3 Days in Almeria
Almeria is a small and intimate city on the shores of the Mediterranean with verdant mounts like that of Saint Christopher. The city exudes a pleasant atmosphere that mixes tourism, tradition, the sea and the industrial developments of the 19th century and the early 20th century. Outside of the city limits, Almeria continues to charm visitors with its small municipalities like Roquetas and Carboneras, and the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.
You have three days to fall in love with Almeria, to enjoy its beauty, its delicious cuisine and, its welcoming people. We are sure that you will want to return.
Itinerary day 1
Starting the day at the highest point in the city, the 10th-century fortified citadel that was built by the Caliph Abderraman III, is the perfect place to begin. This Al-Andalus fortification is the largest of its kind and one of the few that remains in such a great condition. Within its walls are gardens, cisterns, water wheels and irrigation channels, period housing and later Christian constructions.
From the highest point in the city you can now make your way down into the abyss of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). From their construction in 1937 until the end of the war, the 4 km of tunnels were a place of refuge. Fitting up to 40,000 people at a time, the shelters were accessed through one of the 67 secret entranceways, which were to be found every 100 metres at street level. Some of these tunnels were connected to the central market and the church of Saint Peter. In the shelters you will find an operating theatre and other rooms, a collection of original documents and, inscriptions left by those who sought refuge.
This bar was formerly an olive-oil museum but today it’s decorated in a style that celebrates the culture of the province. This is a great place to try the local tapas and also, some local dishes like brazed octopus, chilled garlic and almond soup and, the delicious beef tenderloin. This bar will provide everything you need for a filling lunch whether you come alone or as part of a group.
There isn’t much better than taking a relaxing stroll in the port while watching the comings and goings of the ships on the Mediterranean. You’ll find all kinds of maritime vessels, from great ocean liners to the smaller pleasure craft that are moored in its marina. Today, the port provides places to rest, shop or have a drink or a bite to eat. Be sure not to miss the auction at the nearby fish market.
In the port you’ll find this nineteenth century structure known as the Cable Inglés, or English Pier, whose function was to take locally mined minerals straight to the docked ships for loading. Standing prominently on the skyline, this exceptional construction is a clear reminder of the developments that came about during the Industrial Revolution. Currently, there are a number of projects underway to restore the building, one of which is to build an exhibition centre and also to install a viewpoint upon the structure.
It was Luis Siret, at the end of the 20th century, who began to excavate the archaeological site of the Millares. He discovered a 5000-year-old culture that had dominated the region, along with the later culture of the El Argar, both of which feature prominently in this museum. In the museum, you’ll be able to appreciate the history of this province through the reconstructed scenes, audiovisual materials, archaeological information and, its impressive collection of pottery and other finds.
Having travelled to the distant past, we now recommend that you return to Almeria’s architecture of iron and glass and take a trip to the historical train station. The same as with the English Cable, its creator, Paul Garnier, decided to convert the station into a symbol of modernity in 1903. The interior is still spectacular to this day, with its luxurious halls and murals and, the modern addition of bars, restaurants and, shops.
Stretching for almost 3 kilometres, this seafront features a bike path, vibrant gardens, rows of palm trees, markets, restaurants, shops and, bars, from where you can watch the day turn to night. The promenade pays tribute to the Almerian, Carmen de Burgos, who was the first female war correspondent and an integral part of the Generation of ’98. This was a group of novelists, essayists and poets who were active in Spain during the time of the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Located in the city centre, this restaurant specialises in Mediterranean cuisine. Some of the dishes on offer are: ‘Octopus in oil with paprika parmentier and vitelottes’ and ‘beef tenderloin with foie served on a base of sweet potatoes and sautéed sweet garlic shoots’. The restaurant also boasts a great wine menu and selection of desserts.
Itinerary day 2
This fortified cathedral features crenelated towers and other defensive characteristics. It was designed in such a robust manner so as to repel coastal raiders. However, beauty is still a key aspect to the cathedral with its fine works of art it and its Renaissance façade, which makes it clear that you are entering a sacred space.
This centre exhibits the legacy of photography in Andalusia. In 1990, a number of renowned international photographers donated their work to the centre as part of the ‘Imagina’ project. Because of this, the work on display is recognised for its quality. A number of pieces which won different National Photography Awards are exhibited in its halls. The centre also has a specialist shop, library and, workshop spaces.
