Cadiz is a fascinating city where the term travelling deeper is taken to a whole new level. It encourages you to look underground, out to the horizon and be amongst the rooftops. Succumb to the easy…
Sotogrande has friends in high places. From musicians and A-list movie stars to former UK prime ministers – and even a royal polo fan or two – it’s been the luxury resort of choice for some of the world’s more discrete rich and famous types for many years now.
It’s an unusual place, too. It’s not a ‘town’ in the strictest sense of the word, but is actually a privately owned, and rather exclusive residential complex. As a result, it keeps itself to itself a bit, and can be just a little hard to get to know.
From golf to gastronomy via polo and playas, in our Sotogrande guide we’ve tried to lift the lid on some of its best bits – so you can really get the most out of your next visit.
Location & Getting There
First things first: where is Sotogrande? It’s about an hour’s drive from Malaga airport – if you take the Autopista rather than crawling along the old N340, that is. Gibraltar International Airport is even nearer at about 25 minutes by car. Driving from Sotogrande to Marbella only takes about 35 minutes.
Golf is always going to be one of the main draws for many visitors to Sotogrande. Which is hardly surprising given that there are no fewer than five golf courses to choose from in the immediate vicinity, and a couple of those are amongst the very best in Spain.
La Cañada and La Almenara are both excellent and suitable for high to mid-handicappers, while La Reserva, the Real Club de Golf and world-famous championship course, Valderrama, are really best left for only the most accomplished golfers.
(For more golf inspiration, see our pick of the best Costa del Sol golf courses.)
As the name suggests Playa de Sotogrande is the main beach, stretching away directly from the estate itself. For ease, comfort and a range of facilities, this is the place to head. It’s also home to the ultra-stylish and adults-only Trocadero Beach Club, which if you book in advance makes for a great base camp for the day.
On the other side of the port, Torreguardiaro is another good bet for a nearby strip of sand to stretch out on for the afternoon. Here, too, there’s a good beach club – Chambao – to try.
Ever so slightly further afield, Playa Guadalquiton is a wilder choice, and one of the quieter, less developed and more attractive stretches of sand you’ll find between Malaga and Gibraltar.
For something a little different – and a whole lot luxe-ier – the La Reserva resort (Lareservaclubsotogrande.com) is home to Spain’s first, and to date only, private beach. A manmade sandy lagoon in the hills above Sotogrande, it’s a spectacular spot (see the video below to get a flavour) that’s packed with facilities including paddleboards and kayaks if you fancy getting a bit of exercise.
With warm, shallow waters and shady chill out areas, La Reserva’s inland beach is ideal for families (although there’s also an adults-only pool) and it comes with a full complement of restaurant, bar and even a rather nifty beach boutique.
Sotogrande is at the far westernmost end of the Costa del Sol, and unlike most of the rest of the region, is in Cadiz rather than Malaga province. As a result, the beaches of the Costa de la Luz – which are some of the most beautiful in the whole of Spain – are just over the other side of the Rock.
Restaurants & Bars
In the heart of the port, Belgian-owned Mytilus (Plaza de Los Naranjos, 8) is one of the best restaurants in Sotogrande. In amongst a heavy meat offering (we can heartily recommend the Chateaubriand) delicious Belgian dishes like moules frites make an appearance.
Next door to the polo ground, La Cancha II (Haciendas de San Enrique, s/n, 11312 San Enrique de Guadiaro) is another of the area’s best places to eat, specialising in the finest Argentine beef in a gorgeous setting next to lush, green polo fields.
For something more relaxed, Inboca Gastrobar, PuraTapa (both of which are on the Avenida del Mar) and its sister bar down in the Marina, Bokana, are a few of the best places to head for tapas.
A little outside the resort, just up the road towards San Roque, La Finca (Ctra. Nacional 340, Km 127) offers some excellent Thai fusion cuisine in a pleasant courtyard setting.
