Cadiz Province - Alcalá de los Gazules

Alcalá de los Gazules is on the famous "Ruta del Toro". © Michelle Chaplow
Alcalá de los Gazules is on the famous "Ruta del Toro".

Alcalá de los Gazules is situated right in the centre of the Province of Cádiz, between sea and mountain. It is just 23 kilometers east of the village of Medina Sidonia. Most tourists will pass the village on the A381 road from Los Barrios to Jerez.

This Andalucia white village has remained largely unchanged over recent years and the old town centre was given official "Historic-Artistic" status in 1984. This privilege was awarded in recognition of the town's excellent eclectic examples of baroque and neoclassic architecture, as well as the typically Andaluz houses which give it an authentically local atmosphere. Alcalá was also recognized in 1924 by the world famous Granada writer and poet, Federico García Lorca, who wrote in appreciation of his Andaluz heritage "I breath for Málaga…. for Cádiz, for Alcalá de los Gazules, for what is intimately Andaluz."

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Alcalá de los Gazules is on the famous 'Ruta del Toro' and is at the heart of the vast Parque Natural de los Alcornocales ('alcornocales' is Spanish for cork trees) - a nature-lovers paradise. As well as many miles of greenery, blissful tranquility, clean air and country walks for contemplation, there are also opportunities to buy local artisan products in some of the small shops in the town. Not only nature lovers are attracted to Alcalá, but also those interested in both big and small game hunting.

The town centre is compact, with its uneven streets; noble plazas and dazzling whitewashed walls. Off the tourist beaten track, there are fewer bars and restaurants than in coastal towns and you are less likely to come across any English speakers or British menus. There is also less choice of where to stay, with just a handful of two and three star 'hostals' and hotels in and around the town.

At the time of the Muslim conquest the village became known as "Qalat at Yazula" or "Castle of the Gazules" has been handed over by the king of Granada. There are still some remains of the Castle from the time of the Arabic and Caliph reign. It was in 1264, when the city was won back by the Christians under the reign of Alfonso X (The Wise One), which was when its present name "Alcalá de los Gazules" was first given. Some years after Alfonso, Alcalá became the responsibility of the Duke and Duchess of Alba, who built churches and convents, such as the Churches of San Jorge and San Francisco and the Santa Domingo Convent, all of which you can still visit today. Other historic monuments well worth visiting in the town are the Sanctuary of the Virgen de los Santos (5 kilometers outside of Alcalá) and the Fuente de la Salada - of Roman origin and built to allow the flow of a natural source of spring water.


An account of shopping in Alcala de los Gazules was posted by Claire Lloyd in

Important celebrations in Alcalá de los Gazules

Carnival the first week of March Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) St. George's Day on the 23rd April
" San Jorge" is the patron saint of the town. The town celebrates its fair the last week in August. On the 12th September is the Romería (Pilgrimage) of Nuestra Señora de los Santos. This fiesta dates back to the 15th century and is the most popular one of its kind in the province of Cadiz.

Festival Internacional de Música, Alcalá de los Gazules

Every year, in the middle of August, the town hosts a classical music festival. It features members of the Soloists of London and the London Philharmonic Orchestra with concerts taking place in the intimate candlelit patio of the Escuela Sagrada Familia, or in the historic church of San Jorge. Tickets are sold at the concert venues from 9 pm on the nights. There is usually no pre-booking service available.