Conil de la Frontera, a little piece of paradise on Costa de la Luz

In the middle of the coast of Cadiz we find the magical municipality of Conil de la Frontera. This Andalusian town is located on the Atlantic coast and a few kilometres from Vejer de la Frontera and Chiclana de la Frontera. It is one of the most visited towns in Andalusia.

Its gastronomy, its people and atmosphere, its idyllic beaches, its streets and white houses make the visit to this fishing town a charming experience. Take the opportunity to stroll through its old town typically seafaring, see its streets and white houses decorated with flowers.

A journey through the history of Conil de la Frontera, from the creation of the almadrabas with the Phoenicians, the greatness of the Roman Empire, the Islamic invasion and the Reconquest. Do you dare to discover everything you see in Conil de la Frontera? Find out about the different options for eating and sleeping in Conil de la Frontera.

Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish

Santa Catalina de Alejandría Parish
Santa Catalina de Alejandría Parish

The Parish of Santa Catalina de Alejandría is one of the most emblematic spaces to see in Conil de la Frontera. It is located next to the Town Hall building, in the Plaza de la Constitución. The Franciscan order of the Frailes Mínimos de San Francisco de Paula founded what used to be the convent of La Victoria in 1567. Convent church was created with the aim of worshipping the image of Nuestra Señora de las Virtudes, as she is the patron saint of the town.

The fundamental part of the construction is the oldest, from the second half of the 16th century. An example of this is the central nave, the stairs and the sacristy. In turn, the façade and the bell tower date back to the beginning of the 17th century. Due to its antiquity, the carving of the Virgin of Virtues, from the 13th century, made of carved and polychromed wood, stands out.

Old Santa Catalina Church

Old church of Santa Catalina
Old church of Santa Catalina

The Church of Santa Catalina is located in the old town of Conil de la Frontera, in the square of the same name. It was built in the 15th century and has since undergone various renovations. Of those that were carried out in the 17th century, few elements remain today. For example, the sacristy or the high altar with its vault.

It is a temple that has a mixture of styles, although the Mudejar predominates. It is currently used as the Santa Catalina Tourist and Environmental Visitor Centre.

Tower of Guzman

Tower of Guzmán | Photo: flickr Rey Perezozo
Tower of Guzmán | Photo: flickr Rey Perezozo

Continuing the tour through what to see in Conil de la Frontera and its old town, we find the Tower of Guzman. Although the town was founded in the time of the Phoenicians, who took advantage of its proximity to the sea to create the first traps and fisheries, it was with the Romans that Conil acquired its splendour. This was thanks to the fact that it formed part of the Via Herculae that linked Malaga and Cadiz until it led to the temple of Hercules in Sancti Petri. However, the Roman Empire fell and the Byzantines, Visigoths and Vandals sacked the city.

When Islam arrived in 711, the town was forced to join the Cora of Sidonia. It was in 1265 that the Christians were victorious in the Reconquest and Conil was given the name “de la Frontera”. The same happens with Chiclana, Arcos and Jerez. Thus the name of the towns referred to the border that separated some Muslim territories from those of the Christians.

Later, in 1299, King Ferdinand IV of Castile granted Alonso Pérez de Guzmán (Guzmán el Bueno) the town. The aim was to repopulate and strengthen it. For a time the town was called Torre de Guzmán because of the tower that was built to defend the town from a possible attack.

In this way, the medieval town developed around it during the 14th and 15th centuries. Today it is owned by the municipality and houses a visitor’s centre. Located in the Plaza de Santa Catalina, this three-storey tower is topped by battlements and merlons with hipped roofs. The upper part of the Tower of Guzmán is decorated with paintings of geometric motifs.

Here are some other towers to see in Conil de la Frontera.

Castilnovo Tower

On Castilnovo Beach you will find this tower of the same name that you can see in Conil de la Frontera. The Duke of Medina de Sidonia had it built in the 16th century. Thus, it had a double function. On the one hand, it was a watchtower for the coast. On the other hand, it served to keep the trap in sight. There are several of these watchtowers on the coast of Cadiz up to its eastern boundary in San Roque, Algeciras and La Línea de la Concepción.

