Away from the busy beach resorts, Spain’s hilltop towns offer a more traditional lifestyle in picturesque surroundings. Could one of these, each a short drive from the sea, take your fancy?

Vejer de la Frontera, Costa de la Luz
Vejer’s winding streets ooze historic charm and typify what Andalusia’s famous ‘pueblos blancos’ (white towns) are about. Situated 15 minutes from the unspoilt Costa de la Luz beaches between Gibraltar and the port city of Cádiz, on a clear day Morocco blinks at you from across the Med, hinting at the town’s Moorish past.

Character village house in Monda

Highlights include the original fortified walls and the main square – said to be one of Spain’s prettiest – with its ceramic fountain and shady palm trees. For details of a restored character home in the heart of Vejer’s old town, click here .

Monda, Costa del Sol
Crowned by a restored castle, now a hotel and restaurant, Monda is slightly further inland and smaller than the other two white towns near Marbella, namely Istán and Ojén. This means its pretty old quarter, with its friendly tapas bars and shady alleyways, is less discovered, despite still being only 25 minutes from the beach. The surrounding landscape of rolling vineyards and olive groves, together with its proximity to the protected Sierra de las Nieves natural park, give the town an endearingly rustic feel and make its location especially attractive to outdoorsy people.

Cómpeta, Axarquía
Famous for its wine production, Cómpeta drips down a hillside in the foothills of the Tejeda, Almijara and Alahama mountain range, half an hour inland from the Costa Tropical. Known as the pearl of Axarquía, a rural area east of Málaga, the town’s annual fiesta centres around its sweet wine, making it a highlight of the region’s calendar.

Village house near Cómpeta’s main square

For seekers of an authentically Spanish lifestyle complemented by stunning natural scenery, Cómpeta ticks all the boxes with its daily food market, large square where locals congregate and maze of cobbled streets, untouched over the centuries and often decorated with flowers.

Bédar, Almería
Fans of the less developed Almería province should prepare to be wowed by Bédar, a Moorish-influenced village in the Sierra de Los Filabres mountains, just 20 minutes from the coast at Mojácar. Years back, this little gem of a community prospered from mining but these days its stunning location, whitewashed streets and tranquil way of life make it especially attractive to artists and painters. Of special interest is its fountain fed by a natural spring.

Spacious village home in Bédar

Polop, Costa Blanca
Polop may be just 15 minutes inland from the beach at Benidorm, but its appeal is entirely different to that of the high-rise beach resort. In the shadow of the landmark sleeping lion mountain (Monte Ponoig), highlights of this agricultural village include its square where you can source natural spring water and its Gabriel Miró museum – the famous artist lived in the village in the early 1900s.

The remnants of fortified walls, which used to surround a medieval castle, are a sign of its history. For details of a character home in the heart of Polop, click here .

Written by Overseas Guides Company.

For more information on buying abroad get your FREE Country Buying Guide!

Country Buying Guide Country Buying Guide Country Buying Guide Country Buying Guide

See all available country guides

If you are considering an overseas property purchase, whether for lifestyle or investment, opening a no-obligation account with FCA-authorised Smart Currency Exchange will enable you to benefit from their competitive exchange rates and specialist currency knowledge, ultimately saving you money and time. For more information, download Smart Currency Exchange’s free report or visit the Currency Zone.