Mainly known for its breathtaking landscapes, the Cabo de Gata Natural Park also relies on picturesque towns.
Discover what to do in this part of Almeria province.
The volcano-originated Cabo de Gata Natural Park is Andalucia’s first Maritime-Terrestrial protected park and it was declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 1997. It is provided with 37.500 terrestrial hectares and 12.000 marine hectares, 63 km of which are considered the best-preserved area of the West Mediterranean.
It encompasses the Almerian towns of Níjar, Carboneras, San José, Rodalquilar, Las Negras, Agua Amarga, Los Escullos, Isleta del Moro, Las Hortichuelas, Fernán Pérez, Pozo de los Frailes, San Miguel de Cabo de Gata and Almadraba de Monteleva.
Located close to the desertic area of Tabernas on the north-west side, the city of Almeria on the west, and the white town of Mojácar on the east side, the Cabo de Gata natural park is characterised by a wide range of different landscapes. From gorges to virgin coves, from salt lakes to dunes, it offers magnificent viewpoints and countless activities to let you make the most of it.
The most spectacular beaches in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park
When one says Cabo de Gata, the first thing to come into your mind will surely be “breathtaking beaches”. Among Almeria’s (and Spain’s) best beaches, the seashores in Cabo de Gata will make you get to know the true meaning of “heaven on earth”.
Their crystal-clear water and dark sand are accompanied by one of the driest climate conditions in whole Europe. This way, you will have the possibility to enjoy them year round. Moreover, know that six of them have been granted the Blue Flag, which underlines their extreme cleanliness.
It is impossible to talk about just one beach in Cabo de Gata, since there are more to know besides the worldwide famous Los Muertos beach, Mónsul, Los Genoveses and Las Salinas. Therefore, if you want to know more about the best beaches in Almeria and Cabo de Gata, just check this post out.
What to do in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park
Just like the majority of Natural Parks in Andalucia, this enormous natural park offers countless activities to do too, for everyone to choose the one that suits them best!
The most peculiar activity to do here, which you won’t easily find anywhere else, is scuba diving. There are countless organisations that offer this kind of activity, allowing you to spot the myriads of maritime fauna species.
Then, if you love hiking, don’t miss out on the routes organised by associations of 4X4 hiking and guided routes along the splendid landscapes of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. For example, you can engage in the Cerro del Cinto route, a 10-km hike through the ancient golden mines of Rodalquilar (from where it starts) and Níjar. The only thing to keep in mind is that, during this 3-hour long itinerary, you mustn’t leave the traced path, due to the presence of deep wells.
A few companies offer routes on a saddle. Animal lovers can’t leave the park without horse riding along the stunning seashores of Cabo de Gata. Here, you can find a list (only in Spanish) of the main companies that offer this service.
And if nature is your thing, don’t miss out on the 9-hectare Botanic Garden El Abardinal, located in Rodalquilar. While walking, you will discover the different plant species that have been growing in this desert region for millennials. Even its name comes from a plant species similar to the esparto, which has adapted perfectly to the extreme climate conditions of this area of Andalucia.
Lastly, discover the culture that impregnates the soil in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. You can’t miss out on its most famous monument, the 18th-century Cortijo del Fraile, whose history is as appealing as tragic. It was built by Dominican monks and then it became a private property. In 1928, the owner decided to celebrate his daughter’s wedding (Francisca Cañadas, known as Paca the Lame). This ended in tragedy and it became known as the Crime of Níjar, which later inspired Federico García Lorca’s 1932 masterpiece “Bodas de Sangre” (Spanish for Blood Wedding).
Where to take the most mesmerising pictures
If you love Instagram and you are looking for spectacular places to take a selfie, don’t miss out on these stunning spots in Cabo de Gata:
Arrecife de las Sirenas
The name of this spectacular reef is due to the monk seals that used to live here, and whose calls were mistaken for mermaids’ songs by the sailors. You can have a panoramic view of the area from the viewpoint near the lighthouse of Cabo de Gata, which was built in 1863 on the patio of the Castle San Francisco de Paula. If you want to get closer, you can go down to the reef and you will be welcomed by an extremely small cove, which disappears when the tide is high.
Mirador de la Amatista
From this ancient Guardia Civil’s surveillance point, you can spot countless small coves and the highest mountain in the park, the 500 mt-high Pico de los Frailes. It is also called “Las Teticas” or “Hermanicas” because it is formed by two identical peaks.
Mirador Punta de los Muertos
It opens onto the breathtaking beach of Los Muertos, the longest seashore in the Natural Park. Its volcanic formations merge with the white sand and crystal-clear water, creating a unique landscape.
The only working saltpan in Western Andalucia is also an incredible spot to do some birdwatching. In fact, this salty area is the resting and nesting place for a multitude of migratory bird species, such as pink flamingos. Don’t forget your binoculars, for this is the best way to enjoy your stop at Las Salinas.
How to get to the Cabo de Gata Natural Park
The park is located 30 km east of Almeria. You can reach it by a 25-minute drive, by taking the Al-12, known as Autovía del Aeropuerto (the airport highway), until you reach the N-344. When you get to Retamar, you will have to take the Al-3115 towards Cabo de Gata – San José.
Places to stay in Cabo de Gata
In order to truly enjoy the picturesque spots of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park, you should be staying at one of the best holiday homes and villas in the surroundings of this protected area. They are provided with all the comforts you may ask for and breathtaking sea views. What are you waiting for?
One of the most spectacular and peculiar natural parks of Andalucia, the Cabo de Gata Natural Park won’t have any more secrets.
Have you ever been to the Cabo de Gata Natural Park? Which is the viewpoint and/or beach you liked the most? Tell us in the comments below!