Beaches near Vejer de la Frontera

Vejer is located on the Costa de la Luz – a wonderfully unspoilt stretch of coastline running from Tarifa to Cadiz on the Atlantic coast in Southern Spain. Costa de la Luz is Spanish for ‘Coast of light’, and it is so-called after the bright sunshine that bathes its shores.

The beaches are probably the best in Spain: the most beautiful, least developed, most natural and with fewest tourists. The Costa de la Luz also thankfully plays host to predominantly Spanish tourists, so you won’t find British pubs & Fish’n’Chips like on the Costa del Sol. You may even learn some Spanish.

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Map showing our favourite local beaches

Click on the little blue place markers for more information or to get directions to a particular beach. You can change the view between map / satellite view / and terrain by clicking the links in the top right, and you can zoom in and out by clicking the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ symbols on the left. If you want to reposition the map, click and drag anywhere within the map area.

View Vejer de la Frontera Beaches in a larger map – or view a lovely 3 dimensional map using Google Earth

We can’t possibly try to review all the beaches near Vejer here, but the following are the beaches we end up spending most of our time on when we go to Vejer – they’re all shown on the map above.

Fuente de Gallo beach – Playa Fuente de Gallo

Fuente de Gallo beach

Fuente de Gallo beach

Fuente de Gallo beach lies just north of Conil de la Frontera. It’s a slightly more “towny”, but still very picturesque beach, with some low lying cliffs leading down to it. Famous for its incredible sea-food restaurant “chiringuito” (beach bar) open in July and August – book to avoid disappointment (ie get down to the beach in the morning, and reserve a table for lunch). It generally gets a bit busy in high season as the depth of the beach is reduced by the cliffs, meaning people are a bit more ‘sardined’ than elsewhere.

Conil de la Frontera beach

Conil de la frontera beach - playa de conil

Conil de la Frontera beach - Playa de conil

Conil de la Frontera is a fairly sizeable town, with around 21,000 inhabitants. It has six beaches: Playa La Fontanilla, Playa El Roqueo (with a 1936 Civil War bunker), Playa Fuente del Gallo (see above), Playa Punta Lejos, Playa Cala del Aceite and Playa los Bateles. Playa los Bateles is the longest and the most popular in the summer. Conil’s got a couple of quite cool Kitesurfing/Windsurfing schools, and the best supermarket in the area: Mercadona (Avenida de la musica, 11140).

El Palmar beach

El Palmar Beach - Playa El Palmar

El Palmar Beach

The joint closest beach to Vejer de la Frontera (13km/15mins) and one of our favourites. It’s about 12km long and, except for a couple of shops and bars in El Palmar itself, the beach is mainly “wild” – undeveloped – with sand dunes leading onto the beach. It’s covered in soft, white sand. Popular with surfers and kitesurfers (depending on the wind & waves of course). Up the Northern End towards Conil is one nudist area, and people like to strip off at the Southern end too – marked as “El Palmar secret beach” on the map above. This end, the “Secret beach” end, perhaps takes the prize for top beach spot near Vejer.

Zahora beach

Zahora beach - Playa Zahora

Zahora beach - Playa Zahora

The joint closest beach to Vejer, along with El Palmar (13km/15mins) – this one’s especially suitable for young children. That doesn’t mean that it’s riddled with them in an unmellow way, merely that they are less likely to drown here than at other, wilder beaches. The reason for this is that at low tide the reef creates a barrier between the beach and the sea, creating a lagoon – a huge, natural, shallow swimming pool. One of my sisters stated some random desire to get married here. I can’t think why. Why on earth get married on a beach you can only swim at if you’re 1 foot tall?

Photo by M. Cottage.

Cape Trafalgar beach – Cabo de Trafalgar

Cape Trafalgar Beach

Cape Trafalgar Beach looking towards Zahora

A fabulous beach in an spot made famous by that top bloke Nelson, in 1805. Scene of the greatest naval victory the world has ever known (I’ll have to change this bit in the Spanish translation) – The Battle of Trafalgar. It’s a lovely windswept beach, with wonderful views North and South from up by the light house. There’s also some cool hippie mud-hut/adobe style bars on the road leading to the beach, and actually there’s usually a fair number of hippie travellers around about here too. (If the Levante wind is blowing, ie Easterly wind (East to West)) check the map out above for the protected beach underneath the lighthouse).

