Historic sites

Baelo Claudia, BoloniaFrom as far back as 1100 BC, when the Phoenicians plied the waters of what is now the Costa de la Luz, the area has been home to a succession of powerful civilisations  – and all of them have left their mark on the landscape and culture of the region.

None more so than the Romans, who occupied the area for 600 years, and the Moors, who spent half a millennium here.

Stand on the terrace at the hotel and almost within touching distance you see a hill that was once the site of a Moorish Caliphate. Cerro de Patria is a protected mountain fortress with Arabic ruins dating from the 7th century.

Nearby Vejer de la Frontera, which sits atop a hill commanding the local area, was a thriving Moorish town for over 500 years, but look a little closer and you will see many signs of the ancient Roman settlement that preceded it. It is one of the most impressive Pueblos Blancos in the region, rich with Moorish architecture and an officially designated national monument of historical, artistic and cultural interest.

Below the town on the plains you will see Roman antiquities aplenty, with Roman bridges and aqueducts still in use. Drive a few kilometres down the road and you can stand among the ruins of the Roman settlement of Baelo Claudia in the village of Bolonia, which was located right on the beach with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal hills of North Africa so close you can make out the houses.

As with so many places in the area, you can literally feel the history. Sit in the well preserved amphitheatre just yards from the beach and you can almost hear the banter and laughter of the crowd as they watched plays and other entertainment over 2000 years ago.

Other historic sites well worth a visit include Cadiz cathedral and the Alcázar in Jerez.