The Guide & Schedule for Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020

Visiting Bateria de Castillitos on Cabo Tiñoso Cape near Cartagena, Spain

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Sierra de La Muela, Cabo Tiñoso and Roldán Nature Reserve

When it comes to Spain many things come to my mind… from Gaudi’s masterpieces in Barcelona to Corridas in Seville… to white beaches in Valenciana… to Moorish scars in Andalusia… and many many more, there is much to be told about this country. Many songs have been sung and many stories have been written about Spain or it’s crown jewels. The region of Murcia is not one of them, and it doesn’t feel like they want it to be one.

I tried to find any information of hiking trails in what is called Sierra de La Muela, Cabo Tiñoso and Roldán Nature Reserve, just next to Cartagena, a major city in the region of Murcia, I was unsatisfied with what I found. Except for some basic description of the park in English and some promises of endless trails, there was nothing to hang on. Of course, there is plenty of TripAdvisor subjective comments recorded throughout the years, and some hiking paths mapped by people themselves, but none of it give you trust-worthy information of what to expect. ‘A lack of facilities may differ a lot based on a person who wrote that a marked trail without any insight or photos might be just a random path, of which I’ve seen many without any wish to remember or share it with anybody.

Just because there is no information it doesn’t mean there is nothing to see. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Mysterious Castle at a Tip of the World

Once you enter “Sierra de La Muela, Cabo Tiñoso and Roldán Nature Reserve” to Google, all you get are these mysterious pictures of a castle with some rather modern cannons on it, without any significant explanation. But there is a story for everything, right?

The fortifications of Bateria de Castillitos looks more like a castle from Disneyland rather than a military bulding. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Baterias de Castillitos and el Jorel Baterias on Cabo Tiñoso

This interesting site is actually a defensive anti-navy gun battery base, which for some reason was built as it was a part of Disneyland rather than a military base. The site includes the Bateria de Castillitos near the parking lot and the smaller Bateria de el Jorel at the very tip of the cape. The batteries are built within 1,5km range and exploring the whole site can take quite a lot of time. There is even a possibility to hike down to a beach on the other side of the bay to Cartagena.

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Even though it requires some better marketing and investment into infrastructure by the local authorities, today, Bateria de Castillitos and el Jorel are slowly getting the attention it deserves.

The guns were abandoned by the military only in 1994 and the mysterious site was left behind alone ever after. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Baterias de Castillitos and el Jorel Details

Baterias de Castillitos and el Jorel were invisible to those from the sea level. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

History of Baterias de Castillitos and el Jorel

Built on a very tip of Cabo Tiñoso (Cape Tinoso), Bateria de Castillitos is a powerful defense system built somewhere in-between 1926 and 1933 to protect the important port Cartagena ant its military arsenal. Built by the British, the deployed cannons were the best of the kind in the world at that time and prove to be more than effective. It was placed strategically on the top of Cape Tinoso in a way so it wouldn’t be seen from the sea level.

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The cannons were used only once during the Spanish Civil War, in 1937 against Franco’s Nationalist fleet with devastating efficiency. Knowing its presence was more than enough to scare away the enemies. The guns were abandoned by the military only in 1994 and the mysterious site was left behind alone ever after.

There is one local restaurant in Campillo de Adentrum. Don’t expect a fine dining but it has more than anough to meet the basic needs. Photo by Aistė [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Getting to Bateria de Castillitos, Cabo Tiñoso

By bus

Since there is no public transport going to Bateria de Castillitos as late as 2020, you’ll either have to drive or walk there yourself.

The road leading to Bateria de Castillitos is too extreme for buses. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

By car

Sierra de La Muela, Cabo Tiñoso and Roldán Nature Reserve can be found in Murcia region between two major cities Cartagena and Mazarron, connected by AP-7, RM-332, and E-22 roads. Since the road to Bateria de Castillitos can be reached only by RM-E23 road which is connected only to E-22, there is no point of using the different road to reach the park.

