Visiting Almeria - What to See and Do
(Almeria Airport LEI, Spain)
Almeria is a quintessential southern-Andalucian city - laid back, sunny, welcoming and filled with a huge array of Muslim influences. Attractions can be found across the city, but similar to other towns in the region, there are several sightseeing spots that stand out above the rest. Despite being levelled by an earthquake in 1522, the town has risen from the ashes, somehow grasping onto its Moorish legacy, which lures millions every year.
Tourists will feel on top of the world when they explore the Alcazaba. It is a colossal fortress that commands the world's attention with its historical facade, interior living quarter and thick protective walls. The underground air-raid shelters shouldn't be overlooked, and several churches provide a less-intense atmosphere in Almeria.
The Alcazaba citadel is also an excellent place to view sunrises or sunsets. After the sun has fallen behind the horizon, tourists should head into the area known as 'the four streets' (cuatro calles). Many of the best bars and clubs are located here. If clubbers stay up long enough, perhaps a sunrise experience will entice.
Ten things you must do in Almeria
- One of the best beaches lining the shores of Almeria is Las Salinas. During the summer, this area of Spain gets crowded with tourists from all over Europe. The beach is quite popular among sunbathers and swimmers, and is the perfect place to cool down.
- Exploring the well-known Natural Park of Cabo de Gata Nijar is a must do for all visitors to Almeria. It is located close by, providing some of the most astonishing coves and beaches likely to be found in Spain. The entire area was shaped through volcanic influences and is now among the more beautiful destinations in the city.
- If sightseeing tourists enjoy the allure of ancient architecture, then visiting the Alcazaba is certainly suggested. This medieval castle fortress was first erected in the 1200s and contains some fascinating features, including splendid gardens and a monolithic keep. Even though an earthquake destroyed much of the structure in the 1500s, it still stands strong today.
- Though it looks like an imposing castle, the Almeria Cathedral is one of the town's most appealing attractions. The structure was first built as a mosque, then transferred into a church before the 1522 earthquake. Unfortunately, this earthquake destroyed much of the original site. It was rebuilt with more Renaissance-style architecture, but as can still be seen today, it continues to boast some impressive defensive structures.
- Another Renaissance-style religious structure is the Church of Santiago. It was constructed following the 1522 earthquake and was completed by 1533. The edifice has become an important symbol for Christianity in the region, so caters for a large number of visitors every year. Try to avoid visiting this landmark during mass.
- Just outside the city of Almeria are the interesting dwellings known as La Chanca. These are no ordinary houses - they are actually carved out dwellings from the sides of mountains and cliffs, although some are literally just transformed caves. Nevertheless, La Chanca is still an interesting site to behold.
- Tourists can embrace the fascinating historical tracks of the city at the Almeria Museum. With artefacts and attractions dating back to prehistoric times, this archaeological and historical museum contains a range of paintings, relics and objects. Roman, Greek, Muslim and even Iberic civilisations are represented here.
- After sightseeing has taken its toll on those weary, travel-worn legs, the Paseo de Coches is the ideal spot to spend an afternoon. Located along the coastline, this seaside promenade is home to a glut of modern establishments, gardens and park areas. The palms that dot the walkway are impressively landscaped.
- The Spanish Civil War was a difficult time for locals. Today, air-raid shelters are still available for sightseeing purposes underneath the city of Almeria. These underground bunkers and galleries are among Europe's largest, and even though they are overshadowed by the 'above ground landmarks', they attract thousands of battle-enthusiastic tourists each year.
- While holidaying in Almeria, a trip to the Central Market (Mercado Central) is strongly recommended. Not only do tourists get great bargains, choosing between many different items, they also experience an unspoiled traditional culture at its best. Visitors can try their negotiation skills out, or sit back and simply watch the entire market culture unfold before their eyes.