There’s no getting around it. K and I didn’t pick Barbate for it’s charm but, rather, as a convenient base for exploring a selection of beautiful, seemingly endless beaches nearby.
We knew, of course, about the world famous Almadrava tuna fish, and had booked a table in the less expensive bar section of the equally famous restaurant El Campero, perhaps Barbate’s greatest highlight. I had also read up on its two main beaches (Playa del Carmen and Hierbabuena) and found out that there was a seaside promenade to be enjoyed. My thoughts went to ice-cream with the little ‘uns.
Barbate turned out to be a characterful, if not exactly quaint, seaside town full of picturesque narrow streets cutting through neighborhoods of endless white-washed houses, as well as some pretty squares. Our rented house was in one of these neighborhoods, and it was nice to be treated to the views from the third floor balcony.
As you might have guessed from the photos, parking in that neighborhood was a bit of an ordeal. With regular parking spots on the main roads few and far between, we had to embrace the local style of parking, that is, bringing the side of your car as close to the white-washed building walls as possible. Easier said than done when you have a large car, as I do, and with some locals beeping at you for following the local m.o. Inevitably, I did scrape the side of the car once or twice. Oh well.
Strolling around was fun, too. Still elated from our meal at El Campero, we enjoyed ice-cream on the promenade and then wandered home to discover some fun sights on the way: charmful buildings, vintage adverts and quirky streets that would get narrower and narrower.
And how was our experience at El Campero, you may ask? As expected, the meal was fantastic, even if the choice of tuna dishes to pick from can be flabbergasting and, on hindsight, we should have passed on the full dish of palate carpaccio and instead gone for less exquisite tuna treats. My two cents: when you go, order the great value tapas so you can try more dishes.
If an evening at El Campero will break your budget, you can also try Taberna Abelardo – a true B-Side gem where you can eat tuna just as the locals and with the locals.