Guide to the Costa Almeria

Cabo de Gata coastline

By Molly Sears-Piccavey

The Costa de Almeria in South Eastern Spain is less developed than neighbouring Costa del Sol. The region has more annual sunshine hours than anywhere else in Europe as well as some of the highest annual average temperatures. This stretch of Andalusian coastline has a variety of beaches and some of the most stunning sea views in Spain. Almeria boasts 26 blue flag beaches in 2015.

The Almeria coastline stretches from the east of Granada, beginning at Adra and ends just above the resort of Vera where it meets with Murcia. The region is more popular with Spanish tourists than visitors from abroad, but this makes it the perfect setting for a family holiday as prices tend to be a little cheaper in Almeria than the Costa del Sol.

A large proportion of the land in Almeria is used for growing produce in huge polytunnels and greenhouses due to the favourable climate. El Ejido and Nijar are the main greenhouse areas. The western side of the Costa de Almeria is less developed than the east. Choose between family friendly coastal towns or rustic beaches at Cabo de Gata. In resort towns such as Roquetas de Mar and Aguadulce with such long, sandy beaches you won't have to fight for space, even during the busy summer months.

The Cabo de Gata Natural Park has restrictions on development, so there are few resorts or large hotel complexes in this area. The main town in Cabo de Gata is San Jose, located in the centre of the region. A car is needed to see the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.

Resorts in Almeria province

Below is a guide to some of the main resorts of the Costa de Almeria.

Roquetas de Mar

Castle Santa Ana, Roquetas de Mar

Roquetas de Mar is a good choice as a base for a family holiday. There is no shortage of Blue Flag beach space and the seafront has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. The Port and lighthouse in Roquetas is the old part of town. Castle Santa Ana which overlooks the port is the major tourist attraction in the town, but it is also a centre of interpretation and often has activities outdoors in the summer months.

There is a very attractive promenade from Roquetas which stretches all the way to Aguadulce. The promenade has a wide walkway and some parts have a bicycle lane too.

If you have children, Aquarium Roquetas at Roquetas de Mar has sharks, piranas and all manner of tropical fish. The aquarium is closed Monday and Tuesday. There is also a waterpark (Mario Park) close to the Aquarium on Caminos de las Salinas (opens June to September).

Aguadulce

The resort of Aguadulce is situated between Roquetas de Mar and Almeria, but effectively merges into Roquetas. Aguadulce is smaller and quieter than Roquetas de Mar, and the port is very popular with sailing enthusiasts. Aguadulce is also a nightlife hotspot and the port is packed with clubs and bars which attract visitors from neighbouring Almeria in the summertime.

San Jose

San Jose is the main town in Cabo de Gata. The town has a few larger hotels and plenty of shops and restaurants. This resort is very busy in August, with Spanish tourists flocking to the town.

For the active visitor, from San Jose it is possible to hike to some of the smaller beaches of Cabo de Gata along coastal paths. There are also some water sports companies located in San Jose. The beach in San Jose is a horseshoe shape but has plenty of space and local amenities.

If you prefer smaller village-type locations as a holiday-base, you can find accommodation in Carboneras, Las Negras or Nijar

Insider tip: El Otro Parque in San Jose is an Italian restaurant run by Italians

Mojacar

Mojacar is an attractive village which is popular with British ex-pats. The main village is high up on the hill, known as Mojacar Pueblo, whereas the coastal resort Mojacar Playa is along the shore. The town of Mojacar has plenty of shops and restaurants and has a plethora of picturesque Andalusian plazas.

The beach (Mojacar Playa) has 17 kilometres of wonderful sandy seafront with plenty of Blue Flag beaches.

Insider tip: Remember to stop off at Tito's beach bar, the oldest chiringuito in Mojacar.

Outside Activities

Cabo de Gata windmill

The calm, blue waters of the Costa Tropical are very popular with scuba divers, with a number of diving centres located across the region in towns such as Aguadulce and San Jose.

For golfers there are several courses in Almeria province. Envia Golf, Almerimar and Playa Serena some of the most well established courses.

Walkers should base themselves in the Cabo de Gata region where there are a number of excellent coastline walks.

For a Few Dollars More

The desert of Tabernas has an American theme park called Oasys Theme Park (also known as Mini Hollywood), which was originally purpose-built by Sergio Leone for the Spaghetti Western "For a Few Dollars More" which was filmed in Almeria in the 1960's and starred Clint Eastwood.

Oasys also has a zoo with around 175 species of animals, and in the summer there is a recreational zone with a large pool for the kids to cool down.

If you are interested in seeing more of Sergio Leone's film shooting locations, head inland to Rodalquilar and Los Albaricoques. The Hostal Alba in Los Albaricoques is full of memorabilia and photos of the films produced locally. The lunchtime menu is good value for money too.

Getting around the Costa de Almeria

By Car

The E15/AP-7 is a non-toll motorway from Granada eastbound to Almeria. The A92 motorway is non toll road linking Granada to Almeria too. From Murcia the Ap-7 Southbound heads to Almeria.

The Cabo de Gata Natural Park has several routes which are not surfaced, not all places of interest are accessible by car. It is highly recommended to get a map of Cabo de Gata before driving into the park area. The road up to Mirador de las Sirenas is narrow and at one point only allows for one vehicle, so it is important to extreme caution along this stretch of road. (ALP 822 From Las Salinas, San Miguel de Cabo de Gata up to the lighthouse)

Public Transport

Being the south-eastern outpost of Spain has resulted in Almeria not having a particularly comprehensive train infrastructure. There is a train station operated by RENFE is in Almeria which has a twice daily direct train to Madrid and also direct connections to Seville. You can get inter-connecting trains to Granada, Malaga, Cordoba and other Spanish cities.

Local buses are the best option to get around if you don't have a car. There are regular buses to and from Almeria to most of the main resorts run by Alsa. Alsa buses also run to Almeria Airport via Almeria.

Getting to Costa Almeria

Almeria Airport is located in the area known as Retamar, this is to the East of Almeria. It is 40 kms from the city centre and takes just over 30 mins to arrive. Alternative airports are Murcia (around 200km), Malaga (230km) and Granada. (165 km)

Below is a quick guide to help you choose the most suitable resort on the Almeria Coastline: Fishing boats on a Cabo de Gata beach

  • Beaches - Roquetas de Mar, Aguadulce, San Miguel de Cabo de Gata
  • Diving/Snorkelling - Aguadulce, San Jose and La Isleta de Moro
  • Families - Roquetas de Mar, Aguadulce, Vera Playa
  • Golf - Almerimar, Roquetas de Mar
  • Historic - Almeria
  • Nightlife - Mojacar, Aguadulce
  • Peaceful - Cabo de Gata-Nijar, Almeriamar
  • Scenic - Cabo de Gata-Nijar
  • Shopping - Almeria, Roquetas de Mar
  • Up-Market - Almerimar, Agua Amarga
  • Walking - Sierra de Gador, Cabo de Gata