Costa de la Luz, map

Index


Introduction



The Costa de la Luz ("Coast of Light"), Spain's southwestern coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, has beautiful beaches, hotels and golf courses, and areas that lend themselves to surfing and diving. Here, the climate is Mediterranean, with mild, relatively rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. However, there are some differences that are worth considering: the western part is hot in summer, with highs around 30 °C (86 °F) in July and August, and a greater likelihood of hot days, while the eastern part, and especially the south-eastern tip, overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar, is mild and windy.
In winter, very cold days on the Costa de la Luz are rare, though cold periods, with minimum temperatures dropping to 0 °C (32 °F), can sometimes occur.

Huelva Province



Let's start from the west. In the westernmost part, the mouth of the Guadiana River, which marks the border with Portugal (where we find the region of Algarve, see Faro), is divided into different branches, among which we find some islands: Isla Canela, Isla del Moral, and Isla Cristina. Further to the east, we find the towns of La Antilla and Islantilla. More to the east, in the area of the mouth of the Rio Piedras, we find the coastal towns of El Rompido and El Portil.

Isla Cristina from the plane

Huelva

We are in the province of Huelva: the capital is located more to the east, near the confluence of the Tinto and Odiel rivers, a short distance from the coast (on the coast near Huelva, we find Punta Umbría). Here, the daily average temperature ranges from 11 °C (52 °F) in January to 25.5 °C (78 °F) in July and August. In Huelva, in summer the daytime temperatures are already 2/3 degrees Celsius higher than on the coast, and at times, it can be very hot (though more rarely than in the interior of Andalusia), with highs around 35/37 °C (95/99 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Huelva - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)67911131719191814108
Max (°C)161821222529323230252017
Min (°F)434548525563666664575046
Max (°F)616470727784909086776863

Rainfall in Huelva is not abundant, since it amounts to 530 millimeters (21 inches) per year, and follows the Mediterranean pattern, in fact, most of it falls from October to April, while in summer, it almost never rains. The rainiest month is December, with 105 mm (4.1 in). Here is the average precipitation.
Huelva - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)7050405030735256585105530
Prec.(in)2.821.621.20.30.10.212.63.34.120.9
Days75564100267852

In Huelva, the amount of sunshine is very good in summer, when clear skies prevail, but all in all, it is decent even in winter, when bad weather alternates with sunny periods. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Huelva - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours5678101112119765

While on the coast the summer temperatures remain typically acceptable because of the sea breeze, in the interior, we find a particularly hot region, the Guadalquivir river valley, which, in summer, is the hottest area in Europe (see Seville, Cordoba).
Continuing to the east, around the beach resort of Matalascañas, we find the Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in biodiversity, with many species of birds that find refuge in the numerous lagoons. On the coast facing south-west, there are large beaches with sand dunes.

The temperature of the sea in the western part of the Costa de la Luz remains very cool even in summer, since the waters of the Atlantic never warm up by much, as we can see from the sea temperature near Isla Canela.
Isla Canela - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)161516161719202121201817
Temp (°F)615961616366687070686463

Cádiz Province



Beyond the mouth of the Guadalquivir river, we enter the province of Cádiz, where summer tends to become oddly less warm as you head south. Here, we find places like Chipiona and Rota, where there's an airport. In Rota, the summer temperature is still quite high, however, compared to the western part of the coast and in Huelva, very hot days are less frequent. On the other hand, there can sometimes be quite cool days because of the east wind (Levante), with highs around 24/26 °C (75/79 °F) even in July and August. This wind in Rota is intermittent and only blows at certain times, but becomes more frequent and intense as you head southeast.
Here are the average temperatures of Rota.
Rota - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)781011141819201815118
Max (°C)161820212428303028252017
Min (°F)454650525764666864595246
Max (°F)616468707582868682776863

Southeast of Rota, there are a number of cities very close to each other, but separated by bays and river branches: El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz, located in the bay of the same name, the nearby cities of Puerto Real and San Fernando (the latter is an island, although it was artificially connected to the mainland), and finally, Chiclana de la Frontera. The beaches in this part of the coast are Playa de la Barrosa and Playa de Sancti Petri.
Here are the average temperatures of Cádiz, which tend to be mild because it is surrounded by the sea. In summer, the east wind can blow here as well, causing some pretty cool periods.
Cadiz - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)101112131619212220171311
Max (°C)161718192225282826232017
Min (°F)505254556166707268635552
Max (°F)616364667277828279736863

Cádiz from above

Continuing along the coast towards the south-east, we find towns like Roche, Conil de la Frontera, El Palmar, Zahora, and Cape Trafalgar, beyond which we find Barbate. Starting from this area, we enter the region of the Strait of Gibraltar, which in summer is particularly subject to the cool Levante wind, and thus, has a particularly mild and windy microclimate, even cool in the southern tip, where we find Tarifa.
Here are the average temperatures of Tarifa.
Tarifa - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)111112131518202019171412
Max (°C)151516171922242523211816
Min (°F)525254555964686866635754
Max (°F)595961636672757773706461

The temperature of the sea in the Cádiz province is similar to that of the Huelva province, and remains cool even in summer, however, it's slightly warmer, and reaches 22 °C (72 °F) in August and September, as can be seen from the sea temperature near Conil de la Frontera.
Conil - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)161616161820212222201917
Temp (°F)616161616468707272686663

Best Time


The best period to visit the cities of the Costa de la Luz, and for walks and excursions, corresponds to the months of April, May, and October, especially if you plan an excursion to the interior of Andalusia, which is often scorchingly hot in summer.
For a beach holiday, the best time is instead the summer, from June to mid-September. It is advisable to bring a sweatshirt for cool and windy evenings, especially in June and September, but for safety, also in July and August, especially in the eastern part, that is, in the Cádiz province.

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