BARRACA is a rocky cove situated in the southern half
of the bay of Portitxol, guarded on
its extremes by the protective booms of Cap Prim and Cap Negre as well
as the hulk of the island of Portitxol. The cove takes its name from the
small fishing huts ("barracas") that were built here some years ago,
some of which still remain. The bay of Portitxol ("small port") has been used as an anchorage and landing point for more
than two thousand years and archeaological discoveries suggest
habitation stretching back to the 7th century BCE.
The start is at the "Mirador Creu Portitxol", the picturesque
viewpoint marked by a small tosca stone cross that overlooks the coast
to the east with the island of Portitxol and the Cap Prim headland. There is
limited parking on the main road and it can be extremely
busy during the popular summer months. Unfortunately
there is no alternative and drivers should be aware
of not blocking gates and driveway for they may return
to find their vehicle removed on request of the property
destination of Cala Barraca is hidden from view to the right. The route
descends along a well-eroded path past a wooden information board which
outlines the natural history of the area as well as marking the two
walking routes from this location. After a few metres, the
path divides with a wooden signpost indicating the two possible
destinations: to the left is the short walk to Cap Prim whilst our route heads right into the trees. The first few
metres of the path are narrow and unfortunately dotted with rubbish
left by man. I'd like to think that this detritus hasn't been left by
walkers and those who enjoy the superb natural environment but by
visitors to the viewpoint with a less than respectful regard for their
surroundings. I acknowledge the problem of being "caught short" in the
open but - please - take the paper away with you!
then widens and drops pleasantly through the trees which afford good
protection from the sun. A number of heavily-eroded paths drop steeply
into the gorge below, no doubt carved out by a combination of human foot
and heavy rain. However our way is shown by green-and-white markers
that have been painted at (irregular) intervals to confirm that we are on
the right direction. As the path bends sharply to the left as it contours around
a narrow gulley, look out for the "monster"
of Portitxol living in the rocks on your left through
the trees, its "eyes" watching your every
After some 500m, the path opens into a
small clearing and another wooden signpost. To the left (or in effect,
straight on) is the route to the Cala Els Pallers, a path for the
adventurous and described below. Our route drops to the right - marked by the signpost - and
the path becomes a little more eroded both by the pounding of eager
feet and by the weather. Wooden sleepers have been secured at intervals,
partly to help the descent over steeper sections but I suspect also to
try and contain the erosion.
After some metres, the land
to our right has become a heavily eroded deep gulley and care should be
taken on the fragile edges which could collapse quite easily under
weight. The path surface is loose as it winds its way down towards the
cove and you should be prepared to slip without warning. As the final
section of steps is crossed, the path widens and then turns right into a
concrete ramp that takes one over the final 50m or so to the rocky
beach of Cala Barraca.
secluded, quiet cove is a favourite during
the hot summer weekends. The clear blue
deep waters are perfect for snorkelling
and, a little further out, scuba diving;
the island of Portitxol offers excellent
diving opportunities with a myriad of underwater
arches, tunnels and other natural formations.
The beach is rocky with some patches of
sand which often prove to be claimed early
in the day during the high season.
There is a large terrace restaurant /
bar (which keeps odd hours and may be closed in the winter months)
around the shoreline to the right. However, be warned. Being the only such place
in the bay, it's not cheap and can get very
busy during the high season. If you fancy
something to eat, better to carry a few
sandwiches for a snack before the return
to the Creu del Portitxol.
Return via the same route.
CALA ELS PALLERS
This is a popular
route for those seeking a bit of privacy
as it leads to a rather trepidous path to
the Playa del Portitxol, a very secluded
beach that can only be reached with a bit
of nerve. The path passes through the trees
until it opens up on the very edge of the
cliffs directly facing the island of Portitxol.
To the left, a path traverses along the
top of these cliffs as they gently descend
towards the beach; there's a last scramble
to the seashore but the seclusion makes
it all the worthwhile. However, if you head
right - effectively towards the island -
you can enjoy a wonderful view of Cala Barraca.
There's a bit of scrambling involved but
it shouldn't be beyond anyone with a sense
of balance and a decent regard of heights.
In fact, with a bit of care, one can scramble
over the rocks and down onto the rocky
beach of Cala Barraca.
This article has been created
through experience and getting out and about on the ground. It's very much a labour of love.
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