HIDDEN BEACHES - AGUA AMARGA – A BEAUTIFUL GEM IN ALMERIA, SOUTHERN SPAIN October 09 2013

This is our first review in what I hope will be a series on some of our favourite beaches in Europe and the Rest of the World.  Agua Amarga is a real gem hidden in Southern Almeria, Spain.  Lying to the south of the Moorish town of Mojacar and to the East of the town of Almeria.

Agua Amarga  or ‘Bitter Water’ as it translates  is a little white-washed fishing village on the edge of the Cabo de Gata nature reserve.  It is a quiet sheltered bay nestled amongst and almost hidden completely by cliffs.  It is fringed by a magnificent fine sandy beach that stretches down to beautiful clear turquoise waters.  It was voted one of Europes top 20 beaches back in 2003 by the Sunday Times and is certainly one of my favourite beaches in Europe.   

There is a strong Moorish influence over the architecture of the village which is to be expected in this area.  With its relaxed atmosphere and local hospitality it is a popular resort with the Spanish all year round and an ideal place for a relaxing holiday.  It has been described as one of the last hidden paradises of the Mediterranean. 

There are a number of charming bars, and restaurants to tempt you and for the energetic  a myriad of water-sports.  A real treat are the paellas which are cooked in large open barbeques on the beach, but do make sure you leave sufficient time to endulge in this spanish delight.Cabo de Gata Natural Park sits on your doorstep providing a further opportunity to explore by foot, car or bike and covers some 38,000 hectares of land and another 12,000 hectares under water.   It is an area of natural unspoilt beauty with rugged scenery, volcanic craters, rocky headlands and sandy coves.   

WHERE TO STAY

El Kio Tiko – A boutique style hotel sitting overlooking Aqua Amarga  www.eltiokiko.com

La Almendra y El Gitano  -  www.laalmendrayelgitano.com

If you are looking to self-cater there are a number of apartments and villas to rent in Aqua Amarga and a small supermarket is also available in the village.

WHAT TO TAKE

It is worth noting that if you plan to swim in the sea here swimming or aqua shoes are an absolute must as the entrance to the sea is extremely pebbly – but don’t let that put you off!

Good Sun protection as this part of Spain is extremely hot in the summer!

OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST

Sorbas Caves Cuevas de Sorbas are an impressive labyrinth of underground caverns.

Troglodyte Villages An interesting excursion is a visit to the famous troglodyte villages where modern-day cave dwellers have burrowed their extraordinary homes out of the soft rock. You can see the doors, windows and chimneys from the outside but for the most part these "casas cuevas" are buried within the hillsides, protecting their occupants from the blistering summer heat. You'll find cave houses in several villages in Almeria including Alhabia, Gador, Benahadux, Fondon and Laujar de Andarax.

Granada The historic city of Granada, with its fabulous Alhambra Palace and Generalife Garden 

Mojacar Pueblo The historic old town of Mojacar is a short journey North with its Moorish fortresses and medieval architecture.

Stroll through a maze of cobbled streets containing vibrant market stalls, chapels and shaded courtyards while enjoying typically unique Andalucian hospitality in the myriad of traditional tapas bars.On Wednesday mornings you can enjoy the colourful chaos of the weekly street market.

White Washed Hillside VillagesWe highly recommend a visit to Sorbas and Nijar both of which are picturesque traditional white washed villages.

GarruchaSee the fisherman unload their daily catch in the harbour and pay a visit to the harbourside restaurant for some spectacular fresh fish.

GETTING THERE

Flights from the UK are available to both Almeria (which is a short 30km drive to Agua Amarga) and to Alicante.