Things to do in Andalusia

Almería – the wild east of Andalusia

Things to do in Andalusia – my favourite destinations in Almería

You’ve already been to the Costa del Sol, the Costa de la Luz and you can also tick off the classic round trip in Andalusia on your list? You’d like to see new attractions in Andalusia that you haven’t seen yet. Well, how about the province of Almería?
You’ve never heard of Almería? Then you’ve definitely missed the boat – if you’re a nature enthusiast and give tourist hotspots a wide berth, that is.

Well, what shall I say? I also know that the Costa del Sol is much better known. But that is why the number of tourists is massive – as well as the concrete jungle: all tourists want to be accommodated. Or let me rephrase that: the Costa del Sol is extremely built up.

Things to do in Andalusia – swap the hullabaloo and culture against nature

Sure! There’s a lot more to Andalusia than the Costa del Sol. There’s Córdoba, Sevilla, Granada, Ronda and Cadiz – these cities aren’t featured in every travel guide for nothing. They put Andalusia on the world’s cultural map. I can only advise everyone to make a much vaunted round trip through Andalusia, that have precisely these cities on their itinerary. Even though I personally prefer travelling on my own: there are tour operators that offer great touring packages. One highlight definitely is travelling on the historic “Al Andalús” …

But if it’s a little less bustle and culture and in return oodles of nature you’re craving, then the province of Almería is just the thing. Needless to say, Almería offers a lot of culture, too: the Moors have clearly left their mark everywhere. But besides that, pretty much everything in Almería revolves around a fabulous and truly unique nature. It is the reason why I packed my bags in Germany and moved here in 2014.

I’ve been exploring the area for the past 7 years. I have a feeling that I’ve come to know every stone, every cove, every tree. And yet Almería never fails to impress me. However, you’ve got to know the most beautiful corners as they – luckily – aren’t mentioned in just any travel guide. And you have to know what is worth a visit and what isn’t. I have you covered! Here are my best tips.

My 10 favourite destinations in the province of Almería

1

Almería Capital – the provincial capital

Granted, Almería is not exactly straight out of a glossy magazine. But unlike Malaga, the city has remained authentic: small alleys over which electric cables swing like vines from one house to the next. Tapas bars from which the noise of an entire football stadium emanates (Spaniards like to talk a lot and that preferably very loudly). And it has a phantasmagorical city beach with great chiringuitos.

In 2019, Almería was even the gastronomic capital of Spain. Head over to our page dedicated to the things to do in Almería to find out which restaurants to visit and why there’s a statue of John Lennon as well as a walk-of-fame of western film history.

2

The Tabernas Desert

The Desierto de Tabernas is the only European desert. Still a wonder of nature to me - and an ideal film location for Hollywood. If you were expecting sand and dunes like in the deserts of North Africa, I have to disappoint you. But if you're looking for a desert with a corking history, this is the place for you! We highly recommend booking a jeep tour with Malcaminos. No one can explain the desert as well as these girls. You’ll find the link and further information about this natural phenomenon on our page on the Tabernas Desert.

3

The Pulpí Geode

Not far from our hotel is the world’s second largest Geode. You haven’t got a clue what that is? It’s an eight-metres-long cave whose walls are studded over and over with crystals - some of them even being 2 metres long. The largest Geode, incidentally, can be found in Mexico. However, because of its temperature and humidity it can’t be visited. So we’re extremely fortunate in Spain, I dare say, as a visit to the Geode is really quite impressive. Find out more about the Pulpí Geode and a few more nearby attractions.

4

Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park

I just don’t know where to start. I have truly fallen for this park: the beaches and little coves are like the Maldives, albeit the water is a tiny bit colder 🙂 . The landscapes are stunning, especially when the corn poppy is in bloom in spring. The volcanic nature is ... Simply breathtaking.

Culture doesn’t come short here either. This is why the nature park was certified as a geopark by UNESCO. Cabo de Gata is ginormous and there are a million things to do and experience. If you’re staying with us and ask me about the Natural Park, allow for a little time to let me fill you in on all the wonderful things to do - and do stop me, if I get carried away and you can’t stand it anymore!

Here’s a small taste: Cabo de Gata..

5

Cortijo del Fraile

The weathered farmstead is probably the most important building in Cabo de Gata - and for partly dark reasons: in 1928, the daughter of the owner at the time was murdered by her own sister because she was in love with the wrong man. The murder was the inspiration for Francisco García Lorca’s novel "The Blood Wedding".

But there’s so much more to the Cortijo del Fraile than its grisly past: it is located in a beautiful plain and its small chapel is famous. It was the film location for numerous scenes in spaghetti westerns. By the way, there are several other western locations nearby.

You’ll find more information about the extraordinary past of the cortijo on our page on Cabo de Gata..

