There is nothing quite like a coastal walk for lifting your mood. Not only is the beauty of the natural world enhanced by the ocean, but there is scientific proof that a sea view can reduce our heart rate and improve our well-being.
The Coastal path that runs between Torre de Guadalmesi (Algeciras) and Tarifa is the perfect way to refresh yourself while discovering hidden coves and deserted beaches dotted along this glorious Mediterranean coastline.
For years, this path has served local farmers moving cattle between Tarifa and Algeciras, and it’s not uncommon to encounter cattle en-route. The walk itself is about 9km and takes roughly 2.5 hrs to complete. The Path weaves through coastal scrub a few metres inland from the sea, with the amazing north African coastline visible across the strait.
Wildlife is plentiful and you should expect to meet donkeys, sheep and goats grazing in the lush fields above. The Strait of Gibraltar is famous for its stork and raptor migration, and the coastal walk is ideally situated to enjoy this twice-annual phenomenon. In addition to these birds, there are many other summer and winter residents like Booted Eagles, Buzzards and Griffon Vultures to name a few. On a good day, it’s also possible to see the odd pilot whale surface for air, while pods of dolphins are quite common in the strait.
It’s hard not to miss the many bunkers and fortifications spread out along the coastline. After the end of the Spanish Civil War, the newly created Spanish government under Franco had as a priority to guarantee the integrity of its borders. This led to a system of bunkers and machine-gun nests being constructed between Conil de la Frontera and the Gaudiaro river although the bay of Algeciras became the most heavily fortified due to its proximity to Gibraltar. Most of the bunkers are totally abandoned today but are protected under Spanish law.
Another notable landmark that dominates the skyline along the path is the pillars of Hercules. The northern pillar is said to be the rock of Gibraltar and the southern pillar is the magnificent Jebel Moussa across the strait in Morocco. The pillars are fabled to have been set in place by the great Hercules himself and they dominate the landscape.
As the path meanders towards it’s close, The Tower of Guadalmesí, which is about 15m high, comes into sight which is the endpoint of the walk. During the reign of Felipe 2nd, the Mediterranean coastline was under constant threat from barbary pirates. To protect the coast, Felipe ordered the construction of many watchtowers to give advanced warning to the local inhabitants of any pending attacks. The Guadalmesi Watchtower was built to serve this purpose and stills stands tall today.
In signing off, It’s definitely one of the most scenic walks along the Costa del Sol and is especially beautiful in spring when nature is in full bloom.
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