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This Hub is inspired by a holiday to Almeria. Almeria is a region which is part of Andalucia, famous for its beach resorts and where the spaghetti westerns were filmed, is visited by thousands of Spanish and foreign tourists every year.
Now, firstly, I hate the beach. Like most Brits I sunburn easily and I hate the sand getting into every part of my body and takes ages to wash off. Secondly my wife loves the beach so you can imagine the arguments over our summer holidays.
Fortunately we often come to a compromise. One day on the beach and one day we do tourism. Personally I find the area along the coast of Almeria unattractive so with a little bit of effort we looked for places to visited.
This Hub is about what we found.
Ok this isn't exactly hidden. Almeria is the capital of the region of the same name and as cities go it is ugly and when you enter the city by car you pass through some very poor neighbourhoods.
However, the reason to go to Almeria is for the magnificent castle. To get to the castle you have to walk up some very steep pedestrianised streets although they are actually very pleasant with colourful single story houses and you find yourself stopping to take photos both on the way up and on the way down.
The castle itself is a large Moorish castle with spectacular views of the city and out to sea. The castle is very well preserved and you can explore most of it. The most enjoyable part are the cool castle gardens which are a nice place to relax during a hot Andalusian summers day. It will take you several hours to explore the castle.
Elsewhere in Almeria the only place worth visiting is the main square and the Cathedral. The main square is beautiful. The square is full of palm trees towering above you and the stunning Cathedral taking up a whole side of the square. Head straight here after visiting the castle for tapas and a cool drink.
This pretty village hillside unfortunately has been taken over by tourism due o its proximity to the beach resorts. However, it is still worth a visit as it gives great sea views and views of the Almerian countryside. The village is nice to wander around and explore as the white-washed houses and narrow streets provide plenty of shade from the sun.
Maria, Velez Blanco and Velez Rubio
Maria, Velez Blanco and Velez Rubio are three villages located in the mountains above Almeria. In winter the mountains can have snow on them.
Maria is the smallest of the three villages. Although there is little to see it is worth visiting for the mountain views and the main square with a beautiful church.
Velez Blanco is the jewel of the three villages. The village is overlooked by a castle which you can get to either by car or by a steep climb. Although the castle is impressive its the village that is the draw. The streets of Velez Blanco are lined by white-washed houses, has spectacular views of the mountains and surrounding countryside and an ornate spring which provides the village with cold mountain water even in the heat of the Andalusian summer. This village also has the best restaurants of the three so is the best place to have lunch.
Velez Rubio is the largest village of the three and some what of an administrative capital. Like Maria it is a good place to wander around and explore but it also has a few museums where you can learn about the areas culture and history.
And Another Thing
As my in-laws have a holiday villa in Almeria I will be updating this blog probably once a year. If you have any suggestions of places to visit please put them in the comments section.