Donate

The Guide & Map to Top 10 Best Beaches in Crete Island, Greece 2022

History Guide to Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, Zoo & Monuments, Vienna

Guide to Staffa Island & Fingal's Cave Tour from Oban, Scotland

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Guide to Cabo de Gata-Nijar Nature Park Best Beaches & Landmarks

, , , ,

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Quick Navigation

About Cabo de Gata

There are many majestic, yet unspoiled, corners of the world. Relatively few of them could be found in Europe and even fewer by the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Often, the coastlines are pushed to their capacities by the vast demand and over-tourism. As a result, the beautiful areas by the Mediterranean Sea often remind of an old whore after a high season. Sadly, there are very few places remaining unaffected by the overuse of the land.

The coastline of the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Nijar is one of those places, where one could still imagine how the Iberian Peninsula might have looked like centuries ago. This Nature Reserve has managed not only to avoid the overpopulation of the Spanish coastline but to preserve its pristine and natural beauty.

From the viewpoint La Amatista in Cabo de Gata. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Cabo de Gata is a protected natural area in the southeast of the province of Almería in Andalusia, Spain. The area includes about 100 km / 62 mi of coastline, making it one of the largest marine reserves in the Mediterranean Sea. The coastal area includes cliffs, coves, stacks, and arches. There are also three volcanic islands, Isleta del Moro, Isla de San Pedro and Isla Mágica.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

UNESCO Protected Area

The area was declared a natural park on January 24, 1987, the first in the province of Almería. In 1997, the European Commission included Cabo de Gata among the Natura 2000 network. Most of the area is included in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park and is a Biosphere Reserve. In 2015, together with the Tabernas Desert and the Sierra de Gata mountain range, Cabo de Gata was listed in the Global Geoparks Network of UNESCO.

The Geopark is known for its wide variety of geological features, including karst landscapes, fossil-rich marine deposits, and lava flows. There are also a number of archaeological sites, including the Cave of the Treasures, which contains cave art from the Neolithic period. The Cabo de Gata UNESCO Global Geopark is also home to a number of protected species, including the Iberian lynx, the Spanish imperial eagle, and the European mouflon.

A typical landscape in Cabo de Gata. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Cabo de Gata is one of the driest and warmest areas in Spain. The average rainfall is only 200 mm per year and temperatures often exceed 30 °C in summer. The lack of rainfall and the aridity of the soil is due to the rain shadow effect caused by the nearby Sierra Nevada.

Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park Details

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Map of Cabo de Gata

The view from Punta de Loma Pelada in La Isleta del Moro. hoto by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Things to do in Cabo de Gata

Cabo de Gata is a popular destination for kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. There are many dive sites around the islands and along the coast. The best time for diving is from May to October when the water is warmest.

Cabo de Gata is also popular with birdwatchers. The islands and coastal areas are home to a variety of bird species including Audouin’s gull, flamingos, and ospreys.

The area is also known for being a great place to go hiking. There are many trails that lead through the beautiful mountains and the exceptional coastline. Probably the best hikes are Loma Pelada, Sendero La Molata, Caldera de Majada Redonda and the one to Cala de San Pedro.

The waters around Cabo de Gata are exceptionally clear even by the Mediterranean standards. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

How to get to Cabo de Gata from Almeria

There is a reason for the unspoiled beauty of the shores in Cabo de Gata, the area is situated at the very corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It almost feels like the volcanoes formed this exceptional landscape after everyone has already settled in on one or another part of Spain and nobody really bothered about Cabo de Gata. This comes with a price – it is not that easy to reach the natural park nowadays. Luckily, there is one exception, the easiest way to get to Cabo de Gata is from Almeria.

By Car

The most convenient way to reach Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park is by car if you have one. You’ll have to take a detour from the A-7 motorway, connecting Almeria to Murcia cities, on either road AL-3106 or AL-3112. It is also possible to reach the area by AL-3115 from N-344, or AL-5106 from N-341, or use the latter to reach Carboneras and continue your journey by the coast from there. Generally, there are many small roads leading to Cabo de Gata depending on your final destination.


By Public Transport

The only major city connecting Cabo de Gata to the rest of the world is Almeria. There are few buses depending on your needs:


By Guided Bus Tour

Getting to Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park might be a real pain in the butt. A dedicated private transport might save you a lot of hassle and it is not necessarily expensive. Especially, if you count in the guide services and insurances. A day trip from Almeria to Cabo de Gata Natural Park costs just from €48 and that also includes hotel pickup. If you want to save your time and simply enjoy the transcendent beauty of Cabo de Gata, this might be the best option for you.

