Costa de la Luz, or the Coast of the Light, is one of the lesser known beach areas in Spain (and the closest to me currently), and I wanted to highlight a few of the best areas and beaches on this coast in a 3 part series. Part one will show you the sleepy little city of Huelva, Part 2 the larger more bustling Cadiz and Part 3 will look at the Tarifa area. All three places have a relatively similar feel to them, but offer a variation on the Spanish coastline experience. Whether this is due to larger crowds and more to do, or a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere, read on to find out...
In my experience, Huelva is as close as you can get to a traditional Spanish seaside town. It sort of has a similar feeling to a small village in Cornwall. Everyone seems to know each other, shops are cheap and beaches are much less developed. The city holds about 130,000 people but feels very small, and because of the pretty seasonal crowds, during the 'off-season' it feels very calm. Even during the busier summer months, the beaches here are never really crazy, and so it can be a year round destination to enjoy. Huelva really feels like 'Spain' and manages to avoid much of the British and German beach-goer problems by virtue of being hard to reach, and not very developed.
The real joy of Huelva is the beaches of course, and the most striking part of these is the sheer length and size. Because the coastline is not very developed or visited, beaches have not been heavily commercialised or sectioned, and so as you can see in the header photo, the beaches stretch on for miles. Mid-summer they can get fairly crowded, but NOTHING like the beaches of the Costa del Sol or Barcelona. This coastline is pretty wild and isolated, with nothing but a changeable ocean for company, but this wilderness creates a remarkably beautiful and varied scenery. Every beach has its own little idiosyncrasies and differences.
So Huelva is the typical Andalusian Summer retreat for Andalusian people. This is where people organise their most regular beach trips to, and even from central like Toledo, it's only a five hour drive. Huelva is not Marbella or Malaga, and will give visitors a quieter, more relaxed and more peaceful beach experience. If you are interested in finding a version of 'Spanish coast' that doesn't involve thousands of other people all around you, then maybe Huelva is the perfect spot. Huelva is also perfect to get to know the real Spain, away from the majority of the tourists and visitors.
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