From our very first walking experience with Inntravel we knew that we had hit upon the type of holiday that really suited our way of doing things. On each trip we have always loved heading off in the mornings not knowing what we would find each day. Taking it at our own pace and stopping off along the way to take in a view, nip into an open church or dip our toes in the sea, and always looking forward to discovering the eclectic mix of accommodation chosen on our behalf. All our Inntravel holidays really have been perfect for us and we have never failed to enjoy the adventurous and interesting experiences provided.
Our first three walks were in Catalonia, an area we grew to love, and even back then we began to discuss our future plans for when we stopped working and had the possibility of owning a second home in Spain. Following further walks in Almería and Asturias we were well and truly hooked and began to learn the language. We often wonder if we had started walking in Italy or France or any of the other fantastic destinations on offer, whether we would be there now and speaking a different language. But no, for us Spain was to be ‘the place’.
We continued each year to work our way through Inntravel's Spanish walks, undertaking all but one of those available at the time. We embraced the culture, experienced the many traditions and festivals, sampled the local food and wine, enjoyed the early evening or lunchtime tapas and even adopted the very late hour of dining!
Every year when we returned from our holiday we would discuss each area’s merits as a potential second home purchase. Our first love, Catalonia, has a dramatic coastline and vibrant cities but property is expensive as it is a popular destination for the city folk of Barcelona and Girona. Galicia has stunning beaches and the delightful city of Santiago de Compostela, but it's a little too quiet for us. Then there is Asturias, with the stunning Picos mountains but not great weather. The regions of Aracena and Grazalema offer abundant wildlife, fauna and amazing views but are a little remote from the bigger cities... Everywhere we went had its pros and cons and we are sure we would have been happy in any one of them. But nowhere, up until this point, had offered us the perfect combination of everything we were looking for.
Fast forward a few years and we read an article in one of the Sunday papers about the town of Vejer de La Frontera, a pueblo blanco in the Andalucian province of Cádiz, and decided to take a short break there. We instantly fell in love and knew we had found what we had been searching for. Soon after that initial visit we put our plans into action and bought our home in this magical place.
That was four years ago now, but thoughts of how we ended up here were brought right to the fore when we received Inntravel’s 2017 walking brochure. In it we discovered that Vejer de la Frontera was one of the bases for a New Year walking break. It seems we were one step ahead of Inntravel this time, but we’re not too surprised that they have caught up with us as this is a location that really does have it all.
This perfectly situated town perched on top of a hill has panoramic vistas to the sea on two sides as well as incredible countryside views stretching for miles. It has an authentic, charming casco antiguo ('Old town') with photo opportunities around every corner. Its many bars and restaurants serve delicious, locally sourced produce (the area is famous for its fish, especially tuna), alongside wines from Cádiz and of course the local sherry. There are fabulous beaches within a 15-minute drive that are a magnet for surfers, and don’t get us started on the weather, with the town basking in around 300 days of sunshine each year. Combine this with its close proximity to the vibrant cities of Jerez, famous for its sherry production, and Cádiz, the provincial capital with its many attractions including the wonderful fish market, and this all adds up to make the very best location to spend our not-so-lazy days living out our Spanish dream.
We have, of course, continued our love of walking (and now cycling), and we are enjoying the many routes the area has to offer, both coastal and inland, some of which feature on Inntravel’s holiday. There is an abundance of other things to see and do here, too, and some of the activities we have enjoyed, and can recommend, are: bodega tours and tastings in the 'Sherry Triangle' towns of Jerez, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda; the annual horse racing on the beach (also in Sanlúcar); local cookery classes (an Inntravel suggestion), and additional language lessons. We have also experienced the local jazz festival and attended many of the numerous fiestas and religious processions in the region. It seems that not a week goes by when there isn’t an event of one kind or another happening locally, so we’re not likely to get bored. The same will no doubt go for all new visitors coming to the town with Inntravel.
Inntravel may have been a few steps behind us on our adventure this time, but they sowed the seed for this other life of ours and we are extremely grateful to them. We hope everyone coming here enjoys the town and surrounding area just as much as we do!