the best things to do in almeria visit the alcazaba

The Best Things to Do in Almeria

Almeria is a city in the southeast of Spain, part of the Andalusia region facing the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.   Almeria is often overlooked in favor of the more popular cultural icons of Seville, Malaga, Granada, and Cordoba, but there’s a wealth of culture, food, and sunshine here to explore.  Almeria has a significant Moorish influence.  Known as the Sunny City, Almeria receives more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year – and less than 200 millimeters of rain.  Almeria might be a utopia for sun worshippers, but for us, it’s a great spot to visit for food, for the cultural mix, and for the Spanish Civil War history too.  Come on down and explore, here are the best things to do in Almeria.



almeria civil war tunnels

Visit the Civil War Tunnels

Visit the Civil War Tunnels under the City. This is a fabulous place to visit, full of history. You can ONLY visit on a pre-booked tour.

Almeria attracts local and foreign visitors because of its beaches, historical architecture, and archeological sites. The semi-desert terrain and environment give such a unique ambiance, there are stunning Natural Sites close by, some fabulous places to eat, a glorious cathedral and you mustn’t miss the Civil War tunnels.  Or, perhaps most importantly to us, the tapas. 

There’s a great mix of cultural influences here that goes back centuries.  Almeria’s economy grew during the Islamic era, trading silk, oil, and raisins. The name “Almeria” originated from an Arabic word that means “city of watchtower”.   Almeria is a great base on the coast of Andalusia.  This isn’t Malaga or one of the more famous cultural cities of the province, but it’s a great place to relax, kick back and, let me mention it again, eat some great tapas.

Where to Stay in Almeria

There are a host of places to stay in Almeria – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Almeria, mid-range places to stay in Almeria, and budget accommodations in Almeria.

The Torreluz Senior hotel in Almeria is in a super location and is on a quiet pedestrian street. Rooms here have private bathrooms and great A/C. The beds are comfortable and the staff are really friendly. We arrived here hours early for check-in and were able to get in early. Great location, Great staff, and great price! Check availability and room rates here!

For a glorious little boutique hotel in Almeria head to the Avenida Hotel. There’s stylish decor, comfortable beds, and excellent showers here. Rooms are spacious and staff are just superb. Breakfast options are really good too! Check room rates and availability here.

The Best Things to Do in Almeria, Spain

Almeria is both a city and a province, which can be confusing when you ask for information about traveling there.  The province of Almeria, borders Granada, Murcia, and the Mediterranean Sea. Its principal city is Almeria City.  Today we’re talking about the best things to do in the city of Almeria.

1. Explore the Museo Refugio de la Guerra Civil in Almeria

The Civil War Museum, or Refugios de la Guerra Civil Española de Almería in Spanish, is an incredible place to learn about what Almeria experienced during the Civil War.  And this Almeria Museum is actually hosted within the historic location that was used during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

Things to do in Almeria visit Refugios

You’ll kick off with a video presentation explaining a little of the historic significance of the Civil War of Spain and its impact on Almeria.  This all happens above ground and then you’ll get to explore what kept many of the civilians of Almeria safe during the war.  The underground shelters of Almeria.

During the war, a series of underground shelters were built to provide safe passage and living spaces for civilians. This tunnel that you’ll visit was about 4.5 km (2.8 miles) long and sheltered about 40,000 people during bombings. Although not all of the 4.5 km is currently open to the public, you can access about a kilometer (0.6 miles).

This isn’t Disney land.  This really was where men, women, and children sheltered and lived and sought refuge during the war.  It reminds us in a lot of ways of the Vinh Moc tunnels of the Vietnamese DMZ.  There’s original children’s artwork drawn on the walls of the tunnel, there’s hospital equipment.  There are old photos.  Old entrances.  It’s a fabulous visit.   Most of the tours here are in Spanish (ours was, and we caught most of it, but it’s hard work unless you’re fluent in Spanish).  I wouldn’t NOT go if you can only find a Spanish tour though, it’s such a fascinating place.

