Distance: 19 kms
Time Required: 5 hrs
Total Height gain: 225m
Map(s): IGN 1:50000 Barbate 1073 (12-47)
Water: no springs so take plenty
This wonderful circular walk gives you the chance to sample the twin natural habitats that make the Parque Natural de la Breña such a special treat, introducing you to its vast forest of stone pines as well as to the spectacular cliffs which rise 100m above one of the best beaches in Andalucía. The walk begins with a section of forest walking as you follow sandy paths and tracks towards San Ambrosio. After heading on towards Barbate via a broad forestry track you cut south through the stone pines to reach the A2233. From here you angle down a sandy gully to reach the cliff path that leads back to Caños past the Torre del Tajo. The cliff path is the highlight of the walk and I recommend building in time for a leisurely picnic at one of the viewing points just beyond the tower. I’ve graded the walk Medium/Difficult not so much for the distance covered but rather because of the additional effort required when walking on sandy paths. You could shorten the walk by taking a taxi from Caños to the Punto de Información that is to your right as you arrive in Barbate coming from Caños along the A2233. You’ll see signs here marking the beginning of the cliff path.
Download the GPX files and instructions on how to load up files to BaseCamp
The walk begins outside Hotel Madreselva (WP01) which you pass as you head east through the village on the A2233. From here head east past a row of palm trees. Reaching a 3.5T sign turn left (WP02). The road soon arcs left. Just past the km14 sign cut left along a sandy track following a sign Sendero Caños-Torre de la Meca (WP03). After running west the road contours right as it passes beneath the Torre de Meca. Reaching a 3 way junction (WP04) bear right past a chain that blocks vehicle access. The track climbs gently as it runs eastwards: views open out above the treetops. Shortly beyond the top of the rise you pass a sign (WP05) marking the path up to the Torre de la Meca. (35 mins) ** Should you choose to climb up and down add 35/40 minutes to these timings.
The track runs on due east. Just before reaching a metal gate and the Majadales del Sol picnic area (WP06) cut hard left along a sandy track. Marker posts lead you on through the forest. Reaching twin posts, one marked 31 (WP07) angle right and continue in an easterly direction. Passing a firebreak the path runs downhill, adopting a northeasterly course, and eventually leads through a green gate (1 hr 10 mins) (WP08) beyond which you reach a picnic area. Angling slightly left you pass a sign Sendero Torre de Meca then, passing stone tables and benches, you reach a tarmac road (WP09). Cutting left along to the road you cross a cattle grid then after some 650m reach a junction where a sign points left for San Ambrosio. Ignoring the sign carry on along the track which arcs right, passes a sign prohibiting access to lorries, then reaches a fork (WP10). (1 hr 25 mins)
Keep right along the main track (ignoring a sign left for Palomar de la Breña) which you’ll now follow without bifurcating for a little over 2kms. At first you follow a pylons but these soon angle away to the left. Reaching a junction by an information board about El Pinar de Pinos Piñoneros (WP11) (1 hr 45 mins) turn right away from the main track.
Search Hotels in Caños de Meca
Passing a line of animal pens the track runs on through the pines before crossing a cattle grid then reaching the A2233 (WP12). Angle right across the road, cross a stile then cut left along a broad sandy track parallel to the road. After 300m the track angles right. After 50m you reach a junction (WP13). Angle left and continue on parallel to the A2233. Just as the track angles back toward the road you reach a cattle grid (WP14). Here angle 45 degrees to the right then after 75m cut right through the scrub and drop down to the sandy bed of a gulley. Here cut left and follow a narrow, sandy path down towards the sea. The gully widens: head on down the easiest path to reach the Barbate-Caños cliff path (WP15). ( 2hrs 20 mins)
From here head west past a steep cliff face, parallel to the sea: you’ll occasionally see white and green waymarking. Soon a rail and post barrier runs between you and the ocean. The path leads on past a sign (WP16) explaining about the Pinares Costeras, or the coastal pine forest: it was planted between 1895-1926 to stabalise the dune system. 200m past the sign you reach the Torre del Tajo. (2 hrs 50 mins) Be sure to visit the two miradors to its left and right for the finest cliff views of the walk.
Continuing towards Caños you reach a junction where the pole fence that has been to your left comes to an end. Head straight on. The sandy path now runs slightly further from the sea. As Cape Trafalgar and its lighthouse come into view the path divides (WP17). Take the higher option which leads past a second sign about Pinares Costeros. Here angle down left then once more right towards Caños and Hotel Mar de Frente. Passing behind the hotel you reach a signboard (WP18) describing the path to the Torre del Tajo. Here cut right up a stony track which bears left along the northern edge of the village before descending to the A2233 (WP19). Turn left then right to return to the start point of the walk (WP01). (3 hrs 45 mins)
This is an extract of one of the many walks featured in Guy Hunter Watts' book "Walking in Andalucia"
Walking in Andalucía is a 260 page full colour guide to some of the very best walks in southern Spain, taking the walker on 34 routes - all starting and most finishing in beautiful villages.