From the viewpoint del Morrón de los Genoveses. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Best Beaches in Cabo de Gata

The coastline of Cabo de Gata is very rugged and there are many small coves and beaches. In this article you’ll find the most popular beaches in Cabo de Gata, but, of course, there are even more pristine paradise beaches in remote coves across the Natural Park like Cala Puente, Cala Sorbas, Cala Castillo and Cala de Enmedio.  Naturally, it is much more difficult to reach them. You’ll either have to make an intermediate to hard hike or simply book a water taxi.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Playa de los Genoveses

Thanks to the 1 180 m / 3 871 ft length of the beach, Playa de Genoveses doesn’t feel that crowded despite being one of, if not, the most popular beaches in the Natural Park along with Playa de Monsul and Playa de los Muertos. Among them, Playa de Genoveses is undoubtedly the best beach for families on the coastline of Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Nijar. The beach is situated just 3 km / 1.64 mi from San Jose and its dedicated car parking lot is relatively close to the sea, therefore the access to Playa de Genoveses is gentle for all family members. 

The Fossilized Dune in Playa de Genoveses is a petrified tongue of lava. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Despite being situated between beautiful and colorful hills, dunes, and cliffs, the most famous geological feature of the beach is, undoubtedly, the fossilized dune. It is located approximately in the middle of Playa de Genoveses and reminds of a giant lava tongue, turned into stone upon reaching the sea, and it actually is. The fact that the fossilized dune is still visible today indicates that the beach is between 180 000 and 250 000 years old – old enough for the Neathertals to see it. The relatively dark sand of the beach also indicates the volcanic origins of Playa de Genoveses.

The origins of the name of the beach are from the Genoes Navy landing on this beach in 1147 to assist the Christians in reconquering the region of Almeria.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.
Mirador del Morrón de los Genoveses. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Playa de Monsul

Though Playa de Monsul is a relatively small beach, but of great beauty. The beach is a must-visit for any cinema fan. Playa de Monsul is located in a protected area, even further down the unpaved road from San Jose than Playa de los Genoveses, therefore its access is restricted. The beach is about 300 m / 1000 ft long and 20-30m / 65-100 ft wide and is backed by imposing cliffs. Playa de Monsul is quiet and ideal for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. It offers a rich underwater fauna that includes large examples of the species of fish called barbudo (grouper), and moray eels. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.

Monsul Dune and the Petrified Wave. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

The most famous geological features of Playa de Monsul are the Petrified Wave in the middle of the beach and the Monsul Dune. Together they form a mini Holywood park of geological structures. As a matter of fact, Playa de Monsul is also known for being the filming location of many movies, including Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the Spanish movie La mujer de mi hermano (My Brother’s Wife), by Juan Antonio Bayona.

Black cliffs of a volcanic origin. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Playa de Rodalquilar

Playa de Rodalquilar is approximately 1,200 m / 3,937 ft long and 50 m / 164ft wide natural beach with golden sand and crystal clear water. Unsurprisingly, it is a Blue Flag beach. Playa de Rodalquilar is a very well-equipped beach including showers, toilets, and a lifeguard service in the summer. There is a possibility to access Playa de Rodalquilar by car and park it right next to the sea but have in mind that the road leading there is not for everyone. In case you feel like there is not enough time to enjoy this exceptional beach, you can stay in the nearby hotel for another day. It is situated in very close proximity to the beach in the 18th century Castillo de San Ramón.

Sofía Cos, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Beaches of La Isleta del Moro

La Isleta del Moro is a small fisher village settled on a tiny cape facing an island. It is a hidden corner rich in natural beauty and known as an excellent place to discover the underwater world of the Mediterranean. The cliffs of La Isleta del Moro has an average height of 20 m / 65 ft. They are a unique natural place full of sea caves and gullies that make the shores of cliffs excellent for diving. The steep decline into the depths of the sea makes it a perfect spot to encounter a great variety of fish and other marine life. Thanks to the shape of a small peninsula, La Isleta del Moro has at least one side without wind and waves all the time, pushing its label of a perfect snorkeling place even more.

The list of beaches in La Isleta del Moro includes Cala Higuera, Playa del Peñón Blanco and Playa del Muelle de La Isleta.

