Welcome to Andalucia, Spain
Travel Guide - Costa de la Luz
If you fancy an activity
holiday or a destination that has outdoor sports on tap, the Costa de la
Luz and Andalucia have something for everyone. Tarifa has a reputation
for the best wind and kite surfing beaches including Playa Los Lances and
Playa Valdevaqueros. It is no wonder it is often called the windsurfing
capital of Europe. If you would rather catch the action under the waves,
the Mediterranean stretch near Guadiaro is the place to go for snorkelling
and diving. If you like your sport with a little less adrenalin, the National
Parks in the Bay of Cádiz and Laguna de Fuente de Piedra near El
Rompido are perfect for bird-spotting, nature hikes and wildlife walks.
If you would rather practice
your swing, there are a number of established golf courses along the coast.
Or if you like to amble through breathtaking mountain scenery on horseback,
try a horse-riding trek.
sea and sand
Most of the Costa de la Luz
is beach and if you go at the right time of year, you may just get a secluded
spot all to yourself. The busiest time of year is July and August when
the locals from Huelva and Seville descend on the beaches to soak up the
summer sun. The rest of the year the beaches are less crowded. Popular
beach towns to visit are Isla Cristina, La Antilla, El Rompido, Punta Umbria
and Matalascañas. The beaches along the Cadiz stretch are a little
more windswept but are well worth a visit with stunning coves, towering
cliffs and quaint fishing villages. Visit Conil de la Frontera, Caños
de Meca, Zahara de los Atunes, Bolonia and Valdevaqueros in Tarifa.
Building regulations have
preserved the natural beauty of the coast. The Costa de la Luz is not as
developed as the Costa del Sol. The smaller towns and villages along the
coast and in the mountains still live by Spanish customs and traditions.
Seafood is something of a
speciality in the region and the catch of the day is caught fresh by local
There is no shortage of history
in Cádiz with museums, architecture and a fiesta (carnival) in February.
Just half an hour up the road is Jerez de la Frontera, where you can sample
the sherry from its sherry bodegas (cellars). Jerez de la Frontera also
has a rich equestrian heritage. If you feel like a night on the tiles,
Andalucía is the birthplace of flamenco.
The wind capital of the Costa
del Luz is Tarifa, the perfect spot for some serious surfing. At night,
you can explore the Moorish style of the medina (old city town) of this
remote fishing town complete with its own strategic military fortress.
Marbella it is not but it is still a popular destination amongst backpackers
with party places open until dawn and a laid-back vibe.
The local cuisine in Cádiz
is influenced by Roman, Phoenician and Moorish flavours. Try a tapas (small
dishes of local meat, vegetables and fish) treat in the old town's fishing
district, the Plaza del Tio de la Tiza. Or you can feast on the house speciality
of seafood a la sal (salted fish) at El Faro, one of the region's most
elegant restaurants. You cannot visit Cádiz without sampling Pescadito
Frito (fried fish Cádiz-style). Finish off your culinary tour of
Cádiz with an exquisite cheese and a glass of sherry from nearby
Said to be created by Hercules,
Seville lies on the banks of the River Guadalquivir. It is one of the oldest
urban centres in Europe. Seville has historic links with the Tartessian
civilisation, the Romans and the Moors and is reflected in the abundance
of art and architecture, museums and monuments. No trip to Seville would
be complete without a visit to the Alcázar Palace, the minaret of
La Giralda, the Fine Arts Museum and La Maestranza bullring. Seville is
not only famous for its cultural sites, its warmth and hospitality are
on display at the Fería de Abril, a week-long festival of food,
drink and dance with amazing equestrian displays and gypsy flamenco dancers!
Getting to Andalucia
Travelling by plane You can
fly to either Seville or Jerez de la Frontera (near Tarifa) and travel
to other Costa de la Luz destinations from there. Fly to Seville from:
London Stansted, Liverpool and Dublin with Ryanair; from Dublin with Aer
Lingus; and from London Gatwick with Clickair. You may also find flights
with BA and Iberia. Fly to Jerez from: London Stansted with Ryanair; and
from Manchester with Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Scheduled. If you
want a cheap flight, there are plenty available to Malaga in neighbouring
Costa del Sol -if you are at the east end of the Costa de la Luz then transfers
from here may be more convenient. For more information visit, www.flightmapping.com/Europe/Spain.
Travelling by train
It is very easy to get to
Spain by train. The best hub to travel to on the Costa de la Luz is Seville.
You can take the Eurostar from London to Paris and then take an overnight
train to Madrid. Once in Madrid, it is a two-hour train ride to Seville.
The last leg of the route is beautiful as the train travels through the
mountains. Once in Seville, you can travel on to other parts of the Costa
de la Luz or just enjoy the sights and sounds Seville has to offer. For
Spanish train connections visit www.seat61.com/Spain.htm and www.raileurope.co.uk.
Andalucia travel information
For more information and
holiday ideas visit, www.spain.info and www.andalucia.com/costa-de-la-luz.
Guidebooks are a useful source
of ideas, suggestions and travel tips: • The Rough Guide to Andalucia •
Lonely Planet's Andalucia Regional Guide • Time Out Seville and Andalucía
More than 17 million British
travellers visit Spain every year (Source: Foreign & Commonwealth Office).
Popular tourist areas like beaches, markets, bars, nightclubs and resorts
attract criminals on the look out for an easy target. So take care of yourself
and your possessions at all times and do not put yourself in a vulnerable
position whilst under the influence of alcohol. Before you set off on your
Andalucían adventure, ensure you have adequate travel insurance
that covers your personal possessions and the destinations you are travelling
to. There is a range of travel insurance options to choose from to suit
your needs. Most travel insurance companies offer quick and easy travel
insurance quotes online. For a travel insurance quote and more information
about the types of travel insurance available from Direct Line, visit www.directline.com/travel/welcome.htm.
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Latest update: May 11, 2010