The Tower of Castilnovo served as a small fortress and a den for those who worked in the service of the trap. So much so that it even had a warden. However, in 1755 a tidal wave destroyed the enclosure and only the tower remained standing. With an interesting history, this is an interesting infrastructure to see in Conil de la Frontera.

El Puerco Tower

The El Puerco Tower can be found on the El Puerco beach and dates back to the 16th century. It is believed that the monarchy ordered it to be built as a coastal watchtower. Later, in the 19th century, it served as a watchtower for seines and traps. It was also used during the Battle of Chiclana in 1811, between French and Anglo-Spanish troops during the War of Independence.

Hermitage-Chapel of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno

Continuing with everything to see in Conil de la Frontera we find the Hermitage – Chapel of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, located near the Tower of Guzmán and the Old Church of Santa Catalina. The Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus of Nazareth built it in 1592 to worship his images.

Inside we find a chapel with an altarpiece dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, paid for by Miguel Calderón de la Barca in 1720. In addition, the image of the Patron Saint of the town, Saint Sebastian, is also worshipped. It is a carving made by the sculptor Pedro Dain in 1588. It has great value.

Another hermitage to see in Conil de la Frontera is the small and simple Hermitage of El Espíritu Santo, hidden among the white streets. On its exterior you can see two representations of the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of sailors.

Near the Chapel of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno stands the Prison-House. After the Tower of Guzmán, it is the oldest building to be seen in Conil de la Frontera. It was built for chapter houses, where both town hall and prison warehouse meetings were held. In 1810 the building became unusable due to the French occupation. Later it was used as a prison and municipal warehouse.

Beaches in Conil de la Frontera

Los Bateles Beach
Los Bateles Beach

Undoubtedly, in addition to everything to see in Conil de la Frontera, this town stands out for its beach tourism. We must take into account that the climate makes swimming suitable from May to October. Therefore, it is the perfect destination in which to extend your holidays.

It is one of the towns with more beaches and coves of the Costa de la Luz. It has unbuilt and almost virgin spaces. This is the case of Castilnovo beach, one of the few virgin beaches in Spain so close to a village. Other beaches in Conil de la Frontera of interest are Playa de la Fontanilla, Playa de los Bateles, Playa Fuente del Gallo, Playa del Roqueo, Playa del Puerco, among others.

Furthermore, you cannot miss the kilometre-long beach of Roche, which is part of what you can see in Conil de la Frontera. Together with those of Chipiona, Sanlúcar, Los Caños de Meca, Sancti Petri or El Palmar de Vejer, it forms one of the most complete sets of provincial beaches in all of Spain.

Coves in Conil de la Frontera

For example, Cala del Aceite is one of the largest coves to be seen in Conil de la Frontera. It is situated next to the fishing port of Conil; and as it is somewhat far away it has few services.

You cannot miss the coves in Conil de la Frontera either: Cala Camacho, Cala del Sudario, Cala de los Pitones, Cala del Melchor, Cala del Tío Juan de Medina, Cala El Pato, Cala El Frailecillo, Cala El Áspero and Cala de Enmedio (La Encendida).

Useful information

Coordinates

36º 16′ N, 6º 05′ O

Distances

Cádiz 48 km, Sevilla 150 km, Madrid 676 km.

Parking

In the centre of the town or in private car parks.

Elevation

41 m.

Inhabitants

22.427 (in 2018)

Besides everything to see in Conil de la Frontera, there is nothing like enjoying its parties. Firstly, the San Sebastian Pilgrimage (20th January), Carnivals and the May Crosses and the El Colorado Spring Fair. Second, the Bonfires of San Juan (23rd June). Third, the Virgen del Carmen, the Fair and Festivities in Honor of Our Lady of Virtues (September 8).

For example, the Typical Patios and Corners Contest.


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