Head to the Coast of Light for phototherapy

Studies show that appreciating natural beauty may boost well-being, increase generosity and enhance life satisfaction; the path out of winter depression leads to the Costa de la Luz

We may be on our way towards spring, but we still have a few weeks of winter left. Perhaps we still need to shake off that sense of gloominess, or rather, winter blues. Here's the solution: head for the light.

Photography Prints

Bright light therapy

The medical definition of this winter depression is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Its symptoms are usually more apparent, more severe and even debilitating in deep winter - with late sunrises and early sunsets.

The exact cause of these 'blues' is not fully understood, but it is often linked to reduced exposure to light. According to the main theory, prolonged darkness causes vitamin D deficiency, and by extension, may release more melatonin (a hormone that makes you feel sleepy) and it affects the production of serotonin. Reduced serotonin level results in negative mood shifts, fatigue and unhealthy food cravings.

Psychologists recommend a range of treatments including the most available - lifestyle measures. It is important to get as much natural sunlight as possible, to exercise regularly and to manage your stress levels.

Otherwise, bright light therapy (also known as phototherapy) is an efficient way to ease SAD symptoms. During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light box. This viable replacement for natural light emits 10,000 lux of white or blue light. This is quite normal in northern countries and even in quite dull regions of Spain.

In bright Andalucía, the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) might be considered a natural 'light box' with exceptional white and blue lights. White sand and sun reflected in the white houses along with the blue Atlantic Ocean and clear blue sky apparently work as light therapy.

The bright Coast of Light

Costa de la Luz is among the least known areas along the Spanish coast although it is renowned for its sunsets. The local people say that the name comes from the vivid sunlight, present here in all seasons. Additionally, that light is reflected in a very special way on its clear and immense sandy beaches.

The Costa de la Luz might be considered a natural 'light box' with exceptional white and blue lights


The sunsets on Cadiz coast are particularly stunning. The most spectacular occur in the far west of the province. And this is not only because it is closer to where the sun goes down but because this area is largely untouched: natural and wild, hence not yet ruined by mass tourism or high-rise buildings.

According to a study by the University of California at Berkley, engagement with natural beauty moderates the positive relation between connectedness with nature and psychological well-being


The coastal towns Rota, Chipiona and Sanlúcar de Barrameda entice visitors to witness their sunset performance 'staged' with help of landscape and spectacular landmarks.

Such natural beauty will definitely help in relieving winter blues and improving emotional wellbeing. According to the study from the University of California at Berkley (Jia Wei Zhang, Department of Psychology), engagement with natural beauty moderates the positive relation between connectedness with nature and psychological well-being.

The best spots

Here are my tips for finding the best places to view the sunsets and take impressive photos.

In Chipiona, the high temple - the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Regla - is located by the beach and is especially impressive in the reflection of the sunset.

Rota has its cosy Paseo Marítimo facing west. The path is framed by the walls of the ancient fortress and boasts numerous modern restaurants and bars.

Between Rota and Chipiona you can find the most beautiful beaches of the area where some horses and carriages pass by as well as parents with baby strollers. Silhouetted in the backdrop of the sunset, they look idyllic.

It is believed that simply focusing on the sunset by watching how its colours and light are changing helps to nurture an inner harmonious balance


Camping at Costa Ballena is a perfect place for meditation. It is believed that simply focusing on the sunset by watching how its colours and light are changing helps to nurture an inner harmonious balance.

Sanlúcar de Barrameda has its 'Sunset Beach' - on the left bank at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River opposite the Doñana National Park, 'decorated' with its small boats. Moreover, in the centre of the town there is the hotel Guadalquivir, which has roof top café. It is the town's highest building and justifiably boasts the best sunset view in Andalucía.

Article by: Alekk M. Saanders  Sur in English



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