If you are looking for things to do in Almeria in 2 days then this guide will help you get the most out of your short trip to this beautiful part of Spain.
Almeria is an ideal destination to visit. It is easy to get to in just two hours from both Malaga and Alicante and offers something for everyone whether you are into history, food, the great outdoors or are simply a beach lover.
Plus, with over 3000 hours of sunshine per year coupled with minimal rain, you may find it hard to tear yourself away from the city after your 2 day trip.
So, what are the best things to do in Almeria, the ‘Mirror of the Sea?’
Visit the Alcazaba
Almeria’s Alcazaba is a 10th century fortress sitting on a hill overlooking the city. It is the second largest fortress in Andalucia after the Alhambra in Grenada. It is one of the most important sites in Almeria. The castle was a symbol of power and strength, and was built by the Moors during the 10th century. From the top of the castle, you could see all the way to the sea and watch as the ships sailed in and out of the port.
Many battles were fought for control of the Alcazaba, but it remained in the hands of the Moors for nearly 800 years. The castle was finally captured by the Christians during the Reconquista, and it was then used as a military fortress for many years.
Built by the Caliph of Cordoba, the fortress was more than a single defensive building. The complex originally contained a mosque, houses, gardens, squares and a palace. Today, visitors can explore the castle’s many towers, ramparts, and courtyards, and imagine what life was like for the soldiers who lived there such long time ago. You can also see the beautiful gardens that have been restored, and enjoy the stunning views of the city and sea from the top of the castle.
The entrance to the Alcazaba is free of charge for EU citizens and 1.5 euros for the rest of the world, and the access is made through the Gate of Justice (Puerta de la Justicia) on Calle Almanzor. You can also join a guided tour to discover the fascinating history and intricate architecture of the castle.
Check out the Castillo de San Cristobal
Another great thing to do in Almeria is checking out the Castillo de San Cristobal. You will find it near to the Alcazaba. Built by the Moors during the 10th century, it was strategically positioned on the hill overlooking the port to keep watch over the sea and defend against any incoming attacks.
When the Christians captured Almeria during the Reconquista, the Castillo de San Cristobal was transformed into a prison, where it was said that the prisoners could hear the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. The castle remained a prison for many years, and it was not until the 20th century that it was finally restored.
Also at the same site is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a statue made from local Macael marble which is believed to protect the city. The site boasts fantastic city views.
Visit the Cathedral
Almeria Cathedral was built in the 16th century and acted as a religious place of worship but also as a defensive structure to protect the city from Barbary pirate attacks. Built by the Christians, it stands as a symbol of their victory over the Moors during the Reconquista. The cathedral was constructed on the site of a former mosque, and its design reflects the blending of the two cultures that shaped Almeria’s history.
The Cathedral is an intriguing mix of Renaissance and Gothic styles, with an impressive facade, ornate towers, and intricate carvings. When you step inside, you are greeted by the warm glow of stained glass windows, which cast vibrant colors on the walls and floor. The highlight of the cathedral is its magnificent altarpiece, which is a true work of art.
Other highlights of the cathedral include the 16th century walnut choir stalls and the alabaster tomb inside the Chapel of Santo Cristo.
You can click here to book a guided tour of the cathedral which includes the Monastery of Las Puras as well.
Stop by the Museo Refugio de la Guerra Civil
The Museo Refugio de la Guerra Civil explains the history and construction of nearly five kilometres of refuge tunnels that were built during the Spanish Civil War. It is a museum that preserves the memory of one of the darkest periods in Spain’s history.
The museum is located in a former air raid shelter, which was built during the Spanish Civil War to protect the city’s residents from bombing raids. The network of tunnels were constructed nine metres underground.
Visiting the museum is like stepping back in time. Visitors can see a restored one kilometre section of the tunnel which includes a communal living area, an operating theatre and a pantry. You can also see the cramped conditions of the shelter and imagine what it was like for families to huddle together for safety. The museum also houses a collection of photographs, artifacts, and other memorabilia that help to bring the period to life.
Visiting the museum is by tour only and, due to the nature of the tunnels, visitor groups are limited to 25 people, so pre-booking is essential. You will need to descend (and ascend) 50 steps, so keep that in mind if you have accessibility issues. You can click here to book a ticket for the guided tour of the museum.
Have Lunch in the Central Market
One of the best things to do in Almeria is having lunch in the Central Market.
The 19th century Central Market is a perfect location to grab some lunch, buy groceries or just watch the world go by. This is the place where locals come to buy their fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, or freshly caught fish.
The market is not just a place to shop for food, but it is also a gathering place where people come to socialize and catch up with friends. On weekends, it is not uncommon to see families and friends chatting over coffee or a quick bite, and the market buzzes with the energy of a lively community.
Located on Paseo de Almeria, the market is a great place to come for breakfast, lunch, or to buy edible souvenirs such as aromatic spices, Spanish cheese or typical cured meat and sausages.
Take a Stroll Along Paseo Maritimo
The Paseo Maritimo in Almeria is a picturesque promenade that runs along the city’s stunning Mediterranean coastline. This wide, 2 kilometer long tree-lined walkway is a popular destination for both locals and visitors, and offers pretty views of the sea and the city’s harbor. It passes the beaches of San Miguel, Zapillo, La Termica and Nueve Almeria along the way.
