How to take advantage of a weekend in Conil, on the coast of Cádiz

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Surrounded by destinations with more cache, and protagonist this summer of the news due to the high rates of contagion, Conil de la Frontera nevertheless resists as one of the most beautiful, complete and above all authentic beach destinations in Cádiz. It can be the perfect choice to spend a few days in a unique coastal landscape, with the addition of the gentle flavors of village life and excellent local cuisine.

In fact, the locals have no doubts: september or october they are the best months, along with June, to enjoy this Atlantic corner. It is when mass tourism dissipates, of families with children and groups of young people (Conil multiplies its 22,000 inhabitants by four or five in high season), to give way to a calmer environment that is still accompanied by warm temperatures. In Conil it is less common for the sharp winds to intensify from places such as Rate and it has the attractiveness of very long beaches, with fine sand and clean waters, with kilometers still virgin, added to the charm of its urban nucleus with a typical Andalusian air, characteristic of the so-called white villages.

Castilnovo beach
Castilnovo Beach – ABC

It is not necessary to move much of the hotels or most of the apartments that offer accommodation to take a bath in the sea or a walk along the shore. Own Los Bateles beach, the town, is very large, without stones and has areas with beach bars and other more natural ones on the side of the Salado River, that sea inlet that also characterizes Conil and that is perfect to start in water sports, to sail inwards in kayak or paddle surf or have fun watching crabs, birds and fish. Its waters rise and fall with the tide, passing under the wooden bridge and joining Los Bateles with the lonely and even more majestic Castilnovo beach, where the countryside (agriculture was once the secondary source of income for the inhabitants after fishing) and the sea meet. There the walks are unavoidable.

For those looking for a less open landscape, another unbeatable option is Roche, within the municipal term, although somewhat far from the center and characterized by its cliffs, beautiful coves and pine forests.

Villa Gate
Villa Gate – Andalusia Tourism

From Los Bateles, in any case, you can see the entire silhouette of the white town, raised on a small hill with its tower, its church and its roofs, in a painting that many visitors paint or keep in memory. There, in the historic center, there is a lively network of pedestrian streets full of restaurants, taverns, ice cream parlors and clothing, accessories and handicraft stores. Many of them have been around for years and even generations, with contained prices and a quality local product.

As a fishing and almadraba town that has been its entire history, since it was founded by the Phoenicians, in Conil -located between Chiclana and Vejer– you eat very good fish and seafood. Tuna shines in all its forms and recipes, as well as shrimp omelettes, squid, the dogfish in marinade, the sprigs or the cuttlefish, the salad and the croquettes. Of course, there is good tomato and good sausages, and everything is accompanied by beer or wine from the nearby region of Jerez.

A house in Conil.
A house in Conil. – L.P.

This corner of Cadiz has a small museum that portrays its ancient uses and customs, along with the Guzmán Tower, and the La Chanca museum, a place where tuna used to be worked on land and in which a stage has now been erected for superb open-air shows during the summer.

But without a doubt the best way to know it is walking its streets; talking to his people, open and simple; watching the sunset over the sea from the immensity of its sands and letting yourself be seduced by its still identifiable cuisine and kilometer zero, today a trend.

Interesting directions

Tuna from El Sopa
Tuna from El Sopa – LP

In the center of Conil there is no shortage of places to eat with guarantee. Among them the old bars El Capricho, a family business for decades, and Los Hermanos, next to the Arco de la Villa, both without reforms that have eliminated their original spirit. Also reliable are fishermen’s quarter restaurants, Juan Mari, The soup, The half moon and Puerta Cai. Who prefers to eat looking at the sea, the chiringuito La Fontanilla, located at the end of the beach opposite the Río Salado, has past and present as one of the best. For dessert, the ice cream it is a common option. One of the best is the one in Marsalao, very close to the Torre de Guzmán. If you are looking for a good dessert or homemade cake, Horno San Antonio has been in operation for almost a century and is rising a bit from the Arch. Also in the upper part there are two restaurants where quality and flavor go hand in hand with generous dishes: Venta Pericón and Blanco y Verde.

John of God.
John of God. – L.P.

To take home a souvenir, beyond the lively flea market on the coast and the many jewelery shops that exist throughout Conil, with a great variety of handicrafts, in the center there is a peculiar place that has been operating there for three generations: Juan de Dios , name of the founder in 1940 and of his grandson, currently in charge. It has a good background of handmade hats of all kinds and even some of the typical bags from there, which the workers carried across their chests in a shoulder bag, called ‘capacha’ and made with authentic palm hearts from El Palmar.

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