This area has such a great diversity something can be found to suit all needs and tastes. Here is a little bit of information to whet your appetite!
Chiclana is situated on the River Iro. The Town Centre boasts a new Indoor Market (La Plaza) selling fruit, vegetables, freshly baked bread, fresh meat and fish. Open Monday to Saturday 8 am to 2 pm. Chiclana has many churches and convents and dates back to before Roman times. The outdoor market by the blue bridge is open on Tuesdays from 9 pm until 1.30 pm. Chiclana has a doll museum, salt marshes and salinas to visit, many churches including Jesus Nazareno where the nuns sell the famous almond tart by use of a turntable in the foyer. Bodegas selling local produce and the local wines and sherries. Tapas bars, restaurants, banks, clothes shops are all here.
Local Salt Marshes
The salt marshes are home to the many flamingos, spoonbills, black backed stilts, green shanks and other waders. There is a visitors centre which explains how the salt is extracted and you can view much bird life and learn about the history of the area.
The town of San Fernando has a large shopping complex (Bahia Sur) with its multiplex cinema, Carrefour hypermarket and many designer shops, restaurants, play complex, electrical goods, all under cover and air- conditioned. Local outdoor market on a Tuesday 9.30 pm until 2 pm. Train station linking up to Cadiz, Sevilla etc.
There are approximately 15,000 inhabitants and the town is famed for its white streets. It is a beautiful white town and has been declared a zone of artistic, historic and cultural interest. It has wonderful tapas bars, a large town square and many old style buildings with their railed windows and balconies. There are many small squares and pretty fountains. The town is over 3,000 years old and you can transport yourself back in time.
The vistas from the top of the hill are 360 degrees and you can see the Bay of Cadiz in the distance. A Roman colony of Asido Caesarina was built over the top of the Phoenician settlements. The Cerro del Castillo is at the top at over 300 metres high. Under the Visigoths, Medina was the capital of the province and has been the centre of the church since the 4th century. In 712 Medina was invaded by the Muslims. It was then known as Sidonia Cora. In 1264 King Alfonso X El Sabio re-conquered the town and it became part of the frontier with the Nazari kingdom of Granada. History abounds here, the views are spectacular and the picturesque squares and Tapas Bars are worth a try!
The market of Conil is held Friday 9.30 until 2 pm alongside the beach car park. Lots of locally produced items, clothes, shoes, leather goods, plants and flowers, garlic and olives are all sold here. The old part of Conil is worth exploring many souvenirs and knick-knacks can be found wandering through the arches and back streets, the street theatre, fish restaurants, ice cream parlours, tapas and a wonderful seaside feel make Conil a nice place. The sandy beach is quite a long walk.
Cadiz is the oldest port in Europe, a beautiful walled city sitting on a peninsula, surrounded by water. The city dates back to Phoenician times. The old quarter is the most beautiful, spectacular buildings with narrow cobblestone streets, pretty squares and tapas bars. Moorish architecture, Torre Tavira (camara obscura), the cathedral (views are spectacular), many historical churches, and Cadiz holds the most important Carnival outside of Rio de Janeiro, history abounds here and Cadiz has a strong maritime heritage. Take time to visit the Genovese park. Many tree and plant specimens bought back by Christopher Columbus. Wild parrots also live here. Visit the museum and view the archaeological exhibits which also houses the largest art gallery in Andalucia with works by Ruebens, Zurbaran and Murillo.
Jerez is a pleasant city with its Cathedral, Moorish quarter, old town, bodega tours. Traditional crafts such as barrel making, wicker work, wine, flamenco, saddling are all to be found here. Visit the moorish Alcazar, the former residence of the Caliph of Seville, complete with an octagonal mosque and ancient baths. Planting has been modelled as closely to the original gardens. Visit the zoo, the clock museum, the many churches. One visit which is a must is a visit to the Andalucian school of equestrian art. (The dancing horses of Jerez).
Towards Tarifa in the straits of Gibraltar Natural Park is the bay of Bolonia with its breathtaking beach backed by a huge sand dune. Boloniais the site of Baelo Claudia which has been excavated to reveal the most comprehensive remains of a Roman town, its basilica, theatre, temple and fish salting factories. This site is one of the largest in Europe and is still being excavated. EU citizens free if you show your passport.
Go a little further on and you get to Tarifa. This is where all the kite and wind surfers are to be found – always a levante wind across Tarifa making it perfect conditions. The town has many surf and souvenir shops, many international restaurants and bars, sand dunes, kite lessons and a long beautiful beach.
Remember your passport! Gibraltar has much to offer, tax free shopping, the Rock with the Barbary apes, St Michael’s Cave, Siege Tunnels, 100 ton gun, cable car trip, the Museum, the Mediterranean steps, Moorish castle, Casemates Square, Catalan Bay, Dolphin and Whale watching trips, Boat trips, many other monuments and lots of history.
Sanlucar de Barrameda
This major sherry town is an attractive place with old quarter set at the mouth of the Guadalquivir. It is noted for its horse racing on the beach (dates back to 1845) and takes place along a 1800m stretch of beach during the month of August, daily from 6.00 pm on the 2nd and 4th weekends of August (Thursday to Sunday). Racehorses thunder across the sand watched by many spectators, this is a thrilling spectacle.
Manzanilla wine(sherry) is produced here it is a pale fino variety which is not fortified with alcohol like in Jerez or El Puerto. There are many seafood restaurants here.
Donana Natural Park
Go on a 13 km boat trip along the Guadalquivir River from Sanlucar de Barrameda, which takes you through the Donana National Park. Tickets can be purchased from the ice factory. The Donana National Park is home to many permanent and visiting species of wildlife. Over 120 species of birds are known to reside here, as well as reptiles, amphibians and several species of fish.
There is a rich variety of mammals, some in danger of extinction, such as the lynx and the mongoose. There are also red and fallow deer, and wild boar.
The trip lasts 3.5 hrs and you stop off in two places to see the bird life and visit a traditional village. If you do the afternoon trip the sunsets are beautiful. Trips are normally 10 am or 4 or 5 pm depending on the season.
Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer is a white hilltop town (pueblo blanco), has much Moorish influence and is well worth a visit for a walk around the old parts. There is a wonderful hotel/restaurant at the top called Al Califa which produces traditional Moroccan cuisine in its wonderful courtyard gardens or inside in the dungeons!!! It is recommended to park down in the lower car park and then walk. It is very narrow and steep but worth the visit for the views!
This park has many beautiful walks in the mountains where you can see many resident birds and many migrants. View large birds of prey such as griffin vultures and various eagles. Hoopoes, bee eaters, deer, wild boar, goats can all be found.
It is worth planning your visit to Seville beforehand.
There are river trips, the Alcazar (Moorish), Plaza de Espana (1929 Americas Fair), Plaza de Toros (Bullring), Torre de Oro (Moorish watchtower), La Casa de Pilatos (16th century mansion), Hotel Alfonso XIII (exclusive grandest hotel), Hospital de los Venerables (Baroque palace), Hospital de la Caridad (Baroque church), Isla Magica (large Alton towers like Theme Park with fantastic evening firework displays). I have more information in my villas about some of the above. Restaurants and flamenco, horses, Feria and fairs, Sevilla offers a wonderful day(s) out.