There are several books covered in our top 11 books about Spain that detail aspects of the Spanish Civil War.

Things to do in Almeria visit Civil War Tunnels Almeria

You should book your tour ASAP, as spaces are incredibly limited, especially on English-speaking tours.  Tours come with a video introduction, (subtitles in English), a local guide, and an entrance to the tunnels and museum.  You can reserve your visit to the Museo Refugio de la Guerra Civil here.

While I’ve detailed the opening hours of Almeria’s Museo Refugio de la Guerra Civil below, you should note that entrance is ONLY permitted as part of a guided tour (you can’t wander around down there by yourself!!).  So book your spot now!

  • Address of the Refugios de la Guerra Civil Española de Almería: Pl. Manuel Pérez García, 1, 04003 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Refugios de la Guerra Civil Española de Almería: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, then again from 5 PM to 8 PM on Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM on Sundays, it’s closed on Mondays
  • Entry Fees for the Refugios de la Guerra Civil Española de Almería: 13 Euros

2. Explore Almeria on Foot

Almeria is a mid-sized city with less than 200,000 population and an area of 300 km².  It’s mainly the old town of Almeria and its surroundings that’s of interest and you can cover the Old Town point to point in 30 minutes on foot. This means you can explore Almeria’s highlights on foot in a day. Easily. However, if you don’t want to make your day wandering around with no sense of idea what the purpose of this building or that museum is, then I recommend getting some local advice that will give you way more than just an overview of Almeria.

Things to do in Almeria visit Night Streets in Almeria

A guided tour of Almeria will bring alive the significant purpose of each historical location around the city and help you to make sense of walking around Almeria. This tour lasts around 2 hours, during which you can learn about the significant history of Almeria, historic sites, and Almeria’s iconic monuments. The best bit?  You’ll get up-to-the-minute local advice on restaurant recommendations – whether your interest is a drink, tapas, or a full meal.  Reserve a two-hour Almeria guided tour here.

3. Visit the Alcazaba of Almeria

The Almeria Alcazaba or Conjunto Monumental de la Alcazaba de Almería is one of the gems of Almeria. An Alcazaba is a fortress and now includes an archaeological museum featuring some of the ancient wall stones surrounding this historic compound.  It was Abd ar-Rahman III, the Caliph of Cordoba (read more about Cordoba here) who began the building of Almeria’s Alcazaba.  The first Alcazaba had two enclosures, the first for the palace – the rulers and their entourage and servants, and the second that contained gardens and a mosque.  You can see still the series of water cisterns that were built in case of siege – and yes they still function today!

Things to do in Almeria visit Alcazaba

With the return of the Catholic Monarchs to Andalusia – Almeria was retaken in 1499 – many changes and additions were made to the Alcazaba.  A defensive tower and further residential quarters were added at this time. You can learn more about the Alcazaba in this guided tour.

The Moorish Fortress and Castle that was here was well-preserved but went through renovations after the earthquake of 1522 that destroyed a great part of the fortress.

Almeria’s Alcazaba is one of Europe’s biggest Islamic castle remains and it dates back to 955.    There are significant numbers of Alcazabas to be found in Andalusia – Jerez’s is glorious, Granada’s stunning, and Seville’s just beautiful.  The Alcazaba in Almeria differs from those I’ve mentioned, in that it contains archeological remains within the walls that are still being uncovered. 

This is a rather large site, you’ll need to hike up the hill to the entrance (there’s no shade until you get to the top, so it’s best to go early or late) and while the entrance is free to EU citizens (although we visited after Brexit, as UK citizens they let us in for free too!), unfortunately, there is no available audio guide or informative signboards around.  Information about Almeria’s Alcazaba is somewhat limited in guidebooks, so unless you’re only after taking a photo of the viewpoints (which are, to be fair, rather nice), then you’ll want to get a guide to explain the salient points, as well as the Game of Thrones filming locations in Almeria’s Alcazaba.

