Lured, like many, with the promise of virgin beaches, I made the pilgrimage to Almería. Though the city itself is rarely a stop on most tourists’ itineraries of Spain, I’m here to say, they’re missing out.
For a foodie on a budget, Almería allures even more. Whether gazing longingly at a Mediterranean sunset or hopping from bar to bar in Almería’s historic center, you’ll find a worthy bounty to choose from. The best part? It’s all free with your drink of choice, be it a glass of Rioja or a Cruzcampo beer. We sampled several offerings from the land and nearby sea, including octopus, cured cheeses, curried chicken, monk fish, gazpacho, and more. To note, don’t try to order tasty fare between 4-8, this is still Andalusia. The kitchen, undoubtably, will be closed.
If you’re here for an excursion greater than a culinary quandary, get cultural and view the Moorish fortress and its castle, the Alcazaba. It’s Andalusia’s second-largest Muslim fortress, after the Alhambra. It sprawls along the steep hill. In turn, casting beautiful lookouts of the city and sea. Even up until the 18th century, Berber pirates were an occasional and serious threat to this often-forgotten corner of Spain.
Climb down the castle, continue past the cathedral, further past the “Cable Inglés” (a raised railway line constructed by a Scottish engineer to facilitate international iron transport during Almería’s boom), and you’ll be at Almería’s best day spot, the beach. I came on a public holiday and discovered there’s no greater place to be, occasional mullets included.
Treat yo’self; don’t forget to eat some gelato.
Other Almería curiosities:
By night, see flamenco by the castle in Alemería’s gitano district. Afterwards, step onto the bar’s rooftop to get close and personal with the castle.
Look up, you may just see a flapping painted pigeon. I don’t know the history behind this one, but it’s a curiosity, indeed.
Walk through the world. Almería is quite multicultural. Upon getting lost, my friend and I stumbled upon an enclave of Northern Africa. Spanish was abandoned for the language of the neighborhood, Arabic. Continuing on two minutes more, we found a Romanian gypsy neighborhood, who reside in storage units. Card games and bets commenced without regard to our confusion. This is certainly off the beaten tourist track.
Drink wine with the locals in a general store turned bodega. Old men sit for hours while pouring glasses of local wine from the barrel. Perhaps you came for canned tuna, it doesn’t matter. You’re about to hear a political discussion discerning any point of the recent century.
Outside the city, star in your own spaghetti Western epic.