Whilst the city of Almeria isn’t the most interesting in Spain and the province of Almeria is far from the prettiest area in the country some 400,000 visitors arrived at the airport last year attracted by the guaranteed sunshine, charming coastal towns and unspoilt, semi-deserted beaches of the Costa de Almeria. In spite of the barren landscape resulting from the hot, dry climate of the region there’s a thriving tourist industry centred on the popular resorts of Mojacar and Roquetas de Mar together with the less well known destinations of Vera, Carboneras, Aguadulce and Almerimar.
One of Almeria province’s main attractions is the National Park of Cabo de Gata. The varied terrain is of volcanic origin whilst its fine beaches and coves attract many visitors in the summer months. The rest of the year it’s very quiet. The main town of San José is a pleasant base from which to explore the region and has easy access to some excellent beaches most notably Playa de los Genoveses. A number of quaint fishing villages line the coast as you head north until you reach Agua Amarga which is well worth a stop.
The origins of the historic city of Almeria in south-eastern Spain can be traced back to Phoenician times yet few tourists take time out to visit the provincial capital. It’s worth a half day visit if you’re staying in the region even if it’s just to see its Moorish Alcazaba fortress which dates back to 955 and can be seen from the main coast road that skirts the city. The 16th century Cathedral is also impressive but there’s little else to detain you unless you fancy seeking out the huge Crystal Cave nearby that was recently discovered in an abandoned silver mine.
Resorts of the Costa de Almeria
The ‘Costa de Almeria’ is a name created for the tourist brochures referring to the 217km coastline of the province of Almeria. It includes two main resorts (Mojácar and Roquetas de Mar), a number of smaller resorts together with a few regional attractions that will appeal to visitors such as the film sets in the Tabernas Desert, the national park of Cabo de Gata and the Sabinar Entinas Nature Reserve.
Mojacar lies 90km north-east of the city of Almeria. It’s made up of the lovely, white-washed village of Mojacar Pueblo and the beach resort of Mojacar Playa 2km down the hill. The village has some nice bars and restaurants amidst its winding streets and is a great place to spend the early part of the evening with a gin and tonic admiring the incredible views out to sea. Most tourist accommodation lies closer to the beach where there’s a busy resort in its own right. It has a great beach and an impressive selection of Spanish and international restaurants.
Just north of Mojacar is Vera Playa which also has a nice beach of which 2km is reserved for nude bathing. The resort is fairly unique in that some of it is dedicated to naturism including a number of apartments where you can wander around naked! Nearby there’s a good waterpark (Parque Acuático Vera) but you’ll need to keep your kit on 😉Heading south for 28km along the coast road from Mojacar you’ll come to Carboneras which is a great base from which to access almost 20km of sandy beaches running along this coastal strip. Approaching the Cabo de Gata national park, a favourite spot of my own is the pretty fishing village of Agua Amarga which has a great beach and some lovely places to stop for lunch.
Just west of Almeria along the impressive coast road is the tourist development of Aguadulce which has one of the region’s most popular beaches thanks largely to its proximity to the city. The resort boasts an impressive marina which is central to its nightlife and attracts mainly Spanish visitors. Just 8km further on is Roquetas de Mar which is the main resort of the area. It’s a fairly relaxed resort which is especially popular with Spanish visitors but still attracts plenty package tourists from northern Europe. Main attractions include a great beach, plenty choice of bars and restaurants and a good range of accommodation options. To the south-west is Almerimar which is a purpose built resort with a sizeable marina, plenty access to watersports and proximity to a popular golf course. Its beach runs into the Sabinar Entinas Nature Reserve which is a 15km stretch of protected coastline between Almerimar and Roquetas.