The Best Beaches in the Province of Cádiz You Can't Miss
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
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As much as I have loved touring around the Province of Cádiz and exploring all of the fantastic historic cities and towns, some days you just want to relax and hit the beach. I'm not a huge fan of visiting busy beaches that are lined with hotels - I prefer the more unique beaches which maybe have a bit of history behind them and are more popular with locals than they are with tourists. That being said, there are definitely a lot of beaches in southern Spain to choose from, which is why Andalusia is such a popular holiday destination. While Malaga is where most people fly into to hit the beach and work on their tan, if you don't mind taking a bit of a road trip in southern Spain you can find some of the best beaches in the Province of Cádiz less than 3 hours away. Cádiz is also a fantastic area to visit on a day trip from Seville.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Costa de la Luz, this section of the Andalusian coastline stretches all the way from Tarifa in the south to Huelva along the Portuguese border. It's also the coastline that faces the Atlantic Ocean, so don't let the hot Spanish sun fool you, because the water is freezing. It's one of the most unspoiled areas of Spain, and it's practically bursting with picture perfect beaches. I haven't made it to all of them (yet), but here are my top choices for the best beaches in the Province of Cádiz:
Playa de Bolonia
One of the most beautiful and by far the cleanest beaches I've visited in Cádiz is Playa de Bolonia. It's located only a 20 minute drive from Tarifa, which is very popular for kitesurfing and partying. The big draw to this beach besides its crystal clear water and white sand are the enormous sand dunes sitting at the far end. The Bolonia Dunes are a protected natural site and are surrounded by pine trees, which makes for a very unique landscape. I would highly recommend walking up the dunes for a fantastic view of the coastline - but do it early before the sand gets unbearably hot! Bolonia is also home to Baelo Claudia Archaeological Site, which are the ruins of a 2nd century Roman city that quite literally sits on the beach. It's not hard to see why this is considered to be one of the best beaches in Cádiz, as well as one of the best beaches in Spain.
Playa de los Alemanes
A short drive up the coast in the direction of Zahara de los Atunes will bring you to one of my all-time favourite Spanish beaches - Playa de los Alemanes (or Playa del Búnker). It doesn't have the soft white sands of Bolonia but it's set in a gorgeous location with a very dramatic entryway. Its clear water makes it the perfect beach to do some snorkelling and check out some of the fish swimming around as well. Playa de los Alemanes translates to the German Beach, and gets its name from the rumour that Nazis were given land to build houses here by Franco. The beach is also home to a World War II bunker, which was built for defensive purposes. In my opinion this is one of the best beaches in Cádiz to spend a day at. Tip: Make sure you check the weather before visiting this beach. Its position between the cliffs means it can get extremely windy, and the hard sand hitting your skin can be quite painful. It is however, slightly protected from the wind by the cliffs, so it won't be as windy as other beaches in the area.
Playa del Faro de Trafalgar
Heading further up the Costa de la Luz will bring you to Playa del Faro de Trafalgar, a beach with quite a lot of history behind its name. The Romans once had a temple built where the lighthouse now stands, and later there was a Moorish watchtower built on the same location. But probably the most well known historic event to happen here was the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, where the British fought off the combined Spanish-French fleets to become the world's largest sea power for the next century. Playa del Faro de Trafalgar is located between Los Caños de Meca and Zahora, and you'll need a car to get to it as there are no options for public transportation. This is another unique spot in Andalusia, and one of the best beaches in Cádiz if you're a fan of the more unspoiled Spanish coastlines.
Playa de Zahora
If you fancy walking this stunning stretch of the Costa de la Luz (past the lighthouse), you'll eventually come to Playa de Zahora. It's also only a 15 minute drive from the lighthouse, but make sure you have your GPS with you because the small streets leading up to the beach can get very confusing! This is one of the least well known beaches in the area, and is more of a residential beach for people who live close by and are connected to it by the various walking paths. That means it's a great beach to spend the day at away from huge crowds! If you don't have time to spend the day here, I would recommend visiting near sunset to see the sky light up in all sorts of colours. This is one of the more secret of the Costa de la Luz beaches and is very close to Conil de la Frontera, so if you happen to be nearby don't forget to make your way to Playa de Zahora as well!
