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Costa de la Luz

Playa de Caños de Meca, Costa de la Luz, Spain (cc)
 

Costa de la Luz

Costa de la Luz, or "Coast of Light," strings out along the southwestern periphery of Spain, from Cádiz south to Tárifa, just over an hour's drive from end to end. It is a lovely stretch of coast with unspoiled beaches and a seawall made of stone and sand, where beachgoers typically seek solitude and the thrill of the Atlantic surf. Along the way are shiny white villages, notably Conil de la Frontera, El Palmar, Los Caños de Meca and Zahara de los Atunes, each with a measure of visitor interest.

Costa de la Luz Highlights

Conil de la Frontera

Conil de la Frontera, the first of the coastal communities reached when heading out from Cádiz, is a fishing village turned summer resort town, boasting a population of nearly 21,000. Here the tourists are mainly Spaniards, with the occasional Germans and French popping up in their midst. It therefore comes as no surprise that menus at the restaurants here are primarily in Spanish, and, to cater to the homegrown tourist lot, campgrounds fairly outnumber resort hotels. Just to the south of town, too, at the foot of a sheer, 100-foot cliff, lie the resort's principal beaches, Playa El Roqueo and Playa La Fontanilla, both with fine sand and a measure of surf.

El Palmar

El Palmar, a small village reached at the end of a delightful meadow drive from Conil and a brief detour on a gravel road, sits in plain view of the windmills above Tárifa to the southwest and is regarded as the premier surfing destination on the southern Atlantic Coast. The principal beach here is La Playa El Palmar, populated with a board-toting young crowd, with a popular beachside restaurant, La Chanca, and a bar or two.

Faro

Another surfing locale, just east of El Palmar, is Faro. It is considerably more remote, reached on a dirt road, save for the scores of parked caravans of devoted surfers.

Los Caños de Meca

Los Caños de Meca, the next town along, can accurately be described a modern-day hippie haunt, where congas, beads, hemp, and hair down to the waist are the order of the day. It is a colorful little town, situated at the foot of a pine-covered hill that is part of the Parque Natural Brena y Marismas del Barbate, with the higher elevations in the park offering superb views of the town and ocean below. Here, on the periphery of the park, sheer, white sandstone cliffs rise more than 300 feet (90 meters) above the sea, while a lush green canopy of pines covers the natural park. The principal beach at Los Caños, by the way, is Playa de Los Caños de Meca.

Barbate

Near at hand, too, on the east side of Parque Natural Brena y Marismas del Barbate, is the port town of Barbate, not exactly a tourist draw but with a handful of beaches and easy access to the nature park. It has a population of about 23,000.

Zahara de Los Atunes

Zahara de Los Atunes, not far from Barbate, nor from the enchanting bay of Atlanterra for that matter, is a small village which once was a thriving fishing community, with the ruins of a defunct tuna factory still there to show for it. It has handsome streets to stroll down, restaurants offering delicious seafood, and excellent beaches in a serene setting. It is also all but a stone's throw from Tárifa.

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated December 3, 2013
Posted in   Spain  |  Cádiz
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