Known mainly for the beach, Rota, Spain offers much more, such as old castles and countryside adventures. The city also houses a Spanish-American naval base, so a few American expats live there.
Out of all the coastal cities in Spain, Rota is the warmest and most vibrant of the lot. If you’re passing through or want a Spanish oceanside vacation, it is a fantastic place to visit.
Tip: If you are thinking of taking a day trip from Rota to Seville, check out our list of 13 free things to do in Seville.
What to do in Rota Spain
Here are a few activities worth doing in Rota, Spain.
Visit Castillo de Luna
This 13th-century castle was built under the control of Alonso Perez de Guzman upon a fortified convent of Muslim origin from the 11th century. It has five crenelated towers and is rectangular with a central courtyard.
Castillo de Luna is a symbol for citizens of Rota, Cadiz, and it is depicted in the city’s coat of arms. In its time, it has housed a hospital and school. Currently, it is the location of the City Hall of Rota.
Bike El Camino Natural de Rota
El Camino Natural de Rota is a mixed-surface trail that can end at Costa Ballena beach but can extend if combined with other routes to Chipiona or Sanlúcar. The course showcases Rota’s beautiful rural scenery and is a nice change of view from the beaches.
Tip: Some trail parts have rocks/gravel, so we recommend using a hybrid or mountain bike.
Enjoy a Night Out
Rota and Spain’s nightlife is relaxed and informal, but there are various bars and restaurants. A great option is to watch the sunset at a chiringuito (bar selling drinks and tapas). Azucar de Cuba checks all the boxes for a perfect end to a long day. Delicious food? Check. Refreshing cocktails? They have those. Lively salsa music? That too. And, of course, a breathtaking view of the sunset.
Go to the Flea Market
This large market occurs every Wednesday from early morning to two in the afternoon. The market is conveniently located next to the Rota bus station and has everything you want or need.
Visit Rota Lighthouse
Rota lighthouse is one of the most brilliant buildings in Rota. It is between Costilla beach and the city port and reaches 27 meters in height. The light is visible from more than 26 km (16 miles).
Restaurants in Downtown Rota Spain
For gourmands, these are the best places to grab a bite in Rota.
Cocteleria Cafe Dardo
If you are traveling to Rota, Spain, you cannot miss out on cocktails at Cocteleria Cafe Dardo. It is the perfect place to sit back and unwind after a long day exploring the city. If you are unsure about what to drink, you are in the right hands as the staff are all very knowledgeable and will recommend you just the right thing.
Utopia Tapas y Copas
This fusion restaurant mixes tapas with international cuisine, elevating your tastebuds. Utopia Tapas y Copas offers a variety of tapas dishes inspired by meals worldwide. They pride themselves on their fast service and unique flavors.
Casa Emilio de Rota
This is the best restaurant to go to if you look for the best paella in Rota. Casa Emilio de Rota is a welcoming family-run business specializing in authentic Spanish dishes, especially seafood. This is a must-visit place if you are looking for what to eat in Spain.
Rota Spain Beaches
As a prime coastal town, you have to visit at least one of the following beaches in Rota.
Playa de Costa Ballena
Playa de Costa Ballena is a popular fine sand Rota beach that spans 2.5 km (1.5 miles). The beach usually has a seasonal chiringuito and various kiosks. There are also sun loungers, parasols, and boats for hire.
This beach is a fantastic option if you want things to do with children as it runs flat into the ocean. Although popular, this beach doesn’t get very crowded, making it perfect if you want to relax.
Playa de La Costilla
Playa de La Costilla is one of the most crowded beaches in Rota because it is also one of the cleanest. It also has excellent showers, toilets, changing rooms, and lifeguards.
There are six restaurants and three chiringuitos lining the beach, and it boasts a wheelchair-accessible promenade. The beach is also known for its proximity to the town and offers plenty of tourist accommodation.
Warning: This beach is slightly more exposed than other beaches, so strong waves are expected.
Playa de Peginas
Famous for its popularity amongst divers and wind-surfers, Playa de Peginas is a perfect beach if you are interested in fun activities in Spain. Playa de Peginas also has three beach bars and facilities like parking, toilets, and showers.
This is a wide beach that spans a length of 1.5 km (1 mile) that you access from across dunes and shrubbery. Punta Candor beach boasts excellent facilities like toilets, showers, changing rooms, and for-hire sun loungers and parasols.
There is also a campsite and picnic area nearby, and it is one of the few beaches that allow dogs. The small winds make the beach perfect for kayaking or sailing. If you stay in or around Rota city center, you can take a bus to Punta Candor beach.
Playa de Piedras Gordas is several kilometers of golden sand encompassed by the Rota Dune System. This is another famous beach as it has a picnic area, a children’s play area and facilities like toilets and changing rooms.
The beach is best accessed through La Almadraba residential area as the roads stretch down the coast.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Rota Spain
Rota is a great place if you’re interested in exciting stuff to do in Spain. It has excellent beaches, fascinating architecture, and great places to eat. If you want a warm, sunny Spanish vacation, Rota should be on top of your list. You can’t go wrong when the city promises many cocktails, fun activities, and delicious food.
Are you still looking for a place to stay while on your holiday? Check out the top 7 hotels in Spain.