Things to do in Almeria visit Cisterns in Alcazaba

And that’s something you’ll need to plan ahead of time.  There aren’t any guides hanging around the entrance of the Alcazaba in Almeria, so you’ll want to book an Alcazaba tour to help understand why this fortress was built and who founded it.  This tour features a knowledgeable local guide and entrance to Alcazaba (should you be from a country where you need to pay). The tour of Almeria’s Alcazaba lasts just over an hour, and then you can explore on your own or match it with another tour for the day.

You can book the Alcazaba Tour here – and arrange the timing to suit you.

  • Address of the Conjunto Monumental de la Alcazaba de Almería: C. Almanzor, s/n, 04002 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Conjunto Monumental de la Alcazaba de Almería: 9 AM to 6 PM on Tuesday to Saturday, closes at 3 PM on Sunday, and closed for the entirety of Monday
  • Entry Fees for the Conjunto Monumental de la Alcazaba de Almería:  free to EU citizens, €1.50 for non-EU

4. Explore the Almeria Cathedral

Almeria’s Cathedral is only a 5-minute walk south of the Alcazaba. In complete contrast to the Alcazaba, the Cathedral of Almeria was built in a combination of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles.   It is unique in its styling, being built in the 16th century as a defensive place of worship.  Just take one look at the outer walls and lack of windows on the outer facade and you’ll understand!

Things to do in Almeria visit Cathedral

The roof also was designed differently from other Roman Catholic Cathedrals – being designed to be somewhat flatter to protect it from North African Barbary pirate attacks from the Mediterranean.

Almeria’s Cathedral is Roman Catholic and was built between 1524 and 1562.  It was built to replace a previous cathedral that was destroyed during an earthquake. 

Once inside you should make for the choir.  There are 75 seats here, carved from walnut over three years starting in 1558.  The tomb of Bishop Fernandez de Villalan, made from alabaster and dating from 1560 shouldn’t be missed.  You’ll find it within the Chapel of Santo Cristo.

An audio guide in different languages is available to help you explore the Cathedral with more information and it’s included in the entry fee.  You can skip the line for tickets to Almeria’s Cathedral and get them here. 

  • Address of the Almeria Cathedral: Pl. de la Catedral, 8, 04001 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Almeria Cathedral: 10 AM to 2:30 PM, then again from 4 PM to 7 PM on Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 7 PM on Saturday, 3 PM to 6 PM on Sunday
  • Entry Fees for the Almeria Cathedral: €5

5. Visit the Central Market of Almeria – Mercado Centrale

The Central Market of Almeria or Mercado Centrale a Domicilio, is, like all central markets in Andalusia, a great place to explore the fresh food of the region.  It is excellently clean and has a huge variety, especially in the seafood section.  Pick up the fish or seafood that you want and head to the downstairs restaurant where they can cook just how you want it. There are also several outdoor restaurants and cafes on the ground floor level to complete your ideal Almeria food experience.

Things to do in Almeria visit Mercado
  • Address of the Mercado Central a Domicilio: C/ Circunvalación Ulpiano Díaz, 14, 04001 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Mercado Central a Domicilio: 8 AM to 3 PM from Mondays to Saturdays, it’s closed on Sundays

6. Explore the World of Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico García Lorca, the renowned Spanish poet, and playwright from the early 1900s was born in Granada but moved to Almeria in 1906, spending much of his time here. One of his most successful plays was “Blood Wedding”, which was set in the village of Nijar, just 30 kilometers ( 18.6 miles) away.  Lorca was assassinated in Granada, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, but his brilliant works remain an inspiration to many.  This is a fascinating tour that follows the life of Federico García Lorca while in Almeria and how he influenced the city. This 90-minute tour will also show why many statues and public places are named after him.  It’s a great way to understand more of the culture of Almeria and explore the life of one of Spain’s most important poets.  You can read more about the Federico Garcia Lorca tour here.

7. Enjoy Free Tapas in Almeria

You must have heard by now how popular Andalusian tapas are. And why we think that coming to Almeria for tapas is one of the best things to do here.  Well, there’s good news.  If you’re planning to visit Almeria tavernas and bars in the hope of also checking out tapas, then you don’t need to pay for it. Some key watering holes in Almeria will serve your drink with free tapas. It doesn’t stop there, you can even choose specific tapas as long as the variety is available.  

