Welcome to Almeria, one of the most beautiful cities in Andalusia, yet often overlooked for other big names like Malaga, Granada, or Seville. Well-preserved Alcazaba, impressive cathedral, breathtaking viewpoints, underground war bunkers, old town with a cool vibe, interesting museums, beautiful beaches, crystal clear blue sea waters, many restaurants, relatively few tourists, and beautiful sunny weather with little rain all year round… All of that, and more, awaits you in Almeria. Vamos, let’s discover great things to do in Almeria, Spain.
Historic facts: Caliph Abd al-Rahman III founded Almeria in 955 and during Islamic times it became an important and wealthy city, famous for its port that traded silk, oil, and raisins. The current city name comes from its Arabic name, Madīnat al-Mariyy, which means city of the watchtowers.
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FAQ Almeria City, Spain
Yes, definitely yes. Whether you are into history, architecture, food, outdoor activities, or just lying on the beach, you’ll find something for yourself in Almeria. It’s a city with character and a great vibe that will keep you entertained. It still isn’t a very popular travel destination so if you hate crowds you’ll appreciate its calmness. Almeria is a great destination for holidays, weekend getaways, as well as a home base for digital nomads. For us, Almeria became one of the favorite cities in Andalusia.
Almeria is best known for its impressive Alcazaba watching over the city from a hill, a unique-looking cathedral that also served defensive purposes, a charming old town perfect for a lazy stroll, and tranquil beaches with mesmerizing blue Mediterranean Sea waters. The city is also famous for being the capital of one of the driest regions in Europe, with over 3000 hours of sunshine per year, and very little rain – it’s a real paradise for those looking for sun, regardless of the season.
Yes, there are some beautiful beaches in Almeria and its surroundings. More on that topic later in the post.
10+ Best Things To Do In Almeria City In Spain
Alcazaba of Almeria
The number one thing to do in Almeria city is to visit the impressive Alcazaba of Almeria (es. Alcazaba de Almería) which is watching over the city from a hill. This one of the most important city landmarks was built in the second half of the 10th century by the order of Caliph Abd al-Rahman III. It’s considered to be the largest Muslim fortress in Spain. It was home to Muslim rulers for 5 centuries, until the reconquest of the city by Catholic monarchs in 1489.
Alcazaba’s area originally contained a mosque, gardens, squares, houses, and of course a palace. After the reconquest, a castle was built in the westernmost and most elevated part of the fortress. In 1522 earthquake destroyed a large part of the city, as well as Alcazaba itself. After several restorations (which are still ongoing as of 2023), Alcazaba of Almeria is now one of the most beautiful monuments in Spain.
Visiting the Alcazaba of Almeria
Currently, you can explore quite a large part of the Alcazaba complex, including gardens, courtyards, towers, ramparts, and cisterns. Take your time, slowly stroll, immerse yourself, and try to imagine what it was like to live in Alcazaba of Almeria hundreds of years back, in its heyday. From many viewpoints, you’ll be able to admire stunning views over the coast, city, and its surroundings. You can also spot Barrio de la Chanca, an old cave quarter where few people still live in cave houses.
Alcazaba of Almeria is located a few minutes walk from the city center. Entry is free for European Union citizens, €1.5 for others (June 2023). For current prices and opening hours please visit museosdeandalucia.es website.
Fun fact: Many movies featured Alcazaba. Some of the tiles are: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Wonder Woman 1984, Conan the Barbarian, Never Say Never Again, and the 6th season of the TV series Game of Thrones.
San Cristobal Hill
About a 10min walk from Alcazaba, you’ll find San Cristobal Hill (es. Cerro San Cristobal) offering spectacular panoramic views over the fortress, city, and the coast. There you’ll find a marble statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (es. Sagrado Corazón de Jesus) which is believed to watch over the city, as well as some remnants from Muslim and Christian times. Also, take a look at the defensive wall which is connecting Alcazaba with San Cristobal Hill.
