Natural Parks - Cádiz Province

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Breña y Marismas de Barbate Natural Park

Created in 1989, the Breña y Marismas de Barbate park is Andalucia's second largest coastal reserve and has one of the most spectacular stretches of rocky cliffs along the Andalucian Atlantic coastline, with stunning views over the sea and to the rocky headland of Cape Trafalgar and its lighthouse.

Ancient watchtowers stand guard along the cliffs overlooking the sea, where local fishermen catch tuna used in the nearby canning factories and to produce the delicacy of mojama, cured tuna.

Although it is the smallest out of the 22 natural parks in Andalucia, it contains a rich variety of habitats: pine forest, wetland, mobile dunes, sea cliffs and a marine section, which, with 940ha, occupies around a fifth of the total protected area of 4,863.

The Pinar de la Breña is an extensive densely wooded area that stretches from the cliffs inland, between Barbate and Caños de Meca. The umbrella pines provide shade for a rich variety of Mediterranean wildflowers. Apart from fishing, one of the park's main natural resources are the pine nuts collected from the Pinar de la Breña.

The park includes an major wetland area, the 2,500ha Marismas de Barbate, which was added to the park later, in 1994. It attracts numerous migrating birds, as well as many waders and gulls.

Phoenicians used this coastline as a base for exporting their fish and introduced their system of fishing (almadraba) and salting their catch.

Access

The pine woodland is easily accessible from the CA2143 that links Caños de Meca with Barbate. Minor roads and forestry tracks lead off this road into the pine trees.

There is no road along the cliffs between Barbate and Caños de Meca, but you can walk along the coastal path between the two villages. See our section on walks.

The marismas can be seen from the bridge south of Barbate, on the CA2223 road that leads to Zahara de los Atunes. There is also a walk, the Sendero Marismas de Barbate, around the marshland.

Villages nearby:

Barbate
Caños de Meca
Vejer de la Frontera

Accommodation Camping
There are many hotels to choose from in and around Caños de Meca.
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Campings near the Breña y Marismas de Barbate Natural Park.
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Fauna Flora
Located on the approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar, the park is an important stopping place for migrating birds.
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The Breña pine forest is made up mainly of umbrella pines (pinus pinea) planted in the late 19th century.
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Suggested routes Things to see
From Barbate take the CA2143 to Caños de Meca. This is the principal road through the park and it passes through the Pinar de la Breña.
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Things to see in the Breña y Marismas de Barbate Natural Park.
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Walks  
The park has some excellent signposted walks, some with superb views along the coast.
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