by Michael Madsen, your guide to the authentic


Travel by car to the tiny whitewashed villages of Andalusia – they are most certainly worth visiting, even though they are not mentioned in the guidebooks.

A way to ensure an authentic experience and to avoid the tourist masses is to circumvent the more famous whitewashed villages, such as Mijas, Frigiliana, Vejer de la Frontera and the bigger towns of Ronda and Jerez. In their place travel to the smaller, less known villages  like Salares, Ardales, Teba or Villanueva de la Concepción. Some of our most enjoyable days have been had exploring these charming, little towns.


Salares, east of Malaga

In the main squares of these  small whitewashed villages you will find  bars serving tapas for very little. You will not always find the most exquisite gastronomy but the food is certainly tasty and it offers a fascinating glimpse into these friendly, local peoples lives.

the whitewashed village of Ardales Ardales, North-western part of the Malaga province

In these bars the local men meet to drink coffee and discuss local affairs – and sometimes sample a little tapa from the display at the bar. They do not speak English here, but you will always be greeted with a big smile and if you want to order some food  you can  can simply point to what you would like to try from the display. Sign language and a smile is sufficient to communicate here.

Iznajar, in the southern part of the Cordoba province


Tapa = a very little dish, often served with a drink

Tapas = several small dishes, placed on the middle of the table for everyone to share


Here are 3 good places to stay in the whitewashed Andalusian villages:

Apartamentos Ardales (Ardales). Remember that you found it on Autentical! Book it on

Torre Antigua (Salares). Remember that you found it on Autentical! Book it on

The Townhouse (Iznajar). Remember that you found it on Autentical! Book it on

Further unique accommodation



My Story:

Ever since childhood, I have experienced artificial tourist areas. But when I tried to create holidays with authentic experiences myself, I ran into big problems… It was deeply frustrating, I couldn’t make a living from it and I was afraid of losing everything.

I was weak and vulnerable – it was a painful time. But I succeeded in the end – and it is a fantastic feeling to know the secret to having authentic holidays. You can also ensure holidays without tourist crowds – fortunately, there is still hope!

Read my full story