Andalusia is one of those sunny regions in Spain that keep me gravitating back all the time. But let´s talk about its lesser-known regions – check this Almeria holiday guide to plan an epic getaway to the Spanish Wild West.
The Ultimate Almeria holiday guide
Quite often the places we visit with almost no expectations end up being our ultimate travel revelations, dont you think so? – My recent Almeria holiday getaway was no exception to this rule.
Did you know that many of the top Hollywood Westerns were actually filmed in Spain? – I honestly did not.
Well, Almeria is the iconic Wild West from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), the land of Dothraki´s in Game of Thrones, and Arabic deserts in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). So, actually, this is the only place in Europe where you can channel your inner cowboy while walking the streets of a Wild West Town.
Where is Almeria?
While Almeria forms part of the touristy Andalusia province in the South East of Spain, it´s still not as well established on the tourist track, as its famous neighbors like Malaga, Granada, or Seville. Therefore, if traveling to Almeria in the offseason you can literally have all the coolest sights, otherworldly landscapes, and off-the-beaten-track beaches completely to yourself.
When to plan you Almeria holiday?
The hottest months in Almería are July and August. Even though the temperature rarely drops lower than 25°C or lifts higher than 35°C, any way you might want to have air conditioning in your accommodation during your Almeria holiday.
Visiting in winter will still give you sunny days, but you´ll have cooler evenings and it´s often windy. So even though the temperature rarely drops lower than 6°C during the winter months, make sure to bring some extra layers with you.
How many days will you need for your Almeria vacation?
If Almeria is on your list of Spanish road trips, leave at least 4-5 days for your Almeria holiday. However, if you need a few extra days for a lazy beach getaway – a week might be the best choice for you.
In case you have more than one week, you can also explore the other regions of Andalusia or Murcia via day trips. How about a hike at Sierra Nevada National Park or a stroll through the streets of Guadix, Frigilana, or Lorca?
Where to stay?
As we visited Almeria with 2 kids (1 y.o and 2y.o) the choice of hotels was quite limited for us: we needed a spacious room. The only reasonable option was Barcelo Cabo de Gato, which was nice. But I guess, next time we´ll go for Airbnb.
Top things to see during your Almeria holiday
1. The city of Almeria
The Alcazaba was built in the 10th century by the Arabs who ruled the area. It became Christian with the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in the late XV century. Also the city of Almeria and the Alcazaba were largely restored after the earthquake 1522, the most distructive one in the history of Spain.
Main sights not to miss in Almeria: The Alcazaba, The Cathedral of Almeria, John Lennon Statute, Almería’s Air Raid Shelters, La Rambla, the loading dock for minerals Cable Inglés.
After a long day of sightseeing, you can head to Arab baths and indulge yourself in a SPA moment. Due to the long Arab presence in the region, getting a hammam experience is a popular thing in Andalusia.
2. Las Tabernas Desert
One of the top otherworldly landscapes in Spain is Las Tabernas Desert. This unique location was a set of countless Hollywood movies and Spaghetti westerns: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Cleopatra (1963), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Dance of the Vampires (2001), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) and some others.
Las Tabernas Desert is the only real desert in Europe: it literally brings to mind dangerous stories from Arizona, California, and the Wild West. To learn more details about the Wild West town experience in Almeria check this post.
3. Cabo de Gata Natural Park
Driving through the Cabo de Gata Natural Park will provide you with spectacular seashores and some fascinating views of the Mediterranean coast.
Your main road trip stops at Cabo de Gata Natural Park should be: Monsul Beach, Vela Blanca Tower, Cabo de Gata Lighthouse, San Felipe Castle, Viewpoint of La Amatista, Playa de Los Muertos Beach.
For me, Mojacar is the prettiest one of the famous white villages in Spain. While the town is touristy, it is still not as overcrowded as other Spain’s southern coastal destinations. Mojacar is made up of two areas: the Old Town/Mojacar Pueblo and the Beach/Mojacar Playa. In Mojacar, you´ll find traditional Spanish white-washed houses combined with the modern beach area full of trendy bars, hotels, and restaurants.
Mojacar is definitely on my personal list of the most beautiful small towns in Spain.
Moreover, Mojacar often appears in the local news because the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, often picks this quint white village for his vacation breaks.
5. Villages off the beaten track
While there are lots of stunning secret villages in Spain, if you really want to blend in and disappear from the touristy radars – an Almeria holiday is your chance to do so. There are so many tiny villages to enjoy for yourself:
- Roquetas de Mar
- Las Negras
- Agua Amarga
- Lucainena de las Torres
- Laujar de Andarax
- Cuevas de Almanzora
6. Rodalquilar and Cortijo de Fraile
The Dark Tourism fans can’t miss the ancient mines of Rodalquilar and Cortijo de Fraile. These are on the lists of the top spooky places n Spain. However, keep in mind that the road towards both is unpaved and not really comfortable to drive.
Cortijo de Fraile was a crime scene of a famous in Spain Crimen de Níjar (1928). The fatal event has inspired a few Spanish books: “Bodas de Sangre” by Federico Garcia Lorca and “Puñal de Claveles” by Carmen de Burgos.
While nowadays this places is completely abandoned in the middle of nowhere, this only add to its eerie vibe.
7. Pulpi Geode Crystal Cave
Pulpi Geode Crystal Cave or La Geoda Gigante de Pulpí is a relatively new tourist attraction in the region. We couldn´t visit it during our Almeria holiday because kids under 8 were not allowed. Plus, you need to book your visit a few months in advance as the tickets are limited.
While the waters are not as smooth as the Caribbean Blues of Ibiza or Mallorca, Almeria still has quite a few epic beaches that will struck you with their wilderness and wideness.
- Playa de Monsul
- Playa de los Muertos
- Playa de los Genoveses
- Playa de las Negras
- Playa de los Escullos
- Playa de Agua Amarga
- Cala de Enmedio
- Playa del Playazo
- Playa de las Salinas
- Playa de Aguadulce
Have you ever been to Almeria or Andalusia?
What would you like to do the most on your Almeria holiday?