Best Things To Do in Conil de la Frontera, Spain
Conil de la Frontera is a town in the province of Cadiz that we loved. In this post, I want to tell you what to see and do when you travel to Conil. Also, about its gastronomy and, of course, where to stay in your getaway to this fantastic Costa de la Luz place.
10 Things to See and Do on Your Trip to Conil
Walk the Old Town of Conil
When you travel to Conil, you have to know its historical-artistic site and let yourself be carried away by its streets.
A must-see in the old town of Conil is the Torre de Guzman – the icon of the town of Conil – which is part of the old castle.
Here is where the tourist office is located, on the first floor, where you can learn about the town’s history. A documentary on the tower’s history is shown on the second floor, and the observation deck is located on the top floor.
Admission to the Tower is free.
Its history dates back to the end of the 13th century when it was built, in baroque style, on the parade ground of the castle by Don Alfonzo Pérez de Guzmán.
As Conil is located at a neuralgic point, from the tower, it was possible to observe the whole coast and prevent Muslim attacks on the town.
The castle is in a state of consolidated ruin, it was partially renovated, and its most important part is undoubtedly the Guzman Tower.
It is around the tower where the town began to grow. Houses, schools, and churches were built and thus began to form the old town of Conil.
Very close to the tower is located the Interpretation Center of the sea, traps, and tuna – La Chanca.
In a building of the XVII century, it gathers information about the millenary technique of the almadraba and how tuna fishing affected the life of the inhabitants of Conil.
Another site of interest, also located near the Torre de Guzmán, is the Museo de Raíces Conileñas. It is a small ethnographic museum that tells the history of the place through historical objects of daily use.
The most famous church is the Church of Santa Catalina, located in the homonymous square.
Built-in the 15th century by the Guzmán family and renovated several times. The current appearance is from the end of the 19th century, with neo-Mudejar and neo-Romanesque elements.
Since 1930, when architectural faults were discovered after the last renovation, it has no longer served a clerical function. Instead, the works of art have been distributed to other churches in the area.
The two that have some works are the Church of Mercy and the Church of the Virtues, located in the upper part of Conil.
Now, located in the Church of Santa Catalina, is the Cultural Center, where exhibitions and events are organized.
Another historical monument is the Puerta de la Villa, also known as Arco de la Villa, declared a site of cultural interest.
It dates from the early sixteenth century, and by then, it was called Puerta de Vejer since the road that led through it led to the town of this name.
It was part of the town walls and, in the past, there were three more gates. Unfortunately, this is the only one that has reached our times.
Next to the Puerta de la Villa, in Plaza España, there is a bronze statue, a tribute to José Saramago. It is a scene where an older man reads a book by the Portuguese Nobel to a child and has the meaning of transmitting knowledge.
The Plaza España is a perfect place, with bars and restaurants, to take a break from the tour and have a refreshing drink, looking at the traditional white houses of this area.
Another ideal place for outdoor relaxation is Atalaya Park, with children’s areas, a cafeteria, spectacular sea views, and lots of nature. It is located near the Mirador de la Atalaya.
The name is due to the old Torre de la Atalaya, formerly a watchtower in this place.
Enjoying the Beaches of Conil
Choosing a beach in Conil is quite tricky. In its 14 kilometers of coastline with fine sand, you will find pristine beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and cliffs with small coves.
Consider that the wind blows quite strong on the coast of Cadiz. For lovers of surfing and sailing sports, it is one of the best places to practice them.
Book your course here if you are a beginner and would like to take advantage of your trip to Conil to get started in the surf world.
Among the best-known beaches are Fontanilla beach, Bateles beach, and Cala del Aceite.
It is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Conil for its water quality, sand, and services. In the summer months, it has lifeguards, showers, and parking.
It has shallow waters, so it is ideal to go with the little ones during low tide. However, the best time is in the morning when the sand is uncovered and is almost 80 meters wide.
During the summer months, it has three beach bars and, in addition, the two best restaurants in Conil are located very close (Francisco Fontanilla and El Roque).
Los Bateles Beach
It is the busiest beach in Conil and gets pretty crowded in the high season. It is vast, with fine golden sand and beautiful views of the old town with its white houses.
Crossing the Salado river, you arrive at the extensive beach of Castilnovo. It is a virgin beach with 2 km of sand bathed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Its name is due to the Castilnovo watchtower that can be visited there and formerly served to observe the coasts. Unfortunately, it was partially destroyed in the earthquake of 1755.
Following the route through Playa de Castilnovo, you reach the next beach, Palmar. Some say it is undoubtedly the best beach in Spain.
It has about 8 km of white sand, crystal clear and shallow waters, perfect for families or to start learning to surf. Don’t miss the sunsets from Playa del Palmar!
In addition, this is where the handicraft markets with souvenirs, clothes, and decorative elements are set up.
It is a group of small coves near the Roche Lighthouse in Cabo Roche. Leaving the lighthouse, you’ll find:
- Cala del Faro – smaller with large rocks lying on the sand.
