Almeria

Almeria is located in southeast Spain, 114 miles east of Malaga. This magnificent city is known for having the best weather in all of Spain, as it is warm and dry virtually the entire year. It is a fabulous place to visit anytime, but Almeria is especially pleasant in the spring and fall. It has a mild climate that is perfect for traveling throughout the region.

Almeria is best known as the capital of Spain's grape industry. The landscaped squares are so magnificent that you can spend hours just sitting and observing. Enjoying a Spanish snack while relaxing in one of the squares is a cherished pastime for locals and tourists alike. All the boulevards in Almeria are lined with gorgeous trees, creating shade and a crisp, clean atmosphere.

Almeria has remained relatively unchanged over the decades. It is still comprised of a maze of narrow, side-winding alleyways, which are laced with small, flat-roofed houses. Modern apartment structures have been added to the suburbs because of a recent increase in tourism. But the older architecture, comprised of beautiful white homes, creates a distinctly Andalusian ambiance within the city. The buildings and religious structures of the city are amazingly well-crafted, and a walking tour of Almeria is great fun.

Docking & Local Transportation

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Almeria y Motril (950/236-033). Taxis will be waiting to take you to your destination.

Almeria has an efficient bus system (950/213-847) that can take you around the region without being a burden on your wallet. If you'd like a more personalized transportation option, consider taking a taxi. Contact Vera Taxi Rank (950/390-874) or Turre (950/479-334) to arrange for a pickup. If you'd prefer to rent a car while in Almeria, contact Almericar S.L. (950/478-605) and they will outfit you with a quality automobile at a reasonable price.

Local Interests

The Alcazaba fortress dominates Almeria with its grand size and imposing aura. This great structure was built by Caliph Abdar-Rhaman Ill, and the bell tower was constructed by Carlos III. This was one of the largest bell towers in Spain, and from the top of the fortress, the view is unbelievable. You will be treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of the port and the entire city. In 1522, and then again in 1560, the fortress was damaged by a series of earthquakes. The tremors of 1560 left the fort in ruins, and it was rendered useless as a military base. It has been renovated only enough to get a true sense of how impressive an edifice it once was.

The cathedral, which was made to look like a castle by the presence of buttressed towers, stands right below the Alcazaba. In the 16th century, Barbary pirates raided the area frequently, and the city constructed many defenses to aid in fending off intruders. The general design of the cathedral is Gothic, complemented by classical touches on the doorways.

Mini Hollywood, a Wild West town set left behind by the movie industry and located fifteen miles north of Almeria on the N340, (950/365-236) is a great place to get the flavor and feeling of Hollywood while visiting Spain. The take on American culture is quite entertaining, and many of the old spaghetti western films were shot here. When filming is not in progress, a film set is open to anyone who wants to peruse the area. Hang around long enough and you might be hired as an extra in the next small budget western!

Activities

Outdoor Sports

Tennis is quite popular in Almeria, and there are numerous great courts within the city. Hotel Eurotennis, located in Villajoyosa (96/589-1250), is one of the most popular facilities. Club de Tenis de Almeria, which is located in Huercal de Almeria, (Avenida de las Alpujarras, 950/300-390) is another hot spot for some tennis action. This club is particularly popular among doubles players. In addition, there are plenty of seats for your family and friends to cheer you on as you tempt fate against one of the local pros.

Golf is becoming increasingly popular in Spain, and there are several courses in the Almeria area, including La Envia (950/559-656), a stunning course set in a valley amidst rugged Andalucian hills, and Playa Serena (950/333-055), a flat course located near the coast south of Almeria.

Dining

Valentin (Tenor Iribarne 19, 950/264-475) is an excellent spot to find specialties of the region. The Cazuela de rape, monkfish baked in a tasty sauce of pine nuts and almonds, is a favorite entrée. The décor of Valentin is distinctly Andalusian. The hand-crafted wood, well-designed glass, and striking white walls give this restaurant a real Spanish flavor. Veracruz is in the beach barrio of Almeria, at Cabo de Gata 119 (950/251-220). This is the best seafood restaurant in the vicinity, and the scrumptious selections can be mixed and matched to create any meal you can think of. The specialty here is parillada de pescado, which is a combination of nearly everything that swims in the nearby waters.