Chipiona can be found a 45-minute drive to the north of Cádiz at the Atlantic coast of Andalusia. The best thing about this coastal town is that although it’s right on the seafront, it still retains its charm and village feel.
The boulevard has homes of mainly 2 or 3 stories high so the view is not disturbed. You can also find some quiet restaurants and bars. In the streets directly behind you would not know you are located a few hundred meters from the azure Atlantic Ocean. The beautiful, sandy beaches are long and wide allowing plenty of space to enjoy the sound of the waves at a safe distance, the occasional swim or a game of beach ball. At the end of the day be sure to have a seat on one of the terraces to enjoy a sunset that wouldn’t be out of place on a postcard.
Striking lighthouse and church
We booked the hotel Mar y Luz on Playa de la Regla beach. This beach is situated on the east side by the large church Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Regla. On the other side is an imposing lighthouse that the brave among us can climb for a stunning view. If you walk around the corner from the lighthouse, you have a beautiful view of the coastline of the Doñana National Park. The park lies on the other side of the river mouth of the Guadalquivir. White dunes light up among the clear green of trees. On clear days you can see the skyline of the seaside town of Matalascañas even further away.
Piedra de Salmedina
Those who have keen eyes will spot a pole in the middle of the sea about a kilometre from the coast. Our waiter in the highly recommended chiringuito Awa, says it is a lighthouse on a large reef. Seemingly it once housed a village in Roman times when the reef was still connected to the mainland. At low tide, the reef is partially visible, but when the tide is out, it is just below the surface. This has led to countless shipwrecks throughout history. The reef is a popular location among divers because there is still a chance that archaeological finds can be made. The most important have been three marble tombs. They are now privately owned and the owners have promised to donate the pieces to the museum when it is built in Chipiona.
The village of Chipiona
Despite the fact that the town behind the boulevard is not so picturesque, it is very pleasant. People are friendly, the shopping streets have an authentic feel and there are many authentic Spanish bars and restaurants. Most of the tourists come from Seville, inhabitants tell us. The city centre can be found on either side of Calle Castillo that leads from the boulevard at Plaza del Molino to the Mercado Municipal.
We did like the Chipioneros and had breakfast with ‘churros con chocolate’ on the large terrace next to the covered market (Mercado municipal). Near the market in Avenida de Nuestra Señora de Regla is a very nice Andalusian style bodega with a rustic terrace where you can sip your ‘vino fino’ or other drink in the shade of plants over a pergola. It is also the Moscatel Museum where you can learn everything about the typical regional wines.
The corrales of Chipiona
Walking along the boulevard between the lighthouse and the castle, which at high tide seems to have been built in the sea, we see a kind of stone walls in ovals protruding from the beach into the sea. These are the ‘Corrales de Pesca’, literally translated: fishing rods. It turns out to be a fishing technique adopted from the Romans, but testifying to a brilliant simplicity, in which the walls of stones are built in such a way that they protrude above the water level at low tide, but are completely under the water at high tide. At high tide, the fish swim towards the coast and at low tide, they are trapped within the ‘corral’, so that they can easily be fished out of the water.
Without a doubt, Chipiona is among Spain’s most beautiful coastal towns.