Spain's Costa de la Luz in numbers

Beth Hancock, 11 July, 2017
Did you know that just 13km separate Spain and Morocco, or that 300 million birds migrate via the Strait of Gibraltar each year?
That’s all that separates Spain and North Africa at the Strait of Gibraltar’s narrowest point. On clear days, you can see the mountains of Morocco across the water.
Common, striped and bottlenose dolphins are resident in the Strait of Gibraltar, as are 2 species of whale: the long-finned pilot whale and the fin whale. Between April and October, boat trips depart daily from Tarifa in search of these graceful creatures.
Tarifa, Spain’s (and Europe’s) southernmost town, is situated at a latitude further south than both Algiers (36.7538° N) and Tunis (36.8065° N). This is reflected in the climate – the average maximum temperature in November is a very respectable 18°C.
That’s the area – including 10,399ha of sea – that is protected within the boundaries of the Estrecho Natural Park and the Breña y Marismas de Barbate Natural Park, which incorporate pine forests, wetlands, mobile dunes, sea cliffs, offshore sand banks, cork-oak woodland and other habitats.
Just over half an hour is all it takes to travel by catamaran from Tarifa to Tangier, meaning you can easily enjoy a day trip in Morocco, a rare chance to visit two continents on one holiday.
The weight of an adult Atlantic Bluefin tuna. 4 towns – Conil de la Frontera, Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes and Tarifa – continue the almadraba, a centuries-old, sustainable fishing practice whereby fishermen set up an elaborate series of nets in early summer to catch migrating tuna. Needless to say, this prized fish features widely on menus, along with a wide range of delicious fresh fish and seafood.
300-plus species of migratory birds fly over the Strait of Gibraltar each year, including 400,000 swifts, 60% of Europe’s raptors and almost all of the continent’s stork population. If you’re travelling between February and May, or September and November, binoculars are a must!
366 DAYS
The time needed to atone for murder. So keen were the authorities of yesteryear to ensure Tarifa was well defended that murderers would be given a full pardon if they spent a year and a day helping to defend this strategic port. It even led to the phrase – still used today – salir por la vía de Tarifa  meaning to get out of something (literally ‘leave by the Tarifa route’).
7,250 METRES
The beach of Los Lances stretches, quite literally, for miles, as does that of Valdevaqueros, which measures 4,050 metres, and the beach at Bolonia, which is 3,800 metres long. What’s even better is that out of season you’ll have all that sand virtually to yourself...

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The Costa de la Luz
Being so far south, the Costa de la Luz is a great choice for a walking break at New Year. Featuring a charming hotel in atmospheric Vejer de la Frontera, the break promises gentle walks combined with visits to whitewashed towns and villages, with the option to spend a day in Tangier.
More about our New Year walking break in Vejer de la Frontera >
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