Playa de los Muertos
Situated between two coastal villages, Carboneras and Agua Amarga, and roughly 55 minutes by car from Almeria, Playa de los Muertos has appeared more than once in lists of not only the best beaches in Spain, but also the best beaches in all of Europe.
Despite its sinister name, the “Beach of the Dead”, which stems from the time of pirates and shipwrecks, Playa de los Muertos is a haven for the living. Located within Cabo de Gata nature reserve, visitors will find the beach to be as pristine as any in the country, with no facilities or amenities.
However, this sun-soaked stretch of near-white sand, which gets finer the closer to the Mediterranean you step, runs almost straight for 1.2 kilometres and averages 30 metres in width, meaning the only time Playa de los Muertos feels crowded is during the height of summer.
Its Mediterranean waters contain only a handful of easy to spot submerged rocks, although the beach does slope rapidly into the sea, and children should be careful to avoid getting out of their depth. Offshore currents also mean that only the strongest of swimmers should consider entering the water when the wind is high.
A favourite spot with the region’s wedding photographers, the beach is hidden from view behind volcanic coastal hills. It is reached along one of two footpaths, neither of which are the easiest to traverse with large quantities of gear, or small children of pushchair age. A short steep path runs directly from the car park, while a longer slightly easier one reaches the beach from the tourist office. Their relatively difficulty means you should have sturdy footwear with you, and makes Playa de los Muertos unfortunately inaccessible for those with physical disabilities. As a result, most visitors are younger Spaniards on holiday.
Once on the beach, visitors will find a semi-separate area of sand beyond a large rock. Just 90 metres in length, it is called Cala del Peñon Cortado. It offers a little more shelter, and is where most of the bodyboarding takes place on the beach. In the opposite direction is a bay some 200 metres long known as Cala Salinicas, which can be accessed by sea via kayak, or overland via another short footpath.
Nudists tend to linger around the more distant end of the beach. A coral reef on the crater of an extinct underwater volcano just offshore attracts scuba divers to this part of the Andalusia coast too.
- Diving & snorkelling
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