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The Chiringuitos Of Spain

The Chiringuitos Of Spain
July 14
14:18 2014

Most first-time visitors to Javea are generally impressed with the wide sandy Arenal Beach, as due to the sheltered bay, the sea tends to remain fairly calm even on rough days. The beach is ideal for families as unlike many Mediterranean beaches, even if you wade or swim out 25m offshore, the water is still only about 1m in depth.

The townhall of Javea does an excellent job keeping the beach spotlessly clean, and has provided many facilities for visitors including kid’s play areas, showers, water pumps for feet rinsing, and duck boards to make access relatively easy for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Since the recent refurbishment of the entire promenade area, the Javea paseo is much more appealing than previously, with smooth walkways, concrete seating and palm trees. The chiringuito owners of Javea have also risen to the occasion to celebrate the new promenade; the Javea chiringuitos are now among some of the most sophisticated and stylish on the entire Costa Blanca.

Video: Javea Arenal Beach
Work To Start On The Javea Arenal

The chiringuitos of Spain are an essential part of the beach and holiday atmosphere. They can be found on just about every popular beach in Spain from the peaceful French border town of Portbou on the Costa Brava, to the wilder waves of Tarifa, a town that is no longer on the Med, but is a mecca for surfers due to the great swells and winds provided by the  Atlantic Ocean on the Costa de la Luz, the most southern point of Spain.

The chiringuitos of Spain have an interesting history. Although there are photos of Spanish beach celebrations involving the sale of food and drink directly on the sands since the 1920s, it is widely believed chiringuitos originated in the 1950s when forward thinking fishermen’s wives realised there may be a demand for fresh fish and cold drinks as foreign tourists began to trickle onto the beaches of the fishing villages of Spain.

The early chiringuitos were often nothing more than an upturned boat that was used as a surface from which to serve tapas and drinks. But as business boomed, the shrewdest of the fishing families built wooden kiosks, which in later years in many cases became fully blown restaurants.  However, many of the thousands of chiringuitos up and down the coasts attempt to retain a look reminiscent  to their humble beginnings with fishing related decor and wooden furnishings.

In recent years, chiringuito owners up and down the country were incensed, as in 2009 concerns were raised that the beaches in Spain were overdeveloped and without adequate environmental protection. The Spanish environmental ministry suggested a rather ridiculous proposal that all chiringuitos should be moved inland – either onto the concrete promenades where applicable, or to the first tarred road nearest to the beach.

It goes without saying that this idea caused a massive wave of furious uproar among the owners of the beach bars. Many of the chiringuitos in Spain are still run by the same families who opened them in the 1950s. For a large number of these people, running a beach bar is all they have ever known professionally – and moving them to a regular building away from the beach is a concept that is extremely disagreeable for them and would have large financial and personal implications.

However, fortunately for the chiringuito owners, and for the rest us, the Spanish Environmental Department has had a rethink and recent legislation in 2014 declares the chiringuitos are here to stay- or at least for the time being. Furthermore,  some chiringuito owners will actually have the possibility to expand their business in size, providing the materials used to construct them are totally collapsible, and there is a certain distance between each chiringuito.

Most visitors to Javea will see the beach and the chiringuitos only at times when they are crowded and noisy. This is a shame because the best time to visit the beach and take a walk along the beachfront is probably during the early hours – when all is peaceful and the town is just beginning to stir to begin another busy summer’s day.

See here for views of Javea beach and the chiringuitos during the early hours in July 2014.

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1 Comment

  1. thedarkdestroyer
    thedarkdestroyer December 03, 11:44

    Lovely pics..sent links to all my mates in Uk

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