- Cala del Tio Juan de Medina – is quite wide and with golden sand, but keep in mind that it is strictly nudist.
- Finally, Cala del Pato – has a rock in the shape of a duck, hence the name.
- Cala El Frailecillo – You must walk a bit to get there, as it is far from the parking lot. It is larger than Pato beach but still has the charm of a beach with cliffs.
- Cala el Áspero – has some huge rocks jutting out of the sand, which, during high tide, cause some beautiful waterfalls.
- Cala Encendida – is the last of the Calas de Roche, next to the urbanization of the same name. It has a restaurant and more services than the other coves.
The Roche Lighthouse was one of the watchtowers in the area, built in the 16th century. In 1986 it was converted into a lighthouse.
Cape Roche is also famous for its valuable natural areas. For example, it has a protected area called the pine forests of Roche, a forest with hiking trails full of pine trees.
If you love water sports in Conil, you can enjoy the sea!
- Kayaking (my favorite),
- enjoying the clarity of its waters while snorkeling,
- learning to surf
- and, for the more daring, taking advantage of windy days to kitesurf.
There are many ways to enjoy the sea of Conil. Which is your favorite?
Tasting Bluefin Tuna
On the coast of Cadiz, you can eat a red tuna that is to die for. We tried it in Tarifa, but we have been told that you can also try it in Conil.
And it’s a must on your trip to Cádiz!
Eating “Pescaíto Frito” (fried fish)
It is very typical in Conil to buy fried fish to take away. They are sold in cones as if they were potato chips, and they are delicious.
Going out for Tapas in Conil
In Conil de la Frontera, you must go for tapas from bar to bar and taste the area’s gastronomy. Fish and seafood are the kings in Conil.
Try the shrimp omelets, squid, croquettes, octopus, and fried fish. Let them surprise you!
Watch the Sunset from a Cove (or your favorite beach)
Watching the sunset on the beach is a must in Conil. You cannot leave here without enjoying one of Conil’s simplest, most spectacular, and free pleasures.
The variety of beaches in Conil and its surroundings will give you an almost tailor-made sunset.
The most popular places to watch the sunset are the Fuente del Gallo and, undoubtedly, the Playa del Palmar in Vejer de la Frontera.
Cycling, Horseback Riding, or Walking Tours
Another of our recommendations is to take a route along the coast of Conil. The modality is up to you, the one you like the most: walking, biking, or horseback riding. No matter how you do it, you will have a great time.
Visit the Friday Flea Market
On Fridays, there is a flea market in Conil, and you have to go and see it. It is a weekly flea market that operates throughout the year. It is known as the piojito (little louse in English)
Here you will meet the Conileños (people from Conil) and learn about their customs and typical products. Stroll through the stalls, and taste the dried fruits and other foods for sale.
If you are a fan of markets, you can also visit the Mercado de Abastos (Monday to Friday mornings). There you can buy the typical red almadraba tuna.
Another is the art market located in the old Mercado de Abastos building. Open Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons.
On the promenade, you will find the handicrafts market.
Excursion to Caños de Meca and Tarifa
If you have time, visit the caños de Meca and Tarifa. From Conil to Tarifa, There are about 75 kilometers.
About 10 kilometers away you will find Caños de Meca, further on is the beach of Bolonia and then Tarifa. Zahara de los Atunes, Bolonia beach and then Tarifa.
Caños de Meca
It is the most hippie place on the Cadiz coast. Its popularity among bohemians began in the 1960s, and today it remains an oasis of peace and tranquility.
Enjoy its fine sandy beaches and dunes, visit the bars and restaurants to taste the almadraba red tuna, and see the surroundings.
It is an impressive construction located on the coast and solitary. It is 34 meters high and has been in operation since 1860, although it is now converted into tourist accommodations.
The sunset with the silhouette of the Trafalgar Lighthouse is a must if you are in these lands 😉
There are hiking trails in the surrounding area, and I encourage you to do so. You walk in the company of a guide. You always learn something new.
Zahara de Los Atunes
It is a small town that, for centuries, lived from bluefin tuna fishing. It now has about a thousand inhabitants that multiply by four during summer.
If you go there, stroll through the old town (note the castle that appears in Cervantes’ La ilustre fregona), eat in one of its excellent restaurants (it is known for its good gastronomic offer) and visit its beaches.
Book your excursion at this link if you want to know more about this place.
Undoubtedly, places you will fall in love with. Ideal to have a drink in one of the beach bars and enjoy the sunset and the coast of Cadiz.
More Excursions from Conil
If you have more days, I recommend you to visit also the surroundings of Conil de la Frontera and the nearby villages:
Vejer de la Frontera
From afar, you can see its white houses on a hill. It was declared the most beautiful village in Andalusia in 2014.
The best way to get to know it is simply immersing yourself in its streets and strolling, discovering the points of interest along the way.
Here are the must-sees of Vejer:
- Plaza España – from the 15th century, with old houses, bars and restaurants, and a tiled fountain.
- The Cobijada monument and the viewpoint.
- The Jewish Quarter and the Arco de las Monjas – with handicraft stores.