You can easily access San Cristobal Hill on foot, although be aware that the road is quite steep and the neighborhood could be better maintained. But if you’re after spectacular views, be sure not to miss this great thing to do in Almeria City. It’s open to the public for free.
Almeria Old Town Streets
Almeria Old Town is a super charming place, filled with many small streets perfect to get lost in and wander around for hours. We liked the streets with colorful houses near Alcazaba most, in Antiguo barrio La Medina. Also don’t miss Plaza Vieja Square with a martyrs’ monument, Cathedral surroundings, and Plaza de la Virgen del Mar with the 16th-century Sanctuary of the Virgen del Mar. If you’re into shopping or restaurants, stroll around Calle de las Tiendas and Paseo de Almeria.
Among Almeria Old Town streets, right next to Hotel Nuevo Torreluz, you’ll find the John Lennon Statute. Why? Apparently, he wrote a famous The Beatles song, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, in Almeria.
Almeria Cathedral (es. Catedral de la Encarnacion de Almeria) is a unique-looking church dating back to the 16th century. Its construction started in 1524, two years after an earthquake that destroyed the previous church, and lasted until 1562. Almeria Cathedral has one of a kind church-fortress appearance, quite different from most churches.
So why does a cathedral look more like a fortress than a church? Why did thick walls and flat roof replace magnificent domes and glass windows? In the 16th century, the area was under constant pirate attacks, and to protect people against them, Almeria Cathedral was built for a dual purpose – religious and defensive. And back then, defensive purposes were more important than aesthetics. Later, it was also used as a shelter during the Spanish Civil War in the 20th century.
Thanks to many renovations and additions over the years, in Almeria Cathedral you’ll find a mix of various architectural styles – gothic, renaissance, baroque, and neoclassical. It looks very spectacular from the outside, so be sure to wander through the plaza and admire it from different angles. Cathedral is listed as a historic-artistic monument. Seeing this unique building is definitely one of the best things to do in Almeria, don’t miss it.
You can also enter Almeria Cathedral and admire its interior. Entrance costs €6 for adults and €4 for children (June 2023). You can buy tickets online. For current prices and opening hours please visit catedralalmeria.com website. Your other chance is to just have luck (like we did unknowingly) and arrive there right before the mass and enter to take a quick peek for free.
La Ramba is a beautiful promenade in Almeria city center, that stretches from the port to the upper parts of the city. It’s full of trees, palms, and flowers, as well as fountains and statues. In its lower part, you’ll find a Ferris wheel in which you take a ride, and an Almeria sign, perfect for photos. La Rambla is a great place for a peaceful walk, or a moment of relaxation on the bench in the shade, under a tree.
Beaches in Almeria
Being in the warmest region of Spain you definitely need to hit the beach at least once. There are many beautiful beaches in Almeria city, as well as nearby. The closest beaches to the city center, along the Paseo Maritimo promenade, are the sandy and wide beaches of Playa de San Miguel and Playa del Zapillo. Other Almeria beaches include Playa de La Termica, and Playa de la Garrofa.
For more spectacular beaches you should visit Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, located just a few kilometers from Almeria city. There you’ll find beautiful and unspoiled beaches such as Playa de los Genoveses, Playa de Mónsul, Playa de los Muertos, or Playa Los Escullos.
Paseo Maritimo is a picturesque promenade that stretches for about 2km along Almeria beaches. It’s full of cafes, restaurants, bars, small souvenir shops, and what’s most important – wonderful sea views.
El Cable Ingles
El Cable Ingles, or English Pier, is a historical railway pier that in the 20th century transported iron ore from the train station to the cargo ships docked in the port of Almeria. Brits built this unique-looking huge iron-steel pier in 1904 and it remained operational until 1973. El Cable Ingles was declared a Cultural Heritage Site and is a symbol of Spain’s industrial heritage.
You can visit El Cable Ingles for free (June 2023), but you have to book a visit in advance. You can easily do that on apalmeria.com website. Be sure not to miss this very unique thing to do in Almeria City.
