CABO DE GATA

Spain
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Welcome to Cabo de Gata

The Cabo de Gata Natural Park is located in Spain’s Southeastern corner. The environment is extremely arid. And it's the only place in Europe that experiences a true hot desert climate. Since 1987, its 63km of coastline have been protected. Long sandy bays of turquoise water contrast with roughened volcanic cliffs and smoothed fossilized sand dunes. Its countless beaches are some of Spain’s most beautiful and its waters are teeming with a vast array of marine life. Cabo de Gata is simply stunning.

While there are a few villages in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park, they are mostly undeveloped. You won’t find any high-rises ruining the landscapes but you also will not find that many amenities. What you will find is a ton of desolate landscapes with virgin beaches.

Apart from relaxing at the beach, there is a long list of things to do in Cabo de Gata. The park offers a large variety of activities such as snorkeling and diving. A great way of seeing some of the hidden coves is to rent a kayak or go on a boat excursion. And if there’s wind you can even wind- and kitesurf.

Outside of the water you can go 4x4 off-roading or rent a bike. And of course you can always hike along the coast at your own pace and discover your own slice of paradise.

Deciding Where to Stay

Since Cabo de Gata is a protected nature park, the building of hotels has been limited mainly to the few small villages along the coast. There are 5 areas to look at when thinking about where to stay in Cabo.

  1. San Jose – It's the main hub of Cabo and one of the best towns to stay in with respect to its amenities (activities, hotels, restaurants). It’s also very close to some of the best beaches in Cabo de Gata (Playa de los Genoveses and Playa de Monsul).

  2. Carboneras – Although the town is not technically within the limits of the park, it is surrounded by it. Like San Jose, it has a lot to offer – including a number of stylish beachside boutique hotels.

  3. Small Villages of Cabo – Villages such as Agua Amarga, Las Negras, Rodalquilar & Isleta del Moro have populations of just a few hundred each. The biggest drawback with such a small place is that you are limited to just a few restaurants. The advantage is that they are much quieter than San Jose and Carboneras.

    Around these villages (usually further away from the coast) you will also find some rural accommodations. They are generally more affordable than hotels by the beach and offer seclusion surrounded by nature. Some of our favorite rural hotels are: El Jardín de los Sueños, Cortijo Los Malenos & Cortijo El Paraíso.

  4. El Toyo – This newly developed neighborhood is conveniently located next to the Almeria Airport and sits right on the boundary of the Cabo de Gata park. This location is especially good for exploring the southern beaches of the park (that is to say, the area up to the lighthouse where road access stops).

    El Toyo has several large chain hotels such as Ohtels and Barceló.

  5. Mojacar – Located just north of Carboneras and also outside of the protected area, Mojacar is an even livelier beach resort town. There are several big chain hotels in Mojacar with a larger entertainment offer. It’s a great option if you want to enjoy nightlife, shopping and a larger variety of restaurants. However, Mojacar is about a 20 min drive to the park’s border. It may not be the best location if you want to spend all of your time in the park.

Check out our picks for the best hotels in Cabo de Gata and the best apartments.

HOTELS

APARTMENTS

How to Get to Cabo de Gata

Almeria is the closest city to Cabo de Gata. Its airport has several flights from cities within Spain and Europe. Almeria’s airport is just 17 km away from the western border of the park (15-20 min drive).

The Mediterranean highway A7 runs parallel to the western border of the park. Several roads connect this highway with the towns in the Natural Park.

How to Move Around Cabo de Gata

Although there are a few local buses, the best way to move around Cabo de Gata is definitely by car. Cabo de Gata is an area that begs to be explored. You will probably want to move around and check out the different beaches, villages, etc.

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