Cala Higuera is the most popular beach for snorkeling in La Isleta del Moro. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Despite all the qualities for snorkeling and diving, these are not the only activities worth mentioning in La Isleta del Moro. Bird-watchers should keep an eye for various sea birds in the area but gastronomy is probably the second-most prominent feature of La Isleta del Moro. The people who live in here have basically two sources of income: fishing and tourism. Both combine perfectly into a decent amount of good restaurants offering the day’s catch on the plate. The location of the village makes La Isleta del Moro a perfect place for a romantic dinner during sunset.

La Isleta del Moro from Punta de Loma Palada. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Playa Los Escullos / Playa del Arco

Playa Los Escullos is a secluded beach situated between two volcanic rocks in the middle of a protected area. The beach is a sheltered cove that is ideal for shorter visits to the sea. The landscape around the beach is rocky and there are a few restaurants and bars close by.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.
Enjoying the arc in Playa del Escullos responsibly. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Compared to the best beaches in the area, it wouldn’t be anything special if it was not for the fossil dune with its arc formations. Despite being a true wonder on its own, the fossil dune offers great panoramic views of Los Frailes – the ancient volcanoes. Nevertheless, for the most, it is the arc that steals the show in this area. This unique formation eventually is going to be destroyed by one of the plenty of idiots who take pictures hanging or standing on it. Sooner or later, the arc will not hold and will collapse, likely taking the life of the last perpetrator. Don’t be that person.

Crystal clear waters of Cabo de Gata. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Playa de los Muertos

Playa de los Muertos is, probably, the most famous and iconic beach in the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Nijar. The name of the beach translates to “the Beach of the Dead” in English. You might wonder why such a dreadful name for such a beautiful beach? Its origins of it are unclear, but it is believed to be named after numerous dead bodies from shipwrecks that occurred near the beach many years ago with a relative frequency. All thanks to the sea currents, converging in the area surrounding Playa de los Muertos.

The view from Mirador de la Playa de los Muertos. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

It is a beautiful sandy-small pebble beach with crystal clear waters – perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Despite its close location to the coal plant of Almeria, Playa de los Muertos is situated in a natural park and is therefore unspoiled and very quiet. Playa de los Muertos was named the most beautiful beach in Spain for numerous times.

The pillar of Playa de los Muertos. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Possibly the most famous feature of Playa de los Muertos is the pillar rock formation, which has been carved from the cliffs by years of wave erosion. Nevertheless, it is not the only geological reason for the unquestionable popularity of the beach among the people and magazines in Spain. Various rocks and cliffs from different geological eras could be observed from the beach. The ancient sedimentary deposits filled with various fossils is a common feature found across Playa de los Muertos. On top of it lies the volcanic layer and relatively recent deposits from the Miocene Epoch.

Down south from Playa de los Muertos lies secret hidden coves, which could only be accessed by a water taxi. They could be booked in advance with a free cancelation up to čė hours before the tour date.

Book Now

Reaching Playa de los Muertos will take some time and some of your strength. Photo by A.L. [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Personal Experience

Having traveled most of the Spanish coastline, the area of Cabo de Gata-Nijar Nature Park ignites very positive emotions in me. There are very few corners by the Mediterranean Sea in the country with such a low level of urbanization. Cabo de Gata animates my imagination wondering what Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol might have looked like before being swarmed by tourist villas and skyscrapers. Despite all its qualities and interests, the lack of urban development is what amazes me the most about Cabo de Gata.

Ignoring that, Cabo de Gata has many great qualities that would make this unique volcanic area worth visiting even if there wasn’t a single house in Spain. It is the only corner in the Iberian Peninsula of volcanic origins. This could be observed across the coastline even by an untrained eye. Not only that it makes Cabo de Gata exceptionally beautiful and colorful, but creates unique conditions for unique flora and fauna above and underwater.

I recommend Cabo de Gata-Nijar Nature Park for a day trip or more to anybody who can find any reason to leave the urbanized areas or cities. Mother Nature is still flourishing in Cabo de Gata.

Hiking to Mirador del Morrón de los Genoveses. Photo by A.L. [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

What Can I Do to Protect the Pristine Cabo de Gata?

All content and photos by Alis Monte, unless stated differently. If you want to collaborate, contact me on info@ctdots.eu Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Share.
the.Word

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Connect.to.
the.Adventure.

Connecting the Dots blog requires a lot of my time and I do it alone on my free time. If you appreciate my work, you can contribute to it by becoming a Patreon or subscribing to my newsletter.