Towns & Villages in Costa Almeria

Costa Almería is located in Andalucía. Watch a video about Andalucía produced by

The following Towns and Villages are in the Spanish Province of Almeria


alboxAlbox is nestled between the Sierra de las Estancias and the Sierra de los Filabres mountain ranges, a short distance from the Almanzora river. It is a typical whitewashed town with narrow streets interspersed with small plazas. As a small agricultural town it is surrounded by olive groves and lemon and orange orchards.

The origin of Albox is medieval and the remains of an ancient fort can be found on a nearby hill. In 1503 an earthquake destroyed it and many of its historical buildings were lost. It has been completely reconstructed in its present location.

Albox and the surrounding area offer a number of outdoor pursuits for the visitor. There area multitude of country areas to walk and explore, horse riding, cycling or off-roading in a 4WD. The area is also home to Europe’s biggest observatory.

Many of the local traditions in Albox remain, including ceramics. Two celebrated ceramicist families. Herminio and the Ends, remain in Albox. Their pottery factories still cook the mud in the old Arab furnaces and produce popular decorative ceramics, mostly earthenware.

There is a flourishing weekly market held on Tuesdays that is one of the features of Albox. The market spans through the streets into the Rambla (a dry riverbed) and here you can buy everything from clothes to livestock.

Albox – Tourist Information & Guide

Albox is a good place for children to grow up…safe and with a good community feel.
The way of life in Spain is laid back and easy going, although it can be somewhat disorganized and frustrating at times.

There are not a lot of expat families left in the area as jobs are hard to find. There is still quite a big ex pat community of retirement age. They have quite a lot of social activities which you can find information on in the free English papers like The Sol Times and the Euro Weekly.

There are some English speaking doctors and dentists in the area although if you can’t speak Spanish you should take an interpreter. The area is now attracting people of other nationalities and there are French, Belgian, and Dutch who own homes

Albox is a quiet town which has most amenities. For major shopping you would go to Murcia or Almeria.

Nearest Beaches
The beaches are 45 mins or so away and are very busy in July and August and very quiet the rest of the year. Vera, Villaricos, San Juan de los Terreros, Mojacar….. It is not well known as a tourist area for non-Spanish holidaymakers although some people make a good living from doing private villa holiday rentals.

Cost of Living
The cost of living is relatively cheap still although electricity prices are about the same as UK.

Which are the best urbanisations or developments to buy in Albox and surrounding area?
Arboleas and La Alfoquia are always popular, as is Limaria, Almanzora, Las Labores and there´s currently high demand for Los Patricios. However, it’s impossible to say which is better than the others as it´s really a matter of personal preference.

What is there to do in the Albox area?
Lots. A different market every day within 5-20mins, football stadium, regular craft fairs and markets, shops, bull ring at Vera (15mins) with regular concerts, golf societies, bowls, bowling alley, loads of clubs and societies, Lions and British legion charity work, shops, bars and restaurants and for about seven months of the year there are different town fiestas every weekend

Are there International schools in Albox?

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The Almanzora Bay Group is the holding entity of Villaricos S.L., Desert Springs S.L. and Bahia del Almanzora S.L. It is a sister group to The Robert Hitchins Group, one of the United Kingdom’s most consistent and successful private residential and commercial developers.

The objectives of the Almanzora Bay Group in the Almanzora are the creation of a wide range of opportunities for a better quality of life for both residents and visitors alike and the development of high quality residential tourism as a viable long-term alternative economy for the Almanzora, its people and its new residents.

* Villaricos SL is the promotor/developer of Villaricos Fishing Village; the Village Life concept.
* Desert Springs SL is the promotor/developer of the Leisure Life concept; The Desert Springs Family Resort  and Golf Club.
* Bahia del Almanzora SL, the promotor/developer of Playa Marques Beach Life.
* Playas del Almanzora, is also a subsidiary of The Almanzora Bay Group and is the Spanish holidays and sales agent and administrative services company for that group in Spain.
* The Almanzora Group is a separate UK subsidiary of The Robert Hitchins Group and acts as principal UK and European holiday and sales agent for the Spanish projects.

