Apart from a few rocky stretches, the Costa de la Luz is a continuous line of fine sandy beaches backed by pine groves. Flanked by saline and marsh, the lower reaches of the rivers present a scene that has barely changed in centuries. The name Costa de la Luz, or Coast of Light, comes from the way the sea reflects the sunlight like a mirror.
This coastline preserves many reminders of ancient history. Here was the kingdom of Tartessos, where Phoenician and Greek traders landed. Later came the Romans, followed in the 8th century by the Arabs, who stayed for another eight centuries. This was also the jumping-off point for the most famous sea voyage in all history, which brought Christopher Columbus and his three carvels to the shores of America.
Inland is olive-draped hill country and two of the loveliest mountain areas in Spain – the Sierra de los Pueblos Blancos in Cadiz and the Sierra de Aracena in Huelva, in both of which the villages stand out white against the landscape.