Carboneras (coal bunkers) marks the start of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. The once green mountains that surround the city have been stripped of their coal and the trees cut down to feed the furnaces. The now arid landscape contrasts beautifully with deep blue of Mediterranean Sea. When the coal ran out the town turned to fishing and, more recently, established itself as an industrial centre producing energy and cement and a thriving tourist resort.
Carboneras has a pleasant year round temperature, with lows 10ْc in winter and rarely rising above 30ْc in summer, being refreshed by the soft breezes from Mediterranean Sea.
The heart of the town is the castle square (Plaza del Castillo). The castle is currently being restored and plays a starring role in local festivals. The San Andrés Castle was constructed 16th Century and it was around this that the population grew in the second half of 18th Century.
There are two other notable fortifications: The Torre del Rayo (Tower of the Thunderbolt) in the north built 1584 and the Torre de Mesa Roldán in the south built 1776.
Others buildings of interest include the Parish Church de San Antonio de Padua, the patron saint of Carboneras, the Casa del Laberinto (Labyrinth House) designed by Andre Bloc in 1964 and a fine19th Century Mansion House restored to be the Town Hall.
The beauty of Carboneras is in its beaches. It has almost 17km of fine sandy beaches along is coast. El Ancón , the most central, regularly receives the blue EEC flag award each year. Las Marinicas, near the port area, is the widest beach and El Algarrobico , on the road towards Mojácar, is the biggest of all, nearly 3km. Los Muertos , a nudist beach, can only be reached by boat. The last two form part of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.
Fresh fish and seafood abound in many local bars and restaurants. When in season, you should try ‘galanes’ a flavoursome white fleshed fish, almost exclusively found in the local waters. The Felipe and Divine Sea, two excellent fish restaurants, are worthy of a visit.
The best way to buy fresh fish is at the local Thursday market held in the town centre. Here anything can be bought, often ceramics and handicrafts from neighbouring towns.
It is well worth taking a stroll along the promenade to the lighthouse of the Mesa Roldán. From this knoll you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the coast with its succession of cliffs and beaches.