Costa de Almeria holidays are like that friend who's good at everything. Wildlife reserves, big-and-small beaches and historic towns leave the neighbours green with envy.
Big on beaches
There’s a beach for every occasion here, veering from tourist-heavy stretches to little-known fishing villages. Roquetas de Mar
lines up a restaurant-furnished belt of golden sand, and gets the cream of the package holiday crop. Among the dinkier options is Agua Amarga, where a mob of whitewashed apartments huddle around a picturesque patch of sand. The whole region’s one of the sunniest in Europe, too, so scorching days are a given.
The city of Almeria’s prime daytrip fodder. The don’t-miss list here includes the mighty Alcazaba of Almeria – the second biggest Arab construction in Andalucia, behind Granada's Alhambra Palace. A network of tunnels fan out like a web beneath the surface and, at ground level, there’s a statue of John Lennon to mark his stay here in the 1960s. Roquetas de Mar’s forte lies in tapas bars and watersports, and it feels like an honorary member of the Costa del Sol club. Granada completes the well-known trio, and goes toe-to-toe with Almeria for age-old sites.
When you think desert, Spain’s not the first country that springs to mind. That’s where the Costa de Almeria plucks another rabbit from the hat. The Tabernas Desert has an other-worldly look about it, with dusty canyons and spiky peaks rippling across the landscape. In fact, it’s so convincing in its American Midwest look, that Hollywood directors often plump for this place as a setting for Wild West flicks.
Trace a line east from Almeria, and the intriguing Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park snaps into focus. It’s the bulkiest protected area on Andalucia’s coastline, and serves up Insta-worthy volcanic peaks and off-shore marine life that will make you crave an underwater camera. There are wetlands in the bargain, too, where candy-pink flamingos shuffle together in feathery clumps.