The Stunning Playa de los Genoveses - The Beautiful Beaches of Cabo de Gata

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Sunday 28 December 2014

The Stunning Playa de los Genoveses - The Beautiful Beaches of Cabo de Gata

The coastline of the remote and peaceful Cabo de Gata Natural Park boasts numerous named beaches alongside countless sheltered bays, nooks, recesses and coves along the length of this isolated Mediterranean coastline. The volcanic history of the area along with the effects of the wind and sea have created a dramatic shoreline which hides away some of the most stunning beaches in Spain (according to many authors) located in limited access areas with no cafes and clutter to detract from the scenery. These unspoilt beaches offer a real escape to the hustle and bustle of modern life, which is one of the main reasons we are here after all.

We were keen to explore and experience this natural beauty for ourselves today and so headed off in search of  the transparent waters and mountain backdrops at the Playa de los Genoveses (otherwise known as Los Genoveses Beach), a little to the west of San Jose. Named after the Genevan fleet that landed here in 1147 as part of the effort to capture Almeria from the Muslim Kingdom of Granada, Los Genoveses is the longest (1200m) and one of the most famous beaches in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. With no power lines, bars, roads or buildings it is a pristine place to visit, surrounded by a small eucalyptus forest, cactus and aloes.

Arriving in San Jose from Camping Los Escullos by bike, we passed through the small town and climbed the hill heading west to reach the dirt track which extends 'off road' through the cliffs and plains beyond towards Cabo de Gata. Cresting the top of a small rise in the track, just a few hundred metres after leaving the tarmac, we locked our bikes to a handy sign and began walking the short trail towards the Los Genoveses Beach which we could just see peeking out from behind a dusty mound.

However, before heading far down the trail we were diverted by an even smaller trail heading upwards towards the mighty summit of Cerro del Avemaria (174m!). Although the trail soon disappeared as we passed a windmill, formerly used to pump water to the farms below, we pushed on regardless scrambling over rocks and through scratching shrubs to reach the 'summit'. The rock below our feet was fossilised white ash left behind from the areas violent volcanic past. But despite the low altitude, since this peak was head and shoulders above the sea below and the highest point within several kilometres the view was breathtaking.

Located on the site of the Campillo de los Genoveses, a valley with few paved roads and set against the stunning mountain backdrop of the Sierra del Cabo de Gata, the golden beach we had come to see extended away to the west, whilst to the east the bay of San Jose glistened in the hot afternoon sun. Turning to face the mountains across the unspoilt plains in the north we could see vast swathes of cactus and aloes stretching towards the red, dusty cliffs. It really was a Mediterranean paradise.

Tearing ourselves away from the summit we forced our way back down through the sharp, scratching plants to the windmill and resumed the gentle path to the beach, passing through those same cactus and aloes we had gazed on from above. Arriving at the beach itself, with the sound of the sea casually collapsing on the golden sand, we began ambling calmly west towards the small rise at Morron de los Genoveses (74m). Passing a handful of other groups enjoying the sun, sand and sea (clothing optional it seems!) we felt very reflective and calm. We had been told that this was a beautiful beach, but the word idyllic seemed far more appropriate.

As we reached the end of the 2km stretch of golden sand we continued to climb to the Morron de los Genoveses and enjoyed a second elevated view of the beach and surrounding bays. With a small sailing ship slowly cruising through the transparent water below it could have been a postcard we were looking at, but the feel of the breeze on our face and the sounds of the sea in our ears kept reminding us that we were really looking out on this beautiful scene.

Finally as 4pm rolled around and the hot sun began to dip in the sky we knew we had to start the journey back to the camping. Ambling a second time along the sand back towards our bikes we felt very lucky to have enjoyed such a marvelous excursion, one that has left us feeling eager to explore Cabo de Gata by bike and feet more and more in the weeks ahead.

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Visit the Cabo de Gata -Nijar Natural Park - Andalucia, Spain
12 Places to Visit and Things To Do in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
10 Hiking and Walking Routes in the Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park

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