Adventure in Andalusia
Swept by fresh Atlantic breezes and set amidst dunes and pine forests, the fishing village of Isla Cristina, in Spain, is situated in one of the least crowded areas of the Andalusian coast. The village provides a convenient base for:Read more
Swept by fresh Atlantic breezes and set amidst dunes and pine forests, the fishing village of Isla Cristina, in Spain, is situated in one of the least crowded areas of the Andalusian coast. The village provides a convenient base for:
That’s a great choice for an adventure trip, suitable for everyone with an active spirit and a normal physical condition.
Today you'll be transferred from Faro (Portugal) or Seville (Spain) airport to Isla Cristina. Pick-ups can also be made in Seville city centre. Upon arrival at the offices of Faro del Sur at 5 pm you will be briefed about the week’s activities.
After a short safety and training talk you will take advantage of the high tide to immerse yourselves in the tranquillity of this coastal wetland and learn about its unique ecosystem. Slowly traversing areas of salt pans, marshes and navigation channels you’ll enjoy a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
There are ancient mills, shore carpenters, fishing ports and fish markets offering tastes and smells it seems you’d almost forgotten. No previous experience is necessary for the kayaking – the only requirement is that you are able to swim. The excursion takes 4 to 5 hours and the remainder of the day is free to visit the old town with its port, fish market and daily fish auction – a fascinating opportunity to savour the sights and smells of this lively town.
With a naturalist guide you’ll leave early in the morning to enjoy a full day in one of Europe’s most famous stopover points for migratory birds, Doñana Natural Park. Its entire ecosystem is a vital haven and wintering ground for a multitude of birds that come there to feed and breed. Over 360 different species are seen at various times of year. You’ll begin in the well-known village of El Rocío, where the marshes become waterlogged with the first autumn rains, flooding the clay soil and creating a fantastic place for spotting waders such as flamingos and other animal species such as wild horses and organically reared livestock.
You can also see a huge variety of birds of prey on the wing, such as kites, western marsh harriers and if you are lucky, the spectacular western imperial eagle. Springtime sees the arrival birds from Africa which come to breed – plenty of colour and activity. You’ll then visit the Mediterranean forest which is home to deer, wild boar, rabbit and the elusive Iberian lynx.
In the afternoon you’ll approach the Dunas del Asperillo Natural Park by a path that ends at a deserted beach. For those interested it’s possible to enjoy a horse-ride across the dunes of the park. Later you will return by road to Isla Cristina.
Today you will take your bicycles and cross the Guadiana estuary by ferry to Portugal. Following a “Via Verde” or ‘green way’ (a specially conditioned cycle track reclaimed from an old railway line) you will pass salt pans, marshes and tidal mills. En route you’ll stop to visit a traditional salt plant, one of the last in Spain, nowadays engaged in supplying the modern demand for artisan salt.
Finally the “Via Verde” will bring you to the town of Ayamonte where from the quayside you’ll take the regular ferry to the Portuguese town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. Like many towns along the Algarve, Vila Real was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755 and was subsequently laid out and rebuilt in the enlightenment style.
You’ll have time to stroll in the pleasant town with its marina, stylish 18th century architecture and highly celebrated town plan. You can also extend your cycle ride following the banks of the Guadiana to the wide open beach where the river opens to the Atlantic Ocean. There should be time to swim before returning to Isla Cristina in the afternoon.
Early in the morning the van will pick you up to head north to Castaño del Robledo, a mountain village. From this point you will enjoy an easy walk through paths and tracks that, even today, comunícate with small white villages. This route crosses mountains, chesnut forests and also pastures of cork oaks and olm oaks where the Iberian porks run freely.
In the afternoon, after enjoying the local gastronomy, you will have a glimpse of the Rio Tinto mines. Then you'll go back to Isla Cristina.
Today you will set sail aboard your ocean-going yacht, Alcyon, weather and sea conditions permitting. Then you’ll take to the open ocean to learn the ancient art of navigation. There will be opportunities for everyone to crew the boat and help steer a steady course in search of soaring seabirds and dolphin riding the waves.
Swimming in the sea is also possible and the excursion includes a snack aboard ship. For a few hours you’ll feel the magic of the ocean and discover a world of wind, sea, sky and tides.
Today there may be some free time to relax in the village before your transfer vehicle takes you on the 1½ hr journey to Seville airport for your flight out.