Beaches to enjoy in solitude, a volcanic landscape that seems to be from another world and a light at sunset to say goodbye to the day that does not need filters.

The Natural Park of Cabo de Gata is home to stunning natural beaches such as Mónsul and Los Genoveses, hidden coves with transparent waters such as San Pedro or Enmedio, breathtaking volcanic cliffs like Punta de los Muertos and urban beaches such as San José and Agua Amarga, with its corresponding (and homonymous) charming village where to say goodbye to the day. All this combined with a relaxed atmosphere, rich gastronomy, and friendly people make up the recipe for unforgettable holidays. One of those places that we would like to keep as intact as ever, but we can’t help but share with you so that your days are as incredible as ours were.

In this guide, you will find everything you need to explore the Cabo de Gata Natural Park on your own: things to do, the best beaches, itineraries for a weekend, 5 days or a week in the area, how to get there, how to get around, where to sleep and even where to eat.

In one of our favorite beaches: Cala de Enmedio (Photo by Randomtrip).

This guide was initially written by Ana and Javi and adapted and updated by Inês and Chris from Randomtrip, after their trip to Cabo de Gata, in 2023.

Basic facts for traveling to Cabo de Gata

The Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Níjar is located in the Spanish province of Almeria (in Andalucía) and due to the biodiversity and particularities of its ecosystem was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco. It is a park of volcanic origin and the first protected maritime-terrestrial space of Andalusia that has saved it from urban development and has managed to fight for its authenticity. The Natural Park has 50 kilometers of the best-preserved cliff coastline of the European Mediterranean coast and extends (in “beach” terms) from Playa de los Muertos to Playa de la Fabriquilla. In between there are many beaches, coves, and corners where you can enjoy a few days of sun and relaxation.

Currency: Euro

Language: Spanish

Population: 1598 (in 2022)

Daily budget: From 60€/day per person (approx.) for a one-week trip with a rented car and the cheapest options of private accommodation for 2. More info here.

Climate: The climate is pleasant all year round, varying between the summer and winter months (it never reaches winter weather temperatures). The best months to go are, in our opinion, May and June or September and October. Find out more about when to go here.

Accommodation: Our area of choice to stay is in Las Negras, both for the offer of accommodation and restaurants for dinner and for its location to move around the area. Our favorites and where we stay are the Bitácora apartments. We also considered Rodalquilar (near Las Negras but inland), Agua Amarga, a charming village, or San José, with a wide variety of options. More info on where to stay here.

Duration: Minimum 3 days, recommended one week. We recommend specific itineraries for a weekend, 4 days, or a week here.

Flights: There are many flights to Almeria, the nearest airport, from other Spanish cities and to Malaga, with several international connections. The cheapest flights are usually with Ryanair / Easyjet. We recommend that you use flight comparators such as Skyscanner and Kiwi and be flexible with dates. From Almeria to Cabo de Gata, you will have to go by bus or car. More info on how to get here

Transportation: The best option to explore the area is, if you do not have your own car, to rent a car. There are bus lines that connect different villages of Cabo de Gata but the schedules are very limited and it is not an option that we can recommend if you want to take advantage of the time in the area. We tell you more about how to get around Cabo de Gata here.

Time zone: GMT +1. The time in Cabo de Gata (Almería) is the time in mainland Spain (one hour less in the Canary Islands).

Where we stayed in Las Negras: Apartamentos Bitácora (Photo by Randomtrip)

When to visit Cabo de Gata

Cabo de Gata has a semi-arid climate which gives it few days of rain per year and pleasant temperatures, always escaping the winter climate. In the winter months, the minimum temperatures are 12º to 14º and maximum temperatures of 19º to 20º, while in the summer months, minimum temperatures are 19º and maximum temperatures 28º to 30º.

The best months to visit are, in our opinion both for climate and tourist affluence, May and June or September and October. In these months there are still not (or no longer) as many people as in the strong summer months (July and August) and the weather is good to go to the beach (warm enough for a swim, if the Levante or Poniente winds and the jellyfish allow it). The maximum water temperature is 26°C and does not drop below 16°C in the winter months.

Whenever you visit, you will be able to enjoy its beaches and its desert, and almost lunar landscape to the fullest.

Arriving on foot to Cala de San Pedro (Picture by Randomtrip)

How to get to Cabo de Gata

There are flights to Almería Airport (the closest to Cabo de Gata) and many international flights and connections to Malaga. The cheapest flights are usually Ryanair/Easyjet but we recommend that you use flight comparators such as Skyscanner and Kiwi and be flexible with dates.

Arriving at one of the most spectacular beaches of the Natural Park, Playa de los Muertos (Photo by Randomtrip).

