The town of Chipiona is set at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Andalucia. Its beaches are lovely and the town itself is worth a wander around, but the lighthouse is without a shadow of a doubt the dominant feature here.
Standing at 207 feet tall (69 metres), Chipiona lighthouse is the tallest such structure in Spain. It stands at number 21 on the worldwide list, although several of those can be discounted because they are far from being traditional lighthouses! It operates as an aeromaritime lighthouse because as well as assisting waterborne traffic, it also serves as a navigation beacon for aerial transport.
Although there was no sign of any activity when we were there, it can apparently be visited with a prior arrangement at the tourist information office. Try to call them on 956929065 and see how you get on. Apparently the tours are frequent in summer months for €5, which will teach us to go in the quieter winter months! If you mange to get inside, please let us know in the comments. There are 322 steps up to the top so make sure you wear appropriate footwear!!
There had been a lighthouse dating back to Roman times on the very same site known as La Punta del Perro (Dog Point?!). The present comparatively modern lighthouse was first lit on 28 November 1867, some four years after the first brick was laid. Since being lit, it has only been switched off twice in its history. In 1898 Spain was at war with the USA over the independence of Cuba. The next time was, unsurprisingly, during the Civil War from 1936-1939.
There are two beaches to enjoy. Playa Cruz del Mar runs from the lighthouse along the river to the marina. From there it’s easy to find your way into the narrow streets and enjoy one of the many bars and restaurants. It’s also where the castle is located, although that was closed for refurbishment during our visit. Normally tourist information can be found inside.
Stretching south from the lighthouse are the extensive golden sands of Playa de Regla. It’s about a kilometre down to the impressive Santuario Santa Maria de Regla which dates back to 1882. Prior to its construction the San Agustin convent had stood there since 1399.
Wine has also played a big part in the town’s history. There is a museum dedicated to moscatel where you can learn more. In the area are several bodegas which can be visited; namely Catolica Agrícola, Jose Mellado Martin and Cesar Florido,
Walking around the marina area you may well spot the monument to Rocío Jurado. Born in Chipiona in 1944, she was a famous singer and actress. She died in 2006 and a rather elaborate statue can be found by her graveside in the local cemetery.
The people of Chipiona are a happy bunch. In this video you can see many of them in traditional costumes showing you around the town – and they certainly seem genuinely happy!