La Isla Bonita: San Fernando, Cádiz

There was something in the air that night, the stars shone bright, Fernando.”

I can’t help but begin this blog entry on San Fernando, Cádiz, with the tentatively linked Abba lyrics that simply mention ‘Fernando’. Anti-chronologically, I will also make the first photo of this post the last I took in San Fernando which was a beautiful sunset that recalled those lyrics as we watched on, cerveza in hand, bare feet buried in the cool, powdery sand as the tide lapped in peacefully in soft, white frothy waves.

I have long loved the Andalusian province of Cádiz which is located in the southwest of Spain, close to the border of Portugal and views of Morocco from Tarifa. (Also see- El Puerto de Santa María and Algeciras)

My friend Chris and his partner (now pareja de hecho) Pilar and their Pomeranian called Lobo moved to San Fernando a couple of years ago and they invited me to stay at their beautiful house built back in 1874 complete with a well in the hallway, a spiral staircase, stained glass windows and a traditional Andaluz patio complete with patterned tiles (I have a thing for these types of tiles!).

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Algeciras: Andalusia’s Forgotten Corner

Algeciras is often spoken about as the ugly spot of Andalusia. Industrial. Crime-ridden. Barren.

You won’t find it featuring highly in travel guides and it is often seen as just a transient port of call between Spain and Morocco. Algeciras is in the autonomous region of Cádiz, it is the last stop on the train line from Madrid and overshadowed by its stunning neighbour, Tarifa to the south-west.

I first heard of this supposedly unremarkable town when I was studying A level History, with reference to the Algeciras Conference of 1906, held to discuss the future of Morocco.

Intrigued to see why this place is both disregarded and heralded, I spent three days in the Algeciras zone, visiting a friend who lives there. The Campo de Gibraltar encompasses the following areas:

  • Algeciras
  • Los Barrios
  • La Línea de la Concepción
  • Castellar de la Frontera
  • Jimena de la Frontera
  • San Roque
  • Tarifa

With my knowledgeable friend to show me round, our first stop was at one of Algeciras’ surprisingly beautiful beaches. The ugly reputation is largely undeserved, once you look past the grey dusty streets and shutter-drawn windows.

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Discover Cádiz: the Oldest City in Western Europe

Cádiz is a city on the coast of the wider province that goes by the same name.

Cádiz was once called Gadir by the Phoenicians and this name evolved into the Latin Gades when it was under Roman rule. This is why the people from Cádiz are known as gaditanos even now the place is known today as Cádiz.

The gaditanos hold a reputation for being the funniest people in Spain and although I didn’t find this particularly evident in the Cádiz Capital, I certainly did when I visited El Puerto de Santa María which is just across the bay and of course, is still a part of the Cádiz province.

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A Brief Guide to the Charming El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz

Spontaneous trips often turn out to be the best trips, ironically as you don’t have much time to plan what you are going to do with your time there!

I booked a train to El Puerto de Santa María (just under 3 hours from where I am in Córdoba) on a whim when some friends said they were going to go for our puente (bank holiday weekend but of 4 days).

As I had never been before and it is located in the province of Cádiz which I adore, I thought why not?

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Tantalising Tarifa: White Sandy Beaches, Dolphin Spotting and Zen…


The white sands of Bolonia Beach, Tarifa

Tarifa almost doesn’t even look like Spain. The typical terrain of miles and miles of olive trees and sun-scorched land that you see along the motorways or the slightly pebbly beaches of the Costa del Sol just don’t bare even a slight similarity to what is to be discovered in Tarifa. 

Continue reading “Tantalising Tarifa: White Sandy Beaches, Dolphin Spotting and Zen…”