The best option to get to the National Park and to explore the area is undoubtedly by car. If you don’t have your own car, we recommend that you rent one using comparison sites like DiscoverCars to find the best prices.

It is also possible to arrive by bus as there are bus lines that connect different towns of Cabo de Gata but the schedules are very limited and it is not an option that we can recommend if you want to take advantage of your time in the area. In this case, to get to Cabo de Gata from Almeria by bus you would have to go on the Andalusian Transport Consortium Network, line M-202 (timetables on this website) which it would take approximately 1 hour to reach the village. If you fly to Malaga, you will first have to go by bus from Malaga to Almeria on Alsa (see timetables here) and then from Almeria to Cabo de Gata and it would take approximately 3 hours.

If you have your own car or you rented one for this trip as in our case, depending on where you are you will come by the Mediterranean Highway A-7 and then, depending on the area you go from the Natural Park, the road to Almeria AL-3108, AL-4200 or AL-3106. It is best to put the place where you are going on Google Maps and use the GPS

Playa de los Genoveses at sunset (Photo by Randomtrip).

How many days to spend in Cabo de Gata

We recommend a minimum of 3 days, although the ideal time to explore the Natural Park is a week (to be able to explore as many beaches and villages as possible).

Arriving at Cala de Enmedio (Photo by Randomtrip).

In this guide, we propose different itineraries with things to do in Cabo de Gata

Things to do in Cabo de Gata

Map of Cabo de Gata

List of must-see beaches: the best beaches of Cabo de Gata

1. Playa de los Muertos

Type of beach: it is one of the iconic landscapes of Cabo de Gata. A beach of small pebbles, yes, but with one of the cleanest, blue, and crystal clear waters you will see in the area. It has 2 parts, a wider one closer to the access and a smaller cove just at the end of the beach (to the right). The name of the beach comes precisely from this cove to the right which is called Punta de los Muertos (Point of the Dead) because when there were shipwrecks the sea used to drag the corpses there. Don’t worry, now all you will find is a paradisiacal cove.

Chris in the crystal clear blue waters of Playa de los Muertos (Photo by Randomtrip).

Access and how to get there: To get there you have to go to Agua Amarga, cross the village, and follow the road AL-5106 until you find the parking lot.

Access to the beach is complicated, it has a steep descent (better with sneakers than flip-flops) and you have to walk about 20 minutes, although it is not usually an impediment for entire families to go down. Save some water for the climb up the beach because in the middle of the day, it can be very tiring. The parking is pad from mid-June.

The path from the parking lot to Playa de Los Muertos (Photo by Randomtrip).

RandomTIP: arrive early in the morning if you go in high season because the parking lot will probably be full later and if you can spend the day on the beach, it’s a great plan. Especially because the climb in the middle of the sun must be hard. Also, being one of the most visited beaches, we advise you to avoid the weekends when it gets more crowded. And do not forget to contemplate the views from its viewpoint, the panoramic view is breathtaking.

View from the viewpoint Mirador de la Playa de los Puertos (Photo by Randomtrip).

2. Playa de Mónsul

Type of beach: Another of the “must visit” beaches in the area, along with Genoveses. It is a beach of fine and clear sand. It is a comfortable beach to spend the day or a few hours.

Access and how to get there: You have to go to San José, follow the signs to Mónsul and Genoveses and from there take the dirt road to Mónsul. Park in the second parking lot you find. It has very easy access and you can park relatively close to the beach.

RandomTIP: Don’t go when there is poniente (wind from the west). It just caught us one day and it blows up so much sand that you can’t be there. We managed to enjoy the day in the cove next to the beach (if the tide is low, you can walk there, if not, you have to climb up and down a small hill from where you leave the car). The parking is also paid for during the summer months.

The beach of Mónsul with its famous “cove” emptied by the strong Poniente wind (Photo by Ana and Javi).

3. Playa de los Genoveses

Type of beach: A very wide, comfortable, sandy, and super accessible beach. It is next to San José, very close to Mónsul, it is a perfect beach to go with the family and spend the day. It also has a nudist area and is very, very comfortable, with shallow but wide waters.

The impressive Playa de los Genoveses (Photo by Randomtrip).

Access and how to get there: You have to go to San José, follow the signs to Mónsul and Genoveses, and from there take the dirt road that turns to Genoveses. You can park very close to the beach and the parking is paid in high season.

Inês in the water at Playa de los Genoveses (Photo by Randomtrip).

RandomTIP: Contrary to Mónsul, you can be perfectly fine if there is poniente (wind from the west). It is a comfortable beach in almost any situation.

