Friday, 16 May 2014

The 5 best beaches of the Costa de la Luz

Andalusia has an amazing amount of beaches and we thought it our mission to visit as many of them as we possibly can. We started with the famous Costa del Sol thinking that all those British expats in Málaga or Marbella surely know where to go… and were utterly disappointed. The beaches there are not very nice due to the dark colour of the sand, the amount of stones you have to wade through to get to the water and the fact that you are surrounded by tall hotels and tourists. On the other side of Andalusia, however, we found what we were looking for: fine, soft golden sand stretching as far as your eyes can see, more Spanish than foreigners and instead of huge hotel chains, small cosy apartments. I will talk about some of these in this blog.

Immediately after deciding to visit this place we were faced with a problem: the name wasn’t even on the online map we had on our phone! We had to look for it on Google Maps and put the approximate destination in the satnav. The road we followed was a secondary, derelict stretch that seemingly didn’t lead anywhere. After about 15 minutes of wondering about whether we are the subject of some big Spanish joke we found the place. The most beautiful beach in the whole Andalusia.

The sand here is very fine and the wind is constant which means that the water is always spotted with the colourful parachutes of kite surfers and fast moving windsurfers. The cooling breeze also means that you won’t be sweltering in the sun.

Apart from the gorgeous sand Bolonia has other things to offer visitors, too. You can wonder in the Roman city of Claudia Baleo for free (EU citizens, otherwise 1.5 euro) and marvel at the salt factory, the Basilica or the Amphitheatre.

There is also a huge sand dune which is the biggest in Europe. We straight away went and climbed to the top.

The existence of the dune is due to the constant wind which blows the sand always in the same direction. It’s worth going to the very end to see a curious view. The dune is so tall that it reaches above the trees, engulfing them in sand.

Oh, Tarifa, the wind- and kitesurfing paradise! The city itself doesn’t have much to offer however people don’t come here to admire the architecture. They come here to enjoy the great, almost hippy atmosphere that descends on the town every summer when the wind chasers arrive. The sand is smooth and white, perfect for sunbathing…except for the fact that it’s so windy that as soon as you sit down your face will be covered by sand. An extra activity offered here is the visit to Mororcco which is only a short ferry ride away. The walls of the town offer a nice view over to the African coastline.

Calas de Roche
‘Cala’ means cove and between the village of Roche and Conil de la Frontera there are a few small, lovely coves to set up shop in. The bigger ones can be reached by wooden steps but the smaller ones require a bit of adventure to get to. Due to their secluded positions don’t be surprised if you get a glimpse of things you might not wish to see, if you catch my drift, so to speak. No facilities in sight to say the least and make sure you catch the tide times before you set off.

Conil de la Frontera
A long, long stretch of wide, golden sand beach. The wind here is not as strong as down in Bolonia but strong enough to make the otherwise hot sun pleasant. The village itself is not very pretty but you don’t have to go in if you don’t want to. There are a few beach bars where you can grab a tapas or a nice, cold drink. Just where the sea reaches the sand there’s a band of shells which is perfect to do some hardcore shell picking.

Zahara de los Atúnes
There are two places named Zahara in Andalusia and the other one is in the middle of a mountain so make sure you go to the right one! This Zahara is down towards the South of the region and has a beach very similar to the one in Conil: white, breezy with a few shells around to pick. If you´re feeling adventurous, have a go at paragliding in the area, it will provide an unforgettable experience.

Although there are some more places on the list, most of the Spanish who we asked suggested these beaches to visit. Generally speaking the closer you get to the South the windier it gets so check the strength of the wind before you go. Also, make sure you have enough sun cream as the gentle, cooling breeze can be deceptive. But most of all: enjoy the long, white, unspoilt Spanish coastline.

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