Beaches and Environs

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The Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Nijar

 

The Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Nijar, with one of the most beautiful and ecologically rich coastal strips in the western Mediterranean, was the first terrestrial and marine park to be designated in Andalusia. It covers an area of 34,000 hectares, to which a sea strip a mile wide (12,000 hectares) is added.
The core of the Natural Park is formed by the Cabo de Gata mountains, a volcanic mountainous massif whose southwestern flank falls directly over the Mediterranean Sea forming abrupt cliffs interrupted by small coves at the mouths of the gullies that have eroded mountain slopes.
The strong personality of this natural space is derived from its volcanic origin, which give rise to its spectacular craggy landscape, and from the demanding climate which is exceptionally dry.

The Natural Park include, a coastal saltpans 300 hectares in extent, which attracts numerous migrating birds, including flamingoes, and avocets, as a stopping place between Europe and Africa and also provides an ideal nesting habitat for other species. A total of 142 bird species have been recorded in the Natural Park.
The flora is rich in endemic species, including several that are found nowhere else in the world.

 

General information

Fauna:
It is an obligatory stopping place for the migratory birds on route to Africa of which 142 species have been recorded.


In the southern zone the fishing eagle and the Monticola solitarius nest. Among the birds that live in the saltworks it is without doubt worth mentioning the flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), of which more than 3,000 specimens have been counted during the summer season and other species such as the avocet, stilt birds, dumlins, wagtails and other members of the plover family. Belchos (sand-growing plants), wild olive trees.


Flora:
It has the natural vegetation of bioclimatic thermomediterranean soil linked to desert plants of a semiarid-arid character. It is worth mentioning the series of the "cornical" (Maytenus senegalensis subsp. europaeus), located in abrupt exposed areas, where the maresia (small annual plants) are patent and the series of the "azufaifal" (Ziziphus lotus), which represents a good part of the potential vegetation of the semiarid and arid zones of Almeria.
In the high areas and inland there are formations of lentiscus with palmettos and hawthorns. This is land which is rich in endemic vegetable species of which the following stand out: Androcymbium europaeum, Antirrhinum charidemi, Dianthus charidemi, Helianthemum alypoides, Linaria nigricans, Sideritis osteoxylla, Teucrium charidemi, Ulex canescens, Verbascum charidemi.
In the saltworks, vegetation natural to briny ground grows and the presence of reed  and tamarisse beds is worth mentioning.


Establishment date: 27/01/1988
Area: 49512 Ha

 

The Beaches

The unspoilt beaches of Cabo de Gata Natural Park are famed throughout Spain and the rest of Europe, being one of the few stretches of the Spanish coast where construction has never been allowed. People come here to enjoy the incredible scenery and soak up the sun, in a climate that is blessed with 360 sunshine days a year.

CABO DE GATA

They say that a long time ago this place had so many Monk seals that the sailors confused their cries with sirens. From this comes the name Siren Reef (Arrecife de las Sirenas), a beautiful place and a representative, much-repeated image of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park. There is a lighthouse on the reef.

 

 

 

 

ALMADRABA DE MONTELEVA

Small fishing village on the beach, belonging to the capital and included in the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, which in addition to the appeal of its surroundings has the interesting saltworks. The village is dominated by the singular building of the church.

 

MÓNSUL
The place known as the Monsul is one of the cleanest and prettiest parts of the Sierra de Gata-Nijar Natural Park: mobile dunes, clean bays with fine sand and volcanic walls and the beautiful inlet of the same name with the fossilized dune in the centre, a sight that will stay in the memory of those who feast their eyes on this beauty spot without equal.

 


 

 

LOS ESCULLOS
Small fishing and tourist village situated in the inlet that shares the same name, under the hill of El Fraile and next to the beach Playa del Arco, within the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, in beautiful surroundings in which the cliffs and the original shapes produced by erosion stand out.

LOS GENOVESES

Excellent over one-km long beach, surrounded by vegetation, ideal for scuba diving.

 

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