The 8 best things to do in Almería with friends
Almería is the perfect getaway for a group of friends thanks to the multitude of attractions it has to offer. Here you have a selection of seven plans that will allow you and your friends to get the best out of Almería. Whether you choose just one or if you’re the type to take them all on, culture, sport and the very best of Almerian cuisine await!
A visit to the fortress
First things first. If you and your friends come to Almería then you cannot miss a visit to the Fortress of Almería, an incredible hilltop fortification built by the Moors at the beginning of the 16th century that dominates the Almerian gulf from the summit known as San Cristóbal. A walk within the ramparts will allow you to discover such feats of Moorish architecture as the water cisterns, the towers and gardens, not to mention discovering such emblematic buildings as the Palace of Almotacín – named after the Moorish king of the taifa or ‘province’ of Almería – the Hermitage of San Juan or the Jayrán Walls, from which you will get the best panoramic views of the city and its port.
Descent to the refuges of the Civil War
Beneath the Old Town of Almería lies a labyrinth of tunnels and galleries that show the true resilience of people during wartime. The Refuges of the Civil War (Plaza Manuel Pérez García) were built during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) in order to protect the citizens of Almería from the continuous Francoist aerial bombardments. Today, these subterranean galleries, which were rediscovered in 2001, are open to the public by way of a number of daily interactive tours organized by the Civil War Refuges Museum.
Tapas in Almería
There are some who say being hungry makes it impossible to learn. Others that learning makes you hungry. Whichever ethos you go by, it never hurts to gather (or recoup) strength to keep up with the hard slog of being a tourist. Sampling local delicacies fits the bill perfectly and there is no better place to do so than one of Andalucia’s most renowned hubs of tapas. At the corner of Jovellanos and Lope de Vega streets you will find the oldest bar in the city and there is no better place to start your tapas tour. The Casa Puga was founded in 1870 and it still offers around 50 different tapas, specialising in locally sourced marinated anchovies and ‘prawns in trench coats’ (gambas con gabardina) which are exquisite battered prawns. On the same street you will also find the Taberna Nuestra Tierra (literally, “Our Land’s Tavern”) which has a menu that is made up exclusively of locally sourced food and wine. And finally, you would be remiss if you didn’t pop by Entremares, which specialises in octopus and will not disappoint.
Nights outs on the ‘Four Streets’ of Almería
Enjoying the nightlife in Almería doesn’t have to be complicated, especially seeing as the best place to go is the very heart of the Old Town. The Four Streets (Las Cuatro Calles) are replete with nightclubs and bars from Seneca Street – which specialises in grungy rock bars – to San Pedro Street with its bricks reverberating to the sound of pop. La Chica de Ayer (Calle San Pedro, 1) swings between Spanish pop-rock and Latin music and is one of the most popular places in the city. There is also the Madchester Club (Nicolás Salmerón Park) which regularly features live music in genres such as rock and indie. If a more ‘international’ scene is your thing then Fun Corner (Calle Luis Braille, 37) will not disappoint, since it is known as the meeting point for Erasmus students from the university of Almería.
Escapada al Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata-Níjar
Since the province of Almería is much more than just its capital, it’s highly recommendable that you hire a car and take a few trips getting to know the area of Cabo de Gata. This protected Natural Park is the product of volcanic activity on the peninsula and now covers some 50,000 hectares full of a rich variety of flora and fauna in picture-postcard beautiful surroundings. Aside from the park itself, there are a number of quaint villages to visit, such as Níjar and the beautiful fishing village Mojácar. This is all before you even get to the virgin beaches like Los Muertos and the stunning reefs of Las Sirenas, all of which can be found just 30 kilometres from the Almerian capital.
Summertime swimming in Los Canales de Padules
Towards the far west of the province you will find one of the most emblematic places in all Almería, Los Canales de Padules. In the area known as the Almerian Alpujarra, you will find one of the most beautiful mountain towns in the province. Padules was made famous by the Canales de Padules, a stunning mix of hidden lagoons guarded by sheer vertical walls that hug the River Andarax. This isolated oasis is the perfect place to go in summer and attracts an increasing number of visitors every year.
A visit to the Old West in Tabernas Desert
Before becoming home to a variety of theme parks, the Tabernas Desert – situated 30 km north of the city of Almería – was once the backdrop to innumerable Westerns from the 60s and 70s. Its arid scenery inspired filmmakers to recreate the ‘Old West’ in its environs and attracted such Hollywood greats as Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck and Steve McQueen among others. Today, there are three different theme parks that pay homage to this heritage – Oasys MiniHollywood, Fort Bravo and Western Leone – which not only offer guided tours to the old film sets but also feature animal reserves and even places to swim.
A camel ride in Pechina desert
The seventh plan does not veer far from the desert but, instead, takes you further in thanks to the Almerian company Camelus and its camel excursions. Found in the municipality of Pechina, fewer than 10 kilometres from the capital, Camelus offers a variety of tours into the semi-arid environs of Almería and you can even visit its camel ranch where you can get to know these majestic animals up close and possibly even have a desert barbeque as a group.