Distance from the capital (km): 64
Altitude above sea level (m): 14
Area (Km2): 143.36
Nº of inhabitants: 22885
Name for people: Barbateños
Postal code: 11160
Situated in the area known by the Greeks as the “Pillars of Hercules”, this white town, basking in the Andalusian sun, has, since time immemorial, been intimately linked to the sea and to fishing, developed through its picturesque fishing port.
Although numerous prehistoric remains have been unearthed in the area (schematic cave paintings at Cuevas de Fuente Santa and Mojama; anthropomorphic tombs and dolmens at Caño Arado), Barbate was transformed into an exporting port by the Phoenicians when they introduced the almadraba art of fishing in this area, an art that has endured until today. During the Roman Empire, Barbate enjoyed its period of greatest splendour and became a prosperous centre due to its fishing and salting industry.
Examples of Visigoth architecture on the outskirts of the town include the San Ambrosio Hermitage. Inscriptions on one of the hermitage’s columns indicate that it was consecrated in the 7th Century. It is worth visiting Palomar de la Breña, an 18th century country estate that has been converted into a hotel, since it has one of the three largest dovecotes in Europe (with 7,700 putlog holes).
Barbate’s paradisiacal beaches are ideal for bathing and practising water sports. The Playa del Carmen beach is next to the port (inside the town) and has a long beach promenade and is a popular place for fishing and windsurfing. Caños de Meca is an extensive strip of stand and crystal-clear waters, with natural caves and cliffs, and a popular site with nudists (just like Playa de Zahora). The Yerbabuena beach is a wild beach, whereas Zahara de los Atunes links up with Playa de Atlanterra.
Barbate is set in the heart of the La Breña y Marismas de Barbate Natural Park, and offers visitors a world of recreational possibilities.
The natural park has specially-prepared, sign-posted routes for visitors to enjoy its beautiful landscapes and ecological treasures. Different activities are also available, including hiking, cycle tourism, horse riding and mountain sports.
The Tajo, Trafalgar and Meca Towers were built between the 15th and 16th Centuries as defences against pirate attacks in the area. They were initially protected by artillery. However, this was not effective and they were later used as lookout towers.
They communicated with one another using smoke signals. In 1805, in the waters in front of what is today the Trafalgar Lighthouse, the famous battle of Trafalgar was fought between a combined Spanish and French fleet and the English fleet lead by Admiral Nelson.
The Caños de Meca
Situated in the southeast of the province of Cadiz in an area that the Greeks considered to be the Columns of Hercules. Situated between the sea, the cliffs and the pine trees and combined with the amazing light of the area, the Caños (a name that comes from the abundance of freshwater springs in the area) offers a wide range of contrasts that appear to have been created to please all our senses.
It has white fine sandy beach with crystal clear waters and is ideal for getting away from it all, as it never gets crowded even at the height of the season. Nudism is common here. The buildings in the area are mainly isolated rural houses built in the typical Andalusian style and guarantee a low-density population in the summer months, although this has increased in recent years. It is an ideal location for deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, canoeing, mountain biking, windsurfing and surfing, without forgetting rambling and horse riding.
The Beña Natural Park that extends from Barbate to the Caños offers a wide variety of ecosystems of high ecological value, such as the cliffs that rise 100 metres above the sea, the pine forests, the Mediterranean undergrowth, sand dunes, salt marshes and the rocky outcrops below the cliffs.
Towns within 10 km of Barbate and belonging to its municipal district:
Zahara de los Atunes
Located on the eastern edge of the Barbate municipal district at one end of the Bull route, Zahara de los Atunes has a population of approximately 1,000. Its name comes from its seafaring past and from the tuna fishing using the famous Almedrabas tuny net (one of mankind's oldest forms of fishing). Tuna fishing off its coast can be traced back to Phoenician and Roman times.
The Almadrabas Castle , of which only the walls still remain, was built in the 16th century by the Dukes of Medina- Sidonia to defend the almadraba nets. After it had been caught, the fish was gutted and cleaned inside the castle. Miguel de Cervantes also worked here.
The village's main acitivity is now tourism thanks to its long beaches, with clean, pure, crystal clear waters and golden sand, together with the surrounding countryside and mountains. There are hotels, apartments with gardens and a camping site on the beach. Its scenic and tourist qualities have made it a popular place with tourists from north and central Europe .
The luxury tourist resort of Atlanterra stretches down both sides of the Cabo de Plata headland. There are chalets and residential complexs right on the beach, together with two four star hotels that belong to the Tarifa municipal district (HotelMelia Sol Atlanterra and Hotel Antonio). Many professionals from the tourist sector consider it to be the most tranquil coastal destination on the Iberian Peninsula , including the groups of islands. It is also an ideal place for sports such as fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing or horse riding. We must not of course forget its rich cuisine, whose main ingredient is locally caught fish.
Interesting web pages with more information on this place:http://www.barbate.es/
Official Web of Barbate http://www.playasdetrafalgar.com/
Web of Tourist Information about Los Caños http://www.visitatrafalgar.com/es