Almeria, located in the southeast of Andalusia, is a less-explored destination that has many things to offer for any type of traveller – from stunning crystal blue water beaches filled with unique natural rock formations and a semi-arid desert to detailed Moorish buildings.
When people plan a trip to Southern Spain, they often leave out Almeria and visit the popular cities of Seville, Malaga and Granada. However, if you’re after a relaxing city with hidden gems, then Almeria is the destination you want to choose.
In this blog, I am going to tell you incredible things you can do in Almeria city.
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Explore Alcazaba de Almeria
Alcazaba de Almeria is a beautiful Moorish fortress-palace located a few minutes walk from the heart of the city.
Visiting the Alcazaba feels like going back to the Moorish period in Spain. As you walk through the cobbled paths you’ll be able to contemplate the detailed arched doors and stunning views of the city from the palace walls.
What makes this Alcazaba different from others in Southern Spain is that you can see some uncovered ruins in the middle of the palace. These ruins were recently discovered by the archaeological team and, apparently, they’re still researching the area.
Entrance to this fortress palace is free, so there’s no reason to miss this beautiful gem! However, if you want to learn about this beautiful historical building, you can book a guided tour with a local expert.
Enjoy a Moroccan treat at Almedina Baraka
There are a couple of Moroccan tea rooms in Almeria, but Almedina Baraka is the best – not only because of its food but the views of the Alcazaba too.
The tea room and restaurant have four floors: a small patio, the ground floor which has outdoor seating too, the second floor with comfy seats and big windows with a view of the Alcazaba, and the rooftop.
When visiting Almeria during the summer, there’s nothing better than a refreshing juice or smoothie. I tried the avocado, banana and almond smoothie and it was amazing! Their Moroccan tea biscuits are a must too.
For a bigger meal, you won’t be disappointed by the kebabs and couscous. But if you’re vegetarian there are also some options for you too.
Visit Almeria Cathedral
The most beautiful building in Almeria is the cathedral. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built between 1524 to 1562, and it has two architectural styles from those times – Gothic and Renaissance.
Its architecture is outstanding from the outside as well as the inside. There is a small fee of 5 euros to visit Almeria’s cathedral, but the entry ticket also includes a free audio guide to learn all about the history behind this unique cathedral.
If you love taking photos, then you must visit in the morning and evening. In the evening the lights are switched on and the cathedral gives you a different feeling. It’s definitely worth visiting it at both times.
Wander the streets
Almeria’ city centre is connected by many small streets in which it’s nice to get lost and wander around them.
One of the most photographed streets in Almeria is Calle Descanso, close to the Alcazaba. This street is popular for its view of the Alcazaba and colourful houses.
Another popular street is Paseo de Almeria, which is the main street in the city centre. In it, you’ll find plenty of shops.
Take a picture of the statue of John Lennon
Do you wonder why there is a statue of John Lennon in Almeria? The statue was dedicated to The Beatles in memory of their time in Almeria during the filming of How I Won the War in 1996.
John Lennon lived in what used to be the farmhouse Santa Isabel, where he wrote the song Strawberry Fields Forever.
You can see and take a picture of the statue in Plaza de las Flores next to Hotel Nuevo Torreluz Almeria.
Have breakfast at CRAFT Specialty Coffee
If you’re looking for a less traditional breakfast bar, CRAFT is a great option. This little coffee shop and bar is located a few minutes from the John Lennon statue, in the heart of the city.
The coffee shop is beautifully decorated with wood and green decorations. The breakfast is good, but the hot drinks are the best.
Not only is the coffee good, but other drinks such as the chai latte and the hot chocolate with toffee sauce and marshmallows.
The menu is quite diverse so you can eat anything from breakfast bowls and waffles to toasts with many toppings (avocado, tuna, ham, etc.)
CRAFT gets very busy, so I would recommend going early for breakfast!
Go to Almeria Central Market
If you love visiting markets wherever you go, you’ll want to check out Almeria Central Market near the top of Paseo de Almería.
The market was built in the 19th century by architect Antonio Martínez Pérez and it shows the features of the iron architecture.
