La Isla de las Palomas sits just off the coast of Tarifa, Costa de la Luz, Andalucia at the southern most point of mainland Spain. It was originally separated from the mainland before a road was built between them and is now inaccessible to the public.
Trying to find information about the history of Isla de las Palomas is tricky at best and there seem to be very little available on the internet. Speaking to locals is similarly difficult and the general stories that come across are inconsistent.
The island is a great dive site and not so long back a bronze statuette was found near there which has been dated back to the first century. Again, no more information is available about that.
So what about Isla de las Palomas itself? The Island is littered with buildings and structures in various states and at the southern most point there is an active lighthouse. Initially the buildings look like farm houses but the island doesn’t seem like a farm. The heavily windy conditions and salty air would make it difficult to cultivate a lot of plants, fruit and vegetables.
Another theory is that la Isla de las Palomas forms part of the Naval monitoring system that is also present within the Rock of Gibraltar, set up to track ins and outs along the Straights of Gibraltar. That story might hold some water as there seems to be a strong veil of secrecy surrounding he place.
On the day we visited Tarifa the police drove onto the island but told us we were not allowed in; a huge sliding gate keeping us out. The first buildings inside the island have the look of sentry posts and perhaps they date back to the Second World War when Hitler’s troops took up residence in Spain as part of their military exercises, all at the request of General Franco.
Whatever it has been, la Isla de las Palomas is now all but derelict and is a spot for visitors to grab snapshots of their moments at the ragged southern edge of western Europe, while kite and wind surfers jump and glide across the waves of the Atlantic Ocean where it meets the Mediterranean Sea.
If you know anything about la Isla de las Palomas please let us know by leaving a comment.