One of Europe’s most unique regions, with a rich landscape, deep history and dozens of lesser known towns and villages; in Almeria you’ll discover a new side of Spain.
Hot, dry and gloriously diverse, Almeria is the forgotten treasure of southern Spain. You’ll experience the best of this culturally rich region and avoid the crowds.
At the east end of Andalucia, Almeria is home to some of the region’s most dramatic landscapes. It is rich in history, heavy on tradition.
The first thing you’ll notice about Almeria is its climate. Hot, arid and dry with an average annual temperature of 19.1 °C (66.4 °F), it is the second warmest and sunniest city in Europe (after Seville). But that doesn’t mean it’s a sun scorched wasteland; the region has an abundance of riches for nature lovers to explore.
You’ll find a land of contrasts; home to one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse coastlines and Europe’s only desert – made famous by countless spaghetti westerns.
Take Cabo de Gata, a volcanic natural park on the east coast, with coves that are only accessible by foot, it gives visitors the sense that they are discovering new territory. And in the shadow of the eroded mountains of the Desierto de Tabernas, is Níjar, a village with a link to the region’s earliest history, through earthenware ceramics produced using the same techniques as in Phoenician times.
You’ll enjoy some of the clearest skies in Europe as you sit stargazing from your balcony in the evenings. Little wonder that one of the world’s most powerful telescopes has been installed at Cergal in Almeria.
Along a coastline stretching for 214 km you will find some of the most affordable properties in southern Spain. From Almeria city, a working port steeped in Moorish history, you are within easy distance of popular resorts Roquetas de Mar to the south, or Mojácar in the north, which successfully mixes traditional Spanish village life with a lively beach resort. The truly adventurous might like to sample the delights of troglodyte living in the cave houses dotted along the coast!
The Costa Almeria in the community of Andalusia encompasses 220 kilometres of coastline along the edge of the province of Almeria from Pulipi in Murcia to Adra in Granada. It is desert brought to bloom, attracting residents with a relaxed, bohemian temperament looking for an adventurous, affordable and uncrowded shoreline.
The hottest and driest coast in Spain, the Costa Almeria includes the Levante Almeriense, Almeria and Pimento Almeriense regions. The high average temperatures have created a combination of desert scrubland, greenhouse crops, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. Popular beach resorts include Vera, Mojacar, Roquetas de Mar and Almerimar.
Mojacar is the most well-known; it was virtually abandoned in the 1950s, so a new Mayor offered to give away the town’s empty houses to anyone willing to fix them up, thus attracting the artisans that rebuilt this now bohemian community. Almeria is the capital city and the gateway to the Costa Almeria due to its international airport. The city has myriad tourist sights, most notably, the vast Islamic fort called the Alcazaba. There are fast-growing urbanisations in or near the towns of Tabernas, Albox, and Desert Springs — a renowned golf resort. Travelling between towns is easy with regular buses and road connections. Trains connect the larger towns to Madrid and beyond. The expat community thrives here, so searching for schools and jobs is relatively easy.
Almeria’s coastline has escaped considerable development and remains largely unspoilt. The Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Níjar to the South protects the Sierra del Cabo de Gata mountains as part of a huge nature reserve. These summits drop directly into the Mediterranean Sea, creating jagged, towering cliffs, riven by gullies that result in hidden coves with white, sandy beaches. Whereas to the North, you’ll find flatter ground, with quaint towns and modern resorts hosting vibrant beach fronts and sands. Golfers never get rained off and film fans can visit Oasys’ Mini Hollywood theme park which is built in the desert used as a location in films such as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Cleopatra’, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, ‘Death had a Price’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’.
Featured towns in Costa Almeria (Almeria province)
On the Costa de Almeria, in the foothills of the Sierra Cabrera is Mojacar, a mountainside village that offers a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle.
If you want a slice of traditional village life, gorgeous beaches, mountain walks with rich culture and history, beautiful Mojacar is for you.
The story of Mojácar presents an alternative history of how Spain’s Costas might have turned out. Nearly derelict and abandoned in the 1960s, an enlightened mayor offered free land to anyone willing to restore the village’s houses. Instead of putting up high rises, artists, writers and bohemians flocked to the town and helped restore the beautiful sugar cube village you see today. Now one of the most sought-after destinations on the Costa de Almería, these beautifully renovated houses are perfect for anyone looking to experience traditional village life.
Just a few minutes down the hill you arrive at the modern development of Mojácar Playa, a great example of how to successfully develop seaside tourism without changing the nature of the entire region. Here you can stretch out on one of the three Blue Flag beaches along 17 kilometres of coast or stroll along the beach front and enjoy one of the many excellent restaurants, shops and bars.
The development of the village that began in the 1960’s saw the demographics shift permanently. In Mojacar today you will be among one of the largest expatriate populations in the whole of Spain, with roughly 50% of permanent residents coming from elsewhere in Europe.
Based in one of Spain’s lesser known Costas, property is still very reasonably priced. You can choose from traditional whitewashed village houses, apartments in low rise blocks or Cortijos and villas in the surrounding countryside. The resort of Mojacar Playa is a separate entity where you can find an even greater range of apartments, many with sea views.
Although Mojacar is a small village you’ll find a supermarket, two weekly markets and a selection of interesting restaurants and bars. The area is an excellent place for sport, with a golf course on the coast and many water sports facilities. If you need anything more, head for the shopping centre at Mojacar Playa, where you will find boutiques, banks and ѕоlісіtоrѕ.
The beach is walkable in around 30 minutes, but you might prefer to make use of the regular yellow buses, particularly on the way home, as it’s all uphill. The airport in Almeria is a 60-minute drive and has its own bus service.
You will find a medical centre in Mojacar Playa, as well as an emergency clinic near the shopping centre and a pharmacy in the village.
Cost of Living
Mojacar is a great choice if you are working to a budget. The cost of living in the Almeria region is 21 percent lower than in Madrid and can offer better value than the neighbouring Costas.
Vera is a walled city 10 kilometres inland of the Vera Playa, which together make up a municipality in the Levante to the Eastern side of the Almeria Province in Andalusia.
Vera is a town of romantic Renaissance architecture, cobbled streets and open squares near a coastal strip of three beaches and urbanisations catering for a diverse mix of people.
After an earthquake felled the original city site, legend has it that Queen Isabella I climbed the hill and fired an arrow, ordering the rebuilding of Vera where it landed. The central Plaza Mayor is dominated by the 15th century Inglesia de la Encarnación, a fortified church with four towers built to fend off invaders. The 16th century town hall hosts the Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum. Then stretching down towards the coast there are a large number of new developments connecting the town to Vera Playa.
Vera Playa splits into three beaches; Playazo, Las Marinas and Puerto Rey. Playazo is one of the most popular naturist beaches in the world because of the numerous facilities in the large urbanised zone around it catering to naturist philosophy, not to mention the year-round sunshine. Traditional Spanish chiringuitos serving food and drinks line Las Marinas and Puerto Rey and there is a beach long walkway stretching along the sand to the bordering town of Garrucha.
If you move to Vera town, the population is mainly Spanish. There are also urbanisations in the centre and south of the beach. However, if you want to live in Europe’s first naturist resort, look at the urbanisations towards the North of Playa Vera.
Natsun, Vera Natura, La Menara, Bahia de Vera, Torremar Natura, Parque Vera, Marina Natura, Armoni Natura, Vera Luz are some of the urbanisations exclusively for naturists. Puerto Rey, Vera Mar 6, Playa de Baria, and Mirador de Vera are all ‘clothed’ areas. Much like their owners, they all vary in terms of size, shape and age!
Vera itself is a bustling town with all the necessities you could need. From hairdressers to vets to pharmacies, it’s all there. The beach areas are also well provided for and you’ll be able to visit both ‘clothed’ and ‘naturist’ venues.
Vera is about 90 kilometres away from Almeria Airport and 130 kilometres from Murcia International Airport. Regular bus services run between Vera Playa, Garrucha, Mojacar and Vera town.
Centro De Salud Vera on the Calle San Cleofas and Dental Company Vera on the Plaza Tomás de Haro are recommended. The closest hospital is Hospital Público Comarcal la Inmaculada, Huércal-Overa, just a 25-minute drive inland.
Cost of Living
This area of Spain is usually good value and Vera is no exception. It’s less expensive than nearby Mojacar. The further inland you go, the more space and land you’ll get for your money.
This lively market town in the province of Almeria can be found amid a compelling landscape of citrus orchards, olive groves, a deep valley and dramatic hills.
A friendly, working town with an integrated expat community, Albox presents an authentically Spanish alternative to the coastal resorts with property at a fraction of the price.
