SPAIN 2: CADIZ TO CALA DEL ACEITE
Clothed in Cadiz and naked in the rain
While the whole of the Spanish coast is officially clothes optional, the city of Cádiz holds out against dictates from Madrid and says ‘No nudistas’ on its beaches. It was Cádiz we were approaching now on the second leg of our Spanish beach odyssey - and what an approach it is. The city sits like a ship at the end of a long isthmus, surrounded by an inland sea and the Atlantic, and seems to float on the horizon as you approach it.
This isthmus comes in four sections: a railway line, a motorway, a strip of scrubby dunes and a fine white beach, the Playa de la Cortadura. This was mostly used in the nude until the mayor of Cádiz, Teófila Martinez, banned naked bathing on the city’s beaches. Despite this legislation, which flies in the face of Spanish law, we saw naturists using this beach from about a kilometre out of town, where a solitary restaurant sits beside the highway. Unfortunately voyeurs stalk the dunes and some, it seems, don’t even bother to leave their cars - so the stretch of motorway running alongside the nude-speckled dunes has become an accident black-spot due to too much rubber-necking.
Following the coastline around salt marshes and a military zone, and threading though the outskirts of the unappetising satellite township of San Fernando, we found Playa Camposoto. Here the coastal road finishes in a national park where the three kilometre long spit of Punta Boquerón starts. From here there is just a boardwalk through the dunes and, theoretically, this beach should all be clothes-optional. I’m not sure whether the mayoral decree extends to San Fernando’s fine beaches but we saw no naturists here at all. My guess, however, is that the end of Punta Boquerón and the beach hidden behind the military base could be used naked.
Well, after all that... did we bare all? Whilst I felt that I should support the few local naturists we saw, I had to remember that we are not just visitors to Spain but to Cádiz too; and as responsible reporters we have to comply with whatever laws exist - no matter how silly they seem. So, for once, the Not-So-Naked Fräulein and I remained dressed.
We were now in need of some nudity, and we knew just where we could get it. We by-passed the town of Chiclana, despite my belief that its southerly Playa de la Barrosa might have some naturist possibilities, and regained the coast just north of Cabo Roche. Here there is a stretch of coastline that is naturist at all but busy times. Between the village of Roche’s Confortel Calas de Conil and the cape, each cove and bay is nude. These are known collectively as Calas de Poniente and comprise Calas El Frailecillo, El Pato and del Tio Juan de Medina. They all sort of merge together, separated only by rock outcrops, and they are all superb semi-private pockets of perfect sand backed by rocky cliffs topped with fragrant pinewoods. This is one of our favourite parts of Andalusia’s coast and, at the end of it, is one of naturism’s best kept secrets: Camping Cala del Aceite.
This two-part German-operated campsite, textile and naturist, is named after the nearby ‘Oil Bay’, so called because it was here that smugglers used to land contraband olive oil from Morocco. Cala del Aceite itself is naturist off-season when nude snowbirds migrate here, but when its small restaurant is open the bay reverts to the rule of Lycra. There is another, all year-round, bare beach nearby however, within a short walk of the campsite. This is Cala de Melchar, a tiny cove with a scramble to access it - but it’s all nude.
Cala del Aceite is one of our all-time favourite naturist campsites - and it is also Europe’s most southerly nude resort. The landscaping throughout is superb with a mass of greenery and yet a feeling of open space. The toilet blocks are Teutonically clean and have a Roman theme about them - as does the incredible naturist pool. This has a freeform shape with tiered stone seating above (including a tiled throne!) and accesses a Jacuzzi on a terrace above with a sauna and steam room below. A sign in Spanish advises that sexual acts in these facilities are prohibito - but it doesn’t say what may or may not happen elsewhere! As it was, everyone we met here (including in the Jacuzzi) was well behaved, friendly and polite.
Unfortunately, our overnight stop coincided with some of the infamous Atlantic weather that can hit on occasions. After a night of rainfall which might have graced the pages of The Old Testament, we crawled out into a sodden landscape beneath a leaden sky with lightning still flashing from it. As I wanted to see the two beaches, I cycled out of the site through thick red mud, but within minutes realised the dangers in doing so. First, a six-foot naked human on a wet metal machine shouldn’t be crossing flat country, with no bush or rock above waist height, when there were millions of volts of electricity crackling across the sky. Then, secondly, the epic rains of the night were rapidly moving Spain further away from Africa; the cliffs I was cycling on were positively committing suicide. The Fräulein, meanwhile, preferred to relax in the warm Jacuzzi while I risked all in the name of journalism. The things a reporter has to do for his readers!
Rayner Otter and the naked Fräulein are on an odyssey to visit every naturist beach from Calais to Greece. Read about their exploits every month in H&E naturist magazine.