Things to do in Almeria eat Tapas

8. Check out the English Pier in Almeria – el Cable Ingles aka El Alquife

El Cable Ingles is the remains of an antique railway built by the shoreline of Almeria. It was designed by one of the students of Gustave Eiffel, which is why, no doubt, it shows some similarities to the Eiffel Tower.

Things to do in Almeria visit el cable ingles

Originally constructed to transport minerals and other goods from the shore to trading ships on the Almeria docks, today it’s just a stunning historical landmark.  The railway pier was in use for more than 65 years, until its closure in 1973, and reduced the ship loading time to 10 hours from the previous 5 to 10 days!

Unfortunately, you can’t access it or get to the top now, but you can admire it from underneath, or take a photo from a distance.

  • Address of the El Cable Ingles: 04007 Almería, Spain

9. Take a Walk to Cerro San Cristobal

You can take a short walk to a scenic point that overlooks Almeria. Cerro San Cristobal is located west of downtown Almeria not too far from the Alcazaba.  It will take you about 10 minutes to get there, unfortunately, all uphill.  It’s free to enter, but unfortunately, the area is not well-maintained and there’s quite a lot of litter.

Things to do in Almeria visit Cerro San Cristobal

There are some information boards here, but no place for a picnic or shade. Best to come in the morning or the afternoon to avoid the sun’s heat. It’s a good viewpoint for sunset too.  There’s also no parking area here, you’ll have to leave your car at Puerta de Purchena and walk from there.

  • Address of Cerro San Cristobal: Cam. San Cristóbal, 24, 04003 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of Cerro San Cristobal: 24 hours

10. Head to the Beaches in Almeria

Most of Almeria’s coastline is a busy harbor. However, if you head east you’ll find three beaches; San Miguel, Zapillo Beach, and Luminosa Beach. Playa de San Miguel is the most popular of Almeria’s beaches, but Playa del Zapillo is much nicer. There are restaurants, food stalls, and parking nearby. If you want to avoid the crowd, Playa Ciudad Luminosa is another option with a nice boardwalk.

From El Cable Ingles,  San Miguel Beach is only 11 minutes on foot. Keep going east for 700 m, and you’ll reach Playa del Zapillo. From there, Luminosa Beach is just another 8-minute walk. If you have a vehicle, you can park at El Palmeral, which is spacious and free.

11. Go Star Gazing in the Desert in Almeria

Activities at night in Almeria extend beyond tapas, drinks, and eating. Stargazing is one of the most famous night excursions in Almeria. And it’s the beautiful National Park of Cabo de Gata that’s the location for this.  The lack of light pollution here means you get great star-viewing opportunities (assuming it’s a clear night).   While you can drive out to the National Park yourself, it’s easiest to go star gazing in Cabo de Gata with a guide who has a telescope for close-up viewing.

As well as transport, you’ll get an English-speaking guide who will explain the mythology of the night sky, the impact on the tides, and eclipses, and, of course, you’ll get to see up-close the beautiful stars using a powerful telescope.  This tour doesn’t run all the time – it’s best on moonless, clear nights, but check to see what dates it’s running here.

Explore the Museums of Almeria

Visiting the museums of Almeria will help you understand its history, culture, and traditions. There are art museums, war museums, and archeological museums in Almeria, and here’s the best of them.

The Museum of Almeria – Museo de Almeria

The Museo de Arqueólogico de Almeria is a great place to visit in the center of Almeria.  It’s here that you can learn more about the city’s history, especially the archeological history and how Almeria became the city that it is today.  Almeria’s Museum contains all the usual displays of ceramics, neolithic crafts, weaponry, and also prehistoric collections.

