Andalusia Travel: The Costa de la Luz, Cadiz & the Pueblos Blancos
After my visit to Granada, I made my way west in a rental car to a small coastal village called Conil de la Frontera on the Costa de la Luz where I connected with my brother and my sister-in-law who had flown in from Austria. We had rented a two bedroom apartment in town that would be our home base for the next week.
On our first full day (April 14, 2011) on Spain’s western Andalusian coast, we drove south to Cape Trafalgar (of the famous Battle of Trafalgar) where we took a walk around the lighthouse. Then we continued further south to Barbate where we enjoyed an ice cream on the waterfront promenade. Our last stop was the picturesque village of Vejer de la Frontera, a typical “pueblo blanco”, or white-washed village on a promontory.
Dating back to Moorish times, the white villages of Andalusia are usually built on hilltops, have narrow winding streets, bright white-washed walls and adorned by many colourful flowers. They are extremely photogenic and make excellent destinations for travel photographers. I probably must have shot 300 or 400 pictures that day. We capped the evening off in Conil and watched some of the rehearsals for the upcoming Semana Santa processions.
The next day we made an excursion to Cadiz, Western Europe’s oldest city which boasts a 3000 year history. Its slogan “the city that smiles” announces that Cadiz is a friendly place that also has a famous carnival. From the picturesque main square of Plaza San Juan de Dios, we walked to the massive cathedral and from there along the waterfront which often stands in for Havana’s waterfront. We also climbed the 173 steps of the Torre Tavira to enjoy an amazing view over the whole city. Then we walked to the western end of the peninsula to the scenic Parque Genoves and the Alameda Apodaca to the Plaza de Espana and checked out the Renfe Railway Station before heading back to Conil.
On our third day on the Costa de la Luz we took the bus from Conil to Cadiz and then the ferry from Cadiz across the bay to Puerto de Santa Maria at the mouth of the Guadalete River. Two big cruise ships were anchored in the port of Cadiz, which is a popular destination for cruise liners. The wind was extremely strong and the ferry was swaying back and forth; people on deck were getting sprayed regularly with water.