"Check out the 'walking' sand dunes" Top 5 Page for this destination Andalucía Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown
Andalucía Things to Do: 228 reviews and 367 photos
We had plans to explore more than just Tarifa on the Atlantic coastline, so we were up and gone after our first night in town, headed further up the coast on the N-340 highway. The weather was still as wild looking as when we had arrived in the area, but we had not gone far before we were intrigued by the first 'walking' sand dunes that I had seen. For a closer look, we turned toward the point of land sticking out from coast, onto a narrow but smooth road leading out into a beautiful pine forest. Part-way through the forest, signs began to appear saying that this was a dead-end road and that only military vehicles could continue.
Taking the hint, we turned back to where the sand dunes were just about to over-run our little highway. The dunes along this coast are some of the largest in Europe and are a result of the 'Levante' wind that occurs due to high pressure over the Mediterranean Sea forcing wind out of the east toward the typical low pressure systems over the Atlantic Ocean. Compression of the air as it flows through the narrow Strait of Gibraltar gap between the mountains of Gibraltar/Spain on one side and Africa on the other results in very strong winds that actually march the sand dunes up hillsides and into the forests. Just like in Canada where wooden-slated snow fences are used to prevent snow from drifting over highways, in Spain the air turbulence the fences cause is used to slow down these moving dunes (1st and 2nd photos). Only a short distance further up the coast we came upon another dune also being wind-driven up the side of a hill at the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia (3rd photo).
Directions: About 10-km out of Tarifa, heading toward Cadiz on the N-340 highway and another dune near Bolonia
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