The northern part of the Costa de la Luz is cut from a different cloth to the rest of the Spanish Costas. The trappings of tourism are few and far between here, so it’s the place to head for limited edition Spain. Here is our pick of the best spots in the region.
Just 20 minutes from Jerez Airport, Jerez is the first city you’ll come to when you arrive. This place serves up Spanish culture the same way it serves its home-made sherry – neat. Its historical buildings are still standing after centuries, and its locals live lives of uncut tradition, which includes afternoons in bodegas and evenings in flamenco bars. Follow their lead and head to the dance taverns around Calle Angostillo de Santiago.
It’s possible that Cadiz is the oldest city in Europe. And, over the years, it’s amassed a pretty impressive antiques collection. Baroque churches and 18th-century cathedrals are just part of the city’s architectural archive. If you only see one thing, make it the Torre Tavira. From the top of this 18th-century tower you can see views of the entire city. Plus, there’s a camera obscura here, which lets you inspect the vistas close-up.
Chiclana de la Frontera
Barossa Beach is the jewel in Chiclana de la Frontera’s crown. This 6-kilometre sweep of coast has somehow managed to give tourism the slip. The sand here is so fine it looks like it’s been sieved, and the water is glass-clear. The beach has been left to its own devices at the southern end. The sand nearest to Sancti Petri Island is backed by dunes and dotted with rock pools.
Seville is a master of all trades. This is a city where UNESCO World Heritage Sites lie around the corner from contemporary wine bars, and where leafy parks give way to packed plazas. The capital of southern Spain also wrote the book on tapas. Wherever you are in the city, you’re never far from a tapas bar. For finger food with a view, head to the bars on Calle Betis, overlooking the Guadalquivir River.
Donana National Park
Thanks to long looping rivers and streams, Donana National Park looks like a giant doodle. And between the waterways, you’ll find sand dunes and marshland. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a magnet for wildlife like purple heron and lynx. Don’t miss the Marisma de Hinojos marshland. It’s said to be the location of the Lost City of Atlantis.
Clubhotel Riu Chiclana
One of the best places for sleepovers in the Jerez area is the Clubhotel Riu Chiclana, part of the style-led Thomson Platinum collection. Plump pillows and sunny colour schemes means it’s easy to fall into a Snow White-like sleep at night. And manicured grounds, lake-sized swimming pools, and swim-up bars give you reasons to jump out of bed in the morning. What’s more, the hotel is just 40 minutes from Cadiz, when you want to explore.