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Latest update: 2 August 2023

The Costa de la Luz (coast of light) is in southern Spain and has over 3000 (!!) hours of sunshine per year. The area runs from the border with Portugal all the way to Tarifa. That means 270 kilometers of sandy beach. But which of the Costa de la Luz towns should you visit?

Costa de la Luz: from Portugal to Gibraltar

So, where is the Costa de la Luz? The coastal strip is bordered by Portugal and Gibraltar. Everything in between is the Costa de la Luz, including the villages near the coast. The villages and towns are in the provinces of Huelva and Cádiz. I mainly focused on the Cádiz side of the Costa de la Luz: from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz, Chiclana de la Frontera, Conil de la Frontera, Vejer de la Frontera, Los Caños de Meca, Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes, Bolonia and Tarifa.

Beach and water sports on the Costa de la Luz, Spain

The Costa de la Luz is on the Atlantic Ocean and has a lot of wind. If the strong levante wind (east wind) blows, you’ll get sandblasted. But that wind is also what attracts many kite surfers to the area. Of course, you can do all kinds of activities in and on the water on the Costa de la Luz. From active surfing to relaxing boat trips.

Road trip: beaches and white villages of the Costa de la Luz

What to expect from the Costa de la Luz? Well, those beautiful beaches obviously, and cute white villages, sherry, flamenco, tapas, and more. And it’s all a bit more pleasant and low-key than on the Costa Brava, for example.

You can easily choose one place on the Costa de la Luz to stay and explore the area from there, but village hopping is also fun! A rental car is a must. I always prefer to rent from Sunny Cars or EasyTerra because they take care of all necessary insurance. So that when I pick up the car, the staff doesn’t scare me into buying insurance I don’t need.

Let’s see what to experience on the Costa de la Luz on the Cádiz side!

Sanlúcar de Barrameda

The first town you will encounter on the Costa de la Luz in Cadiz is Sanlúcar de Barrameda. It is one of the three main sherry towns in the region, so you should definitely visit a sherry bodega here. But there’s more! For example, the Doñana Park and the historic center.

Find out what to do in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Jerez de la Frontera

Take some time for Jerez de la Frontera, because there is a lot to do. Of course, you can visit more sherry bodegas, but the horse show is perhaps the biggest crowd-puller. In addition, it is a lovely city to stroll through, with many good restaurants. I think Jerez de la Frontera is a charming city on the Costa de la Luz.

Read all the tips for Jerez de la Frontera.

El Puerto de Santa María

Mainly Spanish tourists find their way to El Puerto de Santa María. They like to visit the beaches of the Costa de la Luz in this area. The center is small and easily walkable, and here you will also find a lot of sherry bodegas, of which Bodegas Osborn is the best known.

Discover El Puerto de Santa María.


Cádiz is the capital of the province of Cádiz in Andalusia. It is a wonderful city because it is nice and compact, there is a lot to see, and it is still a city of the Spaniards, not the tourists. The cathedral and the Torre de Tavira offer fantastic views of the city and de the coastline of the Costa de la Luz.

Read more about Cádiz.

Chiclana de la Frontera

For me, Chiclana de la Frontera was my base for discovering the Costa de la Luz. The city center has several sights and nice sherry bodegas, but the beach is the main draw. A wide, long sandy beach with many bars and restaurants. Don’t forget to do a sherry tour at Bodega Manuel Aragón.

Find out what to do in Chiclana de la Frontera.

Conil de la Frontera

Conil de la Frontera is a small coastal village on the Costa de la Luz where you can wander the streets. Especially the fishing district Barrio de los Pescadores is cute. There are not that many sights, so you have more than enough time to try out different cafes or enjoy the beautiful beach.

What to do in Conil de la Frontera?

Tip! The ‘sherry triangle’ is located in Cádiz. Time for a tasting or tour. Learn more about the best sherry tours and wine tastings in Cádiz.

Vejer de la Frontera

Vejer de la Frontera is for sure my favorite village in Cádiz, on the Costa de la Luz. It’s cozy and cute, and there’s lots to do and eat. What else do you want, right? The Plaza de España is a beautiful square with an impressive fountain and lovely outdoor cafes where you can easily spend a few hours.

Explore Vejer de la Frontera.

Los Caños de Meca

The village of Los Caños de Meca only comes to life in the summer. Because there really isn’t much to do other than surfing and chilling in this town on the Costa de la Luz. Or maybe you’re up for a walk to Barbate through the La Breña Natural Park.

More about Los Caños de Meca.


In Barbate, you eat tuna. Nothing else. Restaurant El Campero has been renamed the ‘tuna temple,’ the food is really delicious. There are also more than enough restaurants and cafes on the beach. You should definitely check out the cliffs of Barbate. The ocean views are amazing.

Read more about Barbate.

Zahara de los Atunes

Zahara de los Atunes is also a summer destination. In the winter, it is almost extinct. There is a castle ruin that you can visit, but don’t expect too much: there is little left of it. You come to Zahara de los Atunes for a nice beach day: alternate a splash in the ocean with a splash of sangria in your glass.

This is what you can expect from Zahara de los Atunes.


Bolonia beach is considered by many to be the most beautiful beach on the Costa de la Luz. Mainly because it is still untouched. The coastline is gorgeous but has limited facilities. You can take long walks on the beach or through the nature reserve behind it. Or just enjoy a day of chilling on the beach. Well deserved.

Read more about Bolonia.


Tarifa is THE surf spot of the Costa de la Luz. Kite and windsurfers love this coastal town with a relaxed vibe. But even if you’re not into surfing, Tarifa is an excellent place for a day out. Did you know that you can spot dolphins and whales in Tarifa?

Find out what to do in Tarifa.

Best travel time Costa de la Luz

The Andalusian coastal region is worth a visit all year round. In winter, the climate is much more pleasant than in the Netherlands, although the levante wind (an easterly wind) can be strong and last for days, and it does rain sometimes. Yet on the Costa de la Luz, you can regularly enjoy lunch outside in the sun with a sweater on, and the temperature is pleasant for hiking. Be prepared that many hotels and restaurants close their doors during this season.

In the spring, the coastal towns slowly come to life, and it is still nice and quiet on the beaches and in the villages. The summer months on the Costa de la Luz are hot, very hot. So hot that many businesses close all of August. And autumn still has wonderfully warm days but a lot fewer tourists.

More Spain inspiration?

  • Accommodation. All-time favorites: Booking.com and Campspace. Rather stay in a hostel? Try HostelWorld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. Another good option is WithLocals. And Freetour.com and GuruWalk both offer ‘free’ walking tours, while Baja Bikes has bike tours.
  • Attractions and museums. Get a 5% discount at Tiqets on museums and attractions with the discount code: KIMOPREIS22
  • Boat. You can catch a boat to Mallorca from Barcelona, for example. Book your ticket at Balearia. You can also get to the other Balearic Islands with Balearia. Compare ferry prices at Direct Ferries.
  • Bus and train. Travel to Spain with NS International or Flixbus. Other useful companies are Busbud, 12go, and Omio, also for buses and trains within Spain.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Have a look at Transavia and Vueling, but do compare prices! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? From The Netherlands, there is plenty of choice. ANWB vakanties, Tui, Shoestring or Sawadee, of rather D-reizen, Sunweb, Corendon or Vakantie Discounter?
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. Let’s get you ready for your trip! Order a travel guide to browse through. For example, at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. Or why not treat yourself to a yoga retreat in Spain!

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