Inside you’ll find the freshest products (meat, fish, vegetables, etc.) in the city as well as spices, wine and flowers.
The market is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 8:30 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.
Climb to Cerro San Cristobal
At only 10 minutes from the city centre, it’s Cerro San Cristobal – a monument located at the top of a hill. You can easily access it walking, however, just be aware that the neighbourhood next to it doesn’t look great, so I wouldn’t recommend climbing up to Cerro San Cristobal in the evening.
Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll find a great panoramic view of the city, Alcazaba and sea.
From the hill, there are a few stairs that will take you closer to the monument. Although you can explore the land next to it, just be careful when getting close to the cliffs.
Visit Shelters Civil War
Anyone passionate about history must visit Shelters Civil War museum.
The museum consists of underground galleries that were used by humans to protect themselves from the bombs that occurred in the city during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
Not only will you have an idea of how life was underground, but you can also see recreated spaces such as a storage pantry.
To visit Shelters Civil War, you must make an appointment, and all the tours are guided.
Walk down La Rambla
La Rambla, located next to Paseo de Almeria, is a lovely walk in Almeria.
If you walk all the way down or up, you’ll contemplate a beautiful fountain surrounded by bright and lively flowers, statues and the Almeria sign where you can take a picture.
In La Rambla, you can sometimes see stalls where independent businesses sell their goods – mostly ceramics and home decoration made by hand.
Eat tapas at Real 31
During my time in Almeria, I ate twice at Real 31 and I can totally say it’s one of the best tapas places in the city.
The restaurant is beautifully decorated and it offers indoor and outdoor seating. However, the main highlight is the food. The menu includes tapas, dishes for two people, grilled meats and homemade desserts.
If you aren’t unsure about what to order, you’ll never go wrong with quesadillas, couscous with chicken and caramelised onion, croquetas 31 – the restaurant’s own version of croquettes that has ham and chicken, and secreto with chimichurri sauce.
Visit Museo de Almeria
If you would love to learn about Almeria history and culture, you must visit Museo de Almería. The museum isn’t as visible as other attractions, but it’s located not far from Almeria coach station.
The museum has three floors on which you can learn about Almeria from prehistory to the Muslim influences in the province to the present. As you go through the different floors, you can see that the museum is home to many archaeological objects that take you back to hundreds of years.
The museum is worth visiting, and it’s great that you can visit it for free.
Contemplate art at Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta
Doña Pakyta Art Museum is located on the left side of La Rambla. This art museum is dedicated to all the artists from Almeria, and you can find art from the 19th century all the way to the beginning of the 50s.
The beautiful building was initially the home of Francisca Díaz Torres, known as Doña Pakyta, who granted it to Almeria town’s hall with the aim of building a cultural centre.
The museum is worth visiting, and it isn’t only impressive outside but inside too. It’s the perfect place for art lovers who want to discover the talent of almerienses (people from Almeria) artists.
You can visit the museum for free, and check the opening and closing times here.
Take a picture of Cable Inglés
Cable Inglés (the English Pier), also known as El Alquife, is an ancient pier that was used to transport iron from the train station to the cargo ships in the port of Almeria. The pier was used from 1904 until 1973.
Nowadays, Cable Inglés is a symbol of Spain’s industrial heritage and it was recognised as a Cultural Heritage site too.
You can start seeing this iron architecture from the railway station all the way to Playa de las Almadrabillas.
Buy a souvenir at Almeria street market
Finding a souvenir shop in Almeria isn’t as easy as in other cities. During my time in Almeria, I only came across two souvenir shops in the city centre.
You can find plenty of things in those, but if you prefer a unique and handmade souvenir, then you want to visit La Rambla where many artisans from Almeria and other cities in Spain sell traditional Andalusian ceramics – plates, jars, decorations, etc.
Go to Almeria beaches
Almeria beaches are incredible, and you don’t go to Cabo de Gata to notice this. Across the city, you can find Playa San Miguel – Zapillo, which is the closest to the city centre and is about a 10-minute walk from Cable Inglés, Playa de la Térmica, Playa Nueva Almería, etc.