View of Playa de los Genoveses from the top of the hill that reaches Mónsul (Photo by Ana and Javi).

4. Playazo de Rodalquilar

Type of beach: Another “large, accessible, comfortable and sandy beaches” beach. We always choose Rodalquilar as our base, and we go once or twice to this beautiful beach. On one side there are rocks and small pools for a stroll and on the other an old castle that is apparently for sale. The surrounding landscape is beautiful.

Playazo de Rodalquilar (Photo by Randomtrip).

Access and how to get there: Depending on where you come from (from Rodalquilar or from Las Negras), you will see a detour that says “Playazo de Rodalquilar”. It is a paved road almost until the beach, where you can park.

Another perspective of Playazo de Rodalquilar (Picture by Randomtrip)

RandomTIP: It is very close to Rodalquilar and relatively close to Las Negras, but if you want to spend the day on the beach and not move we recommend to bring water, a fridge, umbrella, and sandwiches because it has no beach bar, or anything like it :) The nudist area is at the right end of the beach.

Exploring the limits of El Playazo de Rodalquilar (Photo by Ana and Javi).

5. The Fabriquilla

Type of beach: A beach which is very close to Cabo de Gata itself, near the lighthouse. It is not one of our favorites but it is very useful when the levante (wind from the east) is strong and it is easy to access.

Access and how to get there: This sandy beach is reached by the road that leads to the lighthouse, passing the salt flats and the village of San Miguel. You can park very close, and it ends just before the road begins to climb. Parking is free and has some facilities.

RandomTIP: It is practically the only beach in the whole Natural Park where you can be when there is levante (wind from the east), especially the further you go to the left end.

Escaping the levante winds, sheltered on the beach of La Fabriquilla (Photo by Ana and Javi).

6. Cala Rajá

Type of beach: A sandy cove, very nice (and very crowded in summer) and without any services. From it, you can see the “Arrecife del Dedo” (finger reef) and other nearby coves that are not accessible.

Access and how to get there: There is an asphalt road but quite neglected that follows from the lighthouse of Cabo de Gata to the area of Mónsul. From the parking lot, you have to walk down a somewhat steep slope. It is not easy to access but it is not one of the most complicated. To get there by car if you are in the area of the Natural Park would be easy if you could continue from Mónsul as there is a road linking these beaches with the other side of the cape, but it is blocked. Therefore you have to drive all the way back. You can park here and walk 15-20 to the beach (there is another area to park closer but the road is in bad condition and it is not possible/recommendable in normal cars, only 4×4).

RandomTIP: take your fridge and umbrella and enjoy a few hours in Cala Rajá.

Cala Rajá in the late afternoon (Photo by Ana and Javi).

7. Cala de San Pedro

Type of beach: Cove of white sand, rocks, and crystalline water. The curious thing about this beach is that it is very inaccessible and taking advantage of it some people have settled to live at the foot of its ruined castle.

The turquoise waters of Cala San Pedro (Photo by Randomtrip).

Access and how to get there: It is one of the most difficult beaches to access. If you go by car, you have a couple of kilometers of dirt roads, but on the last visit (2022) it was blocked and in a really bad condition, so you have to park in Las Negras and walk from there for about 1h20 (the trail starts here), up and down the hillside. Of course, the path is beautiful as you get closer to the beach. You can also go by boat from Las Negras, a good option if you do not feel like hiking although it is not very well seen by the villagers (we heard whistles to those who came by boat).

Inês in the water after the walk to Cala San Pedro (Photo by Randomtrip).

RandomTIP: Use very comfortable shoes and take plenty of sunscreen if you are walking. Almost the entire beach is nudist and there may be jellyfish (we found a few). The villagers have set up a couple of beach bars where you can eat (do not expect a lot of variety) and drink.

The breathtaking views arriving at Cala San Pedro (Photo by Randomtrip).

8. And our favorites: La Cala del Plomo and La Cala de Enmedio.

Type of beach: sandy beaches, our favorites of the entire Natural Park. We group them together because they are “next to” each other.

Inês at Cala de Enmedio (Photos by Randomtrip)

Access and how to get there: to get there you have to take the road to Agua Amarga from Fernán Pérez and turn off at the sign “Cala del Plomo”. There begins a dirt road of 7 kilometers until you reach this cove, you can park practically at the entrance.

The road to Cala de Enmedio (Photo by Randomtrip)

To reach Cala de Enmedio you will see that there is a path to the left just before reaching the parking lot (there is always a car or two parked nearby). After a 20-minute walk (you can’t miss it and it is relatively accessible) you will find this marvel. You can also walk from Agua Amarga although the road is a bit longer and steeper. We have never done it.

