9 nov 2014

Cabo de Gata, unspoilt beauty in the Spanish coast

Cabo de Gata is a nature reserve in the southeast corner of Spain. The remoteness and dry weather have kept this area out of the uncontrolled tourist development that has ruined most of the spanish coast in the Mediterranean. Not here, Even if some of the ancient fishing villages are now growing quite fast, there is a good balance between tourist development and nature conservation.

Playa de Las Negras (Cabo de Gata, Almería)
The region became celeb in the 60s and 70s as the scenery for many 'Spaghetti western' movies, when Almeria took the place of the Arizona desert. You might be surprised to know that here you can visit the landscapes that appear in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' or 'Lawrence of Arabia' among others.

Monsul beach (Cabo de Gata, Almeria, Spain)

In spite of the lack of rain, agriculture is one of the main activities here, with an unthinkable 'sea' of greenhouses visible from the space (check it here in Google Maps).
Those who like birdwatching will find in the former saltworks in San Miguel a refuge for lots of birds in their migration route between Africa and Europe. The observation post is a compulsory visit.
And they are just crossing the road that goes along the longest beach in the park, 12 km long between San Miguel and the lighthouse. Not far from Almeria, the main city in the region, there are lots of people here in the summer, but out of the peak season it is long enough to offer also quiet spots.

Flamencos en las Salinas del Cabo de Gata

The beach reaches the foot of the cliffs where the lighthouse is located. A narrow winding road takes you to the top. The views from here are magnificent., including 'The Sirens' reef, one of the most typical photos of the natural park.
The road, now a dirt track, continues along the coast, but it is closed for vehicles. Sad that this prevents many people to enjoy this beautiful section of the coast. Anyway, there is a better access from San Jose, the touristic centre of Cabo de Gata with plenty of accomodation options.

The unpaved road to the south ends at Monsul beach, which has one of the only two parking areas. The other one is next to Los Genoveses beach. Consequently, they are the preferred option for many people. Don't limit yourself to them. If you prefer a quiet beach and don't mind walking, you can discover many secluded coves. The path may be a bit difficult, but they worth the effort.

Cala del Barronal, playa nudista en Cabo de Gata (Almería, España)

To the north, the coast shows more little coves and steep cliffs. You should enjoy the amazing views from La Amatista viewpoint, near the fishing village in Isleta del Moro.

Costa del Cabo de Gata desde el mirador de la Amatista

Las Negras and Agua Amarga are the next towns. The laid-back atmosphere invites to relax on their beautiful 'urban' beaches or enjoy the cozy bars and restaurants. But if you want a different experience, walk to San Pedro beach (you can also reach it by boat) to find a 'hippy' community established there. Their attitude is contagious and you can feel the freedom in the air.

Playa nudista Cala de San Pedro (Cabo de Gata, Almería, Andalucía, España)

Not far from there, Los Muertos beach is another jewel in Cabo de Gata. Its stunning beauty is a magnet for beachgoers. Shame that the industrial harbour of Carboneras (out of the Nature Park) visible in the background, ruins the view.

Carboneras desde la playa de Los Muertos (Cabo de Gata, Almería)

Last, what it once was a threat to the unspoilt nature, the huge hotel built right in El Algarrobico beach, has became now a reason for hope since it has been declared illegal.
It is impossible to summarize in a single post everything that Cabo de Gata can offer, there are other sites with additional information. The weather allows visiting the area and enjoying the beaches from early spring to autum (but if you don't like extreme heat, you'd better avoid summer months). This is a paradise for nudists, where all non-urban beaches are peacefully shared with textiles. And those who want to spend all day in the nude can stay at Vera Playa, a nearby town with a hotel and several appartment complexes.

About the Author

Nat Biss

Author & Editor

I have dedicated most of my free time in the last years to discover the world, and beaches offer some of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. The next step was to enjoy them as naturally as possible, which obviously mean without clothes. Now I think it is time for me to share this liberating experience and try to help others to discover it.

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