Cabo de Gata

Cabo de Gata After visiting the three classical cities of Seville, Cordaba and Granada, it was time to take the motor home down to the coast and chill out, and in the terms of Monty Python, ’ now for something completely different’.

The drive to the coast  was stunning and we have never seen so many olive plantations in our life and you can now envisage why Spain is the world’s largest producer of the stuff.

The plan was to hit the coast at Motril and it surely was something different as we had not prepared ourselves for the ‘ Costa de Plastico’. The fact that it seemed that every scrap of available agricultural land was covered in plastic was testament to our need for year round fruit and salad. So what was meant to be a one hour drive from Granada, turned out to be a three  hour drive along the coast to escape the plastic.

The old  saying goes ‘that good things come to those that wait’ and we were rewarded with a different kind of paradise than that  experienced by the Moors in the Genaralife in Granada, a rugged desert paradise, the Cabo de Gata, the only true sub tropical desert in  Europe.

The volcanic rock formations in this relatively small natural park are imposing and  a coastline to die for, devoid of the massive  tourist developments of the Costa’s. Here you will get beautiful unspoilt bays and  small fishing villages, which seem to be untouched by time. The fact that the area is so inhospitable to agriculture goes a long way to explaining why this area appears to have been untouched by human habitation. There was a gold mining industry, long since gone, centred on the town of  Rodalquilar. Amazingly, however, there was a proposal , as recently as 2010 to have a nuclear waste centre in the park.

Tourism is now the main industry but on our visit in late May it was pleasantly quiet.

There is a campsite, just as you enter the park, appropriately named ‘ Camping Cabo de Gata’ but we ventured further to the seaside village of Les Escullos and stayed at  ‘ Camping Les Escullos’ to totally escape the plastic.

We could not fault this campsite, we had a good reception, there is a motor home service point, pitches are a good size and many with shade  and the sanitary facilities are spotless. There is also a swimming pool, a restaurant and reasonably priced small supermarket.

Wi Fi is free and that is a big plus in our book as we are of the view that this should be provided free in this internet age.

The setting within the park is also very pleasant and if you pitch carefully, easy in low season, then you can enjoy some good views.

It is a member of the ACSI and Camping Cheque discount schemes.

There are a number of chalets  and the only downside was that some of these were occupied by a group of Spanish adolescents and how shall we say this, they proved to be quite lively, but it was relatively easy to move pitch .


A short walk from the site, takes you  past  some extinct volcanoes, de los Frailles, and to the coast with its glorious unspoilt bays and further volcanic rock formations.

If you head  up the track to the right, there is a stunning walk along a gravel road, giving stunning coastal views and of the surrounding mountains.

It is possible to cycle this route on the way to the coastal town of  San Jose but as you get towards the end of the route, it becomes more rock strewn and at the end  there is a steep pathway descent, where the only way you could get your bike down is to manhandle it. In reality the best course of action is to turn around at this stage and enjoy the views. The return walk is about 10 miles.

If you wish to visit San Jose and  it is well worth the visit, as it is relatively unspoilt, then the best course of action is to go by road and though these do not have cycle lanes, they are relatively quiet and we found Spanish drivers very considerate to cyclists. The only thing we did find was that whatever way we cycled the wind always seemed against us.

There is a glorious windmill on the route to San Carlos.

There is a campsite at San Carlos but all in all Camping Les Esculllos is a prettier site and more economical, as it is an ACSI site.


In the opposite direction  you can cycle to the village of Isleta, on the coast, a quintessentially unspoilt Spanish fishing village where it was de rigueur to take lunch at the seaside restaurant..

Unspoilt beaches, like the one above, are the norm

In the opposite direction  you can cycle to the village of Isleta, on the coast, a quintessentially unspoilt Spanish fishing village where it was de rigueur to take lunch at the seaside restaurant..

You can carry on the road, which is a bit up and down, the ups are steep but then ther e is always the consolation of the down as you enter the old gold mining town of  Rodalquilar.

If you continue on the main road past the town  towards Las Negras, you  can take a turning on your right to the sweeping bay of Playa del Playazo, complete with its own castle, now a private home.

In all this is about a 15 mile round trip.

A couple of guys who were opposite us told us about a site at Las Negras and this represented a better option than cycling up the hills and demonstrated yet again the advantage of motor homes, as you are in next to no time ready to go and make the short trip to Las Negras.

The site is in a good position with direct access to the beach and a short walk to the village (picture above). There is, however, quite a narrow and steep road to the site, which presents no problems for motor homes but may be trickier to negotiate for caravans.

We received a wonderful reception and the site has good clean facilities, a motor home service point and a small shop.

The pitches are quite short , though the narrow width seems  to have been resolved by amalgamating pitches.

Shade on many pitches are provided by canopies but unfortunately these are quite low in many cases and we have a low profile motor home. This did not cause us any problems in  the low season, though bizarrely prices increased, modestly, on the 1st June, even though there was no increase in activity on the site. To be fair we were advised of this at  the time of booking.

At a cost of 24 euros a night it did not represent  such  value as Los Escullos, as it is on the ACSI scheme and it also  had better facilities and a pool.


There is a cliff top walk to the right of the site, to the Playa del Playazo, with stunning  coastal views.

All along the coastline there are superb walking opportunities.

A short walk into Las Negras and you can enjoy a delicious seafood lunch  at the restaurant Las Barcas, overlooking the sea, for 12 to 14 euros.

We loved Cabo de Gata, it offered superb scenery, unspoilt fishing villages, excellent seafood ; it provided a perfect chill out after the hectic exploration of the three classical cities of Seville, Cordoba