Chris admiring the scenery on the way back to the car from Cala de Enmedio (Photo by Randomtrip).

RandomTIP: we recommend you take advantage of a day at the beach to visit both, or one every day if you feel like it. They are very quiet and above all, beautiful. Don’t forget your snorkeling goggles, and water shoes can also be useful.

Cala de Enmedio, a paradise (Photos by Randomtrip)

The most hidden / less known beaches

1. Cala Chica del Barronal

Type of beach: A small sandy cove almost deserted (normal as it is a bit complicated to get there) but very quiet, which is only accessible to some hikers and some crazy people who go there to spend the day :P

The complicated descent to Cala Chica del Barronal, but it has its reward (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Access and how to get there: You have to park your car in the parking lot of Genoveses and cross the entire beach to the end (to the right, passing all the “dunes” and mounds of stones. When you get to the end, go up the slope until you see the first cove “Cala del Príncipe” and follow the path to the right, towards Mónsul (so you can orient yourself). After a small cliff and several ups and downs, you reach a cove, this is it. This whole area is full of trails so it is possible that it is accessible from another side but this is the one we know.

RandomTIP: It is a cove of very difficult access. You should wear appropriate footwear, the less loaded the better and there is no cover on the beach. Of course, you will have a good rest if you decide to visit it.

Ana enjoying the tranquility of Cala Chica del Barronal (Photo by Ana and Javi).

2. Cala de Los Toros

Type of beach: Beach with little sand (and rocks to access the water), somewhat uncomfortable but quiet and sheltered.

Access and how to get there: On the road from Isleta del Moro to Los Escullos there is a small parking lot with a flag. Leave the car there and walk down the path you find to the cove, through a sudden lush forest.

RandomTIP: Highly recommended on levante (wind from the east) days when almost all beaches are impracticable.

The shelter of the levante winds at Cala de los Toros (Photo by Ana and Javi).

3. Cala Carbón y Cala Chicré

Type of beach: sandy beach, with rocks and seaweed but very hidden and quiet.

Views of Cala Carbón (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Access and how to get there: You have to pass Mónsul, pass the parking lot of Playa de la Media Luna, and continue along the road, going up, until the road is blocked. This is the road that would continue to the lighthouse and La Fabriquilla but is blocked. Just at the block, there is a small parking lot, from there you must walk down the marked path to the beach. The first cove you come across is Cala Carbón (made of pebbles, a bit uncomfortable), and the second one is Cala Chicré, much more comfortable, although you have to walk a bit more, going up and down a slope.

RandomTIP: Take proper walking shoes, water, and something to eat. And enjoy the tranquility of a cove that few reach.

Views of Cala Chicré (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Other places and plans to fall in love with

Throughout the Natural Park, there are many places that you will love. There is more than beaches, and the desert landscapes have a lot of charm. Enjoying the landscape itself is a marvel while touring the area by car. But there are some points that have always caught our attention.

Mirador de la Amatista

A must in the area. The Mirador de la Amatista is at the foot of the road between Los Escullos and Rodalquilar. It is worth stopping and taking a picture of the cliffs bathed by the sea.

El Mirador de la Amatista, a must in the Natural Park (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Cabo de Gata Lighthouse

The Cabo de Gata Lighthouse is another must, and if it is to see the sunset, all the better. It is the most typical photo but it does not lose its charm. The viewpoint is called “Mirador de las Sirenas” which years ago was a reference point for sailors.

Views of the beach from the road that goes up to the lighthouse and the Mirador (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Paella with a view in Las Negras

Las Negras is one of the most charming villages in the area. If you feel like combining the beach, rest, and a drink at night, it is the best place to stay. Paella is served in several of the restaurants overlooking the sea, but it is especially good in El Manteca.

Cabo de Gata boat trip

Another great plan is to contemplate the natural park from the sea and explore coves that are only accessible by boat:

If you prefer something more special, you can make a reservation:

Coves to explore by boat (Photo by Randomtrip)

Charming villages: La Isleta del Moro and Rodalquilar.

Entrance to the abandoned houses of Rodalquilar (Photo by Ana and Javi).

We will tell you more about Rodalquilar in the next section but we will say that it is the village that conquered us since our first stay in the area. The first year we stayed in a lost cottage that was pure relaxation but very difficult to access. That is why from the second year we decided to stay in Rodalquilar. Although it is true that it has no direct access to the sea (the closest is El Playazo), it is a quiet village, with a certain atmosphere in summer, an old gold mine, works of art on the facades of the buildings, and some disturbing abandoned houses where the miners lived that are now attracting tourists and curious people. We highly recommend it.

