Whale Watching at Tarifa
Trips vary between 2 and 4 hours depending on the company used. Whales are not guaranteed but you would be very unlucky not to see a pod of dolphins playing. They are very curious and will get very close to the boat - great for photos or video.
Tumares are the company we used but there are several others that operate from Tarifa.
Click here to see a great You Tube video of whale watching.
Parque Natural de Las Breñas - 5km from Vejer
This mainly pine forest park runs between Canos de Meca and Barbate - stretching from the clifftops of the coast inland to the outskirts of San Ambrosio just south of Vejer. There are 5 signposted walks that are available on a free map from the local tourist office. These range in length from 1.6km to 12.7km. Also located here is the El Palomar dovecot with 7700 nests, making it the largest dovecot in the world. It was active in the 18th century but now the nests are mainly empty.
Parque Natural de Las Marismas - 5km from Vejer
There is a walking trail from Vejer to this park which comprises of marshland around the Barbate river making it a haven for birdlife.
Parque Natural de la Bahia de Cádiz - 30km from Vejer
This park is best accessed from the Chiclana side and from Sancti Petri you can do a boat trip through the waterways or hire a kayak. The landscape is made up of marsh flats and salt marshes and sandy beaches. Just off the coast from Sancti Petri is the castle which sits on an island and is easily reached by sea kayak. At low tide sand spits appear creating your own "dessert island" on which to take a break.
Parque Natural del Estrecho - 30km from Vejer
This park stretches south from Bolonia (site of the roman ruins) around the coast towards Alcerciras. The sand dunes at Bolonia and Punta Paloma are particularly stunning. It is possible to walk from Atlanterra to Bolonia but by car you have to divert back inland. The views across the straits of Gibraltar are fantastic and this is an important area for the migration of many varieties of birds.
Alcornocales Natural Park - Alcala 41km from Vejer
This vast park covers 167,767 hectares from the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in the north to Tarifa in the south. It is named after the cork trees found there. There are two visitors' centres: Huerta Grande is south of Algeciras at Km 96 on the N340 coast road and El Aljibe is in Alcalá de los Gazules, on the road to Benalup at Km 1. The scenary is beautiful with mountains, lakes and forrests with abundant wildlife.
The A381 autovia bisects the park and it must make it one of the most scenic motorway drives in Spain.
Grazelema National Park - 130 Km from Vejer
Designated a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 1977, the Sierra de Grazalema was declared the first natural park in Andalucia in 1984 and is one of Spain's most ecologically outstanding areas. The 51,695 hectare park is famous for its spectacularly rugged limestone landscape of cliffs, gullies, caves and gorges. By far the most impressive gorge is Garganta Verde, with its griffon vulture colony and rocky walls that tower vertically for 400m. You need to arrange a pass from one of the local visitor centres to walk into the gorge and be aware it is quite a hard walk. Grazelema Guide information website.
Donana National Park - 85 Km
This park is actuall in Huelva province but is reached from Sanlucar. It covers 543km², of which 135 km² are a protected area. The park is an area of marsh, shallow streams, and sand dunes in Las Marismas, the Guadalquivir River Delta region where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The original area was established in 1963 when the World Wildlife Fund joined with the Spanish government and purchased a section of marshes to protect it from the constant threat to drain the marshes, use the river water to boost agricultural production by irrigating land along the coast, and to expand tourist facilities. Boat trips run from Bajo de Guia in Sanlucar with Real Fernando.
Via Verde de la Sierra cycle trail - 130 Km from Vejer
This trail is on an disused railway line and runs 36Km from Puerto Serrano to Olvera. You can start it at various old stations in between and runs through beautiful countryside with viaducts, bridges and long tunnels. It is almost totally flat and is a very peaceful ride or walk. Bikes can be hired at various places along the route but are best booked in advance.