There are activities for all the family and for all ages on the Costa de la Luz!
From April to October you can join the firmm researchers. During the 2-hour boat trips you can watch various species of whales and dolphins. In the week-long observation courses you will find out more about the fascinating animals and the Strait of Gibraltar.
People come from all over the world to enjoy the watersports on the Costa de la Luz. The wind and the waves provide the perfect conditions. El Palmar, where Villa Parra is situated, is excellent for surfing. For kiteboarding, head for Cape Trafalgar and Caños de Meca during a Poniente (westerly wind) and Conil de la Frontera during a Levante (easterly). In Conil there are training schools and kitesurfing shops supplying the gear. The Conil stretch of coast is less crowded with windsurfers and kitesurfers than down at Tarifa.
Walks and hikes
The Parque Natural de la Breña and Marismas del Barbate near Cape Trafalgar includes five protected ecosystems: marine, dune, pine, marsh and cliff. Along the pine clad cliffs which rise 100 m at the Tajo de Barbate, there are routes for walkers and hikers offering spectacular views over the Strait of Gibraltar. Rosemary and lavender are just two of the scents you will encounter. The tourist office in Barbate has details.
Another well documented area is the natural park Alcornocales, rich in flora and fauna. The cork oaks from which the park takes its name, have their bark stripped every seven years revealing a velvety copper coloured trunk. White poplar, mytle, ash and alder and Mediterranean shrubs provide shelter for the mongoose, otter and wildcat. There is a visitor centre at Alcalá de los Gazules.
One of the pleasures of a holiday is to visit the markets and try out the local food. On the Costa de la Luz, seafood is the speciality, and in the Cádiz market and at Puerto de Santa María, you will be spoiled for choice. Buy vegetables and fruit grown in the market gardens nearby - plump peaches and squashy figs, luscious strawberries and oranges, giant tomatoes and peppers. Try the wines from the region, especially fino and manzanilla sherry. Seville is a shopping mecca. The main shopping area is the square between Plazas Nueva, Magdalena, Encarnacion and San Francisco, with Calle Sierpes at its heart. In The clothes and decoration shops are stylish and chic. Seville is famous for decorated tiles and glazed ceramics, terracotta pots and leather goods and look out for craft products to give as gifts.
Mountain bikers will find plenty of trails on flat dirt tracks through this beautiful and wild countryside. This is a great way to explore, riding through the cork oak forests, on tracks through the dunes, past the meadows of wild flowers and fields ablaze with sunflowers. Rent a bike in Conil and then explore locally or head for La Brena natural park near Cape Trafalgar. Here there are more difficult mountain tracks too.
What could be better than riding along miles of golden sand to the rhythm of the waves or trek inland and go through the pine forests into open countryside. There are riding schools and stables in Conil where you can hire horses to make this dream a reality. Montenmedio, near Vejer de la Frontera has become a centre for international competitions in dressage, horse jumping, cross-country, rodeo, harnessing and 3-day eventing. Here you can also learn to ride and attend clinics at all levels.
The bird migration passes from Africa to Europe over the Strait of Gibraltar passing over the Costa de la Luz from Gibraltar to Huelva in spring and in autumn. This is the time for ornithologists to come to holiday rental Villa Mar, Villa Luz or Villa Parra to see the nightjars and owls, bee eaters, swifts and Griffon vultures.
A trip to Europe's largest nature reserve Coto Doñana is a day well spent but you need to book ahead - you will be driven around in a Unimog type vehicle to see the wild life. The terrain is largely wetland, marshes, where more than 250 different bird species have been recorded. Late February and mid May are the best times for bird watching. The Parque Natural Alcornocales and the Parque Natural de la Breña are other areas of interest to nature lovers.
There are adventure sports on the Costa de la Luz to provide adrenaline fixes in all shapes and forms. At El Helechal, Bolonia, hone your rock climbing skills and cling onto the boulders for dear life - this is boulder mania. The hills in the San Bartolo area offer over 250 routes from 10 to 80 metres. Barranquismo or canyoneering is another extreme sport - here you go down canyons and ravines. Learn scuba diving in Tarifa. Always attentive of the wind forecast, experienced paragliders fly up and down the beaches for a bird's eye view. The Montenmedio Country Club has a programme of multi-adventure activities: try the 4x4 excursions or go out on a quad bike over the dunes. Practice your skills of climbing, abseiling and ziplining. You can go hunting on the estate, or try your hand at archery.
When it comes to finding a golf course in this area of the Costa de la Luz, you are spoiled for choice. With a lot of competition, prices tend to be more reasonable than on the Costa del Sol. Nearest to Villa Mar and Villa Parra, not far from Vejer de la Frontera there is Montenmedio Golf and Country Club, considered one of the most beautiful golf courses in Spain. Close by is Benalup Golf Club. Each are 18 hole courses. Northwards at Chiclana de la Frontera there are two courses at Santi Petri. The Montecastillo course at Jerez de la Frontera is particularly fine, having hosted the Volvo Masters championship on a number of occasions.
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