La Isleta del Moro is another charming village in the area. This one has the sea and has two hills to climb and enjoy the views of the area. It has an area of bars on the beach with its typical little boats ideal for when the sun goes down.

The beautiful views from the top of La Isleta del Moro (Photo by Ana and Javi).
The photogenic little boats that dot the town (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Diving in Cabo de Gata

As the largest protected maritime-terrestrial area in the Mediterranean, Cabo de Gata is impressive above…and below the sea! The seabed off the coast of the Natural Park has several incredible dive sites of which we will just mention a few. Ideally, you should tell the dive center you choose what level you are (Open Water, Advanced, …); how many dives you have done; how long you have not dived, etc. so that they can adapt the dives to your needs:

  • San Andres Island Natural Monument: it is actually two islets, Isla Grande and Isla Chica near Carboneras, where you can find a lot of marine fauna such as groupers, octopus, cuttlefish, and crabs.
  • El Arna: a 100-meter steamship sunk between 27 and 42 meters deep, where you can see groupers and moray eels that live there.
  • El Ancla: a large anchor sunk at a depth of 18 meters that concentrates a lot of marine fauna such as octopus, moray eels and bream.
  • La Cueva del Francés: a curious rock formation that shelters octopus, moray eels, bream… and the best for macro lovers: nudibranchs inside!
  • La Piedra de los Meros: a very biodiverse dive at 26 meters depth where the protagonists are…of course, the groupers (but with luck you will even see some sunfish!).
  • La Catedral: although it is not officially within the Natural Park, it is worth doing what is considered one of the most beautiful dives in the region. To reach this great interior vault known as “The Cathedral” you have to pass through a portico 3 meters high and 4 meters wide where snappers, bream, eels, moray eels, or conger eels live.
Inês feliz buceando
Inês happy diving (Photo by Randomtrip)

If you are not yet a certified diver to explore the wonderful marine world and would like to become one, or at least try scuba diving sometimes, you can take advantage of your holidays in Cabo de Gata to:

If you are not up for scuba diving but bring a snorkeling kit, most of the beaches and coves mentioned in this guide are ideal for exploring the seabed on your own.

For example, the visibility of the Playa de los Muertos is incredible both swimming and diving but of course, when diving you will see an incredible concentration of corals and aquatic plants. Also, the spectacular Cala de Enmedio is perfect for diving because of its rocky seabed rich in biodiversity.

If you don’t have a kit and you want to snorkel, you can reserve it:

Cala de Enmedio and its turquoise waters are perfect for snorkeling (Photo by Randomtrip).

Where to stay in Cabo de Gata

Our area of choice to stay is Las Negras, both for the supply of accommodation and restaurants for dinner and for the location to move around the area. We also consider Rodalquilar (near Las Negras but inland), Agua Amarga, a charming village, or San José, with a wide variety of options.

Las Negras

It is the most charming town in the area (also one of the largest, although large is still small in this case). People spend the evenings on its small promenade with a beer and some tapas.

At Randomtrip we stayed at Apartamentos Bitácora (from 84€/night) and we loved it! They have 1 or 2-bedroom apartments overlooking Las Negras beach.

The terrace of our apartment in Las Negras overlooking Las Negras Beach: Apartamentos Bitácora (Photo by Randomtrip)

More accommodations in Las Negras:

  • El Duende (from 65€/night): with garden, terrace, and sea views, this 1-bedroom apartment is located 200 meters from Las Negras beach.
  • Lux&Cool Las Negras (from 74€/night): modern 1-bedroom apartment 200 meters from the beach
  • Apartamento Cerro Negro (from 78€/night): 2 bedroom apartment with terrace and close to the beach, ideal if you are 4 people on your vacation.
  • Vistaazul (from 100€/night): a few steps from the beach of Las Negras, this 1 bedroom apartment has unbeatable views and location.
  • Cala Chica Cabo de Gata (from 115€/night): if you are looking for something special, this hotel offers rooms and suites with a terrace and jacuzzi 150 meters from the sea.
  • Casa Luna (from 180€/night): 3-bedroom apartment if you travel with 6 persons (2 bathrooms with bathtub)

Check out more options in Las Negras

Rodalquilar

The favorite choice of Ana and Javi, lovers of Cabo de Gata, to stay, is Rodalquilar. They repeat every year and they love it. It is a quiet village but with people, with a couple of small shops that choose very well the product they sell and have everything to make the purchase of the day, and several bars where you can have a drink at night.