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6

Mojácar

Mojácar has been named one of the most beautiful white villages in Spain. It’s nestled high up in the Sierra Cabrera mountains. The view over Mojácar Playa with its 14 km long sandy beach, small coves and Chiringuitos (these are great beach bars where you can preferably eat Paella and drink Tinto de Verano 🙂 ) is quite spectacular from there

Would you like to find out more about Mojácar? We hear you. On our page about Mojácar we’ll let you in on all the juicy details that make Mojacar Pueblo and Mojácar Playa so special as well as why we all talk so much about Walt Disney around here 😉.

7

Las Minas de Rodalquilar

The gold and silver mines added pomp and circumstance to Rodalquilar back in its day. But that was a long time ago. The gold panning plant has long since been abandoned. The remains along with the information centre are well worth visiting. A walk past the ghost villages with the abandoned miners’ homes is highly interesting, particularly for amateur photographers.

Further information can be found on our page about Cabo de Gata.

8

Archaeological site Los Millares

This is a real gem for history and excavations lovers: the Los Millares settlement. It is over 5.000 years old. It was discovered in the 19th century while constructing a railway line. Oh well, the railway had to move further south. What a bit of luck, because what was gradually brought back to light in ongoing excavations was a site with the biggest dome graves known to date. So far, there’s no other find of a settlement AND an associated burial site. There’s more information here ...

9

The Calar Alto Observatory

In Andalusia we are usually blessed with a star-studded night sky. Perfect conditions for stargazing! This is why the German-Spanish Astronomical Centre is located at an altitude of 2.168 metres in the Sierra de los Filabres. Who’d like to know more about the formation of stars and what’s going on in our galaxy will strike a bonanza on the observatory’s website.

Who’d like to visit the centre can get tickets here ... Of course, we’re more than happy to help with the booking.

10

Vélez Blanco

This municipality situated in the Sierra Maria - Los Vélez is highly relevant to our region: it is famous for ancient cave paintings. The Indalo man cave painting was discovered here. The Indalo man – a human figure holding a bow – is the symbol of the province of Almería.

But there’s loads more to explore in the northerly part of our province. On your way from the north to the south, you should also plan several more stopovers.

Besides the high altitude paintings, there is much more to discover in this northernmost part of our province. And you should also plan a few stops on the way there and back.

You can always ask us - we will then put together an interesting day trip for you ...

There you go: these are my favourite places and my most important sights in Andalusia. The best way to discover them is on a road trip.

Here is what you should keep in mind and what you should definitely take with you:

So you want to discover the best parts of Almería? You won’t get very far without a car!

To get from A to B here, you need a car. Public transport is almost nonexistent here . You can happily get on the train from Almería City to Granada, but that’s about it!
Many coves are also very well hidden, many natural phenomena can only be found in very remote corners. So a car simply is the only option for getting around. Another bonus is that driving in Andalusia actually is quite fun. Beautiful weather, great nature and the only traffic jam to be stuck in is when a herd of goats is blocking the road. I promise: you’ve never enjoyed being stuck in a traffic jam so much.

What you should definitely take with you on your road trip

  1. Camera:
    So that you can show your friends at home what great views and sights you were able to enjoy. They’ll be green with envy! I promise.
  2. Binoculars:
    This area is the natural habitat of chameleons, mountain goats, tortoises and boars. You’ll be able to watch them with your binoculars. Just like the countless bird species and from time to time even – dolphins.
  3. Sun screen:
    The sun shines far more intense than in England. Especially throughout the summer months I recommend using a sun protection factor 50. Although I have lived here for a long time, it has become standard for me. Men with thin hair should resort to wearing a cap 🙂
  4. Sturdy shoes:
    The more secret an attraction is, the less developed is the way leading to it. Got that?
  5. Swimwear:
    For a spontaneous and refreshing dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
  6. Water:
    Sometimes we spread ourselves too thin on a road trip. Without enough water supplies this can change for the worse. And the odd snack won’t hurt either – but, whatever you do, don’t take anything chocolaty with you. It will melt before you can say Jack Robinson. Apart from that: don’t forget to include enough stopovers and have a drink and tapas in one of the countless bars along your way.
  7. Mosquito repellent:
    September and October are peak season for these little buggers in our flamingo areas

How much do tickets cost and what are the opening hours?

Well, unfortunately, I have to say that Spain isn’t quite as organised as Northern Europe. The opening hours depend on the weather and the ticket prices on the moon constellation.

Alright, it’s not that bad. But you’ll probably only receive reliable information by phone. Web and Facebook pages are only very reluctantly maintained. If you don’t want to hit the road to no avail, it’s best to find out by phone beforehand. This holds true for (almost) all sights in Andalusia, that are a little off the beaten track 🙂

We will be happy to do this for our guests 🙂

This is the way to our extensive overview of all things to do in Almería.
We’ve got lashings of things to do – you’ll see.

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