Almeria City is at the base of a mountain range the Sierra de Gador, on the shores of the Almeria Bay. It lies south of Granada, with a rugged coastline with unspoilt beaches and sun baked desert scenery. The name "Almeria" stems from Al-Mariyat: "The Mirror of the Sea", in Arabic. The City was founded by Abd ar-Rahmam III of Cordoba in 955, as a principal harbour in his extensive domain to strengthen his Mediterranean defences. Its Moorish castle, Alcazaba, which stands proudly above the City is the second largest among the Muslim fortresses of Andalusia after the Alhanbra at Granada. In times of war, the Alcazaba could hold an army of more than 20,000 men
Almeria was one of the great cities of Moorish Andalucía, rivalling Seville, but after the Christian Reconquest the Spanish rulers neglected the port, and a series of earthquakes during the 16th century ruined large parts of the city. Today, Almeria has great appeal as an essentially Spanish city with a distinctive North African flavour. Its most enduring monument is the renovated Moorish Alcazaba fortress.
Almeria airport is located about 10 Kilometers east of Almeria City Centre. Budget airlines fly from seven UK airports into Almeria Internatinal Airport.
The Alcazaba fortress, with its three walled enclosures dating back to 955, and the Christian Cathedral dating back to 1524 are both interesting places to visit. Visitors to the fortress have a great view of the Cathedral which lies in a quiet and peaceful location right at the heart of the old town. The Cathedral was designed more like a fortress than a church, with fortified towers and cannons, because of the need to defend it from pirate attacks. It contains numerous art treasures, including a tabernacle dating from the 18th century, designed by Ventura Rodriguez. The city also has a fascinating archaeological museum and unique cave dwellings in the hillside above the old gypsy quarter.
Today modern Almeria City is divided into east and west by the beautiful main street 'Rambla de Belen'. The street is a gracious wide boulevard with mature trees either side where you can take a gentle stroll, enjoying the parks and fountains as you go. West of the Rambla is the Paseo de Almeria, an old-established and resorted thoroughfare. Halfway down the Paseo, a broad alley leads to Almeria's colourful morning market. At the north end of Paseo de Almeria is Puerta de Purchena, the city's real focus, a busy junction groaning with traffic, but also bustling with life.
Calle de las Tiendas running south from Puert de Purchena, is one of Almeria's oldest streets, now a fashionable shopping venue. Charming side streets lead via Plaza Flores and Tores Siloy to the Plaza San Pedro, with its handsome church and raised promenade. Almeria’s old town is a delight to stroll through with its tranquil squares, archways and colonnades. Just west of Plaza San Pedro is the Plaza Vieja (Old Square). This 17th century arcaded square is entered through narrow alleyways and occupied by palm trees and a bone-white monument. On the west side of the square is the theatrical facade of the Almeria City's Town Hall
Almeria City has a ferry terminal, a marina and a working fishing port. The Port is visited by cruise liners from all over the world which moor in the port to allow their passages to embark to explore this beautiful Spanish Mediterranean City. Ferries also embark frequently from the port to the North Africa destinations of Melilla, Ceuta and Nador.
Almeria has a good nightlife with a verity of music bars and discos dotted around the centre. There's plenty of choice in both atmosphere and music, from traditional family entertainment to all night dance music.
Almeria is by far the warmest province in the whole of Andalucía, due to the protection offered by the Sierra de Gador mountains. It is a highly productive agricultural area with many of Europe's vegetables being exported from Almeria.