Calar Alto Observatory, Rutas 4×4 Almeria
The route we chose for our overlanding trip in Almeria involved passing by the Calar Alto observatory. You can ocassionaly catch a glimpse of all of them the higher you climb through the mountains, the unmistakable bright white domes against the clear blue sky backdrop.
Having our youngest with us we thought it would be great for him to see something different and get an idea of the sheer scale of these structures. The observatories were also one of several landmarks and places that were on the the first leg of the journey before heading off onto the dirt tracks of the Sierra de Los Filabres.
37.2208° N, 2.5468° W
Overlanding with kids you have to work in a mix of things to see and do otherwise they get bored, all the offroading and forest drives start to look the same through the eyes of a 12 year old until it just becomes sitting in the back seat for hours on end listening to parents discuss stunning views and all manner of overlanding aspects that us adults tend to talk about.
Arriving on a Sunday everything was closed but you can check the opening times as well as more information the Calar website [in Spanish and English]. Of course when you approach buildings like this, being in the position that they are it’s time to get the camera out and when you get close the massive scale forces you to get a bit creative with some abstract angles etc, you’d need an ultra wide angle [8-12mm] otherwise.
In general, the Calar Alto observatory is a nice place to spend some time, it switches up the day, seeing something different always adds variation and this place is situated in the ideal place – just before you get down to business and hit the trail.
Our only complaint was that the signage was/is not very clear as all the roads leading to the observatories were marked ‘authorized personal only’ which kind of threw us until we made the decision to park up anyway as others were also doing. In November at midday it was fairly quiet with only a handful of people around, mainly bikers as the roads in the area are perfect for our friends that prefer two wheels.
The views from the area are outstanding especially if you get a clear day where you can see for miles. The landscape is rocky with flint, woodland emerges on the outskirts of the natural park and there are plenty of places to park up and just spend some time, you may also see some large variety wildlife too.
Our recommendation would be to work this in you’re route if you are in the area or crossing the border between Almeria and Granada use this route to travel through the above mentioned Sierra de Los Filabres, its a sightseeing trip and overland trail journey wrapped into one.
Check out the Sierras de Los Filabres which is only a few hundred yards from these observatories.