Strewn out for miles along the southern Atlantic coast of Spain is the stunning El Palmar beach. You won't find yourself short of things to do at the village end - with a mix of restaurants, bars and surf shacks; but walk (or drive and park for free) along to the far eastern edge of the beach and you'll find yourself completely alone with just the wide expanse of sand and sound of waves for company.
You can surf, swim, body board or simply throw out your towel and sit and watch the waves hit the beach and relax. It is perfect at any time of day - for a morning swim, a lunch-time picnic, romantic stroll or to watch the sun go down over the water.
Also at this end is a wonderful little restaurant with a beautiful garden, just right for lounging back on a wicker chair with an Estrella.
You can camp in El Palmar but we stayed in the town of Vejer de la Frontera, 12km away - probably my favourite town in Spain.
11159 El Palmar, Cadiz province, Andalusia, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/13VpdPV
Restaurante Patria in Patria is the best restaurant in or near Vejer. The quality of the food is always excellent, the trilingual (or more) owner manager is charming and her husband, the chef - very talented in the kitchen. Faultless!
I stayed in a villa called Casa Lucia in a pretty hamlet called Santa Lucia with two excellent restaurants we could walk to and just outside of Vejer de la Frontera. The villa was stylish yet homely, well equipped and very comfortable - the best villa I have ever stayed in. The terraced gardens were an oasis of tranquility and the focal point was the huge 12m long pool with waterfall. We were also only 10 minutes drive from the 7km unspoilt sandy beach of El Palmar.
(+34)956 41 00 69
A great restaurant in the heart of the old town. This is a unique location, a real labyrinth of historic houses and a surprising sunlit garden where you'd expect to find a basement. First class Moroccan and Lebanese cooking. Don't miss it if you're in the area.
Plaza de España, Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz province.
Reservations: 0034 956 45 17 06
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.
This small Andalusian town is something that will stay in your memory for eternity and will always bring wonderful feelings every time you think of it. Vejer is a Moorish founded village and wandering around it you will see that ancient houses and churches still breathing that epoch.
Evening walk around enjoying the views of white houses, old plazas and mystic looks of Moorish-built churches, all this scenery lit with sunset light only brings peace and complete disconnection from the reality to anyone. Perfect for a romantic getaway or just a relaxation trip!
And of course, having dinner on one of the terraces savoring typical dishes made only from local produce or catch! (like Atun de Barbate). Don't miss the "Atun encebollado", "Chipirones a la plancha" and a "copita" of chilled "Barbadillo" white wine!
To stay you can find many small house-like clean hotels or for a bit of romance and luxury. Check out La Casa del Califa hotel with it's breathtaking views from the terrace.
Still think you can resist it?
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.
Sculpture park and contemporary art foundation set in a large wooded park. Some permanent, some temporary works, by both well known and emerging artists from around the world. The sculpture trail is exceptionally well organised and being set in woodland, each work is hidden from view until you're almost on top of it, making it feel like a treasure hunt. We visited in July and only came across one other family which really made us feel like we were explorers! As well as the sculpture trail, there are also temporary exhibition spaces inside the old bunkers (part of an old military complex, abandoned since the 70s), and a cafe. The staff were also extremely friendly and helpful and it was only 5 euros to get in. A real unexpected pleasure and an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
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