THINGS TO DO IN ALMERIA

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What to do in Almeria

Some of the warmest weather and best beaches in Spain can be found in Almeria, located in the southeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. While the 200km long stretch of coast has become a popular tourist destination, thankfully it hasn’t been overdeveloped like has happened in so many other parts of Spain. But there is more to do in Almeria than just relax at the beach. The region is still relatively unknown and is great for those looking to get off the beaten path. And since it isn’t well known, you probably don’t know what to do. But don’t worry, our list of the top things to do in Almeria has you covered.

Top 14 Things to Do in Almeria

1

CABO DE GATA

Agua Amarga's beachfront in Cabo de Gata, Costa de Almeria (Spain)
Agua Amarga's beachfront on the coast of Cabo de Gata

The Cabo de Gata Nature Park occupies 63 km of the coast of Almeria. It is characterized by its arid landscapes, volcanic cliffs and fossilized sand dunes. However, it also boasts some of the best beaches in Almeria – if not some of the best beaches in Spain! Great examples of these are the Playa de los Muertos and Playa de Monsul. The beaches of Cabo de Gata are also home to a wide array of marine life, making it popular among snorkelers and divers.

BEST HOTELS IN CABO DE GATA

Planning a trip to the Cabo de Gata Nature Park? Check out our curated selection of the best hotels in Cabo de Gata.

Cabo de Gata is a popular summer holiday destination for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of other overdeveloped areas of the Spanish coast. Although there are several town beaches with facilities and amenities, there are also hundreds of virgin beaches and small coves waiting to be explored. If you get out of the beaten path, you can find your own private cove!

Moreover, apart from sun and fun by the beach, there are a lot of other things to do in Cabo de Gata.


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2

CATEDRAL DE ALMERIA

Square lined with palm trees leading to the main entrance of the Almeria Cathedral
Main entrance to the Almeria Cathedral
Dreamstime

Almeria’s Cathedral, whose official name is Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (5€ entrance fee), is quite an unusual church. This fortress-temple was clearly built with a dual purpose. It wasn’t only erected for religious purposes, but also to defend from Berber, pirate and Ottoman attacks.

The cathedral’s robust structure is what makes it so unique. You won’t find any large openings or stained glass windows because the defensive purposes where more important than the aesthetics.

Construction began in 1524, two years after an earthquake destroyed the previous cathedral (and most of the city). The initial designs were probably from Diego de Siloé, who also worked in the Granada Cathedral. But it was Juan de Orea who was responsible for most of the construction. In the cathedral’s architecture, it is possible to see the transition of styles from Gothic to Renaissance and later to Baroque.


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3

VELEZ BLANCO

White village of Vélez-Blanco, one of the top things to do in Almeria
White village of Vélez-Blanco, one of the top things to do in Almeria

Vélez-Blanco is one of the most beautiful villages in all of Almeria. It’s dominated by the castle (Castillo de Vélez Blanco) also known as Fortaleza de los Fajardos (Fajardos Fortress). This imposing castle was built in the 16th century on top of a Moorish alcazaba.

The manicured old town of Vélez-Blanco, which is a pleasure to get lost in, maintains the original Moorish structure. Wandering around you will discover churches, convents and some great examples of Baroque architecture such as the Corredera House.

The area surrounding Vélez Blanco is also home to a rich archeological heritage in the form of cave paintings. Some of the most important can be found at the Letreros Caves, which date back to 5,000 BC. Among animal and human figures, stands out the Indalo, which has become a symbol of Almeria.

Vélez Blanco forms part of the Nature Park Sierra María – Los Vélez, which offers numerous hikes and other activities for nature lovers.

Certainly, visiting Velez Blanco is one of the top things to do in Almeria.


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4

PLAYA DE LOS MUERTOS

Impressive free standing rock in Playa de los Muertos, Cabo de Gata
Impressive free standing rock in Playa de los Muertos

Playa de los Muertos is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Spain. Surrounded by steep cliffs, this 1 km long gorgeous beach is totally virgin. But what makes it so unique is a free standing rock formation that protrudes into the water.

