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THE SURROUNDINGS Back
There are many places to see and things to do close to Costa Ballena, but among them some suggestions could be the following:
closest sights could be The Lighthouse in Chipiona
( we have not climbed it up yet, I think it has a tight schedule for visits,
but the view must be stunning ) or the Historic Town in Rota
quite well looked after, there you can see the Luna Castle
with a beautiful courtyard and gothic church of La O.
Another interesting sight to see for tose interested in local culture
are the “corrales” , something that specifically
only share the towns of Rota and Chipiona in Spain and some other towns
in Southwestern France. They consist of long walls made out of “ostionera”
stone that allow fishing inside them when the tide is low.
is really a jewel in the coast slowly recovering from many years into
oblivion. Among its narrow streets specially in Barrio Alto you can discover
many churches and palaces, some of them even smell strongly
of “manzanilla wine” and above all lots of
character. It is also the starting point for boats trip to Doñana
National Park which leave from Bajo de Guia headquarter.
In Sanlucar, right on the beach still takes place every year the oldest
horse racing in Spain dating from XIX century.
Puerto de Sta María
is well known by its “ bodegas “ and for its Ribera
del Marisco, an extensive promenade by Guadalete river plenty
of restaurants and bars.
is no doubt the number one reference in terms of culture in this area
and one of the most interesting cities in Spain. Its old historic area
is really interesting. Among all the sights to see it has to offer we
would point up its gothic churches, the Alcazar and Catedral,
the “bodegas” ( ie. Gonzalez Byass, Domecq
or Sandeman ), the Clock Museum, The Royal Andalusian
School of Equestrian Art ( beautiful shows ), the Zoo, its colourful
and traditional Fair in May, the splendid processions
in Holy Week or the cultural programme at Villamarta Theatre.
has a different flavour particularly related to America, its unique situation,
architecture, atmosphere, its Carnival, etc. Its many
façades made out of dark “ostionera”
sandstone, its beautiful gardens and its seaside promenades and beaches
make of it a very special place in Spain´s coastline.
de la Frontera
is one of those places really worthwile to spend some time enjoying its
different viewpoints and white washed narrow alleys. The Parador is also
the perfect place for a short break and a drink. Wonderful Cabildo
Square with the imposing tower of Sta Maria Church, The Castle,
The Town Hall and a lovely terrace offering terrific views over the surrounding
countryside and Arcos´ Cliffs
displays its white houses lined uphill. The beautiful La Coronada
Church at the top of the hill, one of the most relevant gothic
churches in Andalusia and the well preserved Roman Sewage System
are among its main sights. Superb views from every corner over the countryside.
Delicious “alfajores” , traditional Arabic homemade pastries.
de la Frontera,
further south is a small white town that still keep some features that
seem to be similar to many towns in Northern Africa. A charming and steep
Among the most interesting things to do and places to go in the Sierra area we would suggest the following: Hiking along La Garganta Verde or El Pinsapar forest in the surroundings of Grazalema (an authorized pass needed to do both but easily to get at the Natural Park offices ), a visit to the white towns of Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra and Olvera, the romantic city of Ronda, La Pileta cave not far from Ronda,Acinipo roman ruins or further east El Torcal Natural Park, close to Antequera
The south coast is also particularly appealing, with some of the best beaches in Spain and a paradise for windsurfers. Vejer ( above mentioned ), Baelo Claudia roman ruins by a pristine beach and dune and the viewpoints of Cabo de La Plata and Camarinal Lighthouse in Zahara de los Atunes are definitely worthwile. If you go on driving you will get some of the best views over Africa, the enchanting town of Tarifa and eastwards Gibraltar. Inland is should be mentioned Alcornocales Natural Park, a relic virgin forest with some of the most evocative landscapes in Andalusia, Jimena, Alcala de los Gazules and Castellar de la Frontera, a hidden treasure with superb views over the reservoir from its castle walls.
No need to mention cities as Sevilla (1 h 15 min ), Carmona (1 h 30 min), Córdoba ( 2h 40 min ), Itálica ( 1h 20 min ), Gibraltar (1 h 35 min ), and the rest of Andalucía..
There is a supermarket in Costa Ballena, located at El Lago Shopping Centre. You may also try SUPERSOL, MERCADONA, CHAMPION, DIA OR PLUS in Rota, SUPERSOL in Chipiona and DIA, MERCADONA, LIDL and SUPERSOL in Sanlucar for slightly cheaper prices. There are traditional food markets in Chipiona, Rota and Sanlucar and you can also buy fresh seafood at certain fishing ports as Rota or Bonanza/Sanlucar.
There are three EL CORTE INGLES shopping centres in Cadiz Bay area ( Jerez, the biggest one and the newest in Cadiz and another one in San Fernando/Bahia Sur ) You also can buy almost everything at Isaac Peral Street in Chipiona ( pedestrian, at the very heart of the town ), or strolling Jerez , Cadiz or Sanlucar nice commercial areas ( coincide more or less with the historic areas ) where buying is a wonderful experience surrounded by a beautiful historic environment, with orange tree lined streets in Jerez, “Ostionera” stone façades in Cadiz or beautiful white washed buildings in Sanlucar.
Any bottle of Sherry, a good and aromatic “manzanilla” from Sanlucar, a bottle of olives, stuffed or not or finally a selected bottle of olive oil from The Sierra are always excellent gifts to take away.
You can practice some other activities in the surroundings as horse-riding, sailing, windsurfing, diving or golf, and hiking or paragliding in the Sierra
Bahía de Cádiz located in el Puerto de Sta María
We really hope this suggestions can help you enjoy a bit more your stay in Andalucia.