In the summer, Sotogrande after dark is all about the beach clubs. The coolest hang-out of the moment is definitely the Trocadero Beach Club (pictured – Grupotrocadero.com). With loungers, large Moroccan lanterns, rugs, cushions and parasols set against a backdrop of seafront palms swaying in the breeze, it may well be the most Instagrammable spot in Sotogrande.
There are a few other options worth dropping into if you want to make the most of the cool sea air in the evenings. El Octogono (Paseo del Río, 0, 11310 Torreguadiaro) doubles up as a great place to play padel or tennis; Bunker Beach Club (Paseo del Parque, S/N) at the easternmost end of Guadalquiton is a lovely spot and often has live music on in the evenings; finally, up the other end of the resort on Torreguadiaro beach, Chambao (Playa Torreguadiaro, s/n) is another attractive place for drinks and sea views.
A couple of relaxed bars in the port worth checking out are The Hairy Lemon and Ké bar. A couple of real Sotogrande nightlife institutions – which are practically next door to one another in the heart of the port, handily enough – they’ve been the meeting place of choice for a quick bite, a drink and a spot of people watching for the sizeable expat community for years now.
From Monaco to Puerto Banus, where there are yachts there’s luxury shopping. And Sotogrande’s no different, with plenty of choice for a bit of light retail therapy.
The pedestrianised Blue Sotogrande shopping quarter is the place to start. Here, Itsomi (Local 14, Ribera del Marlin) does a lovely line in beachwear, jewellery and accessories, Patricia Darch (Local 32-33, Ribera del Marlin) is an interior design showroom and De Gruyter (Ribera del Marlin 35) is an ultra-chic furniture store.
El Mercado de Levante is a fab Sunday market of artisan stalls and interesting pop-up shops, which in the summer months also opens up on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
There are also a couple of nearby shopping centres to choose from in Mar y Sol and SotoMarket.
Other Things to Do
Golf, shopping and dining aside, Sotogrande itself is not exactly overflowing with things to do in the sightseeing sense of the word. Which is kind of understandable – it’s a luxury resort where people are supposed to come to kick back and relax, after all.
The surrounding area itself, though, is absolutely packed with sights and attractions. If you don’t fancy another day’s sunbathing, there are countless great day trip options right on the doorstep, from Gibraltar, Marbella old town or Ronda (see the day trip provided by tour company Tomaandcoe.com) or one of the beautiful nearby white villages like Casares (pictured above), Jimena de la Frontera or Gaucin.
A fishing trip is also a brilliant day out. You’re right at the mouth of the Mediterranean, where it meets the Atlantic, and the variety of fish you can catch ranges from swordfish and tuna to mackerel and even conger eel. Dean’s Charter Fishing (Deansfishingholidaysinspain.com) runs a tight ship and conforms to the required ‘catch and release’ regulations.
If that seems a little bit too much like hard work, you can charter a yacht for the day with Yachting Sotogrande (Yachtingsotogrande.com).
The absolute best way to see the Sotogrande resort is by a Mini Moke beach buggy. There’s a great company called The Jolly Mile (Thejollymile.com) where you can hire a cooler-than-cool Mini Moke and drive around visiting all the hot spots.
When to Go
As with the rest of the Costa del Sol, while it may be at its liveliest during the summer months Sotogrande’s very much a year-round destination. The weather is superb, with an average of +300 days of sunshine per year and winter temperatures that rarely drop much below the high teens or early twenties celsius.
A couple of dates do stand out, though. First: the polo. Sotogrande’s ‘other’ sport after golf is a big deal. The polo season runs from June to early September and takes place at the exclusive Santa Maria Polo Club adding a real dash of international glamour to the high summer months. (You can find out more with our Sotogrande polo guide.)
Another great time to be in Sotogrande is when the Sunset Valley Weekend festival (Sunsetvalleyweekend.com) is on. Taking place from 10-12 August in the Santa Maria Polo Club, the line-up tends to be 80s Spanish old favourites and 60-70s retro classics.
