Discover an extraordinary crystal cave, travel to Europe’s only desert and overnight by the Mediterranean.
Are you looking for something really different for your next campervan or motorhome holiday in Spain? Then this itinerary is for you.
Here we share a great trip that will take you to the east of Andalucia, to the stunning semi-arid landscapes of Almeria province, the inky blue waters of the protected coast of Cabo de Gata, and to the biggest crystal ‘Geoda de Pulpi’, a huge 10m square crystal geode that is open to the public.
On the road with Lola – a Flamenco Campers campervan motorhome
This winter we took travelled with Lola to discover the crystal cave at Pulpi. Lola is a HymerCar Grand Canyon MaxiCamper with all the features and amenities to make an escapade into the wilds of Andalucia a comfortable adventure. Fully air-conditioned, with two very comfortable double beds, a well-designed kitchen area, and also static heating, so whatever the season you can be cool or cosy. What’s more, Lola also has a shower, washbasin and W.C. so you have complete freedom to travel where you want and how you want.
Deserts & Crystal Caves
Comfortable in our Flamenco Campers van, we took the motorway from Malaga along the coast of the Mediterranean. Driving Lola is much like a car. Although it’s a big camper, its responsive and easy to drive. The route on the motorway is beautiful, and with the elevated position of the campervan, you can enjoy great views from the road. Here the climate is amongst the very best in Europe – and dry in winter so a popular place to explore off season too.
Nerja – a pretty Andalusian ‘white town’
The town of Nerja, about 45 minutes makes for a good place to take a break. Nerja, sheltered by the beautiful mountains of the Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama is a joy to explore. It is a typical white Andalusian town, with plenty of choices for places to eat. Also, just outside the town is Maro. This small hamlet as a beautiful cove and beach. You can park the camper in the pubic carpark and walk down to this special spot. Also, just north of the little village is la Cueva de Nerja, the Nerja Cave, one of the most spectacular caves in the world.
The Geode at Pulpi – an adventure subterranean
From Nerja the drive to Pulpi is about 2 ½ hours. As ones passes the mountain range of Sierra Nevada, you will see that the landscape changes. The weather is dry and sunny for most of the year. We drove through the vast hectares of greenhouses where much of Europe’s fresh fruit and vegetables are grown. It is quite a remarkable sight. As we continue the countryside becomes semi-arid with pine trees, aloe and agave plants. This is Spain’s wild east, where many famous movies have been filmed from the Sergio Leone’s ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ to ‘Indiana Jones’. The desert landscape here looks just like the wild west of the USA.
To the south of the highway is the beautiful Cabo de Gata natural park, which we will explore on our return journey to Malaga.
We arrive at Pulpi, a small town on the very east of Andalusia, close to the next province of Murcia. Until recently no one would have thought to make this humble town a tourist attraction.
Yet now it has made the headlines across the world, as a few years ago a huge crystal cave, a geode was discovered in an abandoned mine outside the town, deep in the mountains.
The local authority has ingeniously made this geode accessible to the general public. In fact it is the largest geode in the world that people can visit.
Book Your Tickets Ahead of Time
If you are wanting to see inside the crystal geode at Pulpi, then it is essential you book your entrance ticket in advance. This can easily be done in advance, online. Visit the website:
Simply select the date and time you wish to visit and then follow the instructions to the Checkout.
Inside the Crystal Cave of the Pulpi Geode
To reach the geode, one has to go underground, following in the footsteps on Spanish miners who dug deep in the search for iron ore, silver and lead.
The Pulpi Geode visitor centre is easy to find; and it’s listed with online maps too. The ticket office is where we me our guide and the rest of the guests in our group.
Before we could go down in the ‘Mina Rica’ of Pilar de Jaravía we had to put on a had hat, to protect us from accidently bumping our heads in the tunnels that lead to the huge mining galleries and the crystals.
You need to pack comfortable walking shoes or boots. The temperature underground s stable and comfortable so no need to wear a thick coat. But you do need to have good mobility for this tour, as there is quite a bit of walking and also access to the lower levels of the min is by a spiral staircase and other steps.
The Pulpi town hall has done a great job making the mine and geode accessible. For 22 euro we enjoyed a 90-minute guided tour with the guide, through the narrow tunnels (once used for loaded mine carts) seeing traces of rare and unusual minerals (some were even glowing in the dark!).
