Practically virgin beaches, impressive cliffs, huge stretches of find sand, mountain ranges which run from the east to the west of the province, and the only real desert in Europe are some of the most important Almerian natural environments. Areas of enormous environmental value and which offer a many possibilities for having fun and for practicing different sports.
The Levante Region of Almería is made up of 13 municipalities and is crossed from north to south by the Mediterranean Dual-Carriageway. Among the towns and villages are some with the most deeply entrenched touristic character, such as Mojácar, and others which in recent years have joined the tourism offer of sun and beach , adding the so-called rural and adventure tourism. Among these inland locations, Sorbas stands out. It is here that there is the Sorbas Gypsum Karst Natural Landscape, a surprising enclave, and of particular interest to potholing enthusiasts.
Altogether, this region offers endless leisure and fun possibilities, among them for example, those related to sports like hiking, golf, riding, sailing and scuba diving.
This encompasses a wide variety of landscapes and ecology due, among other reasons, to the volcanic activity which this area experienced 10 million years ago. The coastal area, which runs from Los Muertos beach to Torre García beach, includes six areas catalogued as marine reserves, and hides sandy beaches which remain virtually virgin. Although the landscape is dry, it is home to the most important wetlands on the peninsular’s coast: the salt marshes, an important rest area for migratory birds such as flamingos, avocets and storks on their way to Africa. Among its vegetation, the jujube and the fan palm stand out, the latter the only native European palm.
Very well known for having been the setting for numerous Westerns, it is the only true desert in Europe. Here rain hardly makes an appearance, and when it does, the water comes down with such violence that it erodes the land even more. The extreme aridness produces spiny, creeping vegetation with scarce and small leaves, all in order to prevent the insatiable sun from stealing the moisture which the dews brings during the night. The landscape extends through the Almerian municipalities of Alboloduy, Gádor, Gérgal, Tabernas and Santa Cruz. In Tabernas, the visitor can also enjoy themself and form part of the one of the most typical scenes from Westerns, in the Mini Hollywood Theme Park.
The stone, of natural limestone and dolomitic, presides over an environment which covers the municipalities of Chirivel, María, Vélez-Banco and Vélez Rubio. At the foot of the elongated crests of more than 2,000m above sea level, there grow important masses of pines: Aleppo and Corsican. Of the fauna which inhabits the area, the most characteristic is the abundance and diversity of birds of prey. But there are also squirrels, dormice and field mice.
The park is also rich is archaeological remains, particularly paintings inside caves and grottos such as La Gitana or Queso. Very close to Vélez-Blanco, but outside the park, is the “Los Letreros” cave, where the Indalo, symbol of Almería, appears.
The Natural and National Park of Sierra Nevada, covering an area of 86,208 hectares, extends through the provinces of Granada and Almería. The Sierra Nevada Ski Station and Mountain is a privileged enclave, the Natural Space, in which there coexist the protection figures of the Natural Park (since 1989) and National Park (1999). In addition it became part of the World Biosphere Reserve Network in 1986.
Liveforevers, foxgloves, butterwort, mountain camomile, Sierra Nevada violet, star of the snow, Sierra Nevada poppy and buttercups make up part of the more than 2,000 bright and colourful plant species (66 exclusive endemic), found in the park. Amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds and a rich insect life (80 exclusive endemic) make up Sierra Nevada’s fauna, especially lined to Mediterranean high mountain habitats. The mountain goat, commonly found on high peaks, is the park’s most characteristic species.