Where to Stay
There are undoubtedly some decent Sotogrande hotels to stay at. But we’re the Luxury Villa Collection, and we’re going to stick our neck out here and say that they’re not a patch on our handpicked selection of villas.
Villa Artea is a sleek, modern design villa that’s all clean lines, white-on-white minimalism and chic open-plan living spaces. Villa Karima (pictured above) is something else. A 16-bedroom pleasure palace of staggering proportions and a dizzying list of facilities, it’s more like its own self-contained luxury resort than anything resembling a standard ‘villa’.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 242219 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2022-09-12 09:36:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-09-12 09:36:51 [post_content] => Cadiz is a fascinating city where the term travelling deeper is taken to a whole new level. It encourages you to look underground, out to the horizon and be amongst the rooftops. Succumb to the easy going way of life of the gaditanos – relax, eat well and be inspired by this ancient city.
1. Torre TaviraClimb this eighteenth-century watchtower, learn about the watchtowers of Cadiz (some pictured above) and see Cadiz through its camera obscura at the top. C. Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10, 11001 Cádiz. Torretavira.com
2. Playa La CaletaA day on the beach or hit it at 6pm for cake – street food to beach food. Sellers usually roam the beaches from about 5pm to 6pm. Then grab a drink and watch the sunset over the bay.
3. CathedralTaking over 100 years to complete and with its unique golden dome and silver collection it’s worth a visit. Pl. de la Catedral, s/n, 11005 Cádiz. Catedraldecadiz.com
4. Iglesia de Santa CruzThe original cathedral of Cadiz it was build in its form today in 1602. Pl. Fray Félix, 6, 11005 Cádiz
5. Mercado CentralFresh food and casual eateries make the market the heart of the city. Hit the gastromarket side of the market for tapas. Pl. de la Libertad, S/N, 11005 Cádiz
6. Pause in a PlazaMeander and stop for coffees or something strong in one of the pretty squares. Plaza de las Flores and Plaza de la Candelaria are two favourites.
7. Yacimiento Arqueológico GadirThis archaeological museum with a focus on Phoenician culture helps you travel under the city to ancient Cadiz. Address: C. San Miguel, 15, 11001 Cádiz. Open: Tues - Sat 11.00 - 15.00hrs and 17.00 - 21.00hrs. Sun 11.00 - 15.00hrs. Entrance free.
8. Park GenovesBeside the sea this city park has a playground, fountains and it’s a great place to run off little legs or meander after a long lunch. Parque Genovés, Av. Dr. Gómez Ulla, s/n, 11003 Cádiz
9. Museum of CadizFrom archaeological artifacts to art and puppets, the museum of Cadiz is an interesting way to spend a couple of hours if not only to find out the importance of puppeteering in the city. Address: Pl. de Mina, s/n, 11004 Cádiz. Museosdeandalucia.es
10. Castillo de Santa CatalinaA curious shape castle, originally built in 1598 gives great views and an insight into its military past. C. Campo de las Balas, s/n, 11002 Cádiz. Open during summer, Mon - Sun 11.00 - 20.30hrs.
11. Plaza de San Juan de DiosThe old main square of the city is a great place to start discovering Cadiz.
12. Teatro RomanoThis 1st century B.C. Roman theatre in the centre of the old town is the oldest and second largest on the Iberian Peninsula. Address: C. Mesón, 11, 13, 11005 Cádiz. Summer opening times (1st April - 30th Sept) Mon - Sat 11.00 - 17.00hrs and Sun 10.00 - 17.00hrs. Winter opening times (1st oct - 31st Mar) Mon - Sat 10.00 - 16.30hrs and Sun 10.00 - 14.00hrs. Closed the first Monday of every month. Entrance is free.