  • Address of the Museo de Arqueólogico de Almeria: Carretera de Ronda, Calle Hermanos Pinzón, 91, 04005 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Museo de Arqueólogico de Almeria: 9 AM to 3 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays
  • Entry Fees for the Museo de Arqueólogico de Almeria: Free for EU citizens, 1.50 euros for other visitors

Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta

The Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta is an art museum housed in a Basque-style building in Almeria built in the 1920s. The paintings displayed are from 19th to 20th-century Almeria. The best time to go is right after the opening or at night just before closing, you’ll have the place to yourselves, all the better to appreciate the artwork.

  • Address of the Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta: Pl. de Emilio Pérez, 2, 04001 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, then again from 5 PM to 8:30 PM on Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM on Sundays, closed on Mondays
  • Entry Fees for the Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta: Free

Centro Andaluz de Fotografía

The Centro Andaluz de Fotografía is an art museum that showcases a changing set of exhibits depending on the current theme and season. There are also special events, video shows, and interactive displays.  You can check the current schedule of events at the Centro Andaluz de Fotografía here.

  • Address of the Centro Andaluz de Fotografía: C. Pintor Díaz Molina, 9, 04002 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Centro Andaluz de Fotografía: 11 AM to 2 PM, then again from 5:30 AM to 9:30 AM Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays
  • Entry Fees for the Centro Andaluz de Fotografía: Free

Casa del Cina – the Cinema Museum of Almeria

The Casa del Cine Almeria is a distinctive museum. It shows memorabilia from movies filmed in Almeria, but specifically known for the John Lennon display. He also visited this museum while in Almeria, filming “How I Won the War”  in1 966 and it’s said that he wrote the lyrics for “Strawberry Fields” while here.  There’s a statue of Lennon in the Plaza de las Flores.  Back in the museum, there are video and audio presentations available in different languages.

  • Address of the Casa del Cine Almeria: Cam. Romero, 1, 04009 Almería, Spain
  • Opening Hours of the Casa del Cine Almeria: 5 PM to 8 PM on Fridays, 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, then again from 5 PM to 8 PM on Saturdays, 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM on Sundays, closed from Mondays to Thursdays
  • Entry Fees for the Casa del Cine Almeria: 3’00 €

Map of Things to Do in Almeria

You can see the live map of Almeria’s things to do here.

Map of things to in in Almeria

How Many Days to Spend in Almeria

Two days are enough to spend in Almeria if you want to simply stop by and check it out. But if you’re going to stay longer, you can definitely do that. Outside the city, there are many things to do, such as day trips to Granada, exploring national parks, and boat tours.

Day Trips from Almeria

If you find yourself with some extra time while in Almeria, use that to explore the province of Almeria. Explore the desert, visit historic places, and admire other Moorish architecture.  I wrote more details about Almeria’s best day trips here, but before you head there, here are the highlights.

Tabernas Desert & Mini Hollywood Day Trip from Almeria

The Tabernas Desert is one of Andalusia’s unique locations. And the desert will likely make you forget that you are in Spain, let alone Europe. There are a lot of hiking trails in the desert (take lots of water) that are well worth exploring, but if you head to the Tabernas Desert, then you should also check out the rather fun “Mini Hollywood” theme park, which mimics a Wild West movie filming set. You can read more details here.

Things to do in Almeria visit Tabernas Desert

Take a Day Trip to the Cabo de Gata National Park

Cabo de Gata is another desert-like landscape not too far from Almeria. There are hiking trails that lead to the beach, while you can also book a tour that will take you out to the water and do water activities or book a 4×4 excursion. There’s more about visiting the Cabo de Gata here.

Head to the Alhambra, Granada from Almeria

The Alhambra is a fortress and a palace situated in Granada, 2 hours from Almeria. It was built in the 14th century featuring Moorish architecture. Alhambra is considered an important Islamic building in Europe. This massive complex has multiple palaces and gardens. The most significant are the Palace of Charles V, Alcazaba Fortress, and Nasrid Palace.

Things to do in Almeria visit ALhambra

If you wish to visit it from Almeria, you have to make a day trip out of it. You can drive there on your own, but with driving and exploring the entire complex, you’ll be exhausted driving back to Almeria. The best way to visit Alhambra is to book a tour where the transportation, entrance, and a local guide in includes. In this way, you can simply relax and even get a local guide to explain everything about it to you. Check availability for day trips to the Alhambra here.

