Valle del Almanzora
Almería has a knack for catching visitors off guard. Over just a few tens of kilometres you travel from pure Mediterranean scenery to the only desert in Europe, before climbing snow-capped peaks 2,100 metres above sea level and dropping into a cloud-filled valley teeming with life. This is more or less what awaits if you start from the coast and head inland to the secluded region of Valle del Almanzora.
The region comprises 27 municipalities and is more or less equidistant from Almería, Granada and Murcia. The towns and villages scattered across the fertile plains of the River Almanzora have their own unique character. Each adds a splash of colour to a valley with green vegetation, white marble and ochre shades in this arid landscape in the south-east of Spain. Expect to see agriculture, almond and olive trees, grape vines and marble quarries in this land of contrasts.
Castles still rise defiantly on the high points of the valley. The most impressive is the Castillo de Serón, dating back to the Nasrid Dynasty (13th century), standing atop a majestic vantage point over the entire Almanzora valley.
Towns such as Olula del Río and Macael are famous for their marble which is prized across the world. Visit the Macael Marble Interpretation Centre to find out more, or pick up the Sendero del Mármol (Marble Trail) to discover the quarries and enjoy the view from the Las Canteras Viewpoint over what is the main marble reserve in Spain.
One of Almería’s highest points surrounds the valley to the south and provides a natural border with the more arid regions of Almería near the Tabernas Desert. Pico de Calar Alto (2,168 metres) has snow-capped peaks in winter and the largest observatory on mainland Europe, which stands like a lighthouse in this lesser known area of Almería.
A trip around Valle del Almanzora, with its 27 towns and villages set against a unique landscape, is a great way to discover a different side to Almería. Several hiking routes throughout the region offer the chance to explore it on foot.
Read more Barceló articles about the province of Almería to discover more about this magical corner of south-eastern Spain.
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