Mazagon, Andalusia, Spain
If we begin with the beaches, the Playa de Mazagon is close to the marina to the west of town and very popular with visitors because of its relatively warm and calm waters. Obviously this can be particularly appealing if you are travelling with children. If you continue west this stretch of beach then becomes the Playa de las Dunas which is much quieter. Just beyond the Playa de las Dunas you eventually come to the Playa de Alcor which is more of a sand dune type beach surrounded by a striking pine forest.
For those who enjoy camping, the Parque Nacional Coto Donana is filled with campsites set amongst the pine trees and very close to the beach. The nearest entrance into the park is at El Avcebuche which is about 25km away and has several trails you can explore either on foot or horseback. Within the park is the Parador Mazagon (Hotel Cristobal Colon) which is a four star hotel with lovely gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a tennis court, sauna, and steps that lead down to the beach.
There are a couple of other nature reserves fairly close by as well such as the Marshes of Odiel which is home to over 200 species of birds. The Laguna de Las Madres is 110 hectares of wetlands surrounded by pine woods. The wetlands are home to various birds including the heron and flamingo, but it also has a great deal of other wildlife such as the badger, deer, and lynx.
Should you wish to travel into the larger towns and cities, you are very close to places like Huelva and Seville. Huelva hosts their Latin American Film Festival in November and during the Easter week Seville celebrates the Semana Santa Festival, which for Catholics is even more important than Christmas. Thousands of people holding candles follow a procession of flowers, and along the route a flamenco singer perched high on a balcony sings to the procession as it passes. It is really quite an amazing sight and one that should not be missed.
Another place of interest is the Monastery of La Rabida at Palos de la Frontera which is only 12k from Mazagon. This is where Christopher Columbus first discussed his dream of discovering an alternative route to India with one of the Franciscan monks. It was this same monk who persuaded him to apply to the king for financial support, and as everyone in those days believed the world to be flat it was really quite a brave suggestion.
Mazagon not only offers gorgeous beaches and fascinating nature reserves but you also have the glorious combination of a tranquil setting all within reach of several of Spainís most delightful towns. It is really no surprise it has become such a popular destination.
About the Author: This article was written by Susan Bartle who is a seasoned traveller and freelance travel writer.
Originally from Canada she currently resides in the UK and recent research has resulted in expert knowledge of the Pousadas and Paradores. Click here to read about other destinations where these luxury hotels can be found.
Or visit her travel website covering countries in Europe and all around the globe.