How to Get to Almeria

Here are the different options on how to get to Almeria depending on where you’re coming from, your transportation choice, your budget, and how much time you have to spare. You can reach Almeria by bus, car, air, and also train.

How to get to Almeria by bus

The Intermodal Bus Station of Almeria is right downtown, located in the same place as the city’s main train station. It’s an easy (flat) walk from most of the places in Almeria, although you wouldn’t want to walk to or from here in the heat of the day!  Direct buses are available that go to Almeria from nearby cities such as Malaga, Granada, and Murcia. To book a bus ticket and check the schedule, you can use Omio and Alsa. If you’re traveling during peak season, buying your ticket in advance is very much recommended as the buses do run full.

How to get to Almeria by train

Almeria also has a well-connected train station. Keep in mind that most routes come through Granada. For example, if you’re coming from Malaga, the train journey will take 8 hours and 30 minutes and you have to stop in Granada.  The train journey from Almeria to Granada is glorious.  Reserve your ticket early for the best deals.

Almeria Train station

How to get to Almeria by car

Almeria airport is only a 15-minute drive away. (A taxi from the airport to downtown Almeria will cost around 20 euros.) If you’re renting a car, you can pick it up at the airport and then take AL-12 to the city center. From Granada, the travel time by car to Almeria is around 1 hour and 45 minutes, taking the southern road of GR-30, A-44, and turning left to A-7, which will take straight to the city center.

It’s easy to get around by car in Almeria, but if you’re planning to rent, then all the major companies are represented here.   If you’re here during the busy, holiday or peak season, then it’s best to reserve a vehicle in advance.


Car Icon

Best Spain Car Rental

If you need to rent a car in Spain we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare, and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, It’s the perfect option! Get a price for a rental car in Spain here.

Parking in Almeria

When it comes to parking, there is street parking in Almeria, but the availability depends on the season. There are also paid parking lots which are more reliable and provide better security for your vehicle. The paid parking areas are lined with blue lines, which you can pay by card or cash.

When to Travel to Almeria

The best time to visit Almeria is either in spring or autumn when the temperature is cooler, and the climate is more pleasant. It’s also less crowded during these months. Visiting Almeria in summer can be uncomfortable due to the high temperatures. In comparison, winter can be too cold to get into the water or even explore semi-desert areas. 

Safety in Almeria

Almeria is a very safe city to visit and is firmly on the tourist trail.  Follow all the usual precautions that you would when traveling in a busy city

  • Keep valuables out of sight
  • Always lock your valuables away when they’re not with you (read how we use a portable travel safe here)


Best Portable Travel Safe

This fabulous portable travel safe is big enough for laptops, phones, cameras, and a whole lot more. It packs flat and secures to just about anything!

  • Use a VPN when utilizing public WiFi networks in hotels, hostels, and guesthouses (read about VPNs here)
  • Tap water is potable in Almeria, but it doesn’t taste very nice at all. Consider taking a refillable water bottle to reduce the use of single-use plastic.  We always travel with a filter water bottle, which I wrote about here.

Travel Insurance for Almeria

Almeria is a pretty safe city to travel to, but accidents can happen.  If you’re considering travel insurance.  If you’re considering travel insurance for your trip to Almeria, then you can get a quote from World Nomads for your travel insurance for Almeria

Travel Essentials for Spain

Final Words on the Best Things to Do in Almeria

Almeria is an excellent choice for at least two days in southern Andalusia.  You’ll have plenty to keep you occupied here, even if all you do is eat the tapas!  However, if you like history, Moorish architecture, and beaches, and want to experience the desert region of Spain, then Almeria is a great option.  When you’re done exploring the city of Almeria, then head out into the desert, to the National Parks nearby, or even to one of Andalusia’s other cities. 

Stock images in this article are courtesy Deposit Photos.

We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using our affiliate links. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

ASocialNomad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, and Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *