Calcium ions represent both an integrative signal and an important convergence point of many disparate signaling pathways. Calcium-binding proteins, like calcineurin B-like (CBL) proteins, have been implicated as important relays in calcium signaling. Here, we report the in vivo study of CBL1 function in Arabidopsis. Analyses of loss-of-function as well as CBL1-overexpressing lines indicate a crucial function of this calcium sensor protein in abiotic stress responses. Mutation of CBL1 impairs plant responses to drought and salt stresses and affects gene expression of cold-regulated genes, but does not affect abscisic acid (ABA) responsiveness. Conversely, overexpression of CBL1 reduces transpirational water loss and induces the expression of early stress-responsive transcription factors and stress adaptation genes in non-stressed plants. Together, our data indicate that the calcium sensor protein CBL1 may constitute an integrative node in plant responses to abiotic stimuli and contributes to the regulation of early stress-related transcription factors of the C-Repeat-Binding Factor/dehydration-responsive element (CBF/DREB) type.