At the heart of the Almanzora valley, in a landscape dominated by two mountain ranges lies Albox. A traditional whitewashed town that has maintained many of its important historic and religious buildings, Albox is home to a friendly, mainly Spanish population who maintain a vibrant traditional culture best experienced through its excellent food and spirited fiestas. Living in Albox puts you in easy reach of the coast and several major cities and also provides access to delightful countryside that is off the radar of most tourists.
With around 11,500 inhabitants, 25% of who have settled here from abroad, Albox has a reputation for making expats feel welcome. Many local businesses, medical services and banks employ dedicated English-speaking members of staff making the move here a little easier.
Much of the property in Albox is reasonably priced, compared to what you might find closer to the coast, and you’ll find a mixture of traditional townhouses, small apartment blocks and villas in the outlying rural areas.
There are the usual facilities of a modern market town, including banks, shops, supermarkets, post office and a library. People from the local area use Albox as a hub, making the most of its sports facilities and the twice weekly markets where you can buy a wide variety of locally produced foods.
It’s around 90 minutes to the international airports of Almeria and Murcia and there are fast roads to Granada to the east. If you are without your own transport, there are good bus services to take you to many more locations around the region.
The town has its own public medical centre open 24 hours, with some English speaking doctors. The nearest hospital can be found in Huercal Overa, around a 30 minute drive.
Cost of Living
Living away from the tourist areas on the coast means the costs are relatively cheap, although you will find utility bills such as electricity on a par with the UK.
San Juan de Los Terreros
San Juan de Los Terreros is a seaside village within the larger municipality of Pulpi. It’s right on the border of Almeria close to Aguilas in Murcia.
An up and coming undiscovered area. San Juan de Los Terreros offers natural calm and Spanish charm.
Originally, San Juan de Los Terreros was a small village protected by a fort built in the 16th century. The castle still stands tall on the headlands, 150m above sea level. A brisk walk uphill grants magnificent views as far as Cabo Cope, a protected island known for its rare Iberian-African flora and fauna some 30km away.
The modern town has grown steadily around a growing tourist industry, as word spread about the area’s beaches. The main beach is Las Palmeras: 1 kilometre long and named for the copse of palm trees standing tall at its edge. Las Palmeras is popular with families and bathers as the intermingled sand and shingle banks gently out to sea. Next door, Los Cocedores bay has another natural swimming pool protected by the surrounding sandstone cliffs. Mar Rabiosa, Calypso and Mar Serena beaches are all small but perfectly formed coves with fine, bright yellow sand and shallow waters.
The Terreros and Negra Islands face the village from the sea and the marine beds between them, which are protected underwater volcanic inlets, are home to Posidonia Oceanica – meadows of underwater plants providing habitat to a variety of sea life. The islands provide safe breeding grounds for endangered, nesting seabirds. There is an aqua park just 15 minutes’ drive away andOasys, a western film themed park, a short drive inland. The nearby town of Aguilas is famous for its Mardi Gras Carnival – known as one of the biggest in Spain. Golfers have a range of choices, with greens in San Juan, Aguilón and Mojacar.
San Juan de Los Terreros has the best of both worlds: a traditional Spanish restaurant scene set into modern developments built to serve an international crowd. The residents are mainly Spanish with a sprinkling of northern Europeans.
San Juan de Los Terreros offers plentiful modern, well-kept urbanisations made up of apartments and detached villas.
San Juan de Los Terreros has plenty of facilities including shops, bars and restaurants in the village catering for tourists. There are a few services open year-round for residents, but for cinemas, shopping centres and hypermarkets, you’ll need to go inland to either Aguilas or Pulpi. Although it has traditionally been a seasonal destination, recent growth in real estate has led to improvement in the town’s infrastructure.
San Juan de Los Terreros is equidistant between Region de Murcia International Airport and Almeria Airport. Jaravia and Aguilas-el Labradorica train stations are both within 15 minutes drive from the village. The Cartagena – Almeria bus service connects all the coastal towns between the two cities.
There are several registered doctors on hand in the village but there are a more significant medical centre and a dentist in Pulpi itself. A 24-hour access general hospital is 30 minutes’ drive inland in Huércal-Overa.
Cost of Living
The Costa Almeria is cheap and cheerful with an arty, bohemian edge. Your money will go further if you’re investing in property compared with the other Spanish Costas because it’s less developed and retains much of its Spanish culture. This also keeps living costs low.
An important working town in the province of Almeria, Huercal-Overa is half an hour from the coast and surrounded by a fascinating landscape of both desert and lush green forests.
