Almeria, in passionate and fiery Andalucia, is named after its last remaining Islamic monument, the Al-Mariyya or Watchtower. This architectural wonder symbolises Almeria’s days as a Moorish city; one that thronged with merchants from around the world, who came to haggle and barter for goods in this rich port city.
Today Almeria is but a memory of that world but one that still holds treasure enough to be discovered. It is a goldmine of historical sites from the Alcazaba and the Castle Velez Blanco to the Cave of Signs and the copper-age site of Los Millares.
But it is not just architecturally and historically that Almeria stands out; it is geographically too. The snow-capped mountains of the stunning Sierra Nevada swoop down into the Cabo de Gata Nature Park with its beaches and coves, and beyond into breath-taking ribbons of sandy shore lapped by warm sea. Eerie salt travertines and volcanic geology create an almost mythical landscape and one perfect for filming in, as Hollywood have discovered. ‘Indiana Jones’, ‘Cleopatra’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘a Few Dollars More’ were all filmed in the region.
Beautiful white traditional houses climb high and winding into the hills against a backdrop of azure skies and snow dusted peaks. In the towns below, charming cobbled streets hide a multitude of cafes, bars and restaurants in which to while away the hours sipping wine and eating tapas. Long leisurely walks in the hills help unwind, or there is paragliding for those with the need for adrenalin.
A stone’s throw from the only desert in Europe and with over 3500 hours of sunshine a year, Almeria is a little touch of the ‘exotic’, that is not so far from home.
The following information is correct as of February 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Almeria Airport is located just over 5 miles from the city centre taking just 15 minutes by car. Alternatively, local bus service 22 provides regular transport to the city centre from the airport, running 365 days a year. The journey time is just 35 minutes. Taxis are also available for hire from outside the terminal building.
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: UK nationals do not require a visa to enter Spain; however a passport valid for three months beyond the date of departure is necessary. Nationals of some countries outside the EU may require a visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws There is a complete ban on smoking in all indoor public places throughout Spain which includes cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and on all public transport. The legal age for purchasing alcohol in Spain is 18.
Best Time to Visit
This stunning Andalucian city with its hot subtropical climate makes a great destination for sun seekers all year round. Ironically summers are the wettest months and often see the most tourists due to school holidays and searing heat, making spring and autumn quieter, slightly cooler, cheaper and drier months to visit. Almeria has one of the warmest and driest climates in Europe with the warmest winters of any other European city. Why not head for a sunshine winter break?
Christmas also sees the fantastic Fiesta de Los Reyes or Three Kings festival take place, celebrating the arrival of the three kings of the Orient. Presents are given to children, kings ride on horseback and sweets are scattered into the cheering crowds for a truly magical experience. February and March are also huge Carnival seasons in Andalucia with plenty of festivities going on at this time. Almeria’s hottest month, August, celebrates the heat with a fiery Flamenco Festival that showcases the country’s most famous dance with daily performances and stunning guitar playing. Almeria’s fishing community celebrates its patron saint, the Virgin of the Sea, with a beautiful array of colourfully adorned boats, processions, music, fireworks and beach bonfires.
Summer and winter festivals are plentiful as are religious celebrations that make the region an exciting year-round destination to visit.
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