Exploring the south west coast of Spain

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Europe, Spain, Travel | 2 comments

Exploring the south west coast of Spain

We set off for our road trip in a little red Fiat Panda which we immediately nickname “Po” (as in from Kung Fu Panda).

Panda is an apt name for this car, as it moves very slowly!

We end up travelling about 2,500km over 10 days in Po, including down some dodgy “roads” to the beach.  She was definitely returned a bit worse for wear!

We had just finished two weeks sailing in Gibraltar at the southern tip of Spain, so that was our starting point.

From Gibraltar we made our way along the south west coast of Spain, eventually to Lisbon in Portugal.

There is so much beautiful coastline with stunning beaches almost the whole way along, many of which are part of national parkland.

We drive through idyllic countryside filled with sunflower fields and Andalusian horses.

The standard way of “Euro driving” soon becomes evident, which involves driving between two lanes, not indicating, and stopping wherever you want.

We first stop at Bolonia thinking it would be a sleepy beach town, but discover that every man and his dog had decided to go there and the place was packed!  The main street and limited car parks were all gridlock.

We had a quick lunch but didn’t stick around, and headed for somewhere quieter.  We drove through Barbate which looked nice, and ended up at Zahora which was much more relaxed.

The great thing is there really is something for everyone.  There are small tucked away nudist beaches or large bustling beaches with bars.  No matter where you go there are always colourful umbrellas abound!

We stay two nights in the city of Jerez, doing day trips to nearby beaches.  After two weeks living in the cramped quarters of a sailboat with four other people we decide to stay at the Asta Regia which is absolute luxury.

 

Plaza Del Arenal

Plaza Del Arenal, Jerez

 

We have dinner at an amazing tapas place called Alboronia Bar.  The service is friendly, the location in a beautiful courtyard, and the food delectable.

There are three places that stick in my mind for the best tapas I’ve ever had and this is one of them!  It is found at the end of a small dirt alley way, so don’t be worried you’ve taken a wrong turn.

One of the beaches I liked the best is found on the headland of Cape Trafalgar.  We also had lunch here at a great spot called Bar Las Dunas.

 

Contemplating life on the cliffs of Cape Trafalgar

Contemplating life on the cliffs of Cape Trafalgar

 

The Spanish cuisine is all about simplicity, using a couple of basic, high quality ingredients.  Oh, and putting olive oil on everything!

I slip into a dangerous habit of drinking tinto verano daily – it really is the perfect drink on a hot summers day!

After a couple of days it’s time to keep going and we make our way to Cadiz.  We stay at Amazeinn, which is basic but located in the centre of the old town and perfect for walking everywhere.

FountainCadiz is a popular spot, a gorgeous place full of beautiful lush gardens with ocean views, a beach bookended by two ancient castles, shops, restaurants and plazas for socialising.

My favourite park would have to be Parque Genovés, which I could easily have spent hours in.

It is the middle of summer and during the afternoon it’s noticeably quiet as everyone has a siesta, but of an evening the town comes alive with everyone out enjoying the cooler air.

Wandering the streets we pass young kids playing soccer in plazas, grandmas out showing off their grandkids to each other, and men in small bars drinking beer.

We enjoy a delicious and cheap dinner at La Isleta de La Vina where a massive bowl of tomato and mozzarella salad, two meat tapas plates, two beers and a tinto verano come in at under 15 euro.

 

Exploring Cadiz

Exploring Cadiz

 

After Cadiz we make our way to Huelva for the night, which I wouldn’t say is worth visiting.  Huelva doesn’t have the beauty or the character that we found in Jerez and Cadiz.

The best thing about Huelva is probably this cool place we found to eat called Puro Chup Chup.  They do their own version of typical dishes, using the same ingredients but presenting them in totally different ways.

In the Huelva province however is a beautiful beach that stretches along about 20km of coast, called Cuesta de Maneli.

To get to the beach you have to walk 1.2km along a wooden boardwalk, which is a lovely walk and protects the natural eco-system of the coastline.

 

The boardwalk leading to Cuesta de Maneli

The boardwalk leading to Cuesta de Maneli

 

We’re now nearly at the border, and after relaxing on beautiful beaches and eating our way along the coast, it’s time to see what Portugal has to offer!

2 Comments

  1. Love reading your posts Em, I feel like I’m there! Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time xx

    • Thanks for your support Luc! xx

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