La Breña y Marismas de Barbate

La Breña y Marismas de Barbate
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Hiding its treasures from the sea, the gorge covers from view the Breña and the Barbate Marshes, a group of lagoons that have suffered the impact of man, creeks, channels, and estuaries that are home to the most extraordinary list of birds.

Halfway between The Bay of Cadiz and El Estrecho between Mediterranean and Atlantic waters, this area is home to a magnificent diversity that occupies what was once the now extinct lagoon of La Janda which, alongside other smaller bodies, comprised one of the largest wetlands in Europe until it was drained in the mid-20th century.

Today the stage is shared by marshes, rice fields, meadows, dunes (Playa de Hierbabuena) and pine groves, such as La Breña, overlooking the cliff, a tremendous 90-metre gorge that runs along a stretch of six kilometres of coastline. Closer to the coast, small and intimate coves, sandy spits as Trafalgar or the famous stone yards used for fishing since the time of the Phoenicians and Romans, give way to seagrass meadows where the light pierces a crystal-clear, turquoise waters.

Possibly Pinar de la Breña is the most important formation. This impressive forest alternates stone and Aleppo pines, together with small woods of junipers and a scrubland which varies according to wind exposure. Clinging onto the vertical walls are bramble and fig trees and a plant population typical of saline environments. In the gorge's gaps breed many birds, as cattle egrets, jackdaws or peregrine falcons, with birds of prey flying above, among the ospreys and common kestrels. But the birds multiply in marshes and lakes, because it is area of nesting and migrating with presence of mallards, coots, grey herons or Eurasian cranes, the last remaining nesting population in southern Europe. When the course transforms into steppe, the presence of the tawny pipit can be highlighted, a rare bird in this habitat. Other fauna are the presence of otters and other carnivores as badger and stag, sheltered in the forest that surrounds a wetland where reptiles and amphibians are still found. Among the sea population, worth mentioning are the existence of molluscs, as the dwarf winkle and limpet, and a wide range of species.
Nature Areas
Nature park
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Points of interest

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La Breña y Marismas de Barbate
Calle Coghen, San Fernando, 3, 11100
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Services and infrastructure

  • Tourist Office

Target audiences

For families, I travel alone, young people, Couples, Lgbti, Friends, Seniors


Nature, Sun anda beach, Culture, Leisure and fun, Sports


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Quality brands

European Charter for Sustainable Tourism

Environmental units

The Atlantic coast of Andalusia

Statement date

28 / 07 / 1989

Area (m2)