The Mediterranean coast is one of the best-known Spanish regions in the world: from the exclusiveness of the villages in the north of Catalonia to the dynamic festive atmosphere of the Valencia coast or the charm of the Balearic Islands, any experienced traveller will be able to recommend four or five spots that satisfy almost any liking. But perhaps not everyone knows about the magic of Cabo de Gata-Níjar, a real miracle on the Mediterranean.
Travellers arriving at the southeast border of Spain will find one of the largest nature reserves in the Iberian Peninsula: Cabo de Gata-Níjar is a landmark for those looking for a coastal Mediterranean environment that has not been influenced so much by the hand of man. A small timeless trip to be reconciled with ourselves.
A great way of exploring the Cabo de Gata-Níjar nature reserve is spending the night in La Almendra y El Gitano (The Almond and The Gypsy), a deluxe rural hotel located five kilometres from the Almería coastline. With such an evocative name, we can begin to sense that this classic “cortijo” (a traditional house in the Andalusian countryside) can raise even the most discouraged spirits. Among all the qualities of this luxury establishment, its location stands out: an impressive ravine where you can enjoy clean air and the astonishing light of the eastern Iberian Peninsula.
The architectural layout of La Almendra y El Gitano appeals to our sense of calm and freedom: open spaces, tall ceilings and simple, functional decoration because the star is the natural surroundings, to which the hotel adapts so that its guests can feel at harmony with the Cabo de Gata cape. While the location makes it worth visiting this “cortijo,” its luxury facilities will convince us to stay longer while relaxing in the Jacuzzi or enjoying the comfort of the deluxe service.
If we want to explore the surroundings, we have 12,000 hectares of terrain to begin with. The nature reserve’s almost unbelievable surface area gives us an idea of the botanical, animal and scenic wonders that to be enjoyed. We recommend enjoying the varied surroundings where we will find lagoons, steppes, meadows, reefs and even underwater caves.
If we had to recommend a specific spot it would be a visit to Las Negras, a 20-minute car ride from La Almendra y El Gitano. This small locality is one of the locals favourite spots when visiting the Cabo de Gata area. Thanks to its diving school and crystal-clear waters, we can get a close-up view of the aquatic wonders to be discovered in this part of the Mediterranean.
Another recommended activity is trekking through the nature reserve, although we have to remember that this is a dry area with vegetable mainly made up of low scrubland. We should therefore be cautious and not forget to take along sun protection cream, a hat and plenty of liquid before setting out on a morning or afternoon trek. From noon to 5 pm, it is best to stay indoors to avoid any problems with the intense heat.
The natural surroundings feature delicate-looking but strong-rooted vegetation. We should also visit the archaeological remains in the reserve, which tell us about the region’s past. Colonisation by different civilisations of the Mare Nostrum reveals an ancient past that astonishes us, due to the ingenuity of its early inhabitants.
Cabo de Gata-Níjar Park, a hidden wonder there for all to see.