The tour is really fascinating. You see parts of the mine as they were years ago, before it was closed. One has the opportunity to look up in wonder at the huge galleries that miners created with explosives to exploit the riches of the mountain.
The highlight of the tour is of course to see the selenite crystals inside the geode.
A staircase takes you down to this lowest level where you can see the edge of the crystal cave.
A small entrance has been broken through the hollow rock into the crystal chamber so you can sort of slide in and lie there for a minute to take in the amazing view!
The huge geode is a remarkable 10 sqm hollow rock that is full of huge crystals! Once you slide into the opening, the guide switches on the light so you can be amazed by the formations. You only have a minute or so inside the entrance of the crystal cave, but it is an unforgettable experience!
Please note that at the time of our visit in early 2020, the guide is offering the tour in Spanish. They provide printed information hand-outs in English with all the information about each stage of the visit.
Interestingly Europe’s second largest geode is also in the mine, but it was destroyed as miners blasted for metals and minerals. Just fragments are left. So maybe even bigger geodes are yet to be discovered in the mine!
Campsites for Motorhomes and Campervans Near Pulpi
This adventure makes for a very full day, so you will be eager to find somewhere to relax for the night. Nearby on the coast of Pulpi are a number of large public car parks where campers can overnight. In high season, it is also a good idea to book into a local campsite. We can offer a discount card for campsites in Andalusia that welcome motorhomes and campers.
To stay overnight near the Geoda de Pulpi, you could consider:
- Campsite La Quinta Bella
This site is about half an hour’s drive from the Geode of Pulpi. It is in land, in a quite location with a lovely swimming pool.
- Campsite Bellavista
This site is closer to the sea, and about 12 kilometres from the Pulpi Geode. There’s a pool and restaurant too.
Discovering Cabo de Gata
From Pulpi one has a few options on how to continue your Flamenco Campers adventure. You can take the A92 highway north and west that will take you over across the striking landscapes of Andalusia’s Badlands and then north of the stunning Sierra Nevada National Park to Granada. Take a look at our articles about travel in Granada. It’s a magnificent city and home to the Alhambra. From Granada it is about 2 hour’s drive back to the Flamenco Campers base.
Yet we decided to take a slower scenic route back to Malaga; spending a few days exploring the Gabo de Gata natural park. This wonderful nature reserve hugs the Mediterranean coast, with wild, unspoilt beaches. This area is a real favourite for campervan holidays and motorhome enthusiasts. The great climate, wonderful scenery and quiet roads make it’s the perfect place to enjoy a Flamenco Campers holiday.
In just over an hour you can be taking in the amazing views from the best beaches in Cabo de Gata. The Mirador de la Amatista on the AL-4200 road from Rodalquilar to the beach at Playa del Peñon Blanco, is a great place to stop. Easy parking for a campervan, and from here you can walk the 100 metres or so, to the mirador panoramic viewpoint that offers breath taking vistas out across the Mediterranean and along the volcanic coast of the natural park.
La Isla del Moro
From the lookout point to the La Isla del Moro is about 10 minutes. Here there is a very large gravel carpark looking directly over the sea. It is a perfect place to stop and have lunch; either in your Flamenco Campers van or in one of the local bar restaurants in the little seaside hamlet.
This is a good starting point for hiking and also enjoying the beach and sea. Off season it is okay to park up here overnight, so long as you leave nothing outside your campervan. In high season it’s a good idea to find a local campsite for an overnight stay.
- Campsite Los Escullos
Just a kilometre back from the sea is Los Escullos, with space for motorhomes and campervans. There’s are swimming pools, excellent sports facilities, a shop restaurant and more.
The Gabo de Gata natural park is one of the driest parts of Europe, so makes for a good destination off season for Flamenco Campers camper van holidays. There is a wealth of things to see and do, from hiking, swimming, relaxing on the beach, to enjoying local gastronomy at seaside tabernas. From the natural park to Malaga is about 3 hours’ drive, so it possible to get back to the Flamenco Campers base in an afternoon.
For more information about renting Lola or one of the other new Flamenco Campers campervans please get in touch. We have lots of ideas for exciting and original itineraries and we can also make recommendations for places to visit and where to stay overnight in you van or motorhome.
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