Cabo de Gata, a protected area that encompasses a good part of the Almería coastline, is the perfect mix of desert and beach, and has always stood out to me as a unique getaway within Spain. Not only does it have an amazing climate almost all year round, it is difficult to get to, but it also attracts Spanish nationals from the hippy-est hippy to the poshest-pijo and everything in between, something that I personally love.
Yes, If you come here in August (the month that is notorious in most of Europe, especially Southern Europe) for packed beaches and vacation spots, there are people, however, I have never experienced that feeling of PACKED Almeria, since there are so many beaches everywhere- from small calas to large super playas.
Where to Stay
I personally love Las Negras, it is a quaint town that is pretty much in the middle of Cabo de Gata, so it serves as a great base city to travel around. Most of my favorite beaches are within a 30-minute drive (or less), and it has a bunch of great dining options as well as nice neighboring towns. The views from Las Negras are also stunning, as it surrounded by mountains and the ocean. The few times I’ve been there, I have either rented a house, or stayed at a hotel (I haven’t found one that I can highly recommend yet…). The house is a great option, especially when going with a group of people or if you want to have the freedom to cook some of your own meals.
What to Do
Although there is great hiking all around the Cabo de Gata area, I have only been there in the summer, so I can only speak for the beaches.
Cala de San Pedro (nudist beach with a hippy colony, only accessible by boat/a long walk)
Cala de Enmedio (a 25-minute hike from Agua Amarga, much less populated)
Playa de Los Muertos (my all-time favorite pictured below- the water is actually that color!) Keep in mind that the parking lot (I think it costs 5 euros to park, cash only) fills up quickly and there is a bit of a hike (20ish minutes) to the beach.
Playa de Las Negras -I woudn’t go out of my way to go there, but if you are staying in Las Negras and looking for something easy, it’s a good option.
Playa de los Genoveses– parking is 5 euros and be sure to get there early. There are other beaches in this area (check them out here) that I have always wanted to try, but in the summer months they are very popular and the parking lots fill up early.
Where to Eat
Casa di Marena for arroz negro (pictured below)
Restaurante Asador Argentino Martín Fierro for great grilled meats and fish (I especially love their grilled calamar)
Restaurante El Manteca for arroz
La Sal Restaurante for mojitos and after-dinner copas
Carbonaras- this is a good option if you want to go to Playa de Los Muertos but don’t want to bring lunch
Restaurante El Pescador for the arroz negro (absolutely delicious) and the grilled fish- this no-frills restaurant has great quality at good prices
Bar La Plaza for great tapas and raciones
Casa RaRo for amazing fusion food- they change location every year- check out this blog for their info- Reservation is a must.