Tabernas Desert, Andalusia, Spain

Not only for fans of great landscapes this desert in Andalusia is worth a visit. Especially cineastes will be thrilled. In the Tabernas Desert, about 40 movies are filmed every year, in whole or in part, from "Play Me the Song of Death" to "For a Fistful of Dollars" and "Lawrence of Arabia" to "Game of Thrones", to name only the most famous ones. Accordingly, you can still find remnants of movie sets in the desert and these excursions alone are already impressive. So here are some suggestions of what to do in the Tabernas Desert. Starting point of my trip was the cozy campground "Little Texas.

The oasis, filming location of "Lawrence of Arabia"

After – so the legend goes – they kept facing difficulties while shooting in the Middle East (it was mainly shot in Jordan), it was decided to finish shooting "Lawrence of Arabia" in the Tabernas Desert. For this purpose an oasis had to be created, which still exists today. Part of it is open to the public, part is privately owned and still used for filming. If you want to hike this oasis, park your car in the public parking lot at the "Oaysis Theme Park" on the N340a and walk to the right, facing the entrance of the "Mini Hollywood". There a path opens up, after about 50 meters it goes down steps to a small river. The path there is marked, you just follow the course of the river for about two kilometers. Then the oasis is already in sight! Less hikers can also simply park at the N340a at the height of Oasis. But the hike opens up wonderful views.

The view over the desert

If you follow the hiking trail that leaves the entrance of the theme park to the left, you don't go down into the valley, but up to the plateaus of the plateau. From here the vastness of the desert opens up. If you combine both trails, the view and the oasis, you will be on the road for about five hours. It is strongly discouraged to do these hikes in high summer, temperatures up to 50 degrees are possible on sunny days. Especially good is the time between October and March. When we hiked here in late November, the afternoon temperatures in the oasis still reached 24 degrees. So it is essential to take plenty to drink with you.

Fort Bravo

Western fans can't avoid visiting one of the theme parks. Three of the former film western towns are now used as theme parks, Fort Bravo is the only one where filming still takes place, most recently "Der Schuh des Manitu. If you go into the saloon, you will immediately remember this movie!

In Fort Bravo there are two stunt shows a day, dogs are allowed on the grounds, but there is a lot of shooting. So if you bring your dog, it would be good if you don't take a seat right in front of the saloon, because it gets really loud here. The shows are funny, with bumpy dialogues, in which one or the other joke is interwoven. If you speak Spanish well, you will definitely get your money's worth here.

Theoretically you can also camp in Fort Bravo, which sounds more attractive than it is. Camping costs 42 euros per pitch and is offset against the entrance fee. This means that if two people arrive, they only have to pay two euros extra (entrance fee to the western town: per person 19,40 euros), if you travel alone, it will be outrageously expensive. The man at the cash desk could not really give this information, only in the saloon, after a long back and forth, I was enlightened, also about the fact that in the off-season the sanitary facilities are not continuously available (for whatever reason). The status of this information is November 2019. I am sure that this works better in the high season, in the low season I advise against it.

Lucainena de las Torres

The white villages of Andalusia are known all over the world, one is more beautiful than the other. Lucainena de las Torres is one of the most flowery of these villages, in summer and autumn flowers of all colors shine in windows, in pots in the narrow streets and in the small main square. There is also a public well, where the locals get the very good spring water. If you are traveling with the van, you should stock up on water here. It tastes much better than the water you buy or the chlorinated water you get from the mains.

Two minutes walk from the village square there is a public parking lot, where you can park comfortably, in front of there start two hiking trails, which lead you into the hills. From up there you have fantastic views!

Last, but not least: the starry sky above the desert

Due to the low light pollution in this area, the desert and also its outskirts are perfect for photographing the night sky. There is a separate post on photographing starry skies in Spain for this purpose.