From here you are superbly placed to head for the wonderful Atlantic coast on the Costa de la Luz, just minutes away with beaches to choose from in every direction. The beaches are simply fantastic; a mix of long, sandy stretches and secluded, rocky coves – and there’s mile upon mile upon mile of them, down the coast to Tarifa and north as far as the Portuguese border.
There is sun and sand galore, but there are also cliffs and coves, salt mashes, swamps and estuaries. It’s a region which includes the amazing wetlands of the Parque Nacional de Doñana, as well as two of only three towns who are allowed to call their wine “sherry”, Sanlucar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa María (the other one is Jerez). Inland you will find wild sierras, fertile countryside, pastures of fighting bulls, world renowned vineyards and hidden villages where time passes slowly by.
Tarifa, on the southernmost point of Spain looks directly across the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco. Africa is so close you feel that you can almost touch it! Tarifa has a small-town, friendly atmosphere and a buzzing night time social scene, popular with the windsurfers and kitesurfers who come here from all over the world.
For birdwatchers it is a jewel, being on the main migration route between the two continents. If that’s not your thing, maybe a bit of whale and dolphin watching instead?
A taste of Morocco perhaps?
You can whiz across on the high speed catamaran from Tarifa (35 minutes) or by ferry from Algeciras. So you can be exploring the local souks in just a few hours! Fascinating and colourful, it really is a different world.
40 minutes away, heading north, is the small fortress town of Véjer de la Frontera, which rises up almost 200 metres above sea level and offers panoramic views for miles around.
A dazzle of sugar-cube houses high on its dramatic ridge, this is the crown jewel of Spain’s pueblos blancos, the whitest of all of Andalucía’s white villages! There’s lots of history and lots of pretty, flower filled courtyards and small plazas too. But it’s not just a museum piece, there’s a lively, fun atmosphere and some excellent boutique hotels, bars and restaurants.
Cádiz (1¼ hours) continues to evoke the romance, intrigue and mystery of centuries of trade (some legal, some not so) between Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Sevilla takes 2¼ hours. It is impossible not to be captivated by its exuberant atmosphere: stylish, confident, ancient and proud, yet also convivial, intimate and fun-loving. If you don’t know what alegría means, Sevilla is the place to learn!
One of Europe’s most important wetland reserves and bird sanctuaries, the Doñana National Park, is a popular attraction for nature lovers (a one hour drive beyond Sevilla). Its enormous variety of bird species include everything from flamingos to imperial eagles.
Lovely old Ronda, and the delightful little pueblos around and about – Gaucín, Casares, Genalguacil – in the majestic mountain scenery of the Serranía de Ronda are a couple of hours drive away.
Then there’s Portugal, a different world away, yet only a three hour trip from here. It’s enchanting, beguiling and so, so different from Spain.
Córdoba and Granada are both a little further, just over 3 hours drive.
There’s the wonderful natural beauty of the Alcornocales National Park for great walking. You can loose yourselves in a marvellous world of forests, moors and lakes here. A bird watchers paradise too, no doubt you will be accompanied by ravens, golden orioles or huge buzzards soaring high overhead.
There are excellent golf courses nearby, fabulous bird watching, hiking and biking in the forests. Gallop on horseback, windsurf or just sunbathe and swim on the endless, white beaches of the Costa de la Luz.
On the coast there’s every beach pursuit imaginable, from sailing and windsurfing, diving and snorkelling to whale and dolphin watching.