Costa de la Luz – the 'coast of light' – is an unspoilt area of southern Spain that offers some wonderful beaches peppered among areas of exceptional natural beauty. Whatever beach-based activities float your boat, this list includes some of the best spots for sunbathing, watersports and birdwatching in the area. With 300 days of sunshine a year and temperatures regularly topping 30°C in summer, you'll want to mark these beaches on the map when you're planning holidays to Costa de la Luz.
Stay in this old fishing village and you'll have direct access to one of the best beaches in Costa de la Luz. East of the River Piedras marshland and the Flecha del Rompido natural beauty spot is El Rompido beach, which is nicely protected from the open sea by the river mouth. A good spot for swimming and sunbathing, it can get busy in high season as it's easily accessible from the main resorts.
A narrow beach at just 40 metres wide, Playa El Portil stretches for 3.6km alongside the El Portil Lagoon, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Being narrow, it's a good option for families because you can keep an eye on the kids without having to scan the sunbathing masses. Spanish holidaymakers favour the tranquil waters and gently sloping sand dunes, although it has become more popular with visitors from the rest of Europe in recent years. The beach has all amenities you need for a full day out including showers, lifeguard stations and cafes.
This beach is further down the coast on the southwest tip of Spain. It's out of town, so you'll probably need to drive, but it's well worth the trip if you wish to retreat from the more crowded resort beaches. This wild and windy beach attracts kite surfers and there are several wind and kite-surfing schools on the beach to cater for demand. If you want to stay a few days there is a campsite nearby and the area generally has a laid-back, carefree vibe with sporty types and backpackers alike in the local bars.
Another beach away from the urban sprawl is Sancti-Petri/Lavaculos beach. It's close to the town of Cadiz and an alternative option for windsurfing fans if Valdevaqueros is too far away or you don't have a car. Windsurfers flock to the area around the port, while swimmers and divers stay in the residential zone. It's also a popular spot for fishing and visitors can mooch around the harbour while feasting on an ice cream.
Like El Rompido, Nueva Umbria beach sits in the Piedra river bank. Unlike Rompido though, this beach literally sits on the bank. Visitors are unlikely to just stumble upon this beach, making it the ideal home for nudists. The official nudist section (Playa Nudista de Nueva Umbría) is situated just two kilometres from Playa La Antilla. The beach can be accessed by boat or bridge and is a beautifully wild area. Coastal junipers shelter interesting animal species such as the chameleon, if you're lucky enough to spot one of these evasive creatures on your package holidays to Costa de la Luz.
This beach, on the border of the beautiful Donana National Park, is particularly popular with families planning Costa de la Luz holidays, as it has good toilet and shower facilities and is easily accessible from the town. Running alongside the main beach is a four-kilometre long promenade, the Paseo Marítimo, lined with good fish restaurants, bars and cafes. There are more secluded beaches nearby, and west of Matalascanas town is the large, newly protected area of sand dunes called Parque Dunar, which you can explore on foot when it's time to get those legs moving.