AlmeriaCopyright: felipe caparros/Shutterstock.com
AlmeriaRinged by mountains and crowned by a spectacular fortress, Spain’s sunniest city mixes shopping centres and tapas bars with a medieval old town of narrow streets and tranquil squares. Along the coast you can find fishing villages, popular resorts and the secluded beaches and wild landscape of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.
The CityThe Arabs named Almería Al-Mariyya, which means 'mirror of the sea'. There is an Eastern feel to this sun-bleached city with its Moorish-style houses and signature Alcazaba fortress. The links to the North of Africa remain strong with frequent ferries going to Morocco and Algeria. In the Plaza Vieja, the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) preserves the banner presented by the Catholic Monarchs when they banished the Moors in 1489.
Do & See
A stroll from the traditional heart of the city is rewarding. Try walking from Puerta de Purchena through the labyrinthine streets of the historic quarter to the busy port via colonnaded squares and the fortified Cathedral. Make sure you take time for a coffee or copa (glass of wine) along the way, and do not miss the lively Mercado (food market) just off the Rambla.
Fish, fried, grilled and casseroled, grilled meats and spicy Arab-influenced dishes feature the menus in Almería. Try 'sopa de Almería' (shellfish soup), embutidos (cured meats), gachas (spicy clam stew) and patatas a lo pobre (sautéed potatoes with green peppers). At night, head for the Puerta de Purchena, where everyone seems to be. The surrounding narrow streets are packed with popular restaurants and busy bars.
The city is famous for its excellent tapas bars, serving an array of imaginative and tasty snacks. Look for lunch in the old town and around the cathedral, or join market shoppers at eateries around the Mercado.
Bars & Nightlife
Almería teems with lively, friendly tapas bars where tasty treats are served up with your drinks. Bar-hopping here guarantees a good night out. Music bars open late and close from about 4am. Summer disco marquees near the beach start to get wild around 3am. The buzzy bar zone is around Calle Trajano and Plaza Masnou between the Cathedral and Paseo de Almería.
In the historic district, little specialist shops crowd among tapas bars in the narrow streets, radiating out from the Puerta de Purchena and along Calle de las Tiendas and Calle Real. Stock up on food specialities at the busy covered Mercado. Go south from there, on Calle de los Reyes Católicos, for the excellent El Libro Picasso bookshop. Off the Paseo, along Calle Rueda Lopez, La Vinoteca wine cellars in the Galeria Almericentro shopping centre have a mind-blowing selection of wines. In the city’s business district, the Mediterráneo shopping centre on Avenida del Mediterráneo has plenty of fashion stores and a supermarket.