Carboneras - The region


Carboneras is a town in the province of Almeria in Andalusia (Spain) with 7,500 inhabitants. It covers 95 km² with a density of 76.5 people per km². The geographical coordinates are 36 º 60 'N, 1 º 53' W. It is situated at an altitude of 10 meters and is 68 kilometers from the provincial capital, Almería.

Carboneras is famous for the seawater desalination plant, the largest in Europe, the Christian and Moors festivals and the controversial hotel El Algarrobico. In the area there are lot of beaches like El Lancon and Los Barquicos and a small rocky island of San Andrés. With 1,5 hectare the island looks like a whale in the sea.

Carboneras is known also for the filming more than 50 years ago of the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" took place. You will find many beach around like the beaches of El Corral and Los Muertos in the middle of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.
West of the village, following along the coast, lies the lighthouse and the tower of Mesa Roldán, built in the eighteenth century. Going along the road you can stop at the next village Aguamarga.

Carboneras is a village for relaxation: you can walk in the streets all day long, have a drink and tapas with friends in the many city bars, walk around the Sorbas street and its shops, visit the fishing port (where a marina will soon be created).

You can also go diving or see the inside country on a horse. Why not play the "petanque" on the boardwalk with some friends.


The Cabo de Gata Natural Park occupies 29,000 ha of the western Gulf of Almeria. It extends from east to west, from Carboneras del Algarrobico beach up to the Rambla del Agua in Retamar. The mountain "Cabo de Gata", of volcanic origin, has spectacular geological formations (natural formations composed of volcanic craters, basalt columns, oolithic rock fossils etc. ...).

The maritime area of the Nature Park covers one nautical mile (1851.82 m) and almost 45 kilometers of coastline, representing a total of 12,200 ha. It was declared a Natural Park in 1987 and Biosphere Reserve in 1997.

The water remains around an average temperature of 17.1°C (25°C in July, August and September), which is certainly the highest of the peninsula, and has a thermic amplitude of 7.5°C. This is caused by the high summer temperatures and by a strange yet persistant high pressure micro-climate which sets in during the first few days of December and mid-January, when the temepratures reach their lowest, causing sunny weather and calm seas (the ice sea) which sailors call “oily” or “white sea” due to the optical effect of the reflections. The cristal waters mean it is an exceptional and highly protected marine area (there are five marine reserves in the park). The waters are the cleanest in the Mediterranean, with an average visibility of 16 metres, but in the rocks and in the best conditions, this can reach up to 20 meters. General Climate Average temperatures are about 19.9 °, and annual rainfall is about 194mm (the lowest in Europe). The average annual sunshine is 3000 hours (326 in summer).

The climate of the region is very close to that of North Africa and the Middle East, and peak doughts occur in the desert of Tabernas, where several western movies were filmed. The rain falls during about two weeks each year. It may happen that 40% of the annual average rainwater is collected in a single day.

However, in summer the evening temperatures are often fresh, so do not forget to take some sweaters.

Shopping Fresh fish:

In general not on Mondays (the fishermen rest over the weekend). The supermarkets offers a choice of fresh fish throughout the year.

Vegetables and fresh products at the street markets

  • Tuesday morning: Almeria
  • Wednesday morning: Nijar
  • Thursday morning: Carboneras
  • Saturday morning: Cabo de Gata and Vera
  • Sunday morning, San Isidro and San Jose (summer only).

Finally, if you want to go shopping in a bigger supermarket, you can always go to Almeria (fifty kilometers away), where you will find a CARREFOUR o AL CAMPO.

This region is ALSO the heart of ceramics (craft or industrial) and jarapas (a kind of carpet made of cotton plain or colored) production. Nijar is the best place to buy some souvenirs.


Take the opportunity to visit Granada and the Alhambra (2 hours away by toll-free motorway, book tickets for Alhambra in advance).
Do a tour in the Alpujarras or in the Tabernas Desert (visit the former filming locations of many Westerns.

Ïle San Andres (Carboneras)

Playa Los Muertos