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Cádiz con niñ@s
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We start our family trip in Alcalá de Los Gazules, right in the heart of the natural park of Los Alcornocales, the green lung of the province. We've reserved a day of experiences and accommodation in the El Picacho nature classroom (Carretera Alcalá de los Gazules - Ubrique Punto Kilométrico 31, Cádiz). Besides the summer camp for groups or families, here they organise lots of environmental learning activities. And you can even create your own experience: http://alcornocales.es/crea-tu-pack-excursion-picacho.htm. As it's the first day and we've got another five to go, we reckon it'd be great to participate in a workshop on tracks and markings in the morning and an orienteering workshop in the afternoon. But then again, archery and learning to use a blowpipe is a lot of fun too, which do you fancy? The experience includes lunch. For more information and reservations, call (+34) 686 873 458.
For dinner, we recommend taking a walk around Alcalá and buying a dornillo as a souvenir - hand made bowls of ash wood that are typical of this village - and then have dinner in one of the restaurants here: https://www.alcaladelosgazules.es/index.php/turismo/restaurantes Hot gazpacho (vegetable soup), collard greens, stews and scrambled eggs are some of the typical dishes of the area.
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Holiday time means the kids can get a bit over-excited, so we need to get them to burn off some energy. Today we're off to Benalup- Casas Viejas. We'll stay at one of the typical Indian tepees at the Wakana complex. That's right, an Indian tepee, like the ones in the films. But with all mod cons of course (call (+34) 687 929 459 for more information and reservations). They also offer loads of nature related and mind-body activities.
In the morning, after you leave your stuff in your new temporary home, it's time to go to a park where they have zip-lines and Tibetan bridges. All the family can join in, although you need to be in good shape and be over 1.40 metres tall. With all the fun, photos and balancing acts, the route lasts just over an hour.
Another option is to go by kayak on the reservoir next to the complex, El Celemín. It's actually included in the reservation for accommodation that we chose, which includes bikes to move around the facilities. In the afternoon, there are competitions between kids and parents on the assault course with 20 obstacles and lots of mud. Take a change of clothes with you for after the shower. The dirtiest one loses...
The complex also includes a restaurant service. But we've decided to have dinner at one of the hotels in Benalup – Casas Viejas and try out the delicious local gastronomy.
Time to get up! Get your heads off those pillows! They're waiting for us in Los Barrios for a paddle-surf class. The wetlands at the mouth of the river Palmones are the last remaining ones in the Bahía de Algeciras. It's a vitally important area for environmental protection and makes the perfect backdrop for this sport, not only because of the tranquil waters but also because of the beautiful surroundings.
If you come to our province in the mushroom season, it's a great idea to go on a mushroom picking walk. The natural park of Los Alcornocales is a major attraction for mycologists in the province of Cadiz, thanks to the perfect conditions there that allow a multitude of fungi and mushrooms to grow there.
The fact is that Los Barrios is a kind of paradise for anyone who wants to do active tourism. It offers a load of activities for the family to do together (https://turismolosbarrios.com/diviertete/turismo-activo/), from bike trips through the natural park (you can see all the routes at the MTB centre: https://centrobttalcornocales.com/) to kite-surfing. The tourism office has information about the options that best suit your interests and even if there are any free organised activities (tel.: (+34) 956 58 25 04)
Did you know the Strait of Gibraltar is full of dolphins, whales and orcas? Depending on the migratory routes, breeding periods and food available, these waters can play host to up to seven species of cetaceans. We'll get a brilliant explanation about it all in the introductory talk they give us before we go on board the ship that'll take us off in the afternoon to see whales in their natural habitat. The chances of seeing one are almost 100%. The times and frequency of the trips depend on weather conditions. For more information and reservations, call Firmm: (+34) 956627008 or Turmares: (+34) 956680741
Before we go back to our beloved tepee, you can spend the evening wandering around the historic streets of Tarifa and try a few delicious tapas at the local bars .