Los Caños de Meca – Main beach

Los Caños de Meca beach

Los Caños de Meca beach

A little bit further South East from Cape Trafalgar lies Los Caños de Meca – and yet more hippies. Only joking, I am a hippie myself, and I love it there. Wikipedia says about Los Caños de Meca “Los Canos de Meca history is related to the Straits of Gibraltar, the Roman Fretus Herculeum and the Arab Boughaz el Tarek”. Hmmm.

I’ve also been trying to work out what “Los Caños” means. Google Translate says “pipes”, my dictionary says “sewers”. I think actually it’s to do with the mud spring on the beach, where people smear mud all over their naked bodies then parade up and down the beach looking like Papua New Guineans. It’s a fabulous, understated, super coooool beach, with a wonderful couple of beach bars – check out the one like a Moroccan tent built up the cliff.

Los Caños de Meca – Nudist beach

Caños de Meca nudist beach

Caños de Meca nudist beach

It’s a lovely little beach this one, but perhaps it should be called “frisky beach” for reasons I won’t go into here. It’s an absolutely beautiful spot, but it’s one for the more liberally minded people amongst you.

To get there, just head into Los Caños de Meca and keep driving through the town, over the speedbumps until you get almost to the end. There’s a sandy path on the right past the last building. In high season, you’re probably best parking in one of the paid car parks – it’s usually between 3€ – 5€ for the day.

Photo by D. Rivera. I didn’t dare go back.

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Zahara de los Atunes beach – “Zahara of the Tuna”

Zahara de los Atunes beach

Zahara de los Atunes beach

Zahara de los Atunes is a relatively small, sleepy fishing village on the Costa de la Luz that’s sadly developing fairly rapidly. It’s quite a trendy holiday spot for Spaniards coming from Barcelona and Madrid, and lies just 30 km north of Tarifa. It has some excellent beaches, and on a hot summer’s day Zahara feels somewhat more like being in Africa – the Sahara – than Spain. It’s hot, hot, hot! Even the winter temperature here averages a pleasant 17ºC (63f).

As the name suggests, there’s also a wealth of tasty Tuna around here. Obviously somewhere for sea-food lovers.

Bolonia beach – El Lentiscal

Bolonia Beach - Playa Bolonia

Bolonia Beach - El Lentiscal

One of my personal favourites – this beach is rather special for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s got a gigantic 400 foot sand dune at one end (see photo), which is great fun to climb (although a little tiring), and produces some incredibly photogenic landscapes – especially later in the day. Secondly, it’s the location of a famous 2,000 year old Roman ruin called Baelo Claudia – a major fish-paste exporter during the Roman empire. Thirdly, there are often wild cows and horses wandering up and down the beach.

Thankfully, construction here is completely prohibited as the area forms part of the nature reserve of the Straits of Gibraltar. In general, it’s just a very special place. Well worth the trip from Vejer – perhaps as part of a day trip to Tarifa (23km/25 mins to the South – East).

Valdevaqueros Beach Tarifa – Watersports’ heaven

This is probably the top spot in Europe, and perhaps the world, for fanatical Kitesurfers and Windsurfers. Home of the the Kitesurfing world championships, and to several places with very windy-sounding names such as Club Mistral and Hurricane Hotel. Come here on a windy day, shelter from the wind in one of the laid back surf bars and prepare to experience some truly world class acrobatics! This beach is generally not somewhere for beginner sailors.

Instead of a photo, here’s a little video I made on a day too windy for Kitesurfing, so out came all the old and no-so-old Windsurfing gear:

Tarifa beach – Gateway to Africa

Tarifa beach - Playa Tarifa

Tarifa beach

Tarifa is a small historical town situated across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco. It dates back to Roman times, and after the Islamic conquest of southern Spain between 711 and 718, it changed hands various times and went through various stages of fortification. Tarifa’s beach is a town beach, so not as natural as most of the previous beaches, but still very nice, if a little windy!

There’s loads to see and do in Tarifa – the old town with narrow cobbled streets and lots of interesting shops, the Guzman Castle built in 960, and of course it’s so close to Africa, you can even make out the little white houses in Morocco (or visit Morocco – Tangier is a 45 min boat trip away). Tarifa is also the point that the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic meet and is a renowned place for wildlife: it’s fabulous for watching the migrating birds, in particular the storks which cross the Straits of Gibraltar in spring and autumn, and also whale and dolphin watching from boats on the 14 kilometer wide Straits.

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