Urban seashore vacations offer an active ecosystem, a desire of extremely good restaurants and elegant places to live, in addition to time to take in the solar. Our writers pick a number of the high-quality from Greece to Belgium
Liz Boulter, Rachel Howard, Mary Novakovich Veerle Helsen
Sat three Aug 2019 07.01 BST
Say a bit playa … Victoria Beach, Cádiz, Spain Photograph: David Soanes
It changed into an actual pigeon’s eye view. The manual atop Cádiz’s Torre Tavira (€6) maneuvered the concave viewing dish up, down and round, displaying us watchtowers, church buildings, palaces, dockyards – and dozens of roof terraces with flapping laundry. The digital camera obscura on the pinnacle of this 45-meter tower, the tallest of 129 built in the 1700s for staring at service provider ships, is a perfect creation to Spain’s most ancient city, and particularly its maritime function, with the sea on 3 and a half of sides.
This digicam Obscura makes inventive use of magnification and mirrors. However, it’s miles helped exceedingly through the acute mild on this metropolis, capital of Spain’s Costa de la Luz. Cádiz is also nicknamed Tacita de Plata – silver cup – for the way the westering solar sparkles off the sea; it also makes the white marble west face of Santa Cruz cathedral glitter like a disco ball.
What’s additionally obvious from the tower is that Cádiz is a perfect destination for folks who like sea and sand however additionally a piece of the city buzz. Right inside the old metropolis, La Caleta is the smallest metropolis seaside, but primary450 meters long, and lovely sufficient to face in for Havana in Die Another Day (Halle Berry, binoculars, orange bikini). A walk to the south, Santa Maria seaside is a family favored, with calm water and a couple of chiringuitos (seashore bars) on huge light sand among two breakwaters.
And these are only a curtain-raiser for the four miles of unbroken sands stretching on south, starting with La Victoria (bus 1 or 7 from the antique metropolis), preferred with the aid of many younger gaditanos, presenting chiringuitos, pedalos, seashore sports activities, outside cinema on the beach, and masses of bars and golf equipment at the promenade in the back of.
As recently as 15 years ago Cádiz turned into a dodgy vicinity, recognized extra for drugs and prostitution than tapas and boutique lodges. Things have modified a lot, however now not to the volume that tourism pushes locals’ lives to the margins. Just mins from the cathedral square the slim streets are domestic to low-key bars and greengrocers, and a historic covered marketplace was dealing specially in fish and seafood such as oysters dredged that morning. The sea perspectives from parks and tree-stuffed squares loud with birdsong are easy pleasures, but don’t leave out attractions which include the oldest Roman amphitheater in Spain (front on Calle Meson, free); two fortresses, San Sebastián and Santa Catalina, flanking La Caleta with artwork exhibitions and super views back to the town; and the Beaterio catacombs (€6) for a sobering view of Cádiz life and death in centuries beyond.
Where to devour
Tapas is the manner to move, with the choice in lots of places of “supersizing” to a media racione. Cádiz doesn’t pretty have a homosexual area, but our manual, dancer Sam Gordillo Conejo, took us to its “homosexual corner” and purple-painted, David Hockney-decorated tapas bar La Gorda te da de Comer (the fat woman feeds you. Tapas such as salmorejo tomato dip and bright inexperienced spinach croquetas value from €2. Restaurante Balandro, going through north over the bay, is altogether posher, but sit up straight on excessive stools at the back bar, and you devour the identical food (small plates from €5) as inside the main eating place. In the evening, get to locals’ favored Taperia de Columela earlier than the 9 pm rush for thrilling tapas together with aubergine “chips” and tuna lasagne (approximately €18 for two such as a pitcher of wine).
Where to stay
Near the cathedral, Casa Nautilus is a transformed duration residence with principal atrium, roof terrace and 15 rooms, a few with traditional glassed-in balconies (doubles from €59, room-handiest, but assist-yourself espresso, tea and biscuits). Owned with the aid of the equal people, the Spanish Galleon is extra hostel-style (doubles with shared facilities from €35, apartments from €65). It has amazing views from its huge roof terrace, and a new ground-ground cafe doing breakfasts from €2 and a €6 vegan lunch.
Trains run to Cádiz from London thru Paris, Perpignan (sleeper) and Madrid. See loco2.Com for information.