It's time to say goodbye to the friends we made in Benalup – Casas Viejas, and set off to discover new parts of the province and have more adventures. Head off in the direction of Chiclana de la Frontera because we're off to the beach! There's a pirates' party waiting for us at the marina in Sancti Petri, and they're all on board waiting to take us on a trip where we'll all have a lot of fun (trips on Saturdays). Another option is to sail through the natural park of La Bahía, drop anchors at the Castle of Sancti Petri and slide down the water toboggan to take a dip (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). For more information and reservations, call Albarco: (+34) 617 378 894.
In the afternoon, we've got the chance to make our first attempts at windsurfing at the same beach of Sancti Petri. Prefer surfing? No problem! They'll teach you to catch your first waves on the beach of La Barrosa Here is a list of companies that offer marine activities in Chiclana https://turismo.chiclana.es/sentir/deportes/nautica/
The custom here on summer nights, especially at the weekends, is for the Town Council of Chiclana to organise activities like puppet shows, summer cinema. Go to the tourism website to see what's on offer every month (https://turismo.chiclana.es/menu-lateral/agenda/)
We're going to spend the fifth day of our journey in the countryside of Jerez. There's a honey museum in Rancho Cortesano (carretera de Cortes, A-2003) where they show you the fascinating world of beekeeping. They'll show you how the bees organise themselves, the production process for making honey, its many different uses and health benefits and, of course, you get to try some! At the weekends they organise some great family workshops, open in the mornings in summer, and mornings and evenings the rest of the year. They also have a vegan restaurant. Call this number and they'll tell you about all the options they have to offer: (+34) 635 514 786.
In the afternoon, we're off to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens of Jerez, one of the oldest in Spain. You'll see hippopotami, giraffes, Galapagos turtles, chimpanzees, dromedary camels and lots more animals you can learn a lot about thanks to this visit. The zoo also has a large botanical garden. Something that not many members of public know, but which is internationally recognised in the sector, is the zoo's work in the reproduction and conservation of endangered species such as the Iberian lynx, bald ibis, mountain zebra, Iberian wolf and other species. This is its main function today. You can buy entrance tickets at the entrance. Information about times and prices: http://www.zoobotanicojerez.com/index.php?id=570
Oh dear, you got up feeling sad that the holidays are coming to an end, didn't you? Just like us. But don't worry, we've still got one whole day ahead. We're off the Arcos de la Frontera. Before going to Cadiz, we called the Buenavista school farm (Junta de los Ríos s/n) and it just so happens that today they've organised one of their family farming mornings, so we signed up. We'll take a ride on horseback, feed the farm animals and make our own bread. Call (+34) 956 72 59 50 for more information and reservations.
In the afternoon, we'll go to the beach of Zahara de la Sierra. Yes, yes, I know Sierra means mountain range in Spanish, but who's to say that there's no beach on a mountain? In Cadiz we've got two, the beach at Arcos and another at Zahara de la Sierra. Well, OK, they're artificial beaches on the banks of reservoirs, although the facilities and comfort on offer make them the envy of any other beach. The first thing to do is take a dip and then set off to the Discovery water sports centre, in the wetlands. We've signed up for a watery multi-adventure that'll give us another chance to have loads of fun with the family. You can make up your own personalised activities. We opted for a trip in a canoe, a water orienteering circuit and a spot of archery.
The next thing to do is leave our suitcases at the hotel Arco de la Villa, where you can get some fantastic views of the Sierra de Grazalema. Los Tadeos also gives you a warm and friendly welcome. And the views from the infinity pool are just amazing.
Zahara de la Sierra, El Gastor, Grazalema, Alcalá del Valle and Setenil de las Bodegas are some of the towns and villages where you can get the best views of the stars. We reserved a night time walk where they'll show you the biggest stars in the night sky (tel.: (+34) 654907448). Don't forget to make a wish if you see a shooting star. Our wish is to see you all again soon. How about you?
|Estimated driving time: 5 hours|
|Recommended number of days: 6|
|Attractions: Nature, beaches and sports|
|See route in map: Google Maps|