Steeped in rich history and oozing charisma, the city of Almeria’s popularity as a tourist destination has soared in the last few years. The magnificent mountain backdrop, intriguing Arab architecture and enchanting harbour entices travellers seeking refuge from the development and duress of other Spanish coastal resorts; here, authentic Spanish culture beats from the city’s heart and is most present in the traditional tabernas that serve sweet sangria to the sound of a softly strumming guitar.
In the historical heart of the city resides the grand, gorgeous and Gothic Almeria Cathedral, a magnificent structure whose interior features marble carvings and an interminable ribbed ceiling. Visible from the city on its hilltop perch, the Alcazaba’s strudy stone walls prove a dominant and imposing sight; built in the 10th century, the thick stone walls and tranquil chapel of the fortress have been painstakingly preserved as the city’s most prominent landmark.
Painting and sculpture are the prevalent artistic expressions of the city, and the fruits of artistic labour are exhibited in 4 different galleries; the Andaluz de la Fotografia gives a fascinating insight into all aspects of photography; the Galeria de Arte Trino Tortosa displays art from painting heavyweights such as Picasso, Goya and Lopez; and the Galeria Joven exhibits work by young Spanish artists on the rise to fame.
Restaurant Bodega Bellavista is a firm favourite amongst locals and visitors alike due to its traditional interior design and expertise with Andalusian classics; specialising in seafood and shellfish, dishes such as grilled prawns and steamed mussels are unforgettable, while the house speciality of roasted baby goat is a local delicacy that will pleasure and delight. (Urbanización Bella Vista, C/ Partenón, 1, 04130 Llanos del Alquian, Almería, Spain, +34 950 29 71 56)