Los Barrios Spain

Centre of the Universe

Los Barrios

Los Barrios … Centre of the Universe

If we are what we eat – and my bathroom scales support that theory – are we also where we live?

I looked in the mirror last week and saw a country bumpkin, so yes…

No trace, these days, of the Marbella Belle I once aspired to be!

It was a culture shock moving to the boondocks of Los Barrios Spain.

The confusion living in a district called The Districts causes! (“Yes but which barrio? No, Los Barrios! You live in two districts?)

It’s a pinprick on the map in Cadiz Province  no one has ever heard of, much less set out to find.

Even the postal service has problems as there are two number 27s in our street, go figure, so I don’t often get mail.

Los Barrios Spain

High heels are for high days and holidays

They don’t wear high heels and pencil skirts here, as they do in Marbella, except for weddings, funerals and Saturday nights, so I spend my days dressed like a campesina (a Spanish peasant) if I get out of my dressing gown at all).


Los Barrios Spain

Campesina chic

Dressing gowns are acceptable street wear, though, when washing your step in the morning, as they do here. It’s sublimely Spanish and quintessentially campo.

The local rooster and his sidekick, a hee-hawing donkey, get us up in the morning.

Regular power brown-outs see us to bed at unearthly hours.

It’s not a wealthy town but our three cats help to boost the local economy or, rather, the local vet’s economy, requiring twice-daily insulin shots, special diets and regular fur-cuts.

On the face of it, this petite pueblo perched on the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula hasn’t a lot going for it.

Los Barrios Spain

Twin Towers mark Two


Furry alarm clock

Palmones the local beach, fringed with smoke-belching Cepsa chimneys, is hardly the stuff of holiday brochures (no one notices the wildlife reserve behind it)
• The shopping centre is a sprawling industrial estate graced with its own Twin Towers – the tallest office block in Andalucía.
• The town roundabout was modelled on a birthday cake, candles and all (until last month when a bulldozer demolished it). We can’t wait to see what they put in its place!

But look at it this way: it lies at the crossroads of two major continents (Africa and Europe) and two Spanish Costas (Sol & Luz). And it’s the gateway to three bodies of water (the Atlantic,  the Mediterranean and the Gibraltar Strait), and three ‘foreign’ nations (Morocco, Gibraltar and Portugal).

That’s pretty central by my idea of the universe!

Los Barrios Spain

The birthday cake roundabout has been ‘blown out’


Beyond the frumpy façade, this quirky Spanish pueblo frays at the edges into country lanes where a wild beauty sprouts from untamed hedgerows in a tangle of colourful flowers.

Did you know that Los Barrios Spain …

Los Barrios Spain

Los Barrios storks can’t tell rubbish from better

Los Barrios Spain

Infamous bullring

• boasts the most scenic rubbish tips in Spain, on the edge of Europe’s largest cork forest (Los Alcornocales) – a favourite roadside diner for thousands of birds en route to Africa
• has one of the largest white stork colonies in Europe (and if you’ve seen the size of stork droppings you’ll know why I wear a hat!)
• would have had the most high-tech bullring in Spain if the automatic roof worked. It doesn’t because the architect wasn’t paid, so he took away the motor.

Los Barrios Spain

Stork protection

• has only 20 lines devoted to it in the English version of Wikipedia, so I’m going to add my own citation … from the centre of the universe!


Watch a short video introduction to Los Barrios

Don’t forget to sign up for your FREE Trip Planner – how to travel Andalucia’s scenic British-built railway under your own steam

Scroll down to the end of the page or read more Here



  • Joanna Styles October 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm Reply

    Am loving the website and can feel the sizzle beaming from it. Best of luck with leads from it and hope to see you soon. xx

    • Belinda October 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, Joanna. Hope to see you at a Costa Press Club meeting soon!

  • Tamasine Smith June 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm Reply

    Yes! Just love the style, love the feel, love the passion for Spain. The kind of thing I enjoy reading. I too have had some amusing “sign post” moments visiting various towns and villages in Spain. Wonderful.

    • Belinda June 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm Reply

      Many thanks Tamasine (love your posts too). Yes, Spanish translations are such a giggle!

  • mandy July 21, 2014 at 5:02 pm Reply

    I love your write ups Belinda. Keep them coming ! I feel your passion for Spain . We are constantly looking for places to go and love your suggestions Mandy and Michael

    • Belinda July 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm Reply

      I’m delighted to hear that my suggestions sizzle! Equally, if you discover somewhere special, let me know and I can report on it for readers.

  • Belinda November 3, 2016 at 7:54 pm Reply

    Thank you for the link Brian and good luck with your cycling travels. If you ever get up this way again you should definitely make a pit stop at the Venta Frenaza which is the Mecca for mountain bikers in these parts and they do great grub. For details of this and some great cycling routes in Europe’s larkgest cork forest, the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales, see http://www.centrobttalcornocales.com/

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