The Atlantic Coast of Spain has some of the best beaches in the world. Beautiful unspoiled stretches of white sand coastline. Read on and find out about our beach of the week, Playa de Valdevaqueros. It never disappoints, Summer or Winter.
The Mediterranean is one of Europe’s treasured sunshine destinations and a yearly pilgrimage for many Brits. These yearly visits have influenced their decisions to settle, buy a holiday home or retire and do both. The other obvious influence is the sun. Andalucía in particular boasts 300+ days of sunshine a year so it’s not surprising that many start their research in this very popular region.
Spain is a big country and not only sits on the Mediterranean, but nearly half of its coastline borders the Atlantic. We promise to review all the coastlines around Spain in this series but today, I want to talk about the province of Cádiz, in particular, its long white sandy beaches that seriously rival the very best I’ve seen in Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Mexico and the like. Some of those beaches include Tarifa, Valdevaqueros, Bolónia and Zahara de Los Atunes.
If you are checking out the province of Málaga, then Cádiz is right next door. The A-7 is a road that follows the coastline from Barcelona all the way through to Algecíras, and splits along the way to include the AP-7 as you are passing Fuengirola, Calahonda, Marbella and Estepona – all popular destinations for ExPat communities. The AP-7 is a toll road but we can thoroughly recommend using it. You will miss all the traffic and a word of caution, the Spanish like to drive fast so if you are new to driving the right on hand side of the road, take the AP-7 and give yourself some space. Once you pass the build-up of the Costa Del Sol coastline and approach Gibraltar, things start to change.
The road cuts behind Gibraltar and the views are spectacular. On a clear day you have full view of the Moroccan shorelines and a birds eye view of one of the busiest shipping lanes that is the Strait of Gibraltar, connecting the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Coming into Cádiz in the Summer time, the fields are awash with sunflowers. I’ve never seen so many.
Today we are introducing you to a beach called Valdevaqueros. Only 1.5 hours’ drive from Marbella, the turnoff to ‘Val’ (my now affectionate name for this beach) is tricky. There is a sign indicating the turnoff coming up but when you get there, you need to pull into the right hand side, wait for the traffic to clear both sides, then gun it across the road onto a sandy gravel track that takes you down to the beach. Parking is free most of the time but in the high season it’s about €5 day.
Valdevaqueros is one of those places that hasn’t been completely overrun by Chiringuitos (Spanish word for beach bar). In fact when you pass the giant Havianna flip flop and walk into the outdoor seating area of Beach Bar Valdevaqueros Tarifa, you get an almost bohemian feel about the place. There are a couple of shops touting various clothing items and flip flops, and the ION Club Tarifa, who look like they are serious about their water sports. The large grassy area with outdoor bar, Tambao, complete with DJ booth, is where all the cool kids hang out on bean bags, drinking beers and coffees. The Café serves a variety of food and does indeed cater for vegetarians and vegans which is unusual for Spain. Oh and the toilet and shower facilities, since Covid-19 and social distancing came into play, will cost you 20c a visit. However in return you are looked after by their lovely attendants who make sure you have all the soap, towels and hand sanitizer you require.
But the true draw card for Valdevaqueros is the beach. Take an umbrella, hat, sunscreen, food and drink because you are not going to want to leave! Valdevaqueros stretches just over 4kms along this piece of coast. When you enter the beach via the wooden walkway, looking to the right you have an impressive view of Duna de Valdevaqueros sand dunes. The beach as a whole is big and wide which is a welcome plus for social distancing - you just might have to walk along a bit to find the perfect spot.
Unlike the manufactured beaches of the Costa Del Sol where sand has been shipped in to build up beaches for the tourist trade, the sands on the Atlantic Coast are white, and Valdevaqueros is no exception. The water is crystal clear and little fish dance around your feet. The sea bed for swimmers is sandy which is a major plus and doesn’t dip too deep too quickly so is relatively safe for novice swimmers who are kept a watchful eye on by the local surf lifesavers. It might be worth mentioning that Atlantic Coastline has a reputation for being a little colder water temperature wise than the Mediterranean but we had no problem when we visited the last couple of weekends. The swims were refreshing, relaxing and revitalising.
I don’t know about you but I’m a people watcher. This coastline is well renowned for its constant winds. During the Summer the winds are perfect for beach goers but throughout the year Valdevaqueros is frequented by Kite Surfers from around the world because of its strong and constant blow. They are exhilarating to watch and another reason why you will be captivated by this beach.
So there you have it. Valdevaqueros is our top beach for this week and truly a little piece of heaven. You can be sure to get an authentic Spanish beach experience here, kick back, enjoy the Summer heat and a guaranteed great day out. We will cover more beaches along this coast in our next blogs but Val, you get our stamp of approval! And of course, you look straight out onto the Northern shores of Africa. You can't get more romantic than that!