  • La Posidonia (from 75€/night): 1 or 2-bedroom apartments with outdoor pool
  • Zaratrustra (from 80€/night): 1 bedroom apartment, with terrace, in the center of Rodalquilar
  • Las Musarañas (from 86€/night): 3 bedroom country villa with outdoor pool, ideal for 6 people
  • El Jardín de los Sueños (from 96€/night): one of the most special accommodations in Rodalquilar, ideal if you want to surprise someone, it has different rooms in an accommodation with more than 10 years old surrounded by 8km2 of gardens in the heart of the Natural Park.
El Jardín de los Sueños (Photo by Booking)
Night falls in the quiet village of Rodalquilar (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Take a look at other options in Rodalquilar.

San Jose

It is the largest village in the Natural Park. For us also the least charming because it is the one that welcomes more tourism and, at the same time, the one that offers more services: stores, a variety of restaurants, pharmacies, etc. It is a must to get to two of the most famous beaches in the area – Mónsul and Genoveses.

  • El Dorado Cabo de Gata (from 48€/night): rooms with terrace and sea views, 5 minutes walk from the beach.
  • Apartmento Tres Pinos Cerca de la Playa (from 57€/night): a studio and an apartment 400 meters from the beach of San José and 2 km from the beach of Los Genoveses.
  • Hotel Cala Arena (from 59€/night): rooms (some with sea view) in a small hotel 200 meters from the beach of San José.
  • Santuario San José (from €62/night): simple and comfortable rooms 150 meters from the beach
  • Casa Gloria (from 95€/night): beautiful one-bedroom apartment 700 meters from the beach of San José and 1.7 km from the beach of Genoveses.
  • Espacio Botavara (from 550€/night): a house for up to 9 people with 4 bedrooms, outdoor pool, terrace, and mountain views, 300 meters from the beach.
El Dorado Cabo de Gata (from 48€/night) (Picture from Booking)

Check out more options in San José

Agua Amarga

We found this town beautiful, besides having a handful of good options for dinner and drinks and beach bars, ideal for a relaxing vacation, sun, and sea:

  • Hotel Senderos (from 76€/night): double rooms 3 minutes walk from Agua Amarga beach
  • Hotel Las Calas (from 77€/night): 20 meters from the beach of Agua Amarga, some rooms have sea views.
  • Casa Barbados (from 108€/night): 2-bedroom house for 6 persons
  • Arto Blanco (from 120€/night): 2 bedroom apartments with terrace 300 meters from Agua Amarga beach
  • Casa La Roca (from 205€/night): 3 bedroom house with terrace, swimming pool, and 3 bathrooms with bathtub.
Casa La Roca(Photo by Booking)

Find more accommodations in Agua Amarga here

Carboneras

Finally, we include Carboneras because although it is not one of our favorite areas to stay in the Natural Park, for similar reasons as San Jose, it has a lot of accommodations, such as the Hotel Carboneras Cabo de Gata, a wonderful hotel in a room with jacuzzi and views of the natural park where we stayed a couple of nights for a special occasion:

  • Hotel Carboneras Cabo de Gata (from 79€/night): at Randomtrip we enjoyed this hotel for two nights and everything was amazing. The room has a terrace with a jacuzzi, the bed is very comfortable and the bathroom is spacious. The hotel’s outdoor pool is spectacular and the buffet breakfast is very varied and well-prepared (they ask you every morning how you want your eggs, for example). The staff is charming (Thank you Gema!). We loved it

Photos of our stay at Hotel Carboneras Cabo de Gata.

If you prefer a more economical option, find more Carboneras accommodations in this link .

Best restaurants in Cabo de Gata

A sandwich on the beach is the best plan! But if you don’t feel like it, or in the evening you are looking for something better, we leave you a list of the ones we have tried:

Las Negras

  • La Buganvilla: at first we were a little reluctant to try this Italian restaurant, but don’t pay attention to the reviews, we liked it a lot, and even more after a day at the beach when you arrived hungry for dinner :P Yes, believe it or not, they do not have pizzas because they have removed them from the menu.
  • El Manteca: we have told you about this restaurant before. Very tasty paellas at a good price can be combined with salads, local fish, etc.
Yum! We love a paella with a view (Photo by Ana and Javi).

Rodalquilar

  • El 340 – Bar with very good tapas. If you order a drink you get a mini sandwich of loin, salad, crab salad, etc. to choose from. Very tasty tortillas, salmorejo, and croquettes.
  • Samambar – Typical tapas with a twist. Very original. With terrace.
  • El Cinto – Tapas bar which is also a bit more traditional and also a bit more expensive. They have good quality, fresh fish, and you can order the tapas separately at 1.70€, not only with the drink.
  • Bar Fidel – Another Tapas Bar. Good portions and good prices. Where the “locals” go to have a drink when the sun goes down. It has two terraces, one facing the street and the other facing the rambla (better the latter).
Samambar, in Rodalquilar (Photo by Randomtrip).

