Site details

(lookup in gazetteer)
Flag of Spain
5 stars - Fully protected as a national park or Natura 2000 site by national legislation
Normal Focal Site

Map type: Google Maps  SVG (dynamic)  Image (static)

Panorama of Cabo de Gata. Photo: J. Templado

Synoptic description of site:

Natural Park embracing 12.000 ha of marine bottoms, along 45 km of volcanic coastal cliffs on the SE, mediterranean Spanish coast. No rivers, cities or industries around.

Extensive description of site:

Cabo de Gata, SE Spain, is one of the most arid zones in Europe. It is a rough volcanic coastline consisting of cliffs, calas and interspersed sandy beaches extending along 45 km. Its 12.200 ha of marine protected area represents the biggest portion of protected coastline of the Mediterranean.

Habitats present:
Seagrass bedsX

Description of fauna and flora:

The fauna and flora are very well documented, with more than 1200 species reported thus far, including a detailed bionomic cartography of the bottoms. Seagrass beds of Posidonia and Cymodocea are especially well represented in the area.

Human impact:

The area is free of human impact: there are no industries or rivers discharging nearby, and it has not been affected by massive tourism. The protected area includes 6 portions of Integral Reserve where fishing is completely forbidden.


The “Aula del Mar” of Cabo de Gata offers facilities for marine biodiversity research such as housing for up to 20 persons, laboratory and boat.

Available database and website:

The species inventory is very comprehensive and is available only as hard copy. To date, there is no institutional web-site on the site.

Commitment and ongoing research:

For the last 20 years several research teams from Spanish universities (Málaga, Murcia, Autónoma de Madrid) and the Spanish Scientific Research Council have undertaken continuous biodiversity research at the site.