About two hours drive east from our house in Maro ,on the coast in southern Spain, is Cabo De Gata. You may not have heard of this unique place, set with its back to the rest of this vast country. Its volcanic landscape is truly extraordinary; with its arid climate and Nature Reserve, stunning flowers that have adapted to their harsh environment, and carpets of wild herbs such as thyme and tarragon. These desert landscapes and Global Geopark merit a few days exploration.
It is sun baked and weather beaten, and peppered with windmills, water wheels, and tiny, white, sugar cube houses with thick walls and flat roofs.
Prickly pear cacti and spikey agave and palms abound.
We had been told about Cabo de Gata by friends and recommended a visit, and as we drove down the winding road to the pretty enclave on the sea, that is La Isleta del Moro, we knew that we were heading to a magical place.
It is simple, pretty, very white and blue, and right on the waters edge. We stayed at Hostal Isleta del Moro, which is family-owned, open all year, (you need to plan ahead, and book as its very popular!), and its rather like going back in time and staying in a Greek pension .That said, we had the most amazing view across the water , watching the boats bobbing along, the fishermen chugging out to their boats for `catch of the day`, and the sun sink into the sea. There is a small, friendly bar in the hotel that serves Tapas, and you will most definitely want to eat outside, under the sun parched palm leaves that form the roof of the dining terrace pergola. The fish is as fresh as it comes and we had the most delicious Dorada a La Plancha, ( that’s Sea Bream).
This small promontory houses a handful of bars, a small working fishing harbour ,( fish and octopus hang up to dry in the hot sun),and a couple of shops, there is a tiny church, and you can still take your washing into the village square and use the communal stone sink !
We spent a lazy afternoon reading on the sandy, horseshoe shaped beach , and swam in gin-clear water, before heading back to enjoy a glass of cold white wine as the water lapped against the sea wall of the hotel terrace.
It’s the kind of sleepy place that you can really escape to, and we have already booked another stay. You can really escape and chill out and it would be the perfect place to hide and write a book. Having said that , the restaurant is very buzzy and popular and with Spanish families too, always a good sign. Go!