While the beaches of the Medeterreanean may be the vacation paradise of many northern Europeans a lot of the Atlantic remains the playground of the Spaniards. Ok, in the past 10-15 years a lot of these beach towns along the Atlantic are also being frequented by folks from other countries. Conil is known for having many German tourists amongst others, but still offers some authentic Spanish life. One of the appeals to Conil is the size of the beach: wide enough to accommodate many people, and if you venture across the inlet on pedestrian bridge you'll find less people and more nature. From the beach you can see the town rise up the hill, while along the beach there still exist a few small farms, complete with horses and goats. If the sand is kicking up due to the winds (the famous levante everyone talks about) then head to the las callas, or the cliffs some 15 minutes away where the beaches are small but protected from the winds. There are also several trails running along the cliffs which are great for horseback riding or biking. If you look hard enough you may find the nude beach, too! Follow the paths for a while and you'll reach the lighthouse which overlooks a small port. In reality both the lighthouse and the man made port aren't much to look at compared to the natural scenery.
Once the day is over there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from up the hill, offering some great seafood and nightlife. From the plaza next to Iglesia Santa Catalina there are two tascas which are worth trying. The first is La Tasquita de Juan on c/ Padre Caro, where we enjoyed a brocheta de merluza (fish kebab) and an interesting but tasty salad with roquefort dressing. Just up the hill from a bar on the corner of the plaza is Tasca Santa Catalina. The tables outside run down the sidewalk (and the hill). The wait to put your order in can be long, but afterwards the food comes quickly. The pez espada, or swordfish is excellent. Puntillitas (fried baby squid) and the solomillo are good as well. Just up the street on c/ Sres. Curas is Heladeria Los Valencianos, where you can order anything from a simple cone to one of many elaborate sundaes and frozen treats. You can sit on one of the tables in the very brightly lit plaza and watch the people pass by. Try and find Restaurante Juan Maria, which has an outdoor patio overlooking the beach. You may need reservations to get a good seat, but the view is worth it. Finally many experienced Conil travelers may tell you how expensive it is to eat breakfast. Mind you this is all relative, but one place charged us over 8 euros for what costs 4 euros in Sevilla. Seems the bread must be in high demand, so don't be surprised if the bill is a little high - it's a tourist area afterall!
For lodging we opted for Hotel Oasis, a 2 star establishment just a block from the beach. If you request it you can get a room with a balcony with a beach view. The rooms were clean, the location very good and we paid 46 euros per night in late May, just before the rate hike in June. You get cable TV, a small fridge, full bath and air conditioning. If you don't request a balcony view you may get a room with a window onto an interior patio, making it less desirable. Still it's a good value for the area.