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Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park

The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Geopark is one of the few sub-desertic areas in Europe and was the first maritime and terrestrial Protected Area in Andalusia. The Geopark consists of a 380 square-kilometre terrestrial component, and a 120 square-kilometre marine component, along with 50 kilometres of the best preserved rocky cliffs in the Mediterranean European coastline.

The Park has garnered different international awards for its natural values: Biosphere Reserve and Geopark (UNESCO), ZEPA and ZEC (EU), ZEPIM (Barcelona Agreement) and RAMSAR area.

The park’s peculiarity in terms of ecology and landscape, is due to the absence of a proper winter season, while its geological diversity derives from the predominance of volcanic substrata and recent coastal deposits: the Geopark represents the best example of fossil vulcanism in the Iberian Peninsula. The exceptional conditions for observation allow the visitor to go for a walk through an open geological museum with a great scientific, didactic and tourist interest: lava flows, volcanic domes, volcanic calderas, columnar joints, fossilized beaches, reef constructions, etc.

This semi-arid land of poor soil, has a richness of flora which ranks among the most diverse and singular in Europe: more than 1000 autochthonous flora species, hundreds of them with small size and ephemeral life (days, months). As regards fauna, there are remarkable marine birds, steppe birds and salt marsh birds communities.

As a result of the aridity of the climate and the shortage of fertile soil, the ancient settlers in this land devised a system of wind mills, water wheels, wells and cisterns for the extraction and storage of water. These structures were registered in the General Catalogue of the Historical Heritage of Andalusia (2001) and represent milestones in the history and development of the landscape of the Geopark.

Ecodiving in the Geopark is an unforgettable experience because the coastal waters are the cleanest and most transparent in the Mediterranean. The park contains wide prairies of Posidonia oceanica; sea urchins, starfish, sponges, molluscs, and many fish find refuge, food and ideal breeding grounds among their green leaves.

In order to optimize the public use, the Geopark has: 1 visitor centre, 6 information points, 6 view-points, 16 paths, 5 observatories for bird watching, 1 botanical garden, 1 exhibition and conference centre, 1 maritime classroom, 1 naturalists classroom and 1 geotourism centre.

Contact
Geopark Head Office
C/Fundación s/n
04115 Rodalquilar-Nijar (Almería)
Tel.: +34 950 389 742 / 44
Fax: + 34 950 389 754

E-mail:Rosa Mendoza rosam.mendoza@juntadeandalucia.es
Fernando Molina fernandoa.molina@juntadeandalucia.es
Milagros Perez Villalba milagros.perez.villalba@juntadeandalucia.es
Alberto Gil agil3@tragsa.es

Web: http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/site/web

Visitors’ Centre "Las Amoladeras"
Paraje de Las Amoladeras
Ctra. Almería-Cabo de Gata, km 7
Tel.: +34 950 160 435