Spain Guide


Almeria Spain

The city of Almeria is located in the Spanish region of the same name on the Costa Almeria at the eastern edge of Andalucia. This is probably the least known of all the Spanish costas although tourism is a growing industry here with holiday resorts developing to the east and west of the city. The coastline has a good variety of beaches but the hinterland has a barren, almost lunar landscape which put the province of Almeria on the world stage in the 1960s when Italian movie makers decided it was the ideal location for hundreds of "spaghetti westerns".

Almeria city is a lively, modern and very Spanish commercial centre with a ferry terminal, sports marina and working fishing port. International tourism has not had a major impact here but the town and surrounding area still offer a wealth of activities and places of interest to occupy the foreign holidaymaker.

The city was founded by the Phoenicians and later occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans and Moors before the Christian armies recaptured it in the 15th century. Evidence of its rich history can be found throughout the city, particularly in the imposing Alcazaba the Moorish fortress perched on a hilltop overlooking the town.

The city has a good selection of art galleries, museums and shops. In the centre is La Rambla, a long avenue with pretty squares, street cafes and children's play areas. From the ferry port you can take a trip to North Africa; throughout the city you'll notice a strong African influence due to the large number of migrant workers from Morocco, Tunisia and other African countries.

Tourist centres have built up on the eastern coast of the province at Mojácar and on the southern coast, west of the city, at Aguadulce, Roquetas de Mar and Almerimar. In these areas you'll find good beaches, marinas, international restaurants, hotels and sports centres.

At the eastern corner of the province (at the south east tip of the Spanish mainland) lies the Cabo del Gato Nijar nature reserve with its desert landscape and rugged coastline peppered with small coves, only accessible on foot. This is a sparsely populated and desolate area but it has its attractions for hikers, nature lovers, bird watchers and scuba divers.

Despite the general aridity of the region, Almeria is a major agricultural producer some 250 million kilos of flowers and crops are cultivated here each year mostly under huge swathes of plastic which lend a rather bizarre appearance to much of the local landscape.

Inland near the village of Tabernes you can visit the "badlands of Almeria" Europe's only desert region where numerous Italian and American films were shot including "A Fistful of Dollars" and part of the Peter O'Toole epic movie "Lawrence of Arabia".

Almeria is also famed for its troglodyte villages where cave dwellers have fashioned their extraordinary homes out of the soft rock. When you see the smart front door in the hillside and the little chimney puffing smoke out of the roof of the cave you half expect Bilbo Baggins to invite you in for tea!