Interesting fact: El Cable Ingles was strongly influenced by the works of the French engineer Gustave Eiffel.
Shelters of the Spanish Civil War Museum
If you’re passionate about history you should also visit Shelters of the Spanish Civil War Museum (es. Los Refugios de la Guerra Civil). There you’ll have a chance to explore an underground system of concrete air-raid shelters used during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) as protection from numerous bombings.
Originally the tunnels were almost 5km long, had 67 entrances, and had a capacity for approximately 38k people. During the visit, you’ll have a chance to visit one restored kilometer of the tunnels which includes a pantry, a communal living area, and an operating room.
Entrance to Shelters of the Spanish Civil War Museum costs €3 (June 2023). Tickets must be bought in advance on almeriaculturaentradas.es website. Tours are guided, and held in Spanish. Opening hours are also available on the mentioned website.
Andalusian Center of Photography
Andalusian Center of Photography (es. Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía) is a perfect place in Almeria for photography lovers. It’s a small museum with rotating photography exhibits, showcasing works by both Spanish and international photographers.
The entrance is free (June 2023). To check out current prices and opening hours visit centroandaluzdelafotografia.es website.
Archaeological Museum of Almeria
Archaeological Museum (es. Museo de Arqueólogico de Almeria) is one more place in Almeria for history lovers. So if you want to learn more about Almeria’s history, from prehistory up to the present day be sure to visit this museum.
Entrance to the Archaeological Museum of Almeria is free (June 2023). For current opening hours and prices visit museosdeandalucia.es website.
Almeria Central Market
If you like visiting local markets, as we do, you should also direct your steps to Almeria Central Market (es. Mercado Central). There you’ll find many stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, wines, olives, spices, sweets, and other local products.
How to get to Almeria City, Spain?
Where to park in Almeria?
If you’re traveling by car you can choose from many parking lots in town. For exploring Almeria city center we recommend leaving a car in this parking lot, right under La Rambla.
Airports near Almeria
The closest airports to Almeria are located in Almeria (10km away), Granada (175km away), and Malaga (215km away). All airports offer bus or train connections to Almeria. To learn more about connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Almeria by bus
You can easily reach Almeria city by bus. For example, a trip from Malaga will take about 5h (€30-45), 4h from Alicante (€40-60), and 35min from Roquetas de Mar (€4-7). To learn more about bus connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Almeria by train
From some places like Malaga, Granada, or Cordoba, you can also easily get to Almeria by train. You can check out a map of available train connections on the acprail.com website.
Best Things To Do In Almeria City In Spain – Summing Up
Now you know what are the best things to do in Almeria City. It’s a beauty, isn’t it? It’s quite a shame that it’s slightly forgotten and in the shadow of other big names like Malaga or Granada. In our opinion, Almeria is so much better than those, and we really enjoyed our time there. Hope you’ll like it too! Let us know in the comments below.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Almeria City?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Almeria City:
Where to sleep in Almeria City?
Hotel Costasol is a modern and comfortable hotel located in the heart of Almeria City. With its convenient central location, guests can easily explore the city's attractions. The hotel offers spacious and well-appointed rooms, a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine, and attentive staff to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable stay for guests.
Be Free Arco Almeria
Be Free Arco Almeria is a stylish and contemporary hotel situated in the heart of city. Its prime location allows guests to easily access the city's main attractions. The hotel features modern and comfortable rooms, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and a friendly staff providing excellent service.
AC Hotel Almeria by Marriott
AC Hotel Almeria is a sophisticated and upscale hotel located in the heart of Almeria City. With its modern design, sleek interiors, and contemporary amenities, it offers a luxurious stay for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a rooftop pool with stunning city views, a fitness center, and a stylish restaurant and bar, providing guests with everything they need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Hotel Sevilla is a charming and centrally located accommodation option in Almeria. This hotel offers comfortable and well-appointed rooms, providing a relaxing stay for guests. With its convenient location, guests can easily explore the city's attractions, dine at nearby restaurants, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Almeria.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com