Posted by: Stevie D | May 29, 2012

Alcala De Los Gazules and the Costa de la Luz

Some years ago, Jayney and I took a trip to the Algarve and Southern Spain on the bike. First port of call on this trip was the huge motorcycle rally at Faro. We spent four days there, in the heat, dust and noise. Despite having a ball, when we left we both felt we needed somewhere quieter to mellow out for a few days. A little ‘tent’ sign on the map led us to Alcala de los Gazules which was like a little haven of peace and tranquillity after the crazy world we had just left behind. Back then, the campsite was newly opened and the grass was watered and green and the facilities were all shiny new. That situation has , of course, changed with the passing years, but the site retains it’s tranquil air and ‘away from it all’ ambience.

This was our fourth visit to Alcala and although it got a little busy over the weekend (when it actually rained, incidentally), the place was quiet  and we could watch the wildlife and explore the local area pretty well uninterrupted by noisy neighbours. The site is 3 or 4 miles ouside the small town of Alcala de los Gazules and on the edge of the Los Alcornocales National Park. The leafleat we picked up in the site office told me there are 226 bird species living in the park, including 23 species of Birds of Prey. Every day, especially in the afternoon when the thermals got going, the sky above the site was filled with soaring vultures, eagles and buzzards and the ground was alive with bugs and crawlies of all shapes and sizes(which pleased Jayney no end, I can assure you). We rode out to the local towns of Medina Sidonia and Chiclana de la Frontera. The riding in this area has improved hugely over the years with the improvement generally in the condition of Spains roads. The roads remain very quiet are a joy to ride, especially away from the heat of the mid-afternoon.

The long straight road between the town and the site brings back great memories.

The town is perched on it’s own little hill.

A Vulture/Buzzard/Eagle soars over the site. OK wise guys, which is it?

Some of the local residents didn’t get on with Jayney too well.

The road to Medina Sidonia.

It’s worth a morning out of anyone’s life to stroll around Medina Sidonia.

Many Spanish towns seem to spend most of the day asleep.

The lovely town square could be in the Caribbean.

All too soon it was time to move on so we cut across to the coast, to the tourist town of Conil de la Frontera.  Conil itself is reminiscent of many seaside resorts across the world. It has a fantastic beach with clean sands and more bars and restaurants than you could shake a stick at. It was here that we first bared our snowy white torsos and went in for a dip in the Atlantic. Very nice it was too. The beach seems to run almost unbroken down to Tarifa on the southernmost point and Jayney and I took a couple of days on the bike to explore this lovely part of Spain.

We rode down the the N340 to Tarifa and, because we left before the heat really started to build, it was the perfect ride. All I can say to my biker friends is ‘do it, just once’.

The closer you get to Tarifa, the more wind turbines you see. Tarifa itself is a sea of windsurfing and kitesurfing schools. Needless to say, it’s a breezy old place. The old town however has escaped the worst of these excesses and retains much of its original, almost Moroccan, ambience.

Great beaches everywhere, and there’s always a surf up.

Looking across the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa to Morocco.

In places, the ever shifting dunes threaten to take over the roads.

We also took the coast road down through Barbate to Zahara a los Atunes. It’s wild and woolly country indeed, constantly swept by the wind off the Atlantic. But a great ride.

Zahara is a semi-tropical paradise of palm trees and surf.

Wind turbines and Windsurfers. Zaharans make their money where they can.

I could feel quite at home in Zahara a los Atunes(but don’t put me on one of them board things).

With that, our time in Spain was through, and next morning, we set off for Portugal. The trip was about to take on a more serious note as Jayney and I had some business to attend to before we could get back to just enjoying ourselves. More of that later. That’s all for now.



  1. Wow that looks brill Steve. You look like Sampson holding up them pillars. Best wishes for the next (serious) part of your trip. Have a wonderful day.

    • Well there you are Iain, my man. They say the camera never lies but, in reality, it was the pillars holding me up. 🙂

  2. Man, this trip is getting better and better with each post, I feel like I am riding along y’alls side. I really want to see a map of this ride once it is completed!! Ride safe brother and keep’em coming.

    • Thanks for that BM. I should get a chance to check out your own amazing odyssey tomorrow. You’re the man!!!

  3. It looks like a Spanish Imperial Eagle!

    • You know Andrew, I was just thinking exactly the same myself. 🙂 Is that an educated guess or do you know of these things?

  4. Every time I read your posts, it makes me wish I’d kept a journal of my travels. Your blog will be a fantastic souvenir of your trip. You should write a book with the title the same as your blog. Thanks again. Enjoy 😀

    • I didn’t realise before we started out what a good record of events the blog would be Avis.But of course, without people like yourself who follow and enjoy it, I’m sure I wouldn’t bother anyway. So thanks are really due to you and others like you.

  5. Hi man.hope you get this message.been trying since you left dear old blighty.not too good with these computer things any more. I think the harley needs a new bottom end.oil pump.

    • OUCH!!! That’s grim news man. But the old girl’s done the rounds already. (And so’s the Harley) 🙂

  6. i have been shomn how to use this infernal contraption. does anyone else see a right said fred influence in the last photo?

    • And after a comment like that, the sooner you forget how to use ‘this infernal contraption’, the better.

  7. Hi Steve,
    Looks like you guys are having a blast.
    Fab narrative and pics as usual.
    I’m still putting together the mutant project 😀 making good headway at last. Just jackshaft, brake mounts and mud controls to finish and its off to paint.
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.
    Keep up the great blogging.

    • I haven’t had time online to check out everyone blogs like I was, but your project is one I just gotta see the end result of. Be sure to let me know when the photo’s are up.

  8. Always such nice pictures and interesting places. Thanks for sharing. Only thing is your posts are adding fuel to my desire for another European vacation.

  9. If the fuel’s there Dead Guy, let it burn.

  10. With the exception of the bugs, I think this part of your trip has been my favorite. I love the towns, the beaches, the sand dunes…. beautiful!
    Hope you didn’t hit any of those bugs while riding. Do they fly?

    • As you probably know Shadowrun, the problem with bug recognition is, they all look the same after they’ve squashed themselves over your nose. However, whichever bugs they are, the pain is the same. And yes, I love the Costa de la Luz too.

  11. No, no we are not jealous ar all, we love Holland!



    • Hey Wim, I love Holland too, but in a different way. 🙂 Thanks for checking out the blog man. More important news soon.

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