Spain Guide


Almeria Tourist Attractions Things to Do

Much of Almeria is dry, rugged and desolate which no doubt explains why tourism has not over run this area as it has in the vast majority of Spanish coastal resorts. The lunar landscape of the interior of the province is certainly not the most appealing in Spain; yet this area has its own peculiar charms including the cave dwellers' villages and Europe's only real desert (where you can still see the studio sets left behind by the makers of hundreds of spaghetti westerns).

The Beaches and holiday resorts to the west and north east of the city of Almeria meet all the demands of the modern international holidaymaker. And the city itself provides a wealth of historic sites, art galleries, museums, restaurants, shops and sporting activities.

If you're visiting the city, take a trip up to the ancient Alcazaba which dominates the town from its hilltop location. Here you can soak in the city's rich past while enjoying magnificent views of the harbour. Constructed in 995, this military fortress has served through the centuries as the headquarters of Moorish sultans and Christian governors. One of its three great walled enclosures contain the remains of the site's original mosque, which was later converted into a chapel by the Catholic kings.

On the northern edge of the Alcazaba you'll see the 11th century Wall of Jairan which drops down into the valley and ascends the San Cristobel hillside on the other side. The wall was built by the province's first Moorish ruler who was called Jairan.

The city's beautiful 16th century cathedral in the town's old quarter is also worth a visit. Work started on the impressive gothic and renaissance style building in 1524 after the previous cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake two years earlier. The cathedral was built as a semi fortress to withstand attacks by the Berber pirates from North Africa. Its six gothic towers once held cannons. The cathedral houses some priceless artwork and the chapel behind the main altar contains the tomb of its founder, Bishop Villalan.

More of the city's history is charted by the three museums which house important exhibits from Iberian and Roman times the Sala de Prehistoria and Sala de Historia Antigua in Calle Hermanos Machado and another Sala de Historia Antigua (Ancient History Showroom) in Calle Infanta.

Head west out of the city along the coast and after about 13 kilometres you'll come to the tourist centre of Aguadulce with many hotels, restaurants, a yacht harbour and plenty of watersports. A little way on is the popular resort of Roquetas de Mar, an attractive fishing village with whitewashed houses, a bustling harbour and a good range of sports including an 18 hole golf course.

On the eastern side of the Costa Almeria you'll find the attractive and busy resort of Mojacar, a distinctive hill top town with clusters of whitewashed buildings and a maze of winding narrow streets. Mojácar has a lively beach scene in high season.

Take a trip inland to visit the famous troglodyte villages where modern day cave dwellers have burrowed their extraordinary homes out of the soft rock. You can see the doors, windows and chimneys from the outside but for the most part these "casas cuevas" are buried within the hillsides, protecting their occupants from the blistering summer heat. You'll find cave houses in several villages in Almeria including Alhabia, Gador, Benahadux, Fondon and Laujar de Andarax.

Near the desert town of Tabernas you can visit the wild west theme parks of Mini Hollywood and Texas Hollywood. Enjoy some "high noon" style shoot outs, can can shows and various cowboy antics amid the remnants of the movie sets left behind by the makers of hundreds of spaghetti westerns. Double door saloons and hangmen's gallows are a curious sight in 21st century Spain! A Fistful of Dollars, The Good the Bad and the Ugly and part of Lawrence of Arabia were filmed here in these so called "tierras malas" (badlands) of Almeria.