Playa de los Muertos takes its name (“beach of the dead”) from the bodies that would wash ashore after shipwrecks. But there is no need to worry, because those days are long gone. Instead, today you will find a vast array of marine life occupying these waters – great for snorkeling!

OUR HOTEL CHOICE NEAR PLAYA DE LOS MUERTOS

El Trébol Bar & Hotel is our favorite accommodation in Carboneras, which is the closest town to Playa de los Muertos (10 minute drive). Featuring Scandinavian décor in warm tones, El Trébol Bar & Hotel is super stylish yet unpretentious. And what’s even better, it is located just steps away from the beach of Carboneras.

Please note that to get to the beach it is necessary to follow a steep downhill walk for about 15 minutes from the parking area. If you have mobility issues or are traveling with small children, you might want to go to a different beach in or around Carboneras.


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5

DESIERTO DE TABERNAS

Tabernas desert, one of the top things to do in Almeria, Spain
Tabernas desert, one of the top things to do in Almeria

The Tabernas Desert is made up by 280 km2 surrounded by the Filabres and Alhamilla mountain chains. These mountains act as a natural barrier against the humid winds from the Mediterranean Sea creating special conditions that make the Desierto de Tabernas the only real desert in all of Europe. That is why visiting the Tabernas Desert is one of the top things to do in Almeria.

Thousands of years ago, this area was completely covered by seawater. Today, it is like an open air geology museum. The Tabernas Desert is also home to many rare plant and animal species, many of them unique in Europe and even in the entire world. Moreover, a variety of migratory birds also call the Tabernas Desert home for part of the year.

Since the late 50’s, the Tabernas Desert has been used as the filming location of hundreds of movies, TV series, ads and more. During the 60’s and 70’s it became the “capital” of the spaghetti western (Italian western). There were also a lot of Hollywood movies filmed here – to the point that it was nicknamed the “European Hollywood.” Steven Spielberg, Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, are just a few from showbiz that have worked in Tabernas. The list goes on and on.

If you are interested in the Hollywood past of the Desierto de Tabernas, make sure to check out Fort Bravo.


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6

FORT BRAVO

Fort Bravo Western town in the Tabernas Desert, Almeria
Fort Bravo Western town

Located in the Tabernas Desert, Fort Bravo pays homage to the cinematographic past of the area. It is actually one of the 14 towns that were built in the middle of the desert in the 60’s and 70’s to film western movies.

When entering Fort Bravo, you will feel like you have travelled back in time (or into a western film). The complex is divided in three areas: Western, Mexican and Indian. Apart from exploring it all on your own, tickets also include a cart ride where you are accompanied by an informative and always entertaining guide.

While in Fort Bravo, you will have the opportunity to visit a saloon, enjoy a western show and be the spectator of a duel between the sheriff and the villain. There is also a swimming pool in the premises (which can be quite an asset if you are visiting in summer) and they also organize horse riding excursions.


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7

ALCAZABA DE ALMERIA

Towers and defensive walls of the Alcazaba de Almeria, Spain
Alcazaba de Almeria

The Alcazaba de Almería (free access for EU citizens, 1.5€ for others) is one of the largest citadels built by the Moors in Spain. Surrounded by a wall that’s 5 m high and 3 m thick, this fortress-city was home to Muslim rulers for over 5 centuries.

Its construction started in 955 by Abd al-Rahman III on the remains of an earlier fortress. This is the same caliph who also built the “brilliant city” of Medina Azahara, just outside of Cordoba.

The Alcazaba was later finished by the first king of the Taifa of Almeria, Jayrán, in the 11th century.

OUR FAVORITE ACCOMMODATION IN ALMERIA CITY

HO Puerta de Purchena offers modern one and two bedroom apartments in the center of Almeria city. This stylish self-catering accommodation also features a gorgeous rooftop terrace with an outdoor pool and a snack bar.

Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1522 destroyed most of the citadel’s buildings. Today, pretty much only defensive walls and watchtowers are still standing.

Although there might not be much to see inside, if you are in the city of Almeria, the Alcazaba is worth a visit. With its dominating position on the Cerro de San Cristóbal, it also offers great views of the city and bay of Almeria.


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8

FARO DE CABO DE GATA & ARRECIFE DE LAS SIRENAS

Cabo de Gata Lighthouse above the Sirens' Reef – Almeria, Spain
Cabo de Gata Lighthouse above the Sirens' Reef

The Cabo de Gata Lighthouse along with the Sirens’ reef is one of the most iconic images of the Cabo de Gata Nature Park and one of the top things to do in Almeria.

The lighthouse, known as Faro de Cabo de Gata or Faro de la Vela Blanca, was built in 1863 on the Cape of Gata. It warns vessels of the treacherous reef called Laja of the Cape, which throughout history has been responsible for many shipwrecks.

Right next to the lighthouse stands the Sirens’ Lookout (Mirador de las Sirenas) which overlooks the gorgeous turquoise waters known as the Sirens’ Reef (Arrecife de las Sirenas). Legend has it that fishermen would confuse the monk seals that used to inhabit the area with mermaids or sirens.

If you have the time, make sure to take your snorkel with you and explore the reef. You won’t be disappointed!


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9

CUEVAS DE SORBAS

Inside the Sorbas Caves in Almeria
Inside the Sorbas Caves
© Cuevas de Sorbas

The Sorbas Caves are a unique karstic gyspum complex in the interior of the province of Almeria. What is karstic gypsum you ask? It’s actually a type of crystalline rock that reflects the light. This makes for some spectacular scenery! And there aren't many places in the world to see this type of cave. In fact, it’s the only gypsum cave in the entire world that is even open to visitors.

The Sorbas Caves are made up by over 1,000 cavities carved in gypsum. There are kilometers of galleries excavated, some of them full of stalactites and stalagmites.

Visitors can choose among several different speleological itineraries, from the most basic (90 min) to the technical route (4 h 30 min). The visits are informative but also very entertaining. Equipped with a helmet and a head light, you get to explore the caves while learning about them, their past, present and future – as gypsum dissolves in water, they are changing constantly!

Best of all, no experience is needed to visit the Cuevas de Sorbas. It can serve as a fantastic introduction for people interested in speleology but can also be a great “little adventure” for families with children.


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10

ISLETA DEL MORO

Coastline along Isleta del Moro – Cabo de Gata, Spain
Coastline along Isleta del Moro

Isleta del Moro is a quaint little village on the Cabo de Gata coast. Made up of small white houses, this charming village features a very laid-back atmosphere almost all year around. However, it does actually gets quite busy during the summer months.

La Isleta is home to a beautiful sandy beach that is presided over by a huge white rock form. It’s known as Playa del Peñón Blanco - Beach of the White Rock.

OUR FAVORITE ACCOMMODATION NEAR ISLETA DEL MORO

Located 5km away from Isleta del Moro, the Complejo Turístico Los Escullos San José is a camping site that also rents bungalows for up to 5 people. The long list of amenities make it perfect for families with children: swimming pool, gym and sauna, games room, children’s playground, paddle tennis court, diving club, supermarket & restaurant, etc.

But this isn’t the only famous rock in town. At the southern most point of the village stand two more imposing rocks. The Peñón del Moro, connected to the mainland, and the Isleta del Moro, which is actually a tiny islet. It is possible to walk around the Peñón del Moro and enjoy great views of the village and the coastline.

If you are in Isleta del Moro, make sure to try some fresh fish in one of the restaurants along the water’s edge.


