I am flying to Jerez in April with my husband & two teenagers. My husband wants to go into Donana, so is Chipiona a good place to base ourselves for three days? (We don't want to go north. Most importantly, what is there to do for me & the teens in April - will it be too cold for the beach?
I would say that Chipiona may be a good base to visit Doñana National Park, as it is within easy reach from Jerez airport and it is right on the beach. From Chipiona, it is a short drive to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, from where you can take the boat that tours the Guadalquivir river in the National Park.
On the other hand, it is a longer drive to visit the El Rocío area (on the other side of the river), where most of the visitor centres are located. El Rocío itself is also very interesting to visit.
The town of Chipiona is not very exciting, especially in April, as there is not much to do apart from the beach. The weather is very unpredictable at that time of the year, but it will definitely be too cold to swim.
Thanks Daniel. You have confirmed what I supected. Where would be an interesting place for us to stay, where there are things for me & the children to do - the choices are Sanlucar, Chipiona or Jerez?
You can spend one day in Jerez. It is a nice city with a very Andalusian atmosphere. Depending on your kids' interests, you can tour the wine wine cellars or visit the Royal Equestrian School. If you are lucky enough, your visit might coincide with one of their horse ballet shows, which are truly beautiful (and the rehearsals are just as good).
The shows are performed to traditional Andalusian music with costumes which date back to the 18th century, but they only take place a few days throught the year. Otherwise, you can always tour the stables, if that is of your interest. Their website is www.realescuela.org.
Both Sanlúcar and Jerez have many inexpensive place to have tapas and regional specialities. Or if you want to splurge, go for the Sanlúcar prawns, which are notoriously good.
The Doñana tours from Sanlúcar are boat tours. You do get to land in the National Park to have a small walk, but you spend most of the time on the river. For the guided tours in the National Park, you have to go to El Acebuche, although you can arrange the visit in any of the visitor centers.
The problem with that is that there are no roads or bridges in Doñana, so you will have to drive all the way up to Seville and then down to Almonte/El Rocío. It will take you around 2 and half hours. It is better to stay over night in that area, as the visits usually depart early in the morning.
There are many old farm houses which are now run as hotels. They provide horse riding tours and many other activities which can be interesting for your family. From there, you can even drive to Matalascañas if you want to be next to the ocean.
April can be lovely and warm but also a sudden rain storm could spring up. Weather in this part of Spain has been very dry this winter and who knows what sort of weather we could have later ! I think for hardy northern beach lovers, it would be possible to get into the water but there will not be many others.
Jerez is a nice place to be based in fact as you can reach other places without the need for hiring a car (if that is your choice). It would be quite possible to take the Andalucia Expres train up to Seville and explore this city. The journey takes about one hour and one way fare is Euros 7 approx - in April they have the annual feria from 8th to 13th April. If you will be in Jerez during this week, do consider the feria because of the very spanishness of this event and of course Seville will be a bustling place.
The Donana park is best viewed and seen from the western side and anywhere around El Rocio is great. Keen bird lovers also like the banks of the Guadalquivir on the eastern side (Sanlucar / Bonanza )
Avenida de Sevilla, 88, Chipiona
Dr. Gomez Ulla,19, Chipiona
Av del Faro 17, Chipiona
Paseo Costa De La Luz, 29, Chipiona