Authentic Spanish Hiking in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park

Some of Spain’s most pristine stretches of coast are sheltered in between the dramatic cliffscape of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. Almost all of the Cabo de Gata’s most naturally beautiful beaches and coves can only be reached on foot, making a walking holiday the best choice for exploring one of the most scenically impressive walks in Spain.

Highlights:

  • Hike the only desert in mainland Europe
  • Explore Andalucia’s longest section of protected coastline, a UNECO Biosphere reserve
  • Stay overnight in the charming fishing villages of Agua Amarga, Rodalquilar and San José
  • Stroll along the pristine beaches of Las Negras and Las Salinas
  • Walk an area that featured as a location in many famous spaghetti western films
  • Observe the remains of the gold mining industry at Rodalquilar
  • Extend your walk with a visit to the beautiful locations of Almería and Granada
  • Chance upon the areas wildlife, including flamingos in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park

RouteCabo de Gata
Duration7 nights/6 days walking
Length65 mi (104km)
GradeModerate
Comfort3.5/4
AvailabilityJan - Jun, Sep - Dec
Price from£640
Holiday CodeSPA-CDG

Why this walk?
Thanks to the efforts of the environmentalist Francisca Díaz Torres (or Doña Pakyta), a landscape singular among walking holidays in Europe, has been kept beautifully in its natural state. The route links two sides of a truly diverse landscape, with arid, desert-like surroundings on one hand, offset by the deepest blues of the Mediterranean sea on the other. Here, annual rainfall is the lowest in Europe, yet more than 1000 species of wildlife and fauna thrive in the stark, volcanic environment. With boundless scenery that stretches for miles, the views are staggering and as you hike along the rocky ridge of the desert, it’s easy to find a sense of serenity and peace of mind hiking in an region where everything is on such a grand scale. A Cabo de Gata walking holiday is ideal for anyone looking to get away from it all and hike Spain’s most vast, open region.

The Path

Walking Holiday map for the Cabo de Gata
Our hiking programme uses three different villages across the national park as a base to explore a new area of the Cabo de Gata each day, with alternating routes along the coast and inland. The sleepy former fishing village of Agua Amarga, is off-the-beaten-track in the truest sense. You won't find any tourist traps here, just graceful white stone architecture and miles of unspoilt surf. Rodalquilar is further inland, within the dramatic volcanic valleys of the park, where the remains of a former gold mining industry are open for exploration. The last stop, in the quirky commune at San José, is surrounded by some of the regions most pristine beaches. Its central location means you're never far away from the most flawless, natural spaces of the Cabo de Gata.

There are some fantastic sea views on this hike, as you follow old railway lines, narrow goat tracks and the routes down to the peaceful coves along the shoreline. Navigation shouldn't be a cause for concern, as most of the path is well way-marked, although you may find that some sections of the path are fairly uneven underfoot.

The Accommodation

The style of accommodation across the coast of the Cabo de Gata national park is simple and elegant. Don't expect cutting-edge or all mod-cons, but rooms with fantastic views - designed to let in plenty of sunlight and showcase the beauty of the region. For the nights you spend along the coast, the location is unbeatable. You'll be within short distance of the beach, with terraces and balconies overlooking the sea from the hotel. Where we divert inland for two nights, the desert hotels usually include additional facilities such as a swimming pools, a spa and tennis courts.

We have carefully selected all accommodation to ensure that it is the best of its kind that the area has to offer, and walkers can expect to stay in comfortable and spacious Hotels and B&Bs with en suite rooms, surrounded by beautiful scenery and looked after by welcoming hosts.

Hotel Exterior Cabo de Gata

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Itinerary: Walking Agua Amarga to San José

Days: 6 (7 nights)| Distance: 65 mi (104 km) | Difficulty: Moderate | Comfort: 3.5/4 | Price: from £640 p.p.

  • Day 1

    Travel to Almería

    Travel to your first nights' accommodation in the village of Agua Amarga. You stay in a beachfront hotel, typical of the blanched white stone buildings of the area. Outside you have terraced gardens, with far-reaching views over the surrounding bay.
  • Day 2

    Circular walk from Agua Amarga

    6-8 miles/10-13km

    The week starts with a selection of routes. Your first option follows an old railway line at the top of Mesa de Roldán, the remains of an extinct volcanic cone. It's a steep climb to the top, but from here you have spectacular views over the sea. Alternatively, you can take a detour inland to visit one of the regions ancient olive trees. The route leads down towards the coast soon after, in a desert like terrain known as "los espartales". Here, a diverse range of plantlife has thrived in an arid environment.
  • Day 3

    Hike from Agua Amarga to Rodalquilar

    13 miles/21km

    The days hike begins with a route heading south out of Agua Amarga, joining inland tracks before meeting the coast to arrive at Rodalquilar. Your path is characterised by the dried up old riverbeds, known as "ramblas". Following this route, you'll reach the areas hidden coves, where the vivid colours of plantlife and flowers are like an oasis in the middle of the desert. From here, you'll cross paths with the picturesque bay (and eccentric hippy community) at Las Negras, as well as the pristine beach at El Playazo.
  • Day 4

