Sunset is a magical time. One color drifts into another as beachfront houses are bathed in gold and the sea turns to glass. Here are 10 prime locations to enjoy this simple phenomenon in the province of Cádiz, and to understand why folks here claim that their land has a unique light not to be found elsewhere.
1 / La Caleta
The beach in the city of Cádiz comes into its own when the sun starts sliding below the horizon, but the evening light can also be enjoyed from San Sebastián castle or Santa Catalina castle, or even from the ocean itself. Cádiz Surf Paddle (679 44 61 97) offers tours on paddleboards (Paddle SUP), including a lesson to get you started. The reward is a spectacular view of La Caleta at sundown.
Where: paseo de Fernando Quiñones, s/n. Cádiz.
2 / Sancti Petri Castle
The islet where Sancti Petri Castle now stands was said by the Greek geographer Strabo to be where Hercules built his mythical temple in the 12th century BC. Now, a 16th and 17th-century fortress provides a mystical setting for the sunset, seen from either the beach or the sea. Albarco (www.albarco.com) offers one-hour sunset boat tours.
Where: Calle de Hércules, 34. Sancti Petri, Chiclana (Cádiz).
3 / Trafalgar lighthouse
The location for the famous Battle of Trafalgar, the Trafalgar lighthouse is an impressive landmark in Los Caños de Meca (Barbate), with a great view of the sunset, be it under the lighthouse or on the path towards it (which, by the way, takes you past the irresistible Las Dunas café), or from Varadero cove.
Where: Los Caños de Meca, s/n. Barbate (Cádiz).
4 / Castellar Viejo Castle
The steep climb to Castellar Viejo Castle is worth it, not just because you can explore the 13th-century Arabic fortress, built to protect the Taifa principality of Algeciras, but because it also offers a spectacular view of Los Alcornocales Natural Park, the Guadarranque reservoir and the Straits of Gibraltar in an orange glow as the sun bows out.
Where: carretera Castillo V Bobadill, 7. Castellar de la Frontera (Cádiz). Free admission, open 24 hours.
5 / Bolonia Beach
Bolonia Beach is a must due to the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, and sunset is as good a time as any to visit. To really make the most of it, climb the big dune in front of the pine grove that offers views of the beach, the ocean and Tangier on the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar.
Where: Ensenada de Bolonia, Tarifa (Cádiz).
6 / Guadalquivir estuary
Montijo, Bajo de Guía and Bonanza beaches all have a great view of the marshes of Doñana National Park on the Guadalquivir estuary. It's a beautiful spot to watch the sun go down.
Where: Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz).
7 / Torre del Tajo la Breña
The green of the pines, the blue of the sea and the white of the cliffs all change hue at the end of the day in Breña Natural Park, a kaleidoscope of colors that can be appreciated anywhere from Yerbabuena Beach to Los Caños de Meca. The best spot is en route to the Tajo tower, set on a 100-meter high clifftop.
Where: Torre del Tajo path. Turn off at Vejer de la Frontera/Barbate at La Barca de Vejer (A-314). Take the A-2233 towards Los Caños. Around 2.5 km from Barbate port, at 19.5 km, there’s a car park at the foot of the path.
8 / Montenmedio Foundation
For sheer originality, nothing beats Vejer’s Montenmedio Foundation for Contemporary Art (NMAC) at sunset. In an outdoor exhibition, American artist James Turrell has framed a piece of the view, capturing the three essential elements of earth, water and air. The changing colors at sunset through the frame are mesmerizing.
Where: Fundación Montenmedio Arte Contemporáneo (+34 956 45 51 34). Dehesa de Montenmedio. Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz).
9 / Cabo Roche
Against the backdrop of Conil port, where hundreds of anchors lie in line waiting to be used in traditional almadraba tuna fishing, stands the 16th-century Roche lighthouse tower on Cape Roche. There is also a cove hidden beneath a cliff 30 meters from the headland. Whether you are at the foot of the lighthouse or among the cliffs, the view of the sunset is guaranteed.
Where: Conil de la Frontera (Cádiz).
10 / Salina Santa María de Jesús
The old saltmarsh of Santa María de Jesús offers visitors the chance to see how artisan salt used to be extracted from the marsh. This can be followed by a salt spa at sunset.
Where: Centro de Recursos Ambientales de Chiclana (+34 667 66 48 44).
English version by Heather Galloway.