Almeria: paradise of beaches and coves
January 1, 1970
by María Duarte Guillén
Almeria: paradise of beaches and coves
In the south-east of Spain, this place is not the most touristic destination of the country, but it is worth a trip here. I remember when I left home, I was 18 and I was prepared to start the University and a new life in Madrid. I believe that all those who have left their hometowns know not only the feeling of uncertainty in the farewell but also know that when you come back after a long time, you don’t see the place with the same eyes.
“The goal of travelling is not just knowing foreign lands, but ultimately can come back and see the estrangement own country.” – G.K Chesterton.
Visiting other places and travelling to different countries around the world, has made me aware of what I have at home. The province of Almeria has much to offer: culture, good food…but I am going to focus only on its stunning coast for now. With 217 kilometres of coastline, Almeria has some of the best beaches and coves of Spain, most of them belonging to the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.
Monsul Beach (Playa del Mónsul)
Nestled in the Natural Park, it is one of the most famous. It is in an area almost totally uninhabited, and the access to the beach is walking down a path. There is also the option to make a short hiking from the Lighthouse of Cabo de Gata, interacting with the beauty of the less accessible coastline of Andalusia. This set of films like “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” or “Lawrence of Arabia” has fine sand and a water inlet with almost no gap. There are volcanic materialisations that form the walls on both sides of the cove, and a single huge stone that stars the centre of this beach. It is a pristine beach, so you will not find bars or shops to buy water or ice cream.
Los Genoveses Beach (Playa de Los Genoveses)
This beach is distinguished by its length (1180 meters). It is not accessible by car as well, it is necessary to cross a beautiful way surrounded by regional vegetation. Years ago was used as a natural harbour for berthing ships. Currently, it is a top destination for swimmers and windsurfers since this beach is facing east, and strong easterly wind gives ideal conditions for windsurfing.
The beach occupies an entire bay, and it is surrounded by small dunes where typical vegetation is grown, such as prickly pears and agaves. In the northern part of the beach, there is a small forest to shelter from the summer sun. With fine sand, it is also one of the best pristine beaches of the Natural Park.
This fabulous beach is the natural exit to the sea that has the village of Rodalquilar. It is isolated, about to three kilometres from the village, but the access is not difficult. On the left, it is the castle of San Ramon, built on a natural fossil dune. If you follow this path you can observe some beautiful cliffs on the other side.
The sand of the beach is fine and golden, the entrance to the sea is progressive, and the water is clear. It is ideal for a bath without strong waves and warm water, great swimming conditions.
Like in other beaches of the zone, there is a part that is frequented for nudism, on the right side. It is a very natural environment with families where the coexistence between nudists and textiles is kind and regular.
Beach of the Dead (Playa de los Muertos)
The name of this amazing beach has its origin in the sea currents that dragged dead merchants and sailors here. The access to this beach is not the easiest. Surrounded by cliffs, its sand is formed by small stones, something that helps to have really clean and transparent water. Named the best beach in Spain in several surveys over the years, this beach is very beautiful but it can be also dangerous. It is not recommended going with the strong east wind. As it has been said, there are strong currents, and with them, it can be very difficult to get out of the water. It is recommended not to go on a windy day.
There are several interesting places in this area. El Arco Beach (Playa del Arco) has fine golden sand, and it is characterised by its spectacular fossil dune in its right side, one of the most special landscapes in the area from my point of view. This dune is the largest of the Natural Park. From here you can see the Castle of San Felipe (18th Century) on the other side.
The fossilised dune is a great example of this type of geological formation, which can also be seen in other nearby beaches, as in the Playazo. The formation of these fossil oolitic grains is curious. It was formed over a hundred thousand years ago when the Mediterranean Sea covered the entire area of the Natural Park. The sea retreated to its present limits, revealing the great dune. Wind erosion, rain and ocean waves have ended to form these peculiar shapes by the sea, which is also ideal for diving, due to its rocky bottoms and its fields of Posidonia.
Next to the dune there is a resort with a restaurant, a bar, a campsite and a nightclub, where some nights you can enjoy live music. During the summer, a big tent is installed, offering music and nightlife.
In this area, we find more beautiful coves, such as the Hermanicas Cala, Cala Tomate and Cala Cortada. However, they all have complicated and long access. To visit them, you must take into account the needing of walking through difficult trails, although it is a great way to enjoy exclusive and wild landscapes, and it’s worth it.
During the holidays most of the beaches are full of people. The majority of the coves are not usually as full as the beaches since the access is more difficult. However, I would recommend the visit in May or June, if it would be possible; just before the summer, all these places are almost empty, giving you sometimes a cove just for yourself. There are many more places that I have not mentioned, but the best idea is to come and see them.