Almeria province is becoming more and more popular both as a wonderful holiday destination and as a beautiful and climatically ideal place to live in. As infrastructure in Europe continues to develop, with motorways connecting all major cities and budget airlines competing to offer the lowest prices, the areas that were previously less accessible are now more easily detected. One such area that has deservedly gained popularity is Almeria province.
First time visitors are pleasantly surprised by the huge variety this province has to offer. Every year more and more people are discovering not only the sun, sunny beaches and crystal clear water, but also the natural beauty of this part of Spain.
It is a country of geographical contrasts with long sandy beaches and small secluded coves, deserts and broad fertile lands with varied vegetation and high mountains. With an hour-drive from the snow in the Sierra Nevada, you can reach the only desert in Europe (Sierra de Alhamilia).
Located on the southeastern tip of the Iberian Peninsula on the shores of the Mediterranean, Almeria province covers an area of 8774 square kilometers. Here the sun shines three thousand hours in a year, more than in any other part of the Mediterranean.
Maybe it was because of the beautiful scenery, the climate, or the geographical situation that lead many different civilizations to Almeria throughout the history. The most important influence came from the Arabs who ruled these countries for almost eight centuries. During this period Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony, and both culture and art flourished. The architectural style of the white villages reflects this influence.
The construction of the Alcazaba (Moorish citadel) by order of Abderramán III in 955 was the birth of today’s Almeria. The new city, Al-Mariya (Mirror of the Sea), enjoyed great maritime and commercial activity and therefore soon became the region’s capital. During the 1900s Almeria experienced a boom for mining, particularly with lead (Sierra de Gador) and iron.
In recent years there have been major socioeconomic developments in Almeria province, mainly because of the introduction of modern agricultural practices increasing productivity. Many kinds of fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown under plastic greenhouses spread over tens of thousands of acres in the Campo de Dalias which produces about 250 million kg of crops per year, most of which are exported to other European countries. In addition, the mining of the famous fine white marble from Macael (Sierra de los Filabres), exported all over the world, has also played a big role. Finally, the excellent climate and the beauty of the very diverse landscape helped to make Almeria province a vacation favorite for many Spaniards and foreigners.
Almeria is an area with a long cultural history that is kept alive so that you can still enjoy the varied folklore and a large number of popular fiestas, all legacies of the past. Local crafts provide a great variety of cleverly molded goods, ceramic, marble, esparto grass, etc. Another legacy of the past is in the gastronomic specialties of this area and the famous tapas in the many bars, provided free with every drink.
Almeria is also an important center for scientific research. The Spanish-German Astronomical Center (Calar Alto) is close to Gérgal in the Sierra de los Filabres and has the most powerful telescope in Europe. In Tabernas there are a number of solar power plants for the recovery of solar energy. There are also many windmills and a project to evaluate the viability of converting agave plant to ethanol.
One of the advantages of the Almeria coast is its ability to combine the comfort of urban development with the scenic natural areas that have been completely untouched. One such site is a large area of salt lakes and sand dunes known as Punta Entinas inhabited by ducks, gulls and flamingos and many other bird species.
Just a little west of Punta Entinas is the town of Almerimar, a modern well-planned tourist complex with several kilometers of beaches with crystal clear water and a nice marina with over 1,000 locations.
The most south-easterly point of Spain is Cabo de Gata. The surrounding area is a natural park with desert areas of the Campo de Tabernas. Here was a flourishing film industry where many westerns, as well as classics like Lawrence of Arabia were made. Several film cities were built in the style of the Wild Wild West; some have been preserved and are open to the public, “for a handful of dollars”. The parks provide the re-creation of the Wild Wild West, with gunfights, etc.
Once Spain’s poorest region, Andalucia is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
This is thanks to its sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, spectacular mountain ranges, stunning monuments and high-spirited people who live life to the full and are well known for their joy, warmth and hospitality.
Andalucia is the home of bullfighting and flamenco that can best be enjoyed in the region’s countless ferias and romerias. Andalucia is also a land of great traditions. Myths like Don Juan and Carmen were born here.
Perhaps the most unique feature of this fascinating region is the remnants that are left by the Moors who occupied this part of the peninsula for more than seven centuries. The most famous of its monuments is, no doubt, Granada’s Alhambra.
Andalucia has 750 km of coastline, of which 70% are sandy beaches, divided into four areas. Costa de la Luz is located along the Atlantic coast west of Gibraltar, while the Mediterranean coast, consisting of the Costa del Sol, Costa Tropical and Costa de Almeria, offers milder average climate with less wind and higher water temperatures. Here the sun shines more than 320 days each year.
Andalucia offers visitors an extremely varied selection;
from golden beaches to beautiful mountain ranges and famous “white villages” with their enriching folklore. There are great opportunities for most sports: from snowboarding in Sierra Nevada to diving in the Mediterranean, or just enjoying some of the best golf courses in Europe. Andalucia has it all.
Andalucia is a region of startling contrasts and great charm. This mysterious corner of Europe is so easily accessible by air, with hundreds of charter flights arriving each week, or by car through the highway network connecting the region with the rest of Europe.