Stumbling on the villages along the Costa de la Luz, between Algeciras and Cádiz, is like entering a new land after the dreadfulness of the Costa del Sol. The journey west from Algeciras seems in itself a relief, the road climbing almost immediately into rolling green hills, offering fantastic views down to Gibraltar and across the Strait to the just-discernible white houses and tapering minarets of Moroccan villages.
Baleo Claudia © Liquid Studios / Shutterstock
Beyond, the Rif mountains hover mysteriously in the background, and on a clear day, as you approach Tarifa, you can distinguish Tangier on the edge of its crescent-shaped bay. Beyond Tarifa lies a string of excellent golden-sand beaches washed by Atlantic breakers and backed by a clutch of low-key resorts such as Conil. Inland, the haunting Moorish hill town of Vejer de la Frontera beckons, while set back from the sea at Bolonia is the ancient Roman settlement of Baelo Claudia.
Vejer de la Frontera © Kiko Stock / Shutterstock
Things to do in Costa de la Luz
As opposed to many other Costas in Spain, Costa de la Luz sees high-rise hotel buildings replaced with sand dunes and pine trees. The beaches are almost unspoiled with golden sands, hidden coves and clear waters. There is plenty to do in the area, whatever your desire.
For nature lovers, head to Sierra de Grazalema, famed as the best national park in the Andalucia area for its limestone landscape and exceptional wildlife, including a variety of birds. Estrecho National Park and Bahia de Cadiz are just as impressive, with features such as natural monuments i.e. Tombolo de Trafalgar.
Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park © Joser Pizarro / Shutterstock
Costa de la Luz translates quite literally to "Coast of Light", so what better way to enjoy the sunshine than on the beach! The coast is divided into two sections from the mouth of the Guadalquivar River to Tarifa and the Southernmost point in Europe. On the South side, kite and windsurfing is major - something to bare in mind if you love watersports.
El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz offer historic old towns to explore inbetween relaxing on the sands and Conil de la Frontera offers toned down tourism a beach stretching for several kilometres. Tarifa is in the east, along with Baelo Claudia and Atlanterra.
Spain in general is a haven for the retired wishing to live out their days in the sunshine, this, added with the area being a popular holiday destination, has seen the construction of more than 20 golf courses in the area. Alcaidesa Heathland, La Estancia and Villaneuva, to name a few, are any golfers dream.
Featured Image, Costa de la Luz © Joanna Tkaczuk