A vibrant Spanish atmosphere and unbeatable amenities make this is just the place for anyone in search of a reasonably priced property in a thriving community.
To walk the streets of Huercal-Overa is like stepping back in time; this old town was an important trading post for Romans, Moors and countless traders who have all shaped the town over millennia. Today its geographical situation on the route between Murcia and Almeria means it remains an important commercial centre with excellent amenities. For anyone looking to settle here, the architectural beauty and buzzing cultural life make it an even more attractive proposition.
At the centre are the features people look for in historic Spanish towns: narrow streets, traditional plazas and beautifully rendered public spaces. The surrounding area is also fascinating for its diversity. Walk out into the countryside and where once you would have found desert landscape, new pine plantations together with almond, eucalyptus and oak trees are transforming the area into a lush oasis. And that’s before you’ve even got near the coast – it’s a short easy drive to reach one of Andalucia’s best beaches: San Juan de Los Terreros.
Very much still a working, agricultural town, Huercal-Overa’s position has made it an attractive destination for settlers from across Europe and South America. Of its 19,000 inhabitants, around 20% have come from outside Spain.
You will find a wide range of very affordable homes in Huercal-Overa, including townhouses, modern apartments and many larger villas and farmhouses in the surrounding area.
There are numerous bars and restaurants, as well as a plethora of shops and a twice weekly market where you can get your hands on locally grown fresh fruit and veg. You can also find excellent sporting facilities in town, along with an awarding winning theatre and cinema.
The town is accessed by two major roads connecting you with the coast and the surrounding area. The nearest airport is Corvera International at around an hour’s drive away. If you are without your own transport, then head to the bus station which will take you to over 20 Spanish cities and destinations across Europe.
Many people are drawn to the town for its excellent health care facilities, which include a hospital considered to be one of the best in Spain. You’ll also find a public health centre with a number of English-speaking staff and doctors.
Cost of Living
As you will be away from the madding crowds of the Costas, prices in shops and restaurants tend to be a bit lower in Huercal-Overa.
Arboleas is a rural village in the Almanzora valley of the Almeria province, near the resorts of the Costa Almeria.
With traces of orange blossom in the air, a warm, dry climate and the promise of well proportioned, modern housing, Arboleas is ideal for quiet, country living.
Arboleas is a small, rural village on the banks of the Almanzora river in the Almanzora Valley: a fertile, agricultural basin between the Sierra de Los Filabres and the Sierra de las Estancias.
This and the near year-round sunshine make for abundant crops of olives, almonds and citrus.
There is archaeological evidence that prehistoric man settled here, with traces found of Stone Age settlements. However, the town’s current incarnation is medieval. A visit to the Tower of Arboleas — a medieval turret now used as the town clock — gives stunning views into the valley. The parish church of Santiago built in the 19th century hosts religious art and artefacts from the 17th and 18th centuries. There are beautiful old and new bridges towards the edge of town – each one provides a glimpse into Arboleas’s past.
Beyond the village, the landscape lends itself to walking, cycling and horse riding. There are other historical sites, including the ruins of a Moorish fortress near the town of Purchena. The closest beaches are in the popular areas of Mojacar, Vera and near the port of Villaricos.
Thanks to the dual carriageway between Baza and Huercal Overa, Arboleas has become easy to access. Combine this with a progressive town hall and low-cost housing, Arboleas has become very attractive to expats. It’s estimated to have around 60/40 Spanish to international residents with a high proportion of Brits.
There are several modern urbanisations including Higuerales, El Chopo, El Prado, La Perla and Los Carrascos. The majority of homes on offer are villas with shared amenities within these complexes. There are also some country homes available.
There is a good offering of restaurants, bars and cafes and the village is self-sufficient when it comes to shops and services. There is a fresh produce market every Tuesday.
Almeria Airport is an hour’s drive and Alicante are around 2 hours away. You can reach the airports using public transport, but a car is recommended. However, the region’s towns are very well connected via a bus network.
There is a medical centre open between 8-3pm and several dentists in nearby Albox. The closest hospital is Hospital Público Comarcal la Inmaculada, about a 20-minute drive East.
Cost of Living
The cost of housing has remained low because of land disputes in the first decade of the 21st century. However, using an independent lawyer will make sure you avoid any pitfalls and still get a great value home. Leisure in this part of Spain is low-cost: eating out and seeing live events are very good value.