Cala del Pato
Speaking of Conil de la Frontera, if you want to visit a really dramatic Spanish beach I would recommend going to Cala del Pato. The name literally translates to "cove of the duck" which comes from the fact that one of the rocks is shaped like a duck. It's one of Conil's most impressive coves, with ice cold clear water and golden sand, surrounded by cliffs that give off a reddish tone. What impressed me the most was the views of the beach from atop the cliff, which is where you need to park before walking down a lot of steps. Anyone who's been here before will understand why I consider it to be one of the best beaches in Cádiz. We arrived at sunrise and was unaware that the beach is covered in shadows until just before noon, but that meant we had the beach mostly to ourselves to explore the rocks that were emerging as the tide began to recede. Tip: Cala del Pato is a nudest beach in Cádiz (again, something we didn't know), so don't be alarmed if you see some naked people walking by!
Just under an hour from Conil, heading north towards the city of Cádiz, is Playa Sancti-Petri. It's located in Chiclana de la Frontera and is a very long beach with lots of parking available. We had no problems trying to find a spot to set up on the beach a good distance from other people. The sand isn't as soft as the previous beaches I've mentioned, but it's still a pleasant beach to visit and is one of the few beaches I've visited in the Province of Cádiz where the water wasn't freezing cold. The reason why it's made it on to my list of the best beaches in Cádiz is because there's a castle sitting on an island which you're able to access by boat or by paddling over yourself. The island once held the most important temple in the West, first built by the Phoenicians and later turned into a place to worship Hercules by the Romans (rumour has it that he's buried here). Today it's home to an 18th century castle which played an important role in withstanding a Napoleonic invasion.
Playa de Camposoto
Playa de Camposoto is another beach in Cádiz that has some interesting history behind it. It's located along the outskirts of San Fernando, and is one of the longest beaches in southern Spain. Although it's set in an urban setting, there are no commercial buildings near it due to its location within a military area, making it one of the few unspoiled beaches in the province. It's also one of the best beaches in Cádiz for surfers and paddleboarders! There are multiple entrances along the beach, all of which have wooden walkways for easy access, and plenty of parking available. Playa de Camposoto also has two war bunkers on its sands which date back to the Spanish Civil War.
Heading into the city of Cádiz itself you'll come across a couple of nice beaches, but the most popular one is La Caleta. The beach is located in the historic centre and is only a short walk from sites such as the Catedaral de Cádiz, making it very easy to add to any day trip to Cádiz! It's completely isolated from other beaches in the city, making it the smallest one so it can get quite crowded in the summer. For me, it's one of the best beaches in the Province of Cádiz because you'll find two castles sitting on either side of it. Castillo de San Sebastián and Castillo de Santa Catalina are both very easily accessible from La Caleta and are two of the best sites to visit in Cádiz as well. How can you say no to a beach with two castles?! There are many beaches near Cádiz, so don't forget to get out a map of southern Spain and start researching!
Playa de Levante
We found a lovely spot to go cycling through a natural park, not too far from Cádiz in the outskirts of El Puerto de Santa María. Parque Natural Los Toruños is a gorgeous area with a mixture of ecosystems which you can explore either by bike (which you can rent on site), or by foot. While we were biking, we found a path that took us right up to Playa de Levante a few hours before sunset. Although we didn't have time to try this beach out, it's one of the best beaches in Cádiz for windsurfing, and is very secluded with minimal services near it. Tip: This is another nudist beach in Cádiz, but there is a specific area marked for the nudists.
Playa de Valdelagrana
Playa de Valdelagrana is one of the few beaches which I've included in my list of the best beaches in Cádiz that is located in a very touristy area. The reason? Well, it was one of the first beaches I visited in Cádiz and the water was very calm and warm which is a nice change from the freezing cold water at most beaches in the province. This area gets very busy in the summer, but when we stopped by there was plenty of room to spread out away from other groups of people. There area lots of apartments, restaurants, and shops along the promenade too!
Playa de La Muralla
One of my favourite spots, and well deserving of a place on my list of the best beaches in Cádiz is Playa de La Muralla, located in Puerto Sherry, El Puerto de Santa María. It's a very small beach and remains relatively unknown to tourists, but is very popular with locals and those who live in the surrounding area. This is another very calm beach with white sand, and there are a number of restaurants and tapas bars along the promenade. I would recommend trying out the pizza from Pizzería Blanca Paloma at sunset so you can enjoy your meal with a gorgeous view. Playa de la Muralla may be small, but it still has room for the remains of a 16th century castle to overlook it - Castillo de Santa Catalina de El Puerto de Santa María.
