Best time to visit Spain

Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert in Spain

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

Best time: March–May | September–November

Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert
Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert
Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert
Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert
Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert
Tabernas, Europe's Only Desert

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.

Practical info

When should one plan a visit to the Tabernas Desert?

Tabernas Desert is best visited during autumn (September-November) and spring (March-May), as the temperature is moderate and comfortable during these seasons. The summer season can be harsh with temperatures often above 40°C, making visit difficult. The winter morning can be too cold, so it is best to go during the afternoon. Show more

What distinguishes the Tabernas Desert located in Spain from other deserts?

Spain's Tabernas Desert is distinctive in that it is the only genuine desert region in the continent with annual rainfall as low as 15mm in coastal areas. This feature of the desert climate makes the region the driest in Europe. The Tabernas desert houses an exceptional collection of flora and fauna and a mini-Hollywood cinema set that attracted prominent directors. Show more

What temperatures should one anticipate during their visit to the Tabernas Desert and what is its climate like?

Tabernas Desert has a desert climate with annual rainfall of only 15mm in coastal areas, rendering it the driest region in Europe. The temperature can range between -5 and 48℃. Generally, there are around 3000 hours of sunshine annually. Visitors should avoid summer when temperatures can exceed 40℃; instead, it is preferable to visit during spring and autumn when the temperature is bearable. Show more

Which famous Hollywood actors and movies have filmed on the Tabernas Desert?

Many Hollywood westerns were produced on the Tabernas Desert in Spain, earning it international acclaim as mini-Hollywood. Among the legendary celebrities that have worked here are Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford and Brigitte Bardot, among others. Iconic movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Cleopatra, and Lawrence of Arabia were all shot here. Show more

What specific instructions should one consider while visiting the Tabernas Desert during summer or winter?

Summer temperatures in the Tabernas Desert can be scorching; therefore, visitors should plan to tour during early morning hours or late evenings to ease the discomfort. In winter, it is preferable to tour in the afternoon when the temperature is not too cold. To safeguard themselves from the sun, visitors should wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. It is also advisable to stay hydrated throughout the visit. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin