Torre Vigía de Castilnovo – Conil de la Frontera, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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Torre Vigía de Castilnovo

Conil de la Frontera, Spain

This centuries-old tower hosts endangered bald ibis mating pairs and looms over a pristine beach. 


Constructed in the 13th-century when this region was under the control of the seventh Duke of Medina Sidonia, Juan Alonso “El Bueno” Perez de Guzmán, this 49 foot (15 meters) high stone tower had many functions through the years. First, it was used as a defensive structure part of a walled enclosure, when as many as 100 men lived here. Later, it was utilized to spot migrating schools of tuna, and the base was used for the drying and canning of fish, along with fishing net production and maintenance.

The tower was all but destroyed in the 1755 earthquake and tsunami, the same natural disaster that destroyed much of Lisbon. It was partially rebuilt and continued to be used for the tuna fishing industry until the early 20th-century when it was eventually abandoned.

The city council of Conil de la Frontera partially restored the tower in 1995 and it’s pretty much in a contained ruined state now. Today, it’s only used by rare (and not so rare) birds for nesting. Two to three pairs of endangered bald ibises return to the structure every spring to lay their eggs and raise their young.

Know Before You Go

There is a flat beachside hiking trail from the village of Conil de la Frontera. The walk is approximately 25 minutes.

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October 29, 2021

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