    Circular walk to Cerro del Cinto

    10 miles/16km

    Your next day at Rodalquilar starts with a circular walk following the Rambla de la Granadilla, as it wends its way through hill and valley, agaisnt the backdrop of the Sierra mountains. The route runs into the Cortijo del Fraile, an old farmhouse with a chequered past, and the inspiration behind Federico García Lorca's, "Bodas de Sangre". You'll find the remains of old gold mines out in the hills, with the sandy tones of the old towers and structures blended into the valley rock. You also have the option of visiting the Casa de los Volanoes (House of the Volcanoes) and botanical gardens.
  • Day 5

    "El Jardín Volcánico" (the volcanic garden)

    12 miles/19km

    Eroded lava rock, dotted with dwarf palm trees make up today's route up the side of the areas imposing extinct volcanoes. Your route meets ancient Moorish water systems, wild olive groves and deep gorges as leave the desert behind and gaze out toward the Mediterranean beyond. Today's hike ends back at the hotel in Rodalquilar as the route loops back in on itself.
  • Day 6

    Hike from Rodalquilar to San José

    12 miles/19km

    Today's walk to your final accommodation at San José follows a clifftop route down to one of the areas most stunning stretches of coast, where palm groves come into view as you walk among the dunes, to the dazzling white stone villages along the coast up ahead. Follow the shore along the volcanic dark sand beaches, where old smuggler hideaways are tucked into the inlets and bays as you walk the coastal path to San José. Just off the path inland from the village you have el Cerro de los Frailes, which at 493m is the highest point of the Cabo de Gata.
  • Day 7

    Circular route from San José

    10 miles/16km

    The area around San José is blessed with some of the regions most spectacular beaches. and today you can visit some of the celebrated of the area. Some of the beaches of Los Amarillos, Chica, grande del Barronal, Lance de Perro, Media Luna, Los Genoveses and Monsul, can only be reached on foot. Today's route takes in some of the visually striking aspects of the Cabo de Gata's coast, on a memorable route with ever-changing views and a fitting way to end your Spanish walking holiday in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park

Click ' + ' signs to view a detailed daily breakdown

PricesTwo people sharing (p.p.)Single person (in a group)Solo person
1/1/19 - 31/3/19£640£870£930
1/4/19 - 12/4/19£660£905£965
13/4/19 - 20/4/19UnavailableUnavailableUnavailable
21/4/19 - 14/5/19£860£905£965
15/5/19 - 31/5/19£710£955£1015
1/6/19 - 25/6/19£745£1020£1080
26/6/19 - 12/9/19UnavailableUnavailableUnavailable
13/9/19 - 25/9/19£745£1020£1080
26/9/19 - 7/10/19£660£905£965
8/10/19 - 28/11/19£640£870£930
29/11/19 - 4/12/19£660£905£965
5/12/19 - 19/12/19£640£870£930
20/12/19 - 31/12/19£710£955£1015

  • What's Included?

    What’s included?

    • Accommodation for 7 nights in very comfortable hotels, with breakfast included
    • Half board, with packed lunch for 5 days
    • Detailed maps and route notes in English
    • Luggage transfer
    • Transfers during walk
    • 24-hour telephone assistance

    Optional Extras

    • Extra nights/ rest days in any of the locations ~ Please enquire for extra night prices
    • Extra nights at any of the hotels near the airports (Murcia, Málaga, Granada, Almería...)
    • Airport transfers at the beginning and end of the holiday
    • Optional transfers from the last accommodation to the first one to collect the car

    Not Included

    • Lunches and dinners on the last 2 days. You can buy provisions or order a packed lunch at the accommodation
    • Rental car
    • Postage Overseas ~ £5.00 (Europe), £10.00 (Rest of the World) ~ per walk pack
    • Personal expenses such as drinks, tips etc
  • Essential Info.
    • Your route is mainly made up of rural tracks, both surfaced and rough - as well as the "las ramblas" trails (dry river-beds), dunes, beaches and footpaths. You may find some of the sections uneven underfoot, with loose bits of rock and stone. Most sections are well way-marked.
    • A days walks averages at about 4 to 7 hours on foot, with infrequent steep ascents and descents (a max ascent/descent of 650m over the walk). Please bear in mind that easier alternate routes will occasionally be available, the details of which will be in your walk pack.
  • Getting There

    Almería has just one airport (LEI), transfer arrangements between the airport and town are optional - let us know and the point of booking and we'll be more than happy to arrange this service for you.

    Easyjet now offers fairly frequent, direct flights from London Gatwick to Almería. You can see their latest flight timetable here: http://www.easyjet.com/en/cheap-flights/london-gatwick/la-palma

    There also less frequent flight from Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle.

    Please be aware that if you plan on flying from other UK locations to Almería, you may need to change in Madrid.

    Almería is by no means the only airport in the Andalucia region, and there are also frequent flights to Málaga, Granada and Alicante.

    Clients are responsible for booking their own air travel to the Andalucia region.

  • Best Time to Travel

    We recommend walking this route anywhere between September and May; the weather conditions over the summer are simply too hot to walk this route comfortably.

                                                                                       

Further Reading

For more inspiration on the Cabo de Gata Parque National, you may wish to visit its Lonely Planet page
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/andalucia/parque-natural-de-cabo-de-gata-nijar

Or their official tourism website
http://www.cabogataspain.com/

Enquire About Cabo de Gata

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