This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 31 July 2023

What I love about Andalusia is that everyone knows it, and at the same time, there are still many unknown places. The coastal town of Barbate is one of those. Barbate’s highlight? Wow, that’s hard to choose. For me, it’s either the tuna temple or the cliffs of Barbate.

Barbate: untouched by tourism

Barbate is located on the Costa de la Luz. It is less charming than nearby villages because the center has a more urban feel. Unfortunately no lovely alleys and winding roads – or maybe I simply couldn’t find them. But that also makes Barbate feel less touristy, and I like that. The locals carry large shopping bags home from the Mercado de Barbate, order a coffee at their favorite neighborhood café, and honk at the traffic they believe is not following the rules.

Playa del Carmen in Barbate

Along the beach of Barbate, Playa del Carmen, is a long, wide promenade. This is the Paseo Maritimo. When the wind blows, it blows hard, making it a bad day for the bars and restaurants on Playa del Carmen beach. But luckily, there are more than enough good days at Barbate beach. During the weekend in the winter, it is already hard to find a place, so if it is high summer, reservations are necessary. At El Timón (here), I eat delicious fish and tapas outdoors.

Google Maps location

Lighthouse and harbor of Barbate

Near the beach is a small lighthouse on a square (here). It stands out nicely against the clear blue sky. A little further is the port of Barbate. In any case, there are hardly any boats in the winter months, and it is not worth walking around the harbor. When I look at the buildings, I doubt whether the harbor will become lively in the summer. It seems more like a harbor for fishermen.

Google Maps location

Barbate lighthouse: a lighthouse in the wind

La Chanca tuna museum in Barbate

Barbate is also called tuna city. On the city’s outskirts, there is a small museum dedicated to tuna. Unfortunately closed in the winter months, so I have no idea if it’s worth it. But I think it probably is because you get to taste tuna during your visits. You can’t go wrong with that, I’d say.

In the museum, you can learn more about fishing. They call it Almadraba, and the technique is centuries old. The method consists of a special labyrinth of nets stretched into the sea. It is apparently one of the most sustainable fishing methods. The nets are cast as soon as the tuna swim through the Strait of Gibraltar past Barbate, around April, May, and June.

Google Maps location

Tip! Are you near Barbate at the end of April or early May? Then check online when this year’s tuna week is exactly. During the Semana Gastronómica del Atún de Barbate, bars and restaurants compete to make the best tuna tapa.

Eating at the tuna temple in Barbate: El Campero

In the tuna city of Barbate, you will also find the tuna temple: restaurant El Campero. They make the tastiest and most beautiful dishes with tuna. It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s so good! There are places to sit inside and outside, so it’s pretty big. Because El Campero is so popular, you really need to make a reservation. The service is correct, and the menu is excellent and extensive. I recommend you order some different things and share. This way, you can taste the different preparations of the tuna. Or go for the extensive tasting menu!

Google Maps location

The cliffs of Barbate

Between Barbate and Caños de Meca lies the beautiful La Breña Natural Park. The Sendero de Acandilado takes you from Barbate to Caños de Meca. That is a walk of about 7 kilometers. The path slowly takes you up, and in several spots, you have beautiful views from and on the cliffs of Barbate. You can even see Morocco on the other side.

It is a popular walking route where families, dogs, and runners like to come. During the week, it is quieter. The trail is an almost straight line; only at the end does the sand loosen up, and you have to climb a hill here and there. Many people choose to walk up to the lookout tower, enjoy the view and the snacks they brought, and then head back to Barbate.

Barbate has a small parking lot at the start of the trail. On busy days you can also park along the side of the road. Then someone usually walks around to show you a spot and asks for a euro for parking.

Google Maps location

Parking in Barbate

There is a large free car park in the center of Barbate and within walking distance of the beach. You can find it here. Or park your car almost on the beach: here. If you still need to rent a car, compare your options at Sunny Cars and EasyTerra.

Hotels in Barbate

Does Barbate sound like a town you’d like to stay in longer? Then be sure to check out these hotels in Barbate:

More Spain inspiration?

  • Accommodation. All-time favorites: Booking.com and Campspace. Rather stay in a hostel? Try HostelWorld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. Another good option is WithLocals. And Freetour.com and GuruWalk both offer ‘free’ walking tours, while Baja Bikes has bike tours.
  • Attractions and museums. Get a 5% discount at Tiqets on museums and attractions with the discount code: KIMOPREIS22
  • Boat. You can catch a boat to Mallorca from Barcelona, for example. Book your ticket at Balearia. You can also get to the other Balearic Islands with Balearia. Compare ferry prices at Direct Ferries.
  • Bus and train. Travel to Spain with NS International or Flixbus. Other useful companies are Busbud, 12go, and Omio, also for buses and trains within Spain.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Have a look at Transavia and Vueling, but do compare prices! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? From The Netherlands, there is plenty of choice. ANWB vakanties, Tui, Shoestring or Sawadee, of rather D-reizen, Sunweb, Corendon or Vakantie Discounter?
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. Let’s get you ready for your trip! Order a travel guide to browse through. For example, at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. Or why not treat yourself to a yoga retreat in Spain!

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