Campo de Gibraltar
Campo de Gibraltar
The Campo de Gibraltar is located in the extreme west of Andalusia, just 14 km from Morocco, this area is the bridge that links the two sides of the Straits of Gibraltar. The Campo de Gibraltar region is home to the longest coastline in the whole of Andalusia and is the only coastal zone that is washed by the waters of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, where beaches of fine sand stand shoulder to shoulder with forest land. Worthy of note in this respect is Los Alcornocales Natural Park, which, as one of the few surviving areas of tropical vegetation in Europe, is of immense ecological value. Because of its location among two seas, it is easy to see different kind of dolphins, the killer whale, the sperm whale, as well as being a stopover for a lot of migratory birds.
Campo de Gibraltar Active tourism
The area is ideal for big and small game hunters and fishing enthusiasts alike and dolphins and whales watching. It also caters for equestrian activities and routes on horseback, as well as being a paradise for scuba diving, salling and, of course, windsurfing and kitesurf.
Campo de Gibraltar Cuisine
Fish and seafood dishes are the order of the day, local specialities including fideos with coquinas, almejas al gabarrón, urta a la tarifeña and voraz a la espalda. Another key ingredient is game meat, particularly venison, wild boar, partridge and rabbit. A wide range of typical cakes is also on offer, including borrachuelos and the piñonate of Jimena.
Campo de Gibraltar Handicrafts
These include pottery (large earthen jars, pans), basket making, carpentry and articles made from cork and wood (beehives, benches and flowerpots).
The interior route
Our route begins in Los Barrios, whose boundarles stretch from the mountains of Los Alcornocales Natural Park to the sea. The area is irrigated by the River Palmones, and the reservoir known as Charco Redondo lies just a few kilometers away. A must for the tourist are visits to the cave paintings in Bacinete, the vantage points at “Hoyo Don Pedro”, which offer spectacular views and trips through El Quejigal and Arroyo de San Carlos del Tinadero. Also worthwhile are a walk through the village itself and a visit to the Natural History Museum in the Casa del Pósito (1974), the Cultural Centre, Casa de las Doncellas, San Isidro Labrador Church (1769), the Town Hall and “La Montera” bullring, not to mention a stroll along the Palmones promenade, where we can admire the Entreríos watchtower (XVII century).
Next, we head on to old Castellar, a mediaeval village dominated by its castle. From here, we can enjoy spectacular views of the reservoir of the River Guadarranque, the Bay of Algeciras and Gibraltar. In fact, on a clear day it is possible to see as far as the coast of Africa and the White Towns. The typical old houses of the old village centre are currently being renovated for use as rural accommodation, though there are already houses for rent within the castle walls in which the visitor can enjoy total silence and tranquility. Castellar has lain empty since 1973, were moved to the newer Castellar de la Frontera, situated on the plain. Another interesting port of call is the Almoraima estate, with its expanse of green forests and fields rich in crops. Within the estate, we can find the XVII-century La Almoraima Convent, which has now been converted into a hotel. The estate can be toured in an all-terrain vehicle or on horseback. Most of Castellar itself lies within the boundaries of Los Alcornocales Natural Park.
Continuing along the road between the Sierra de Los Melones and Cerro Gordo, and passing through Manchenilla and Los Ángeles, we come to Jimena de la Frontera. Jimena marked the boundary between Nazarí and Christian territory for many centuries, and a visit to the castle, which stands majestically at the top of the village, is a must. The date of the earliest human settlements here is witnessed by the cave paintings at Laja Alta, which include the only maritime scenes of the Hispanic Bronze Age. Also well worth a visit is Reina de los Ángeles Chapel, which is two kilometers from the town itself and is popularly known as “the Convent”, the medieval church of La Misericordia or the Royal Artillery Factory (XVIII century).
The coastal route
The begins at La Línea de la Concepción, surrounded by the Bay of Algeciras, on an isthmus between the Sierra Carbonera and the Rock of Gibraltar. Places of interest include the parish church of La Inmaculada Concepción, the Bullfighting Museum, the Bullring, and the istmo and Cruz Herrera Museums. A little way outside the town centre are El Fuerte ruins and Santa Bárbara Castle, the remains of the line of fortifications after which this relatively new town is named. We can also enjoy the marvelous beaches of fine sand to be found on the town´s two coasts, Poniente and Levante, the latter being home to a watchtower dating back to 1630. For golf lovers, Línea de la Concepción boasts an 18 hole course next to Alcaidesa beach.
Continuing around the bay and slightly inland, we come next to San Roque, sitting atop a small hill with its streets and whitewashed houses fronted by grilles and balconies with their cool, typically Andalusian inner patios. Historically the capital of the region, San Roque it is still home a number of items of interest, including the Banner of Gibraltar, which, tradition has it, was embroidered by Queen Juana la Loca, while Santa María Coronada Church houses a number of images that have been worshipped in the region since the XV century. The monuments of the old centre of San Roque have been officially declared to be of Historical and Artistic importance, and it is well worth taking a stroll through the streets to admire the building fronts and visit the local churches, the Governors´ Palace, the Bullring and the vantage point dedicated to the poet Domingo de Mena, which affords breathtaking views of the Rock of Gibraltar, the Bay of Algeciras and North Africa and the archaeological site of Carteia. Golf enthusiasts can play at a number of courses, notably Valderrama, another course located within the groups of the Sotogrande residential development and La Cañada. There are also facilities for polo and other equestrian pursuits.
Heading on, directly opposite the Rock of Gibraltar, we come to Algeciras, the gateway between two continents, Europe and Africa, with its busy port, one of the most important on the Mediterranean in terms of both passenger, freight and fishing activity. The highlights of the monuments on show here are the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de Europa, the parish church of Nuestra Señora de Palma, which date back to the XVII and XVIII centuries. Also worthy of mention is the Plaza Alta, Ingeniero Torroja Market, the Plaza de Andalucía and the San Isidro district. Nor should visitors miss the chance to bathe at El Rinconcillo and Getares, two beaches of fine sand ad peaceful waters which typify a city that is inexorably linked to the sea.
Our journey next takes us to Tarifa, an attractive town whose highlights are the splendid Caliph´s Castle and the typical Muslim style architecture of the town´s narrow, winding streets. Also worth visiting are the church of San Francisco and San Mateo (XVI century) and the chapel dedicated to the town´s patron saint, Nuestra Señora de la Luz, which is located 2 kilometres from Tarifa itself.
Tarifa is home to the one of the largest eolic parks in Europe. Its location and climatic conditions make it ideal for windsurfing on its long beaches, the best of which is the cove of Valdevaqueros, known as “Windsurfing Paradise”. Viewed from the gigantic dunes, the hundreds of sails propelled by the wind are an impressive sight. Also a must is a visit to the spot known as Punta Paloma, a haven of pine trees, dunes and crystalline waters. Nearby are the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia in Bolonia, a town that appeared in the II century B.C. as a result of trade with North Africa and which was the port that connected Spain with the city that was to become present-day Tangiers.