people entertain there. They are flat! Sometimes people string out hammocks and sleep there.
I couldn't resist taking a peep inside someone's home! Virtually all homes have access to the roof, and people entertain there. They are flat! Sometimes people string out hammocks and sleep there.
When you look down at all the olive groves around you, there are horses to be seen!
When you look down at all the olive groves around you, there are horses to be seen!

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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. :)

Every Wednesday night, the community of expats meets to hear Nigel Tucker and his Blue Raiders jazz it up! There is a strong English community
Every Wednesday night, the community of expats meets to hear Nigel Tucker and his Blue Raiders jazz it up! There is a strong English community
A view of the cathedral and some of the village.
A view of the cathedral and some of the village.
Inside the old Moorish fortress
Inside the old Moorish fortress
That's me on a moonlit night in Olvera! :) Still traveling in my mid-60s!
That's me on a moonlit night in Olvera! :) Still traveling in my mid-60s!
Source
Just another view!
Just another view!

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

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    • Tony Muse profile image

      Tony Muse 7 weeks ago from Texas, USA

      Looks like a fabulous place to visit or live.

    • Ioana Sima profile image

      Sima Ioana 7 weeks ago from Bucharest, Romania

      Beautiful photos and location :)

    • profile image

      Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One 2 years ago

      I've visited Olvera a number of times over the last 10 years as its quite near to where my parents live. I have many similar shots and favourite spots!

    • profile image

      Cameron 2 years ago

      Love the article.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting hub highlighting Olvera. Great photos. Thanks for sharing Tess.