Pozo de los Frailes

  • La Gallineta: very good restaurant for a small tribute. They have a varied and exquisite menu. Quite more expensive than the other restaurants on the list but worth it for a special occasion.

La Isleta del Moro

  • La Ola: paella and fish restaurant right on the beach, with spectacular views of the sea.
The landscape of Cabo de Gata in its purest form (Photo by Ana and Javi).

San Jose

Restaurante Casa Pepe in San Jose (Photos by Randomtrip)

Carboneras

  • Restaurante El Cabo: on the seafront of Carboneras is this restaurant that we loved with creative proposals with local and seasonal ingredients.

Restaurante El Cabo, Carboneras (Photos by Randomtrip)

Agua Amarga

  • La Plaza: in the center of the pretty village of Agua Amarga, in its plaza (the name says it all) we tasted, without exaggeration, some of the best tortilla ever. The clams were also really good.
Terrace of La Plaza (Photo by Randomtrip).

Cabo de Gata Itineraries

As you have seen reading this guide, Cabo de Gata has a lot to offer, especially if you like beaches, so we consider that a week is the ideal amount of time to enjoy the natural park. As we don’t always have that much time available, here are some suggestions for itineraries for different amounts of days.

The itineraries can vary greatly depending on whether you go to relax on the spectacular beaches of Cabo de Gata (and see one or two per day) or if you just want to go to see the places and take some pictures (in that case you can put together more plans in one day). In our case, as beach lovers, we recommend itineraries to enjoy the beaches, something recommended taking into account that to access some of them you have to walk a little bit.

RandomTIP: to enjoy the beaches it is essential to have good weather and not too much wind. Remember to check every day the direction and strength of the wind to adapt your itinerary and choose beaches accordingly. You can use the Windy app, Windguru, or follow the Guiadelcabodegata account which usually shares the daily forecast in their Instagram stories.

Things to do in Cabo de Gata in 2-3 days (a weekend)

Here is our recommended itinerary to visit Cabo de Gata over a weekend:

  • Day 1: Arrival to Las Negras and beach at the Playazo de Rodalquilar.
  • Day 2: In the morning beach at Playa de los Muertos. In the afternoon beach in Cala de Enmedio. Stop at the viewpoint of the Amatista.
  • Day 3: Los Genoveses beach
Swimming in Cala de Enmedio (Photo by Randomtrip)

Things to do in Cabo de Gata in 4-5 days

To visit Cabo de Gata in 5 days we recommend one beach per day:

  • Day 1: Arrival to Las Negras and beach at the Playazo de Rodalquilar.
  • Day 2: Playa de los Muertos.
  • Day 3: Cala de Enmedio. Stop at the viewpoint of Amatista
  • Day 4: Cala de San Pedro
  • Day 5: Playa de los Genoveses
Swimming in Cala de San Pedro (photo by Randomtrip)

Things to do in Cabo de Gata in one week (7 days)

For a week in Cabo de Gata, we recommend the same itinerary as for 5 days with the addition of a couple more beaches:

  • Day 1: Arrival to Las Negras and beach at the Playazo de Rodalquilar.
  • Day 2: Playa de los Muertos.
  • Day 3: Cala de Enmedio. Stop at the viewpoint of Amatista
  • Day 4: Cala de San Pedro
  • Day 5: Playa de los Genoveses
  • Day 6: Playa de Monsul
  • Day 7: some of the beaches you missed or repeat your favorite one
Playazo de Rodaquilar (Photo by Randomtrip).

Transportation: rent a car in Cabo de Gata

The best option to explore the area is, undoubtedly, by car. If you don’t have your own car, we recommend you to use comparators like DiscoverCars to find the best prices (although we recommend you to check very well the conditions of each company and not only the price).

There are bus lines that connect different villages of Cabo de Gata but the schedules are very limited and it is not an option that we can recommend if you want to take advantage of the time in the area. We tell you more about how to get around Cabo de Gata here.

Ana enjoying the views of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park (Photo by Ana and Javi).

