Almeria has the luxury of having the only desert in all of Europe: the Tabernas Desert. This area is located north of Almeria and extends between the Sierra de los Filabres
and Sierra Alhamilla
, characterized by the wealth of geological and environmental resources that it offers along its surface.
It has an area of 280 square kilometres, within which the towns of Tabernas, Gador, Alboloduy, Santa Cruz de Marchena and Gergal can be found.
The Tabernas Desert owes its natural configuration to the Mediterranean Sea, which offers a special kind of climate and rainfall. It has characteristics like the deserts of North Africa, as well as species of flora and fauna so unique that they are not found in other parts of the world.
The vegetation has a great uniqueness, especially with the endemic species, and enjoys a wealth of unique birds so it has been declared a Special Protection Area for Birds. In the ramblas and walls of the desert, dozens of these species live; among which are: crag martin, Alpine swift, stone-curlew, jackdaw, blue rock thrush and pin-tailed sandgrouse, just to name a few.
On its surface, you can see a spectacular gully landscape, an authentic natural museum that allows you to study everything related to erosive and geological processes.
Visitors can have direct contact with microcraters, fairy chimneys, furrows, sismites or fossil reefs, as well as the “Cerro Alfaro”, which stands alone.
All these natural elements make the Tabernas Desert a unique place in Europe. A location that could be associated with aridity and desolation, it has since become a tourist destination much appreciated by adults and children.
Throughout the Tabernas Desert trekking routes have been created, which are very busy every year, and is full of people from all over the world, all eager to experience unique nature. It highlights, for example, the so-called Route of the Desert
, which extends for 14 kilometres and includes approximately 5 hours of travel. It combines trails and ramblas in spectacular shapes endowed by geological riches.
For lovers of longer journeys, there is the Route of the Wild West
which, in 22 kilometres in length, has areas that are worth discovering. It requires more physical effort, but your hard work will be rewarded with you knowing the area is where well-known films were filmed.
The Tabernas Desert has attracted attention mainly for one fact: it has served as the stage for hundreds of national and international films, series and television commercials. In the last century, the Tabernas Desert lived its golden age in the world of cinema. Spanish, Italian and American producers concentrated on portraying the Wild West by using the exotic scenery of this area.
Actors like Clint Eastwood and directors like Sergio Leone and Steven Spielberg, among many others, stood out in the spaghetti western genre and with movies related to the east. In the 1960s and 1970s, Almeria was known as the "European Hollywood".
More than 300 movies have this desert as a natural setting. Some of the movies made in this area that were brought to life are Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; A Fistful of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Cleopatra; and Conan the Barbarian.
Currently, this popular desert of Almeria is still a location used to record episodes of international series and video clips, as well as to carry out important sporting events.