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Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert

Like the real Wild West, Spain has its own great desert, where the temperature has been known to reach 48 °C and where many Hollywood movies have been filmed


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The only real desert in Europe lies in the barren interior of the Costa de Almería. This region is the driest in Europe and is considered the continent's only true desert climate where annual rainfall reaches levels as low as 15 mm in coastal areas. Surprisingly, temperatures in this region can range from -5 to 48 °C.

The Tabernas Desert is located approximately 30 km (19 mi) north of the provincial capital, Almería, in the Tabernas municipality. The average annual sunshine is around 3000 hours. The desert also has its own flora and fauna such as sea lavender, ladder snakes and marsh frogs, rock sparrows, peregrine falcons and Bonelli's eagle.

This region, however, is not only known as a desert. It has become a sort of mini-Hollywood with attractions, amusement parks, and zoos. Everything is centred around the theme of the American Wild West. The Almería has surely left its trace in film history as a cinematic location. The Tabernas Desert became the reason why many directors filmed their movies here. The area surrounded by the Sierra Nevada, Sierra de Los Filabres, and Sierra de Alhamilla mountains have seen great legends with the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. Don't be surprised if your favourite film has been shot here and if you do visit the region, be sure not to miss the western shows.

The Tabernas Desert may be visited all year round, but temperature extremes in summer and winter can make your visit less enjoyable. The most convenient season is either spring or autumn, then you'll find comfortably moderate temperatures. If you decide to go in summer, choose early morning and evening time, for daytime temperature normally exceeds 40 °C. On the contrary, in winter choose the afternoon, when it's not too cold.

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