On 21st October 1805 the residents heard the roar of the cannons of the Battle of Trafalgar in this classic “ white “ village of Andalucia, perched 200 metres over the ravine of the Barbate River beside the Costa de Luz. Climbing the hill you reach a Moorish walled ancient town with churches, old convents boutique hotels , forts, bars and artisan shops. The many narrow cobbled streets seem insistant that you explore all their secret nooks and crannies. At the Convento de San Francisco, now a hotel, guests and locals breakfast, drink and chatter all day in it’s massive old refectory. We while away summer afternoons in the shady Plaza de Espana with it’s wonderful frog embellished tiled fountain. For night cool try the Janice Joplin bar a magnet for “beautiful people”. A must just 6 Km south is an extra special sculpture park created by the NMAC Foundation.
From the hilltop village of Vejer de la Frontera I got my first glimpse of Africa: the brown crust of the Moroccan Rif misty on the horizon but surprisingly near.
Having travelled on a bus from nearby Cadiz I set out on foot to wander the tight web of streets.
Then, coming to the edge of town, looked down to a field where a donkey stood obstinately braying.
At lunchtime I entered from the sunshine into the gloom of a bar where three – what I thought to be local – men stood chatting and laughing.
I ordered a bottle of San Miguel at two-thirds the price of more touristy places and sat at a table to write postcards undisturbed.
This is a really beautiful little boutique hotel in Vejer de la Frontera. Its in a converted historic house with interior patio courtyard and there's a roof terrace with breathtaking views over to the coast of Africa. The atmosphere of the place is supremely chilled and the rooms, with their mix of Spanish, Moroccan and 50s chic, are stylish and romantic - apparently one of the rooms is renowned for the number of marriage proposals it seems to incite.
Flights are cheap to nearby Jerez and Gibraltar, so you can consider going for a weekend getaway.
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