13. Puppet Museum (Museo del Titere)A good family option, it's somewhat interactive and home to puppets from all over the world. Puertas de Tierra, Bóvedas de Santa Elena, s/n, 11006 Cádiz. Open Tues - Sun 10.00 - 21.00hrs. Entrance is free.
14. See the Sunset at San Sebastian CastleThis castle and lighthouse is on a small island with a walkway linking it (even at high tide) to the end of the pier at La Caleta beach. It's said that the father of Zeus, Tronos, had his temple on the island. The lighthouse that you can see today has Moorish foundations and that is just the beginning of this little island's history. P.º Fernando Quiñones, s/n, Cádiz
15. Oratory of San Felipe Neri ChurchHome to one of Murillo’s finest works and one of the few Andalucian Baroque architectural examples of elliptical arches. C. San José, 36, 11003 Cádiz
16. Gran Teatro FallaFor an evening surrounded by 18th century grandeur, check out this Neo-Mudejar theatre in the old town. (See its program here). Pl. Fragela, s/n, 11003 Cádiz
17. CUEVA CATACUMBAS DEL BEATERIOThese catacombs are much less morbid than you’d imagine with an incredible story. Access is six metres under the city through a courtyard in a residential building. C. Valverde, n3, 11004 Cádiz. Catacumbasdelbeaterio.com
18. CarnivalCelebrated just before the beginning of Lent this very lively week-long festival sees everyone take to the streets in fancy dress. There’s traditional music in the form of satire singing groups that you can hear around the streets and at the theatre. Usually during February, 40 days before Easter.
19. Walk Around the Old TownTake in the feel of the city by wandering around two distinct areas: El Populo and La Viña, the latter of which is the old fisherman’s area. Don’t miss Plaza Tío de la Tiza and Restaurant El Faro.
20. Casa-Palacio Moreno de MoraA fine example of an Elizabethan-style palace from the 1800s. C. Ancha, 28, 30, 11001 Cádiz. Only open on Wednesdays at 10.00hrs via prior arrangement through this email [email protected]
21. Hospital de MujeresA quick visit of this old hospital and chapel offers a magnificent El Greco painting of St Francis and a rather special central courtyard. C. Hospital de Mujeres, 26, 11001 Cádiz
22. Visit El Puerto DE Santa Maria by BoatCadiz is at the end of a peninsula so there are regular boats going across to the mainland. Take a day trip to El Puerto de Santa Maria – see the sights like the Castle of San Marcos and do some sherry tasting. Port: Av. del Puerto, 2B, 11006 Cádiz Castle of San Marcos, Pl. Alfonso X el Sabio, 3, 11500 El Puerto de Sta María, Cádiz
23. Casa de IberoamericaThis Neoclassic building, once a former prison, is now an event and exhibition space. C. Concepción Arenal, s/n, 11006 Cádiz
Useful InformationHow to get to Cadiz by car From Seville airport 129km 1hr 14min From Malaga airport 225km 2hr 20min From Jerez 34.9km 28min From Gibraltar 118km 1hr 24min From Marbella 177km 1hr 49min Tempted you to discover Cadiz city? Have a look at our selection of villas on the Costa de la Luz. [post_title] => 23 of the Best Things to Do in Cadiz [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-to-do-in-cadiz [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-09-13 09:21:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-09-13 09:21:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=242219 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 242167 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2022-07-24 15:17:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-07-24 15:17:35 [post_content] => The Alhambra: crowning the city of Granada, this stunningly decorative fortress-palace complex is one of Spain's most instantly recognisable sights. But it's also the country's most visited tourist attraction – and as such probably needs little in the way of introduction (and promotion). So let’s concentrate instead on some of the lesser-known wonders that this fabulous city has to offer. Here then is our pick of the top things to see and do in Granada – that aren't the Alhambra...