- The castle – from the 10th century on the village’s highest point.
- The Church of the Divine Savior – in Gothic-Mudejar style.
- The Medieval Wall – with three towers and four entrance arches.
- Obviously, the San Francisco market.
- The windmills are pretty similar to the ones in La Mancha that we saw in Mota de Cuervo.
Jerez de la Frontera
Wine, motorcycles, horses, and flamenco. And much more 🙂 Check out the list of must-haves:
- Alcazar of Jerez – the oldest building in the city and the last remaining Almohad Alcazar in Spain.
- The Cathedral of Jerez – is huge, has five naves, and you can climb the bell tower.
- La Cartuja – the largest historical-artistic complex in Andalusia.
- La Valeta del Tío Pepe – at 6 meters high, it is the largest in the world.
- Sherry wine cellars – the most famous are the Bodegas Fundador and the Bodega de González Byass (Tío Pepe).
- The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez – if you like horses.
Sign up for one guided excursion to know all its history and curiosities and miss nothing interesting!
Puerto de Santa Maria
It is located at the mouth of the Guadalete River and, thanks to this, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was one of the great commercial ports where ships from the Americas arrived.
It is worthwhile to stroll through its streets and imagine how it was in ancient times and, incidentally, go tasting its gastronomy that includes: shrimp omelet, fried fish, oxtail croquettes, or red tuna.
The list of must-see places in Puerto de Santa María:
- Monasterio de la Victoria – built in the XVI century.
- Casa de Los Leones – baroque-style palace, now converted into tourist apartments.
- Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles – built in the 15th century and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755.
- Rafael Alberti Foundation – the poet’s birthplace.
- Castillo de San Marcos – this is where Columbus went to seek financing for his voyage and now houses the Ponche Caballero factory.
- Polvorista Square – with period palaces and a decorative fountain.
- Bodegas Osborne – founded in 1772, is the second-oldest winery in Spain. They are the ones who filled the roads of the country with their black bull figures 🙂
- Beaches – with fine sand bathed by transparent waters.
There are guided excursions departing from Conil to the surrounding area. Choose the one you like best:
Where is Conil de la Frontera?
Conil de la Frontera is a small fishing village located on the Costa de la Luz, southwest of Cadiz and near Vejer de la Frontera, in the province of Cadiz, Andalusia.
It is a place with a great atmosphere, full of small tapas bars and excellent nightlife (at least pre-Covid).
It is very well preserved and is a place for everyone. Families prefer to enjoy the downtown area and beach activities, while the younger ones like to go out at night.
In summer, Conil is a destination that attracts a lot of tourism, and the streets are full of visitors.
But Conil is a tourist destination to visit all year round.
How to get to Conil de la Frontera?
The best way to get to Conil de la Frontera is by your own means of transportation. Since this city does not have a train station. Or combine bus and car rental.
- The nearest train station is San Fernando, about 20 km from Conil.
- Cadiz train station is 40 km away.
If you decide to come by bus, the best option is to arrive by train to Cadiz and take the bus from there.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can rent a car to travel to Conil.
One of the best combinations is to arrive at the train station or airport of Jerez de la Frontera and rent a car.
This way, you will also be free to move wherever you want.
Conil has no airport, but you can combine a plane, train, car, or bus.
The nearest airports are Jerez de la Frontera (75 km), Seville (157 km), and Malaga (205 km).
You can also get to Gibraltar airport, 98km away. Although not being Spain, it is a bit more complicated with the airport, the border, etc.
How to Move Around Conil?
If you are only going to be in Conil, the best way to get around is on foot through the town and by bicycle to visit its 14 km coastline.
If what you want is to be able to visit the surroundings, you have two options:
From my point of view, the best thing to do is to have a rental car, because I like the freedom to improvise that having your own vehicle gives you.
But if you prefer not to drive and do the visits with a guide, you can ideally hire excursions to get to know the surroundings.
You can also visit nearby places by bus, although it is one of the least flexible ways, and you depend on the schedules of a third party.
Where to Stay in Conil?
If you have come this far, I imagine you are wondering where to stay and where is the best place to base yourself to get to know Conil de la Frontera and its surroundings.
I’ll tell you: if you prefer to be close to the beach, take a look at Hipotels Gran Conil & Spa. It is in a beautiful location, and the hotel is excellent.
But if you prefer to be close to the center of Conil and the beaches, you can choose the Oasis Hotel or the Almadraba Conil.
It also has an excellent restaurant for you to taste the delicacies of Conil. It has an Andalusian patio inside and an ice cream parlor. Try the fresh fish and pescaíto frito. Paella and grilled meats are also typical.
Plan Your Trip to Andalusia
- What to See in Seville?
- Caminito del Rey from Malaga
- Best things to do in Malaga
- Day Trips in Conil
- What to see in Tarifa, camper van itinerary
I hope you enjoy your visit to Conil; tell me what must-visit places, what restaurants and bars you liked, and anything else you want to say to us about Conil that may be useful to other travelers!
Disclosure: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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Last Updated on 16 March, 2023 by Veronica