How much does it cost to travel to Cabo de Gata

Making an indicative budget is always a complicated task because it depends greatly on factors such as your travel style, what you prefer to prioritize, in what season you travel, etc.; but here we will give you an approximation. We reiterate that the prices are ORIENTATIVE and may change at any time, so check the prices of everything before deciding on your trip to avoid unexpected surprises:

  • Flights: with low-cost companies like Ryanair and Easyjet you can find flights to Almeria or Malaga from 50€ round trip per person, from Madrid. Use comparators like Skyscanner and Kiwi to find the best price.
  • Car rental: between 15€ and 30€ per day for the cheapest car (depending on the company and the number of days). The approximate price for a week with reservation a couple of months in advance (except in high season) is 20 € per day (ie 140 € in total). Gasoline will depend on the kms you do, as a guideline a tank of an economy car is about 50-60€. Use comparators like DiscoverCars to see what is cheaper depending on the dates.
  • Accommodation: from 50€/night for a room with private bathroom or a self-catering apartment. Find accommodation of all types and prices on Booking, with up to 15% discount.
  • Restaurant meals: between 15€ and 25€ per person.
  • Beach meals (sandwiches) or tapas at a beach bar: between 10€ and 15€ per person.

In total, as a guideline, a one-week trip to Cabo de Gata with a rented car visiting the main attractions can cost between 60€ and 80€ per person (with the cheapest options of car, accommodation, and restaurants).

Inês going down to Playa de los Muertos (Photo by Randomtrip).

Recommendations to enjoy Cabo de Gata

  • Beaches are not usually easily accessible. To get to most of them you have to drive along a dirt road (better or worse paved), and walk several kilometers in some cases. Don’t be in a hurry and enjoy the road.
  • The beaches are all within the Natural Park, so they have no services of any kind (except those in urban areas such as Las Negras, Agua Amarga, La Isleta del Moro, or Los Escullos), and this is what makes them so charming. Always carry water and some food on hand ;) And be responsible and take the garbage you generate with you when the day at the beach is over.
  • Although many are complex to access, they all appear on navigation services such as Google Maps so you usually won’t get lost.
  • Respect at all times the rules that are found throughout the National Park and Protected Areas: read carefully what it says on the signs of the sites you visit.
  • Avoid any center or show where animals are kept in captivity for human entertainment. Don’t be an accomplice to animal abuse!
  • At some points they offer the option of camel or dromedary rides, we recommend and ask you NOT to do so, as it is another example of animal abuse.
  • Visit what you consider essential, not what you are told. If your goal on this trip is to relax, you don’t need to visit as many beaches as possible.
  • Respect other people and the island: don’t play your music loudly on the beach (if you want to listen to music, wear headphones), don’t leave trash, don’t throw cigarette butts, etc. Leave the beach better than you found it.
  • On some beaches, bathing is dangerous, due to strong currents. Do not be brave.
  • Special mention to nudism lovers because all the beaches we have been to are nudist or have a nudist area. If the beach is nudist, go nudist. If you don’t want to do nudism, go to another beach or to the non-nudist area of the beach.
  • Always travel with travel insurance: it is always advisable but in times of pandemic, even more so. Medical expenses due to Covid-19, theft, or problems with your plane on a trip can cost you a lot of money, so the ideal thing is to take out travel insurance that includes it. We always use IATI which includes all this and we recommend it. If you take out your insurance through this link you get a 5% discount.
Inês enjoying the crystal clear waters of Cala de San Pedro (Photo by Randomtrip).

Checklist: what to pack in your backpack/suitcase for Cabo de Gata

Here is a list of essentials that you should not forget to take with you on your trip to Cabo de Gata, both for the beach days and for the walks:

  • Reef friendly sunscreen, i.e. free of coral-damaging chemicals, oxybenzone-free, and not tested on animals, such as this one or this one.
  • Cap, the sun is very strong
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuit, of course
  • Some beaches are made of stone and will make access much easier, and the water is so clear that you will enjoy like a child diving among the fish.
  • A reusable water bottle to always carry water with you. This way you will avoid using single-use plastic.
  • A neck brace to protect you from wind and sand.
  • Long-sleeved lycra T-shirt with UV protection that we wear to protect us from cold water or sun while snorkeling.
  • Snorkel kit to explore the seabed
  • Waterproof bag, to keep your electronic devices safe on beaches or boats.
  • Microfiber towel, which occupies little and you will use for the beach. If you don’t have one, you can buy the typical ones from Decathlon or one of these recycled microfiber towels.
  • Camera to record the adventures. We carry a Sony A5100 and a GoPro for underwater images.
  • Power bank: with so many photos you will spend a lot of battery, so it always comes in handy to carry a good power bank. We travel with these 2(Xiaomi and Anker), which allow us to charge our smartphones, camera and GoPro.
  • First-aid kit: in our first-aid kit there is always medicine against seasickness (such as biodramine for seasickness on boats), antibiotics, antidiarrheals (and a probiotic to recover more quickly), antihistamines, painkillers and antipyretics. And, of course, our travel insurance (here with 5% discount).

We hope this post will serve as a guide for a first, second, or third trip to Cabo de Gata Natural Park area. Enjoy!

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