1. The AlbayzinFor centuries, Moorish and Christian traditions coexisted harmoniously in Granada, and the Albayzin neighbourhood is a beautiful and atmospheric relic of this enlightened past. The Alhambra and the Albayzin look across at one another, with each view being just as magnificent as the other. Meander through the narrow cobbled streets, pause in squares to admire the view or stop for a tapas and a cool drink.
Why visit:Revel in the Moorish and Andalucian style that can be discovered around every narrow corner or small square. Take in the view and drink champagne overlooking the Alhambra Palace – El Huerto de Juan Ranas has a great terrace. (Calle Atarazana Vieja, 6.)
Tapas stops:Taberna El Beso. Moroccan food in the surroundings of a beautiful little palace. The owner also has a small collection of antiques and objets from Morocco for sale. (Cuesta de San Gregorio, s/n, 18010 Granada.) Higher in the Albayzin is Casa de los Mascarones. It's a little rough and ready, but offers great tapas with a very local Albayzin feel. (Calle Pagés, 20, 18010 Granada.) Bar Kiki and Cafe Gabriel are two other favourites – see our guide to restaurants in Granada if you're looking for further recommendations.
2. Palacio Dar al-HorraDeep in the Albayzin, this mini palace often gets overlooked. Once the home of Aixa, mother of Boabdil, the last Moorish king of Granada, it has magnificent views of the Albayzin and only takes a short time to visit. The best way to visit Palacio Dar al-Horra is to buy a ticket to the Andalucian Monuments: Tickets.alhambra-patronato.es. This includes Palacio Dar al-Horra, Corral del Carbón, Bañuelo and Casa Morisca (Calle Horno de Oro). You can also buy tickets at the entrance of Palacio Dar al-Horra – it closes between 14.30-17-00hrs. (Callejón de las Monjas Albayzin, s/n, 18008 Granada.)
3. Cathedral & Capilla RealIf you've got more than a passing interest in Spanish history a visit to the Capilla Real, where the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand are buried, is a must. The first Renaissance church in Spain, the mighty Granada Cathedral also forms part of the sample complex and can be visited alongside the Royal Chapel. (Calle Mariana Pineda, 21, 18009 Granada.)
Tapas stop:To the rear of the Cathedral is the fresh food market, San Agustín. Here La Picatería is a great bet for a spot of tapas. (Plaza de San Agustín, S/N, 18001 Granada.)
4. Plaza Bib RamblaGranada doesn’t have a plaza mayor (a main square) per se, but Plaza Bib Rambla more than ably fills the role. As the first square of Granada, Plaza Bib Rambla has survived a long and varied history… from markets, jousting, bull fighting, religious processions and even executions, this square has seen it all. Now there are flower stalls, restaurants and street entertainers. Much more civilised.
Tapas Stop:La Telefonica, just off the square. (Calle Arco de las Orejas, 1, 18001 Granada.)
5. Go ShoppingA memento or two from your travels is always a must. But what should you buy in Granada?
- Spices & tea: Not to be missed are the Moroccan-style tea shops and souvenir shops along Caldereria Nueva, close to Calle Elvira. In the lower part of the Albayzin, it’s a great place to buy some tea, spices or North African cakes.
- Ceramics: Granada (and Andalucia) has a long history of decorative ceramics, dating all the way back to the 15th century. You’ll notice decorative tiles throughout the city. The blue and green pomegranate design ('granada' means 'pomegranate' in Spanish) on vases and plates are a traditional decoration and make for a lovely gift. Ceramics are still produced in the city today at Fajalauza. (Calle Fajalauza 2, Albayzin Alto.)
- Leather: 5V Valverde is a speciality shop from yesteryear dealing in handmade leather shoes, boots and bags. Exquisite quality, one of the best cordwainers in southern Spain. (Calle Reyes Católicos, 32, 18009 Granada.)
- Jewellery: A great option for giftables is Platonica (Platonicajoyeria.com). Locally designed and made jewellery, some influenced by Nasrid culture. (Carrera del Darro, 8, 18010 Granada.)