Discover the South of Spain
El Puerto de Santa Maria is ideally located not just for learning Spanish but also for loads of great day trips or for a weekend. Being a relatively small city it allows for an easier getaway by train, bus, car or even by bike. Below you can find some of our favourites, places that you shouldn’t miss, for example Sevilla, Jerez, Cádiz, Córdoba, Ronda, Granada, Gibraltar, Málaga, or the smaller white towns in the mountains (Pueblos Blancos), or little towns at the coastline. Watch the video and get a grasp of the Cádiz area and the many things you could do here when you study Spanish at Spark!
Ferry to Cadiz
El Puerto is situated right across the bay from the historic city of Cádiz. The most enjoyable way to Cádiz is going by boat. It would be a journey that is sure to make you value the wonders of being in Southern Spain. The view is stunning. Once in Cádiz, you can stroll along the beautiful beach promenades or explore the narrow bohemian centre. There are many historical sites to visit like the beautiful sandstone Cathedral, and from its tower you have a perfect view of this beautiful city. Cádiz is perfect for a daytrip, but also for a “Spanish” night out if you are prepared to get the first morning train back at 7 am!
Los pueblos blancos
The Cádiz province is home to the idyllic white villages that are unique to this area of Andalucia. Influenced by the Moorish culture, the villages have an Arabic feel with its narrow streets but also an unmistakable Andalusian presence. You experience Spanish life at its purest and don’t be surprised to see some blasts from the past, like horse drawn plows, little seen in other parts of western Europe. One of the pueblos blancos is Arcos de la Frontera, where you walk up the hill to the church to see the marvellous panoramic views more than justifies a visit. Ronda, in the nearby province of Málaga, is probably the most renowned with its famous Roman bridge and being the town where Ernest Hemmingway wrote many of his novels. Our personal favourites are El Bosque and Grazalema in the nearby Sierra de Grazalema (which has a micro climate that makes it the wettest part of Spain), which are great places for hiking, rock-climbing, cycling and/or just spending a day or weekend with friends and exploring the beautiful surroundings.
Beautiful (deserted) beaches
The Costa de la Luz stands out in comparison to the Costa del Sol because of its unique and antique atmosphere. Coastal fishing villages still exist in Cádiz and haven’t turned into fancy hotels and apartment complexes which plaque the Málaga coastline. There are many beaches to go to for day trips or camping weekends away. One of the most well-known is the village of Tarifa, which is a bit more accustomed to tourism than some of the other beaches as it is one of Europe’s top spots for windsurfing and kite surfing. This beautiful place also offers the incredible experience of whale watching to see whales and dolphins on their migration trips to warmer areas. The sunset there is extraordinary as you have the unique pleasure of seeing the coast of Africa while swimming where the Atlantic Ocean is meets the Mediterranean Sea.
Other great nearby trips from El Puerto include Chipiona’s ‘Playa de las tres Piedras’ which offers a fun day out which can be finished off with a great ‘dorada a la sal’ in the Caribbean themed bar ‘el Aljedrez’. Conil, El Palmar and Bolonia also offer fantastic beach experiences in little fishing towns. Our personal favourite is a visit to “la playa de los Alemanes” (so called as adventurous German tourists are said to appreciate its wonders) at Zahara de los Atunes. Make your way to the end of the town and then climb up to the little lighthouse and then down the other side and you will find a gorgeous secluded beach which generally offers great waves for boogie boarding or just beautiful golden sand for relaxing and enjoying the day and Spanish lifestyle.
Day trip to the marvellous city of Sevilla
Sevilla is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the capital of Andalusia is only 1 hour and 15 minutes by train from El Puerto de Santa Maria. A day or weekend trip at this historic city is a must. Explore the beautiful city centre and take in its magnificent sites, such as the magnificent Cathedral and Giralda (the tower that once was the highest minaret in the world), the Plaza de España, parque Maria Luisa, and the gardens of the Alcazar (the old royal palace), or go to the beautiful neighbourhood Triana. This city offers something special for everyone and its close to El Puerto, which makes it possible for a day shopping, nights out or a weekend away. If you go to Sevilla one thing you certainly shouldn’t miss is stopping for a ‘bocadillo’ in the beautiful ‘El Patio’ just off Plaza Nueva.
Other things not to miss
A visit to Jerez, one of the three cities along with El Puerto de Santa Maria that make sherry and flamenco. Jerez has a beautiful city centre and a nice relaxing feel. It will take you only 15 minutes to get there by train! Jerez is also Spain’s most famous city for horse riding and is home of the Real Escuela del Arte Ecuestre where shows with dancing horses are a big hit with tourists from all over the world. The 2002 Equestrian World Championships were held in this venue and a visit to the famous equestrian museum is a must for any horse lover.
Another beautiful city is Córdoba, that wears its Arabic influence proudly in the architecture of its world-famous and beautiful Mezquita (mosque-cathedral). Another must-see is Granada, a fabulous place, with its bohemian feeling and smaller size offering an alternative to Seville. Chilling out in the Alameda, going to one of the Arabic baths or visiting one of the many Moroccan shops; all great experiences which makes it a fantastic long weekend away. Nearby Sierra Nevada (with the tallest mountain in mainland Spain) offers great skiing opportunities for up to 6 months a year.
Of course you are not here to visit a part of Britain, but a day trip to the rock of Gibraltar is a fantastic experience. It is just 1 hour and 30 minutes away, and with its dual language society, the monkeys, the view and its incredible history, it should be on your “to do” list.
Always wanted to go to Morocco? Make your way to the African coast from Tarifa or Algeciras and spend your weekend amidst all the beautiful colours, smells and food! Day trips to Tangier from Tarifa are also possible and worth it if you don’t have time to spend longer.
At Spark we also organize cultural events to these beautiful cities. Through our cultural events programme you will experience the Spanish culture and lifestyle too, because studying Spanish at Spark is not only learning a language, it is also learning a whole culture!
Are you already excited about the area, check out all our Spanish course options and join Spark in this beautiful part of Spain!
Want to know more things you can do in the area, contact us!