Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Visiting Cabo de Gata in Almeria, Spain
Maybe one of the lesser known, but prettiest regions of Spain is the Cabo de Gato area. Located near Almeria in the south east of Spain the Cabo de Gata-Nijar National Park is the largest protected coastal area of Andalucia.
It’s protection has ensured the area remains largely unspoiled with stunning beaches, small unspoiled villages and a rugged natural interior. So special is the area it was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997.
Inland it has the lowest rainfall in Europe and is Europe’s only subtropical ‘hot’ desert.
So what are the ‘hot spots’ (sorry could not resist!) to visit when spending time in Cabo de Gata?
Firstly a great place to stay is San Jose, a small fishing village on the coast in the heart of the area. Quaint with no large multi-story hotels and a host of small bars, sea food restaurants, a small marina and a lovely beach San José is a great base.
The rugged coast line and its beautiful beaches and bays are one of the key attractions of the region. Note that many of the beautiful unspoilt beaches lie along dirt tracks, so your poor car will get a little rattled and dusty!
From San José it is easy to get out to the beaches at Playa de Los Genoveses, where as well as this beach you can walk along the fine sands and over the hill to Cala de Los Amarillos and/or climb to the top of the small mountain at Morron de Los Genoveses to enjoy superb views along the coast.
A little further along the same dirt track you reach Playa de Monsul, a beach made famous by the Harrison Ford movie scene in which Sean Connery scares the seagulls up from this beach into the flight path of the attacking plane. From this beach it’s a short walk to the neighbouring Playa Media Luna.
The salt flats near the village of Cabo de Gata with its imposing church on the beach are well worth a visit, especially for twitchers! Further along this very scenic road you get to the lighthouse and the dramatic coastal island rock formations at Arrecife de Los Sirrenas. You can get down to the beaches here too.
Fans of the famous Spaghetti western movies will not want to miss the village of Los Albaricoques. A sleepy little village which was the backdrop to some of the most famous scenes in the old 60’s and 70’s western movies including the final scene in ‘For a Few Dollars More’ between Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood. ‘The Good the Bad and the Ugly’ also had sets in this sleepy village. Have your photos taken by the cowboy or maybe by the road sign on Calle Clint Eastwood!
From here it’s a nice drive to the lovely beach at Agua Amarga, another great place to stay.
The pretty little old fishing village of La Isleta del Moro is also well worth visiting with its lovely bay, fishing boats and great restaurants. Take a walk to the top of the hill overlooking the sea birds on the small Island just off shore and a walk along the volcanic beach.
There are a host more beached with stunning backdrops and interesting rock formations just past Los Escullos (although the beaches are not the great fine sandy beaches found south of San José and we spotted a few sea urchins on the sea bed). The beach at Los Escullos features some very dramatic overhanging rocks. Which although maybe 20m above the beach and looking very precarious must have been stronger than they looked – we saw the locals taking the bravery photos so had to give it a go!
All in all Cabo de Gata is a great place to escape the rat race and experience old Spain with its unspoilt beaches and bays and beautiful rugged interior. It’s easy to see why so many Directors want to shoot their movies and videos in the region.