The beauty of Carboneras is its beaches. It has almost 17km of fine sandy beaches along its coast. El Ancon, is the most central and regularly receives the blue EEC flag award. Las Marinicas, near the port, is the widest beach and El Algarrobico, on the road towards Mojacar, 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.
Carboneras (coal bunker) marks the start of the Cabo de Gato 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 the 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 all year round temperature, with lows 10c in winter and rarely rising above 30c in summer, being refreshed by the soft breezes from the 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 Andres Castle was constructed in the 16th century and it was around this that the population grew in the second half of the 18th century.
There are two other notable fortifications: The Torre del Rayo (Tower of the Thunderbolt) in the north, built in 1584 and the Torre de Mesa Roldan in the south, built in 1776.
Other buildings of interest include the Parish Church de San Antonio de Padua, the patron saint of Carboneras, the Casa del Labertino (Labyrinth House) designed by Andre Bloc in 1964 and a fine 19th century Mansion House restored to be the Town Hall.
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 local waters.
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 handcrafts from neighbouring towns.
It is well worth taking a stroll along the promenade to the lighthouse of the Mesa Roldan. From this knoll you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the coast with its succession of cliffs and beaches.