You can walk off your lunch with a stroll along Paseo Maritimo (also known as Carmen de Burgos promenade in honour of a local writer).
Along the way, you will encounter many cafes, restaurants, ice cream parlors, shops selling souvenires, as well as some small markets. You can always stop at a cafe and enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the view.
In the evening, the Paseo Maritimo comes alive with music and laughter as locals gather to enjoy the warm sea breeze and the sounds of the city. The promenade is illuminated with twinkling lights, and the sea shimmers in the moonlight, making it the perfect place for a romantic walk.
Check Out the Beaches
If a stroll along the promenade tempts you to spend time on one of Almeria’s beaches, there are lots of fantastic places to choose from. As Almeria is a seafront city, it would be a sin to miss sunbathing at least for a little bit on one of its gorgeous beaches.
You can visit the city centre beaches mentioned above or the Blue Flag beaches at Roquetas de Mar (Aguadulce is one of the most popular).
San Miguel is a long, wide beach that is popular for its soft, golden sand and crystal-clear waters. This beach is perfect for families, as it is equipped with all the facilities you need for a day at the beach, including showers, restrooms, and restaurants.
Nueve is a long, wide beach that is known for its calm waters and soft, golden sand. The beach is popular with locals and visitors alike, and is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and playing.
Take a Photo of the John Lennon Statue
Take a selfie sitting next to guitar playing John Lennon on Plaza de las Flores.
John Lennon spent time in Almeria during the filming of ‘How I Won The War’ in 1966 and is said to have composed ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ whilst living in the city.
Spend the Morning Visiting Cabo de Gata National Park
Cabo de Gata encompasses the cape to the east of the city centre and is Europe’s only subtropical desert.
You will be treated to a volcanic, rocky landscape with a dramatic coastline and fantastic sea views.
Visitors can climb 500 metres to the park’s highest peak, El Fraile (which was once a volcano), visit an abandoned mining village or view the colony of flamingos on the salt flats.
Alternatively, bring your towel and swim and sunbathe on empty, secluded beaches.
For more information about this incredible area, click here to read my guide on Cabo de Gata’s best beaches.
Stop at Desierto de Tabernas & Los Millares on Your Way Back
The Tabernas Desert is located 30 kilometres North of Almeria and it is the only semi arid desert in Europe. As a result, this is a wildlife protection area as there are flora and fauna living here that are found nowhere else in Spain, or Europe.
The 110 square mile desert landscape has become the filming set for many movies, which has earned this area the nickname of ‘mini Hollywood.’ Films filmed here include the iconic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lawrence of Arabia, and even more recently, the Black Mirror.
Nearby you will find Los Millares, a fascinating Copper Age archaeological site dating back to 3000 BC.
It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the country, and is renowned for its well-preserved Bronze Age settlements.
Los Millares was first inhabited in the third millennium BCE and was occupied until the end of the second millennium BCE. The site consists of several circular stone houses, as well as defensive walls, towers, and fortifications that demonstrate the advanced level of organization and technology of the people who lived there.
You can explore the site free of charge, to learn about the history and the culture of the people who used to live here, to see the ruins and the reconstructed walls, the domed chambers and the tombs carved directly into the rocks.
Have a Western Experience at the Mini Hollywood Theme Park
If a visit to Tabernas Desert gets you in the mood for a Western movie, then a visit to the Mini Hollywood theme park is a must.
The park was originally a set built for the spaghetti western ‘For a Few Dollars More’. When filming ended, entrepreneurial locals who had worked as extras on the film bought the set and turned it into a tourist attraction.
Visitors can explore the town (don’t miss the jail), visit the Car and Film Museum and Cactus Garden.
There are two live action shows featuring CanCan dancing and cowboy stunts, plus a zoo with over 800 animals and a large open air swimming pool. This is a great thing to do if you visit Almeria with children.
Return to Almeria and Stroll Around the Old Town
A sunset stroll around the atmospheric old town is a perfect way to end 2 days in Almeria.
Don’t miss the 17th century Plaza Vieja, or ‘Old Square’ which is home to the city’s Town Hall or the unusual cave quarter Barrio de la Chanca where some families still live in homes partially built into the rocky hillside under the Alcazaba.
Alternatively, treat yourself to an Arabic bathing experience at the Aire de Almeria.
Shop for Souvenirs at La Rambla
Situated next to Paseo de Almeria, the tree lined La Rambla is lined with shops and restaurants and dotted with fountains, small parks and statues. It divides the east and the western sections of Almeria and it is a vibrant place with plenty of street performers.
La Rambla is also a great place for shopping, from small souveniers to the latest fashion. The central square on La Rambla is a popular meeting place for locals.
You will also find some of the best nightlife around La Rambla as well, which makes this a perfect place to end your two days in Almeria at.
For more articles related to Almeria check out my other posts below:
- A guide to the best Cabo de Gata beaches
- The most beautiful cities in Andalucia
- Fish dishes you must try in Andalucia
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