The province of Granada in Spain has two unique features, the Alhambra, one of the few Muslim palaces in the world, and the Geoparque of Granada, an impressive area that shows the history of the earth for the past 2.5 million years, including the Gorafe Desert.
The Geoparque is a huge area (more than 4700 km2), but the most interesting town and area is without a doubt Gorafe. There are three attractions that simply cannot be missed when visiting.
How do I get to the Gorafe Desert?
Excursion destinations in the Gorafe desert
The first place to visit is the Megalithic Constructions Interpretive Center, an educational center dedicated to the 240 dolmens in Gorafe and life during the megalithic era. The center is in the heart of the village and the entrance fee is around 3 euros. You can only visit it at noon or at 5 p.m. The tour lasts about 3 hours.
You should then pay a visit to the dolmen itself in the Megalithic Park, just outside the village. Admission is free! Gorafe has the highest concentration of burial mounds in all of Spain.
The The highest part of the park is on a street called Mirador del Llano de Olivares. If you continue to follow this road, you will eventually reach the area commonly known as “the Gorafe Desert”. Technically, this isn’t a desert, but rather an impressive array of badlands of all colors, sizes, and colors. Something to be seen! Many tourists visit this area through a company that organizes guided tours.
The biggest downside is that these tours can be quite expensive. (100 euros and more). The good news is that you can visit these wastelands on your own too.
With a little luck, you can see these scholarship holders:
Follow the road further; A little further on, you can see Gorafe from a different perspective!
You are now very close to the Badlands. You are driving for the most part on a dirt road that is in pretty good shape. There are potholes here and there: just use your common sense and drive slowly.
This is the kind of landscape you will see:
After an hour you will see a very dramatic landscape. It’s called “Los Coloraos” and can best be compared to a small version of the Grand Canyon:
You could continue on the same road, but we strongly advise against it, especially as the road becomes quite dangerous. Better turn around and go back to Gorafe.
More practical information for a visit to Gorafe
Looking for a meal? do not forget that Tas are free in the province of Granada! If you combine them with a rasion (big ta), a bocadillo (sandwich) or a mixed salad, you have a decent meal. If you insist on a restaurant, opt for a “menu diario” (usually 3 courses and 1 drink for 10 euros!). We had lunch in the bar opposite the church of the neighboring village Villanueva de las Torres (big fresh tas!). Last but not least, you should have enough water with you in summer.
There are many more interesting places:
- If you can’t have enough of the wasteland, visit the villages of Belerda and Fonelas (about 35 kilometers southwest of Gorafe);
- About 50 kilometers to the east is the Embalse de Negratin, a reservoir with turquoise water, surrounded by pink wasteland;
- Or you can go to Guadix (30 kilometers south) and explore the cathedral and the cave houses.