Playa de Fuentebravía
Playa de Fuentebravía is another beach which is in a built-up area, but it's quite a long beach so you should be able to find a spot that's a bit more secluded. It's also located in El Puerto de Santa María, which if you haven't figured out by now has some of the best beaches in Andalusia. It's the perfect beach to visit for watersports, although we had problems trying to jump on our inflatable flamingo with the small waves! There is a naval beach nearby, so part of the beach is restricted but it's very obvious what part of the beach that is. The beach sits at the bottom of a cliff, which is only accessible by walking down quite a lot of steps.
Playa de Punta Candor
Playa de Punta Candor is located less than a 20 minute drive from Playa de Fuentebravía. It's one of the many beaches in Cádiz classified as a virgin beach, meaning there are relatively few buildings around it. Its clear water, sand dunes, and surrounding pine forest are a big draw for people, as is the beach's orange sunsets. We didn't get to enjoy the beach as much as we could have, because we forgot to check the wind speed before arriving - it was extremely windy and quite cold. Tip: Always check the wind before visiting any beach in Cádiz!
Playa de La Ballena
Another fantastic golden sandy beach to visit is Playa de La Ballena, located in Rota. It was one of the closest beaches to where we were staying in Jerez de la Frontera, so we visited it quite a few times. I would definitely check the tide times for this beach, because at high tide there's hardly any sand left and everyone is stuck very close to each other. There are several wooden ramps crossing the sand dunes to allow for easy access, and there are restaurants and bars close by as well. Playa de La Ballena is known for its stunning sunsets and its beautiful natural landscape, which is why it's one of the best beaches in Cádiz to spend a day at.
Playa de Las Piletas
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a huge draw for people because of its abundance of beaches. We visited Sanlúcar on a day trip from Jerez, so we only had time to catch the sunset along Playa de Las Piletas. It's the most central and busiest of the beaches in Sanlúcar, which means it has a lot of facilities in and around it. Playa de Las Piletas is famous for its annual horse races, which have been held here since 1845. From the beach you can see the Doñana National Park on the other side of the Guadalquivir River. If this doesn't make it one of the best beaches in the Province of Cádiz then I don't know what will. Fun fact: The Guadalquivir River is the only navigable river in Spain, and reaches all the way to Seville. In Roman times it was navigable up to Cordoba!
Playa de Arcos
This is not your average Spanish beach. In fact it's not even along a coastline. Playa de Arcos is located inland in a lake, in the stunning white village of Arcos de la Frontera. It's an artificial beach, but for those of you who have strayed away from the coast, you'll know how hot the villages can get so I think it's a great idea to have a little beach close by. We only saw the lake from one side, so didn't make it to the beach itself, but we saw a few people kayaking and doing other watersports on it. Is it one of the best beaches in Cádiz? No. But I thought it was a unique one and deserved a mention.
Zahara-El Gastor Reservoir
How's that for a view? If you haven't been to Zahara de la Sierra, I would highly recommend visiting this white Andalusian village. Zahara is just over an hour by car from Jerez, and is very close to Ronda as well, so it's somewhere that you can easily add to your road trip in southern Spain, for example. La Playita is an artificial beach that takes advantage of the course of the river to create a little oasis for you to cool off in. This is a man-made swimming area, so there's a small entrance fee as well as specific opening times. Another option is to do some kayaking or paddleboarding in the reservoir itself. Again, definitely not the best beach in Cádiz, but you might be thankful for it if you end up hiking up to this view point like we did!
There are so many beautiful beaches in the Province of Cádiz to choose from, and this list only touches the very tip of them. But hopefully some of these beaches get added to your itinerary when you start planning a trip to southern Spain! The weather in southern Spain is pretty nice all year round, so chances are if you visit in the off season you'll have some of best Spanish beaches almost all to yourself.
If you've ever visited Cádiz, I would love to hear your thoughts on the province itself and what you consider to be some of the best beaches in Cádiz! Even if you haven't been to this part of Andalusia yet, let me know what you think so far in the comments below. And remember, you can keep up to date on my recent travels by following me on Instagram!