From the days of early stringed instruments like the vihuela and the lute, the guitar took many years to take its current form and popularity. The final developments were conducted under the masterful gaze of Antonio de Torres, who changed the guitar into the instrument we know today. The entire history of this instrument is on display in this fascinating museum. Not only will you get to see the magic of this instrument’s acoustics and the elaboration of its construction, using carefully selected materials, but also you’ll have access to other enlightening information and the opportunity to play some guitars.
In the dining room of La Encina you’ll find a wide range of succulent dishes featuring, especially, the cuisine of Andalusia. The braised T-bone steak and the famous red prawns of Garrucha are two particularly popular dishes. If you fancy something a little lighter, though, you can lunch at the adjoining bar, where you can eat some local tapas, black rice dishes and some tasty homemade croquettes.
Roquetas de Mar borders one of the ends of this exceptional nature reserve. In this protected area there are 16 kilometres of virgin beaches, wetlands, salt marshes, marshes and a rich variety of wildlife like, flamingos, herons and the ocellated lizard. Also, within the reserve, you’ll discover the Sabinar lighthouse and the Cerrillos tower, which was constructed in the Arabic era. Once at the shoreline, the land gives way to a seabed carpeted by meadows of Posidonia oceanica.
Some of the most notable attractions in this municipality are Serena Beach, Salinas Beach and Mario Park – a fun water park for all the family. Roquetas de Mar is an ideal place to visit as a family and, also, it boasts the largest aquarium in Andalusia, where you have the opportunity to swim with sharks. While walking through the historic centre of Roquetas you’ll come across other pleasant surprises like, the Roquetas lighthouse and, the church of our lady Rosario.
This 16th century fortification was constructed to defend against coastal attacks by pirates and Berbers. Located in a prime position, on a clear day you can see far out to sea and to points as far as the headland, Cabo de Gata. Inside its exquisite courtyard you’ll discover some fine pieces of sculpture and in its two floors of exhibition rooms you’ll find a great variety of permanent and temporary displays such as, reconstructed scenes, naval models and photography.
Staying in Roquetas de Mar, we recommend you try out this bar which specialises in both Spanish and local Almerian cuisine. The bar offers a great range of fresh fish and is an ideal place to try some new tapas dishes. The most popular dish at the Casa Cele is the ‘Iberian Pork Fillet with a garlic and almond dressing’. You’ll find a great level of service and the quality of wines, beers and homemade desserts on offer make this an ideal place for dinner.
Itinerary day 3
In Carboneras, about a 50-minute drive from Almeria, lies the beach that has twice been chosen as ‘The Best Beach in Spain’ by the Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos. Stretching to around 800 metres in length, its virgin sands and crystalline waters along with its proximity to coves like Peñon Cortado, make this an unmissable location. However, it is important to note that children under 5 may have difficulties navigating the terrain to and on the beach.
This restaurant has gained fame, in particular, for its culinary expertise in cooking snails, octopus and prawns. Apart from the above, the restaurant has a great variety of braised meats and fresh fish, not to mention its quality wine menu. You’ll find something to please your stomach, for sure, and at a reasonable price.
Playa de los Muertos lies within the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park and by taking a 20-minute walk from the beach, you’ll come to the lighthouse of Mesa Roldan. The summit on which the lighthouse sits is actually part of a now dormant volcano. The lighthouse remains in use and is the highest positioned in all Spain, and the tower on Mesa Roldan featured in the TV Series, Game of Thrones.
Carboneras has the privileged position of having around 75% of its land declared as part of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park. The surrounding area of this town is perfect for hiking, but if you fancy popping into its historic centre, you definitely won’t be disappointed. Some of the highlights are; San Andrés Castle, Casa Del Laberinto and the Andalusian Courtyard. Make sure you also take the opportunity to admire the rocky Island of San Andrés, which sits just offshore.
Inside Hotel Barceló Cabo de Gata you will find this restaurant dedicated to paellas and all kinds of rice dishes. Since its opening in 2019, the quality has always been impeccable, thanks to the renowned experts in these dishes, José Luis Chaparro and Carlos Otaola. Both these chefs have been winners of national and international awards and they don’t fail to please with delicacies including rice cooked in squid ink with calamari, soupy and silky rice dishes – such as lobster and oxtail paellas – Valencian paellas and the haute cuisine senyoret rice – a seafood paella with all the shells removed to keep your fingers clean. To accompany these delicious meals, you’ll find a carefully selected wine list.