Aerial view of the cliffside walk, Sendero del Acantilado voz
Coastal footpaths in Barbate awarded Blue Trail distinction: discover their charms

Coastal footpaths in Barbate awarded Blue Trail distinction: discover their charms

The Sendero del Acantilado (cliff path) and the Torre de Meca path are two of four points in the town with blue awards recognising environmental care and quality



Friday, 10 May 2024, 17:55


The municipality of Barbate has once again been awarded a Blue Flag for Carmen beach in Zahara de los Atunes, highlighting the quality of the surrounding environment and the services provided there. In addition, a 'Blue Centre' award has been assigned to the information point within the Natural Park of La Breña y Marismas del Barbate - a wetlands area popular for birding. Last but not least are the two Blue Trail awards given to the Sendero del Acantilado and the Torre de Meca footpaths.

With this latest award for the Torre de Meca trail, Barbate now has four points with "blue" recognition within its municipal boundaries.

"These awards are a reflection of the clear commitment of Barbate to take care of its environment and to offer quality services to local people and those who visit," said Paco Ponce, the local councillor responsible for tourism. He continued: "We will continue working to make Barbate a benchmark for quality tourism in all that it offers and to increase the number of blue flags and awards in our municipality."

Ponce wanted it known that these awards "are the result of a collective effort to guarantee the environmental quality of our natural spaces and to ensure a high level of satisfaction from those who enjoy them."

Referring to the Blue Centre award given to the wetlands infopoint at Barbate marshes, the councillor stressed "the fundamental role played by this centre in environmental awareness and education, as well as in the promotion of sustainable tourism in our natural environment."

As for the Blue Trail awards, the councillor highlighted "the beauty and uniqueness of the Sendero del Acantilado and Sendero de Torre de Meca footpaths, two routes that allow visitors to explore the rich biodiversity and historical heritage of Barbate in a protected natural environment."

As for what Barbate's mayor Miguel Molina had to say, he welcomed "the renewal of a blue flag for Zahara de los Atunes for yet another year, as Carmen de Zahara beach is such a benchmark for quality tourism".

Molina was keen to stress "the commitment of the municipality of Barbate to continue working towards quality tourism across all areas, continually seeking to increase the number of Blue Flag beaches and to consolidate the reputation of the area as a tourist destination par excellence".

Cliff trail

One of the most spectacular views of the Parque Natural de la Breña y Marismas del Barbate is to be found along this cliffside footpath that links Hierbabuena beach with that of Los Caños de Meca.

Tajo Cliff, or Barbate Cliff, is a splendid example of the forces of nature, in this case the erosion caused by the sea of the land. The cliff rises to just over one hundred metres above sea level, close by Tajo Tower, a guiding beacon built in the 16th century.

The footpath runs along a large system of dunes that were separated from sea level by geological movement. On these sands, people planted stone pines (often called umbrella or parasol pines for their rounded shape) to prevent the movement of the sands and to be able to harvest the star product of this natural park: pine nuts.

Numerous birds use the cliff for nesting, so it is not unusual to find yellow-legged or herring gulls, pigeons or jackdaws, and other small birds. Apart from pine trees in this forest, you can also see one of the best clusters of seaside junipers (juniperus maritima) to remain on the Cadiz coast.

Torre de Meca trail

This short footpath is just over two kilometres one way, but there is plenty to take in: the pine forest full of colours and scents, a 17th-century watchtower and a viewpoint over the Bay of Trafalgar. These are just some of the attractions of this route. Take it slowly as you climb the large dune, which is surrounded by a generous and varied vegetation that has become a refuge for flora and fauna alike.

Its connection with other trails allows you to experience the largest pine forest in the province of Cadiz and to see why it has been declared a protected natural area.

The Torre de Meca, almost eleven metres high, stands 173 metres above the sea. Built in the 17th century, it forms part of the system of watchtowers dotted along the coastline, always in sight of its neighbours. Its function was to keep watch over the sea and to sound the alarm in the event of Turkish-Berber pirates. Artillery being fired or fire by night and smoke-signals by day were the unmistakable signs of danger.

Lastly, another quirky feature of the trail is that the visitor can pass through the Arboretum of La Breña, a unique, experimental planting of various species of eucalyptus trees that is a real window onto the distant lands of Australia.

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