Almería Car Hire
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Planning a trip to Almeria? You’re in for an absolute treat. One of Andalusia’s hidden gems, it’s now taking its rightful place as one of the region’s most desirable cities to visit – thanks in no small part to recent regeneration efforts. Its elegant town centre is complemented by leafy plazas and ancient churches, but the main attraction is the stunning Moorish Alcazaba (fortress). Mind you, Almeria is no slouch when it comes to cuisine either – there’s a huge choice of first-class tapas bars to tantalise your taste buds.
The scenery in the wider Almeria province is breath-taking and diverse. There’s over 100km of rugged, natural coastline to explore, with unspoiled beaches in the east and more touristy areas to the west. The subtropical Mediterranean climate is warm and dry, and the varied terrain includes desert, sea and saltwater lakes. And the dramatic sea cliffs and deserted beaches of the Sierra Maria-Los Velez and Cabo de Gata-Nijar nature reserves are teeming with wildlife.
Hiring a car in Almeria is child’s play with Enjoy Travel. Just type in your travel dates, hit the button and choose your perfect low-cost car from top regional and international partners in a minute. Book ahead of time and you’ll find some good deals. For instance, a mini-sized car like a Seat For Four is around £33 a day, a compact Ford Focus is £37 a day, and a sporty Opel Mokka is £41 a day. Trust Enjoy Travel with your Almeria car hire and the open roads of Andalusia roll out before you!
Almeria’s history stretches back to the 9th century, and it played an important role in Islamic Iberia. Starting as a small trading port known as Al-Mariyya Bajjana in the Republic of Pechina, it became the base of Abd-ar-Rahman III’s navy from 933AD. The city walls were constructed during this era and the region’s mulberry trees fuelled a flourishing silk industry. Almeria then grew as a trading port under Muslim rule for the next few centuries, not submitting to the Catholic monarchy until the late 15th-Century. Skip forward a few centuries and Almeria was the last city to fall to Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War and enjoyed a renaissance in the late 20th century thanks to burgeoning agriculture and tourism industries.
Almeria’s culture is diverse and fascinating. The Ajibe (Al-Hawd) neighbourhood is the old Muslim quarter and was later frequented by sailors and fishermen – with some of the most scenic city viewpoints. it’s always a pleasure to explore. Plaza Bendicho is another lovely spot, in the Old Town suburb of La Musalla – a sheltered square around the Catedral, this was the residential area of choice for the aristocracy from the 16th - 18th century and houses the oldest house in the entire city, La Casa de los Puche. You can also see the house of iconic local poet Jose Angel Valente, the Andalusian Centre of Photography and the Almeria Central Art Museum. And if music’s your thing, the Antonio de Torres guitar museum is a great place to learn all about the evolution of all forms and genres of guitar music – from acoustic to electric and flamenco to heavy metal.
Almeria has lots of unique quirks you won’t find anywhere else. For starters, Spanish food fanatics (and thrifty travellers) will be glad to know it’s the tradition here to serve a free tapa with every drink – so you’re sampling the local cuisine while sensibly lining your stomach! Furthermore, Europe’s only desert (Desierto Tabernas) is located 30km outside the city and it’s home to scorpions as well as spectacular sand dunes. And history buffs who want to find out more about the Spanish Civil War might want to visit the tunnels which were dug to provide some sort of respite from the catastrophic bombing the area suffered during that conflict. A 4.5km underground labyrinth was created for civilians to take shelter and a 1km section has been preserved for visitors to experience.
Things To Do in Almeria
Enter the Wild West
If you’re a fan of TV and cinema Wild West productions, the scenery around Almeria’s Tabernas desert might look familiar – from the late 1950’s through to the 1970s, more than 170 Westerns were shot here, most notably the iconic Clint Eastwood vehicles Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Three faux Western towns were left behind after Tinsel Town types left, as well as a generation of local cowboy actors and stuntmen. Today, you can visit Western Leone, Fort Bravo and Little Hollywood to explore the old movie sets, see staged gunfights and acrobatic horsemanship, and generally have a rootin, tootin time. Pretty cool, right?
Explore the Alcazaba
With a 1430m walled perimeter, the Alcazaba Fortress is Spain’s second-largest Moorish construction after Granada’s famous Alhambra Palace, and it’s definitely worth taking some time to explore. Construction here first started in the 10th century and the complex contains three campuses, the first two being Moorish constructions and the last added by Christians after the area came under the control of Catholic monarchs in the late 15th-Century. Wandering around the fort, you get a real sense of history unfolding before you, and the hilltop position means the views across the surrounding countryside are spectacular too.
Discover Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park
Want to get away from it all? The Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park is the Mediterranean coast’s largest protected nature reserve and it’s located 40km east of Almeria. Whether you want to hike, cycle or ride horses, you’ll find something special around every corner – from beautiful beaches and hidden coves to vertiginous mountains and shifting sand dunes. This was also a historical hotspot for Christians and Moors defending their kingdoms from Berber pirate raiders and you can still see castles like San Ramon strategically positioned on headlands. For a unique mix of nature and history, Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park is the place to be.
Eating Out in Almeria
When you want to experience traditional tapas in an authentic environment, look no further than Bar Casa Puga. First opened in 1870, this local favourite always has a lively atmosphere, and the slightly chaotic but comfy décor is complemented by the quality of the cuisine. Again, you can sample the tapas for free with your beer or wine, but it’s worth paying for larger dishes of delicious Raf tomato salad, fried fish and octopus. Bar Casa Puga is busy practically every day, so get there as early as possible to bag a good seat (or space at the bar).
For something a little different, try the fabulous flavours on offer at Restaurante-Teteria Almedina. Sit outside on the cool, leafy terrace or inside in the comfy salon, but it’s a refreshing experience either way. The mint tea is fabulous and delicious dishes include chicken tagine and lamb couscous. Restaurante-Teteria Almedina is run by a family with strong roots in Morocco, so everything on the menu is as authentic as possible. This is the ideal place to pop into when you want to escape the heat and revive yourself.
Valentin is a great choice when you fancy superb seafood in swish surroundings in Almeria. You can choose formal, full-service dining in the interior or a more casual experience in the restaurant’s back room. Everyone raves about the authentic paella here, but seafood fans should also try the cuttlefish, red prawns and langoustines. Let your waiter recommend a fine wine and enjoy an outstanding but reasonably-priced a la carte evening.
Transport in Almeria
Almeria Airport (LEI) is 6 miles from the city centre and it’s a great place for you to pick up your hire car. This is a compact, modern airport, with arrivals and departures on the main ground floor and a café offering views of the runway. LEI connects Almeria to various international locations, via carriers like easyJet, Iberia Regional, Jet2.com, Ryanair and TUI.
There’s a tourist train which leaves from Emilio Perez Square to all the major tourist sites during July and August and on weekends and holidays throughout the rest of the year. Otherwise, buses are the main mode of public transport, the local operator is Surbus and services across the city and beyond are fairly regular.
Driving in and around Almeria is no problem. Just drive on the right, observe the speed limit and proceed with caution. There are some lovely road trips around the Cabo de Gata Natural Park and well-maintained main roads and motorways provide connectivity to the rest of Spain.