Stara Wieża - Torre Vigía Guadalmesí

The Old Tower – Torre Vigía Guadalmesí

The purpose of building the tower was to prevent enemy ships from collecting fresh water from the only available source along the entire coast...

We set off to explore the breathtaking views at the Parque Natural del Estrecho. Our adventure led us to the Torre Vigía Guadalmesí, an old tower perched on the edge of a cliff. Its construction began in 1588, as part of an effort to monitor maritime traffic through the strait. This initiative also included the construction of a tower on Isla de las Palomas (an island connected to Tarifa) and the Torre del Fraile (closer to Algeciras). The strategic purpose of building the Vigía Guadalmesí tower was to prevent enemy ships from collecting fresh water from the only available source along the coast – the nearby Guadalmesí stream, from which the tower takes its name.

Near the tower, there's a concrete structure that, along with others scattered throughout the park, forms a network of bird migration observatories. You can spot a variety of species, including white storks, sandgrouse, Egyptian and griffon vultures, imperial and Bonelli's eagles, and even the peregrine falcon. 

Stara Wieża - Torre Vigía Guadalmesí

We took the N-340 route from Tarifa towards Gibraltar. About 5km from the city, we turned right onto a not-so-wide asphalt road, and after a few more kilometers, we reached some abandoned military buildings. Roadside signs reading "No Entry" threw us off a bit, and we weren't sure if we should continue. Fortunately, one of the locals coming our way assured us that the route was open to everyone.

Stara Wieża - Torre Vigía Guadalmesí

The area around Torre Vigía Guadalmesí is an excellent destination for hiking and cycling tours, with a focus on bikes equipped with off-road tires. While it's possible to drive on a bumpy road, it's recommended for high-clearance off-road vehicles. As a local informed us, the road is "está muy malísima”…

Stara Wieża - Torre Vigía Guadalmesí

After greeting the donkeys grazing along the trail, we finally arrived at a spot where we could beautifully see the tower, rocky beaches, and the African coastline. If you're considering driving this route, think it over carefully – there's no turning back, and it'll give you a good shake… The choice is such that you can either go left towards Algeciras on paths (recommended for cyclists), or right along the coast to Observatorio del Estrechofrom there, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Tarifa, the strait, and Africa. From here it's just a few kilometres along the tarmac road to Tarifa.... 

The cliffy and rocky coastline certainly doesn't invite one to enter the water, where strong currents prevail. Touring the edge of the park offers many thrilling experiences, and the place itself is an excellent idea for actively spending a day off. 

Parque natural del Estrecho is the southernmost protected area in Europe, stretching from the mouth of the Getares River in Algeciras to the Cabo de Gracia cape, located right next to Zahara de los Atunes. Its eastern edges are washed by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea, while its western borders are adjacent to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 


Always on the go, though sometimes I do miss a bit of boredom... 😉 My passions? Technology, photography, psychology, diving into diverse reads, and sports... especially water sports and padel. Professionally, I design websites, graphics, and more. I'm also the author and photographer at 📸

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