The Almanzora Bay Group is:

* Experienced and substantial
* Committed to the long term
* Consistent and successful
* Dedicated to quality

The Almanzora Group Limited
Registered Office: St. Brides House, 10 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH
Registered No: 1800291
VAT No: 408 3771 48

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Almeria is a lively and modern city that co-exists with the old historical town. There are a good selection of art galleries, museums and shops. La Rambla, in the centre of the city , is well worth taking a stroll along, it is a long avenue populated with squares, street cafes and children’s play areas. For the more active there is a popular sports marina or for those wanting something a little different why not take a trip to North Africa from the bustling ferry terminal.

The city has been influenced by many civilizations having been home to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and Christians during its’ history. Today there are a large number of migrant workers from Morocco and Tunisia giving an African influence to the city.

Evidence of the rich history of Almeria can be found through out the city. There are many historical buildings and monuments well worth a visit in Almeria such as:

* Perched on a hilltop overlooking the town is the Alcazaba, an imposing Arab fortress once capable of holding an army of more than 20,000 men. Built in the 10th century by Abder Rahman 3rd, the fort dominates the city and affords fabulous views of the area. It is considered to be one of the greatest forts in Andalucia.
* The Cathedral of Almeria is in the old part of the city. It is heavily fortified having been built in the 16th century when the area was being raided by pirate forces from Turkey and North Africa. It’s corner towers once held cannons to protect the port of the city. The architecture has been both gothic and renaissance influences. Inside are a wealth of priceless artwork and the tomb of the founder of the cathedral the Franciscan Bishop Diego Fernandez de Villalan.
* Parish Church of Santiago Apostol in the Calle de las Tiendas is listed as a national monument. Built in 1559 its’ architecture is a synthesis of gothic, renaissance and mudejar styles.

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Almerimar marina

Almerimar this modern, purpose built, coastal resort is 40km. west of Almeria and 160km. east of Malaga. It boasts 13km. of wide, sandy beaches and offers bar, hotels, shopping arcades and nightlife. The town has a 1,000-berth marina and a yacht club. Sailing and windsurfing are possible all year round and tuition is available for the novice. The clear, Mediterranean water makes it an excellent venue for snorkeling and scuba diving. Fishing is also popular – the local industry brings in large catches of tuna.

For the golfers there is La Envia golf course nearby.


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The town of Antas is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Filabres and Bedar. It is largely an agricultural town with almond and orange trees, lettuces and barley being commonly grown.

Antas has a number of prehistoric settlements. The remains of Neolithic and Bronze age man can be seen in various protected settlements around the town. In the same areas Roman and medieval remains have been found.

The Hermitage de la Virgen de la Cabeza is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Antas. It dates probably from the 16th century and lies close to the town. It was built in the shape of a vaulted Latin Cross and its bell tower was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century.

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Arboleas church

Arboleas found in the Almanzora Valley, Arboleas is a small town on the bank of the Almanzora River, in the spurs of the Filabres mountain range.

It has a strong agricultural economy, growing citrus, olive trees, almond trees and cereals such as wheat and barley.

Situated just a 25 minute drive from the coast is the pretty villages of Arboleas, Zurgena and its neighbouring village of La Alfoquia.

The villages have a population in excess of 2500 – mostly friendly Spaniards working in local agriculture. The nearby amenities include a doctor’s surgery and an English speaking pharmacy, primary school, older children can attend the secondary school in La Alfoquia, and a free school bus is available.

Zurgena has 2 banks and numerous shops and bars which stay open long into the evening, also a newly constructed kiddie’s play park. The fresh food market is held every Friday.

Over the bridge from Zurgena lies La Alfoquia, again it has numerous shops and banks, including, a hardware shop, an electrical shop, bakery, butchers, tobacconist, a boutique and a petrol station. A recent addition is the new municipal swimming pool.

