Desierto de Tabernas Natural Park & 'Mini Hollywood'

by Robert Bovington
(Roquetas de Mar)

Mini Hollywood

Mini Hollywood

Mini Hollywood
Mini Hollywood
Mini Hollywood
Mini Hollywood

The Tabernas desert is 'Wild West' country - or, at least, it was! If you watched Clint Eastwood in 'A Fistful of Dollars' or 'For a Few Dollars More' to name but two of dozens of spaghetti westerns produced here or seen 'Lawrence of Arabia' you have caught glimpses of the Tabernas desert.


It is located a few miles from Almería, between the great rocky masses of the Sierra de los Filabres and the Sierra Alhamilla. It is a dramatic almost moonlike landscape and what plants that exist within this habitat twist and bend amongst the great cracks in the earth in search of some moisture. Salt cedar, oleander and brushwood have adapted to the conditions of extreme aridity and the local fauna mainly consists of insects, toads, hedgehogs and scorpions. A number of birds can be seen flying over the dry gullies and riverbeds including the swift, rock martin, crested lark and jackdaw. It is the only true desert in Europe.

It may be a desert but I like it. The scenery is startling. The arid yellow ochre landscape contrasts with the vivid blue Almerian sky. The annual rainfall here does not exceed 250mm and the year-round average temperature is over 17 degrees. It has 3000 hours of sunlight per year, making it an ideal spot for a solar energy installation and that is why the largest centre of solar energy in Europe, the 'Solar Platform of Almería' has been installed in this area.
This area used to be a giant film set - the Italian director Sergio Leone made Spaghetti westerns here in the mid 60's and there are still some original film sets scattered around but most are now in a dilapidated condition - except for 'Western Leone', 'Fort Bravo' and 'Mini Hollywood' which were rebuilt as tourist sites. When my grandson visited a couple of years ago, I took him to 'Mini Hollywood'. It was a good day out. If you ever visit this area of Spain with your children, I urge you take them to 'Mini Hollywood'. They will enjoy it. I did!

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I'm going to visit
by: jim alias Tuco

Just watched 800 Bullets (800 Balas) in Spanish. The movie was about this area and the spaghetti western sets there and the stuntmen who really were part of the movies. I will visit as soon as I can get free from Missouri for a good long vacation. If you get the Eastwood trilogy on Blu Ray there are special features that have commentary describing the area, Leone and all that went into filming there...

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Wild West in the Desert of Tabernas
by: Chris

Thanks so much Robert. This article truly reflects what we experience each time we visit and stroll around the desert.

However, a few years ago, the Old Western Town formerly called Mini Hollywood was re-named and is now called Oasys Theme Park (Parque Temático Oasys) . I suppose it is to avoid confusions, since the local people used 'Mini Hollywood' to describe all 3 Western Towns.

All in all an awesome area, just as you said our kids insist on repeating a visit to the Oasys every summer...

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