RM-E23 will keep you at the edge of your seat. The road is not recommended for inexperienced drivers. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

RM-E23 road to Bateria de Castillitos

And RM-E23 road is one of those roads which will keep you on the edge on your seat, but without a doubt, it will be very rewarding. The conditions of the road difficulty will build up slowly, so don’t get caught with your guard down. The first two kilometers will lead you through a beautiful green valley until the only town on the road, Campillo de Adentrum, and it won’t get much harder for another kilometer after you pass the town.

This road is not recommended for inexperienced drivers. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Once the road goes steeper, things can get a bit ugly. The roads are relatively narrow and there is not much space to pass by with the other cars. To make things worse, there are no mirrors on U-turns and it is not a common practice to use a machine signal before one. And don‘t forget that you are sharing the road with cyclists and hikers.

Most of the hiking route to Bateria de Castillitos will lead through RM-E23 road. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Hiking to Bateria de Castillitos

An alternative would be to park your car in Campillo de Adentrum and hike your way up for 8 km one way, which should take around two and a half hours. The hike might be demanding, and you’ll have to walk on the same road as you would go with a car, but at least you won’t have to worry about the difficulties passing each car.

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One thing is for sure – there ar emore cars on Cabo Tinoso than this parking can fit. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Parking at Bateria de Castillitos

Even if you are a really experienced driver, the parking at Bateria de Castillitos can drive you crazy. Be prepared for a couple of dozens of parking spots, located around a narrow gravel road, full of angry drivers, trying to do the same, with a very limited possibility to turn around. Most of the people just park their car on the left side of the road just before the parking lot.

The maze of the military base on Cabo Tiñoso. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

I would suggest either coming really early or a bit late, just before the sunset, to avoid the main crowds visiting the center. Another option would be parking your car on one a few vista parking spots 300-1,000m to the batteries and hike your way up.

If park authorities going to implement either a bathroom or any other facility up here, please inform me at ctdots.eu@gmail.com Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Facilities at Bateria de Castillitos

Be advised that you won’t find either WC or café in the site so be sure to take your own snacks and water, or eat in Campillo de Adentro. If you have some spare time, my personal recommendation would be to go to a remote quiet resort town, La Azohia. It is located only 2.5 km from where E-22 connects to RM-E23 road and has plenty of places to eat or spend your evening.

La Azohia is not only the main hub for hiking the park but has that surfer town feeling as well. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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After all said and done – visititing Cabo Tiñoso is well worth your time. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Is it worth to visit Bateria de Castillitos?

If you have the nerves to drive the road, and the patience for horrible parking experience, you won’t regret visiting Bateria de Castillitos at Cabo Tiñoso. The distant views of Cartagena in the Mediterranean Sea alone are worth the visit, but you get to see some of those old-school huge cannons on a full scale and Disneyland-like fortifications as well.

Is there any other military instalment which looks like from Disneyland in the whole world? Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Just be aware of a forecast. I would not suggest making this trip if the weather conditions are not suited for it. Avoid the rain and clouds, without the panorama the trip itself is just not worth all the struggle. Also, visiting Bateria de Castillitos on Cabo Tiñoso during a bad weather might be dangerous.

The view from Cabo Tiñoso is just priceless. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

My impressions of visiting Bateria de Castillitos

Despite the poorness of this forgotten region, Murcia has a lot to show off. If I sounded harsh describing my experience, it is just because I see so much potential, therefore, the lack of investment into tourism kind of upset me. With better marketing, Murcia can be described as a very interesting place to visit, the region definitely has beautiful nature, interesting cities, not to even mention the important role in Reconquista. Yeah, the reconquer of Iberian Peninsula by Christians from Islamic Moors, which was one of the precursors to the Renaissance of Europe. What I miss from the region of Murcia, is a bit of pride in their rich history. Take our money, build that infrastructure.

Visiting Baterias de Castillitos and el Jorel will leave very few people unsatisfied with what they saw. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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