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Natural park

Cabo de Gata, still a small fishing village, is now a popular tourist destination in the summer months.

Historically, there are two buildings of merit in Cabo de Gata: the Torre de San Miguel (Tower of Saint Michael) erected in1756 during the reign of King Ferdinand VI and the Parish Church de La Virgen del Mar, built in the 19th century.

A stroll along Maritim Avenue is a lovely way to appreciate the beaches. The volcanic mountain range of Cabo de Gata with its sharp peaks and crags provides a dramatic backdrop.

The long straight beach to the east of Cabo de Gata is a popular hotspot during the summer weekends with the Spanish. Along the coastal road are salt flats. The salt works of Cabo de Gata are still in use. The Plant consists of 300 submerged hectares divided by a spit and is the principal wetland of the Almerian coast. It has a significant permanent bird population, including pink flamingoes and ornithologists will appreciate the local bird observatory.

A visit to the nearby Cabo de Gata Natural Park is a must.

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Carboneras beaches

The beauty of Carboneras is its beaches. It has almost 17km of fine sandy beaches along its coast. El Ancon, is the most central and regularly receives the blue EEC flag award. Las Marinicas, near the port, is the widest beach and El Algarrobico, on the road towards Mojacar, is the biggest of all, nearly 3km. Los Muertos, a nudist beach, can only be reached by boat. The last two form part of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.

Carboneras (coal bunker) marks the start of the Cabo de Gato Natural Park. The once green mountains that surround the city have been stripped of their coal and the trees cut down to feed the furnaces. The now arid landscape contrasts beautifully with the deep blue of Mediterranean Sea. When the coal ran out the town turned to fishing and, more recently, established itself as an industrial centre producing energy and cement and a thriving tourist resort.

Carboneras has a pleasant all year round temperature, with lows 10c in winter and rarely rising above 30c in summer, being refreshed by the soft breezes from the Mediterranean Sea.

The heart of the town is the castle square (Plaza del Castillo). The castle is currently being restored and plays a starring role in local festivals. The San Andres Castle was constructed in the 16th century and it was around this that the population grew in the second half of the 18th century.

There are two other notable fortifications: The Torre del Rayo (Tower of the Thunderbolt) in the north, built in 1584 and the Torre de Mesa Roldan in the south, built in 1776.

Other buildings of interest include the Parish Church de San Antonio de Padua, the patron saint of Carboneras, the Casa del Labertino (Labyrinth House) designed by Andre Bloc in 1964 and a fine 19th century Mansion House restored to be the Town Hall.

Fresh fish and seafood abound in many local bars and restaurants. When in season, you should try “galanes” a flavoursome white fleshed fish, almost exclusively found in local waters.

The best way to buy fresh fish is at the local Thursday market held in the town centre. Here anything can be bought, often ceramics and handcrafts from neighbouring towns.

It is well worth taking a stroll along the promenade to the lighthouse of the Mesa Roldan. From this knoll you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the coast with its succession of cliffs and beaches.

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Town Hall

Cuevas del Almanzora is one of the oldest towns of the province and lying in the fertile valley of the Almanzora River.

In the early 19th century, silver was discovered in the Sierra Almagrera Mountains. The news spread like wild fire and Cuevas del Almanzora became home to many a fortune hunter. The town got its name from the many artificial caves in the nearby hills once inhabited by the miners. This was the start of an age of splendour for the town. The impressive legacy of this silver rush can be seen all around from the elegant family houses of the mining barons to the grand avenues, churches and statues. Many of the grand old houses remain and it is well worth walking around the old town of Cuevas to gaze at the impressive bourgeois architecture, many are still inhabited. A number of these can be found in the Plaza de la Constitucion and around the Town Hall.