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11

MOJACAR

Visitors bathing at a beach in Mojacar Playa, Costa de Almeria
Mojacar Playa on the Costa de Almeria

Although Mojacar is mainly known as one of the most popular beach destinations in Almeria, it is actually divided in two. On one side there’s the historic old town of Mojacar Pueblo, perched in a hill high on the Sierra Cabrera Mountains. On the other, the modern beach resort town of Mojacar Playa stretches along the coast.

Mojacar Playa stretches along 17 km of sandy beaches. There are several developed beaches right in town with facilities and amenities, such as Playa de las Ventanicas and Playa del Lance Nuevo. But just outside of town, there are many virgin coves where nudism is common.

OUR TOP PICK HOTEL IN MOJACAR

Our favorite accommodation in Mojacar is the Parador de Mojacar. This modern 4-star hotel with a laid-back vibe is surrounded by a beautiful garden area with a swimming pool and 2 padel courts. And the beach is just meters away!

If you still want more beaches, Mojacar is also very close to the Cabo de Gata Nature Park, famous for its vast array of gorgeous beaches.

And of course there is the quaint old town of Mojacar Pueblo. If you are visiting the area, then a visit is a must. Get lost wandering its narrow streets and take in the views of the surrounding nature and the costa de Almeria.

For all of these and many more reasons, visiting Mojacar is one of the top things to do in Almeria.


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12

NIJAR

White village of Nijar perched on a hillside in Almeria (Spain)
White village of Nijar perched on a hillside

Nijar is a picturesque white village situated in the interior of the Cabo de Gata Nature Park. It is made up of steep, narrow streets running along a hillside all the way up to the atalaya (watchtower). If you want to enjoy the best views of the surrounding nature, make sure you make it to the top!

TOP ACCOMMODATION IN NIJAR

The Hotel Rural Cortijo La Alberca is a charming family run accommodation set in a 250 year old building just outside of Nijar. It features Moorish inspired décor and a swimming pool surrounded by orange and olive trees.

Nijar is famous for its ceramic and textile products. Both can be traced back to the Moors and have survived since the town was founded in the 13th century. Although these traditions have been in decline over the last decades, it’s still possible to see weavers working on the traditional loom and artisans in their workshops creating pottery.

While in Nijar, don’t miss a visit to the pottery quarter (barrio alfarero) and make sure to support the local craftsmen.


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13

PLAYA DE MONSUL

Monsul beach in Cabo de Gata, one of the top things to do in Almeria (Andalusia)
Monsul beach in Cabo de Gata, one of the top things to do in Almeria

Playa de Monsul is one of the most beautiful beaches in Almeria. This sandy virgin beach is located in Cabo de Gata, very close to the tourist hub of San Jose.

The Monsul beach is characterized by a unique volcanic rock known as the Peineta de Monsul (Monsul Comb). The beach’s tranquil crystalline waters make it perfect for snorkeling. It’s also a favorite of families with children.

OUR FAVORITE HOTEL NEAR PLAYA DE MONSUL

The Hostal del Cabo is our favorite accommodation in San Jose. It offers bright and spacious rooms featuring stylish décor in light tones. Located right next to the beach, the port and a bunch of restaurants, the Hostal del Cabo might not be the most luxurious, but has everything one can need and offers great value for the money.

Playa de Monsul is surrounded by volcanic “moon like” landscapes. It’s hard to miss the massive sand dune. If you are up for a little adventure, make sure to hike to the top of the dune and enjoy the spectacular views of the coastline.


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14

VERA

Lifeguard stand at Vera beach, Almería
Lifeguard stand at Vera beach

Vera is a famous beach resort town that, like Mojacar, is also divided in two. While the old town of Vera (Vera Pueblo) is located several kilometers away from the coast, the newer development along the beach is known as Vera Playa.

Apart from having over 6 km of sandy beaches, Vera Playa is famous for being one of the main naturist resort towns in Europe. Besides the many nudist friendly accommodations, Vera is also home to the first 100% nudist hotel in Spain, the Vera Playa Club Hotel.

If you don’t like letting it all free, then that’s ok too – Vera will still welcome you.


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