El Castillo de Duquesa is just immediately west of the port next to the little village which is called after it. It comes as a total surprise when you stumble upon its massive grey bulk, surounded as it is, by so much pristine white. It's more of a rectangular fortress then a traditional castle, although it does have towers at the corners. There are a lot of old defensive structures along this strip of coastline, some dating back to Phoenician times and the castle at Duquesa is certainly one of the most imposing. It was designed by the architect Francisco Paulino and built in the 1760's during the reign of Charles 111. The castle is now used to host exhibitions and cultural events and also houses some local council offices. There does not appear to be any entrance charge and if you come by during office hours, chances are that the gates will be open and you can just wander in. This is what I did and nobody asked me what I was doing or bothered me in any way. There are some canon guns inside the main entrance and once inside you can climb up and look out over what were presumably the battlements. A really pleasant diversion to take during an afternoon walk.
Since coming home I have read that there are remains of a Roman bath house and a Roman villa quite close to this castle. I was not aware of these during any of my stays in this area but will seek them out next time.
You will have gathered by now that Duquesa is the kind of place where everything revolves around the sea and indeed there is not a whole lot to do here that is unconnected with it. From my sister's apartment it's possible to be at the sea in two minutes which means you could walk down to the sea and watch the sun rise, take at least one long walk, several meanders and stroll down again for sunset without the slightest inconvenience. I walked miles when I was here and felt absolutely wonderful. You can walk along the beach, along the Paseo Maritim that runs right to the end of Sabinillas, or as I've already mentioned, on the sea wall.
The sea here is wonderful and changes colour several times a day. The photo of the sea and the rocks and the other photo of just sea, show the luminous green-blue combination .
In summer the Duquesa end of the beach is sheltered and a good place for swimming. In season you can hire pedalos or loungers and there are two beach bars, one on either side of the port which serve snacks, lunch and drinks. Both beaches, on the Sabinillas and Castillo side are Blue Flag standard, and like everything else around here, impeccably maintained and looked after.
Duquesa has always had a harbour and obviously long before the yacht marina had even been dreamt of, it was a fishing port. The fishing boats are still there moored right under the sea wall in their own seperate section. Opposite this section is a row of fishermen's huts and these and the boatyard next to them are some of the very few buildings in the whole of Duquesa that differ slightly from the overall architectural design. Walking out to the sea wall you pass the fishing boats and it has to be said that they make a refreshing change from the yachts - of course I'm just jealous cause I can't afford a yacht ! Nobody minds how closely you examine them and you can step gingerly around clumps of net and other equiment at the same time. One afternoon I actually came upon a fisherman sitting in the doorway of his hut, mending a net. It's reassuring that all signs of the original inhabitants of the port have not been entirely eliminated.
The heart of Duquesa is the marina. It's the place to come to have a meal or drink or to simply sit and watch the world go by. The yachts berthed here are simply to-die-for and who knows maybe one day I'll be able to afford one but for now I look. Sitting on one of the benches close to the water and watching the boats slap from side to side is very relaxing. They sway from right to left with amazing synchronicity. Nautical blue and white are the dominnant colours, sails wrapped maypole style around the masts. I love the clinking sounds the masts make in the wind and the crunchy, squeaky sound of the ropes straining against the holding posts. Sit here on a warm day and I guarantee you will have trouble getting up to leave . Chill out par excellence !
You have a great variety of nice places to walk in Duquesa but for me the favourite would have to be the sea wall. At the outer end of the harbour the sea wall splits, one side in the direction of Sabinillas, the other curving round the harbour itself. There are two sort of mini lighthouse/marker towers at either end and if you're here to take in the sunset or sunrise you can just keep strolling up and down between the two. Because Duquesa is exposed and not too far from the Straits of Gibraltar the sea here is often wild and even on the sunniest days you should allow for sheets of spray. This is very refreshing in summer but a little less so in Spring or winter.
The buildings facing the northern end of the marina, enclose a perfectly planned little miniature town. There are steps up and down to several levels, plazas and streets, shops, pubs, offices and even a gallery or two. Something as self-consciously designed as this would not normally appeal to me but like everything else in Duquesa, it is done so well and so tastefully that you just go with the charm, sit back and enjoy it.
The photo shows the view over the marina from one of the small plazas in the town.