These beaches have crystal blue water that you can see what’s under the sea, and the ones close to the city centre have a lovely promenade with restaurants, bars and ice cream shops.
Visit the Tabernas Desert
Desierto de Tabernas is one of the few semi-arid deserts in Spain, and it’s situated 30 km (approx 19 miles) to the north of the city.
Tabernas desert is considered the only desert in the European continent, and it has flora and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else.
The desert is also known for its film productions and it’s referred to as the mini-Hollywood. If you’ve ever seen films such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly you will recognise it.
When visiting Tabernas desert you can:
- Visit Fort Bravo Texas Hollywood
- Contemplate Tabernas castle
- Go inside Encarnación church
- Spend half a day in Oasys MiniHollywood theme park.
You can also book a 4×4 tour in which you’ll discover the landscapes of the Tabernas Desert Natural Park, and learn about film productions.
Go on a day trip to Cabo de Gata
If you’re visiting Almeria for longer than two days, you must visit Cabo de Gata. Personally, it was one of the highlights of my trip to Almeria as I don’t often come across such beautiful beaches as in this area.
Cabo de Gata-Níjar is a nature reserve park with geological features that you won’t find anywhere else in Spain and Europe. This park is very unique because it has similar flora and fauna as the north of Africa – and this may be because of the proximity of both continents.
The only way to explore this park is by driving, but I wouldn’t recommend driving through the park to anyone who is not an experienced driver as there are plenty of difficult and windy roads.
Instead, you can book a day trip from Almeria to Cabo de Gata in which the local guide will take you through some of the key locations in the nature park – Los Escullos, El Faro, La Isleta de Los Moros and San José. The only downside of these tours is that you won’t get all the time you want in each place, but it’s a great way to discover these places in a day.
How to get to Almeria
Almeria has its own airport, however, most of its flights are national. Therefore, you’re most likely to fly to another airport.
The nearest airports are Granada (130 km), Región de Murcia (151 km) and Murcia airport (172 km).
There are many Andalusian destinations that you can travel by coach from to Almeria.
The downside is that they usually take plus 3 hours to get there. The easiest destination to travel by coach is Málaga. You can take the direct coach with ALSA that normally takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
You can also travel by coach from other areas of Spain, but again, coach trips usually take long.
Almeria is very accessible by train, so it’s easy to find trains that travel to Almeria across Spain. The train station is worth seeing because of its beautiful architecture.
Best time to visit Almeria
I believe Almeria is one of those destinations you can visit all year round, and it really depends on your preferences whether you visit it in spring, summer, winter or autumn.
If you’re after a relaxing holiday at the beach, then you’ll love summer there. If you can’t handle very warm temperatures but still want to go to the seaside, then September and even the beginning of October are your best months.
On the other side, for anyone who wants to sightsee and learn about the city, winter is a good option since it’s usually mild and dry.
Where to stay in Almeria
Hotel Nuevo Torreluz Almeria
Almeria centre isn’t very big, however, if you stay in Almeria for a few days, then you want your hotel to be as close to the city centre as possible.
Hotel Nuevo Torreluz Almeria is located at the heart of the city, at only a 5-minute walk from the cathedral and other Almeria attractions. This four-star hotel offers modern and comfortable rooms with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat TV and air conditioning – which is essential during the summer months.
The hotel also has a restaurant that serves traditional food, a solarium and spa on the 5th floor that can be used in summer and winter and a gym.
I enjoyed my stay at Hotel Nuevo Torreluz as its central location allowed me to visit as many attractions as possible and the bed was quite comfortable.
As you can see Almeria is an underrated city with a good amount of things to do for everyone.
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Frequently asked questions about visiting Almeria
Is Almería worth visiting?
Yes, Almeria is often underrated and less visited by tourists. Nevertheless, the city and region have unique things to offer such as the only desert in Spain, outstanding beaches and beautiful historical buildings.
Does Almería have a beach?
Almeria city has several beaches that you may want to visit. The nearest one to the city centre is El Zapatillo beach.
Is Almeria warm in winter?
Almeria has mild winters in comparison to northern Spain and other European countries. The average temperature is a maximum of 16 degrees.