After moving to Madrid and exploring the city a little bit, it’s fun to start learning about and checking out other parts of the country. During the summer, most of Madrid heads for the beaches and even though September is almost upon us, the Costa de la Luz (coast of light) is still a great destination. With average temperatures for September and October still in the mid 20s it’s a great time to check out the beaches and pueblos without the crazy August crowds!
I recently took a couple of weeks to explore southern Spain and I found several great little towns and beaches south of Cadiz that are worth exploring. I am already planning my next trip back! About a quarter of an hour drive south of Cadiz is the bustling beach town of Conil de la Frontera. Fun for families, couples or groups of friends, the old town is full of ourdoor cafes, restaurants and bars. It’s great to grab a table outside for dinner and then wander around checking out the shops, stopping for a helado or another caña or two! There are two beaches along the coast of the town – Playa de los Bateles and Playa de la Fontanilla; however, there are several more within a short driving distance. Just north of town, Fuente del Gallo has a lovely little beach with a chiringuito (beach bar) right on the sand. It’s a nice drive to keep heading north, past Playa Aciete and up to Playa del Puerco.
South of Conil, the drive and the beaches are just as lovely. Bolonia beach was a great escape with smaller crowds even during August. It has a large sand dune at one end which is a fun climb for a bit of exercise. There are a handful of chiringuitos on the other end of the beach to grab lunch or a drink. Closer to Conil is El Palmar, which is famous for it’s sunsets. It has a little grocery store and a cafe located nearby so you can pick up some bebidas or a snack, watch the kites flying and wait for the sunset. While both these beaches can be accessed within a short drive from Conil, another option is to move to a hotel further south in Zahara de los Atunes, Vejer de la Frontera or one of the few scattered on the beaches just north of Tarifa.
The Tarifa beaches are known for windsurfing and I couldn’t help but give it a try while at Playa Valdevaqueros. There are rental facilities on-site (http://www.club-mistral.com/en/home) and they offer individual, semi-private or group lessons. I was a complete beginner so luckily my instructor had a lot of patience … although I think I need a few more lessons before I will really take off! Kite surfing and paddle boarding are also available. The restaurant and bar at Valdevaqueros is a very laid back, surfer-style hangout. There are big cushions setup on the grass next to one of the bars and they had live music one afternoon before sunset. A bit more lively happy hour can be found just down the road at Arte y Vida where the staff are covered in body paint and you could be too! The bar and the DJ get busy a few hours before sunset. After a day of sun, sand and watersports, if you still have the energy head into Tarifa town where the nightlife is energetic and keeps on going well into the morning hours.
Club Mistral, Tarifa on the N-IV highway at the Valdevaqueros Hotel.
Arte y Vida - CN 340 Km. 79,3; 956 68 52 46