This luminous corner of south-west Spain, with its sea ports, watchtowers and unspoilt landscapes was the place of Nelson’s famous victory over the French and Spanish off the Cape Trafalgar 200 years ago. There are sixty miles of golden, sandy beaches that run from Tarifa to Chiclana de la Frontera, just across the bay of Cadiz, the provincial capital of Costa de la Luz. This coastline continues even further from Cadiz, around the Donana National Park and up to Ayamonte. The Costa de la Luz coastline (Cadiz and Huelva) has more kilometres of blue flag beaches than any other part of Spain including those at Barbate, Chiclana and Conil (source www.blueflag.org).
There are many national parks in Costa de la Luz including the Parque National de Donana to the west, one of the largest in Europe. La Brena and Los Alcornocales are others and are home to a multiplicity of wildlife including many migrating bird species who thrive in these protected natural environments. The restrictions on development stretching from Gibraltar to the Algarve border have also protected the coastal areas of the Costa de La Luz from the perils of high-rise development prevalent in the Costa del Sol and ensure that many fine beaches still remain unspoilt today. The inland countryside of the Costa de la Luz is rich in flora and fauna and is characterised by pine, beech, oak and eucalyptus, olive and orange trees, salt marshes, vineyards, fields, and quaint fishing villages.
With approximately 300 sunny days a year, the Costa de la Luz is a climatically invigorating place to holiday and live. In August the average monthly temperature is 32 degrees centigrade whilst in January this drops to 15 degrees centigrade. In the peak summer months the Atlantic winds bring in cooling breezes which help to break-up the intense heat. Half of the annual rainfall generally occurs between November and January with virtually no rainfall occurring during the busy summer months of July and August. A visit anytime to the Costa de La Luz will normally be accompanied by warm sunshine and the Atlantic Ocean is at its most inviting from May through to October.
Andalucia offers a wide variety of different cultural and sporting activities including many ferias and fiestas that take place each year. Andalucia is the birthplace of flamenco and there are numerous opportunities for spectating this and bull fighting – Spain’s most popular and passionate pastimes. In addition you will find beach horse racing in San Lucar, kite surfing in Tarifa, La Liga Spanish football in Cadiz and the annual horse fair in Jerez to name but a few. There are a number of excellent golf courses in the region including at Sotogrande, Montenmedio and Montecastillo. There are also approved plans to build several new courses in the Huelva and Cadiz provinces over the next 5 years. It is even possible to visit Africa by ferry from Tarifa to Tangiers in just 35 minutes. The list is endless and the Spanish have an almost insatiable appetite for socialising and fiestas.
Life in Costa de la Luz is relaxed, laid back and essentially Spanish in nature. Shops close between around 2 and 5.30pm when many people lunch and siesta. Property is good value compared with some other areas in Spain. You can still get a coffee, a glass of beer or wine for a euro. Many restaurants serve a Menu del Dia (menu of the day) including wine at less than ten euros. There is an abundance of fresh fish straight from the Atlantic including tuna, swordfish, prawns and octopus as well as a mouth-watering array of tapas served in bars and often accompanied by a beer or manzanilla.
Andalucia is home to the vibrant cultural cities of Cadiz, Cordoba, Jerez and Seville. There are also a number of stunning pueblos blancos (white hilltop towns) such as Vejer de la Frontera, Arcos de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia which still retain Moorish architectural influences to this day.