There are many places of interest, especially:

  • The Castillo de Cuevas del Almanzora. It is a palace/fortress built in the 16th century in Gothic style sitting high up in the town. In 1779 it was expanded in the neoclassic style. Within its extensive grounds are the Torre del Homenaje (keep), the Marquis Palace, The Casa de la Tercia and a well. The oldest part is the Torre del Homenaje, thought to be medieval. It is joined to the palace by what was once a drawbridge. The Marquie Palace is a two storey mansion conceived as a symbol of the military might of the Marquis of Velez. At present it is the Museum of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture. The Tercia, built in 1773 as a granary, now houses the Cuevas Archaeology Museum on the ground floor and the Archive and Municipal Library on the upper floor.
  • The Parish Church de la Encarnacion. Founded in the 18th century in the Baroque style it has been protected as a national monument since 1982. The main altar displays a valuable painting of the last supper.
  • The Hermitage of San Pedro de Alciala. It houses the image of the patron saint of Cuevas del Almanzora.
  • The Convent of San Antonio. Built in 1651 in the Baroque style, it is dedicated to Antonio of Padua and was a charity hospital for more than a century.
  • A visit to the cave dwellings is a must. Nearby is the Terra del Calgueria, five levels of abandoned caves, once inhabited during the silver rush.
  • The area around Cuevas del Almanzora is abundant in prehistoric settlements and there are many archaeological sites. Fuente Alamo is the most interesting, found in the foothills of Sierra de Almagro, it was inhabited between 1900BC and 1300BC

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Garrucha is a traditional Spanish fishing town and is nestled between the Beaches of Mojácar and Vera playa.

Life of the town revolves around the fishing industry, where the day’s catch is auctioned each afternoon on the quayside fish market. Numerous restaurants, specializing in fish, have sprung up along the seaside promenade.

The wide beach and fine sands offer a perfect place to sunbathe, play sports or just wander along and enjoy the view. The charm of this fishing village is mixed with its exquisite fish and a beach with golden sand that is crowned by a long, shady beach walkway.

Water sports for the sports enthusiast there are excellent activities available. You can practice all kinds of aquatic sports such as water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, fishing, diving, boating and yachting. Garrucha has a 220 berth Yacht marina.

Vera Aquatico park (water-park) is 5 minutes drive from Garrucha

Garrucha gives a little light relief from the tourist attractions, allowing the visitor to experience more of the Spanish culture, while still being within a few minutes of the major hotel centres.

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Huercal Overa is the result of the union of two medieval settlements: Huercal and Overa.The town sits between two branches of the Almanzora River.It is the chief town of a thriving agricultural district, largely dependent for its prosperity on the lead mining in the surrounding highlands.

Huercal Overa is a market town with much of the town centre being taken over by the market every Monday morning. The town has very good facilities with a variety of hotels, restaurants, a modern hospital, a municipal swimming pool and leisure centre. Huercal Overa is well served by the motorway network being 1km away from the main North-South coastal motorway.

The religious architecture of the town is impressive. Take time to see the Parish Church de Nuestra Senora de le Asuncion, founded in 1505, the Parish Church de la Asuncion de la Virgen built in 1748 and the Chapel of Jesus Nazareno founded in 1749 which contains a magnificent statue of Jesus of Nazareno carved in the same year by Francisco Salzillo.

A procession is held in the Easter week through Huercal Overva to celebrate the Passion of Christ. Here groups of statues are carried on floats by figures in white, brown or black robes. This spectacle has been declared a National Tourist Attraction.

Other buildings of interest include a bell tower dating from the Middle Ages, that looms over the houses of Huercal Overa. The old Posito (Granary) and the Via Crucis which leads to the Hermitage del Calvario.

Some years ago, new pine plantations were started close to Huercal Overa. These are now relatively mature, and have created the first forest in the area for 500 years. Most of the trees are almond, olive and citrus. Further forests are planned to bring much needed lush greenery to the area.

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Band of La Alfoquia

La Alfoquia a small town on the outskirts of Albox, close to Arboleas and the River Almanzora. A developing town with a new municipal swimming pool.

Situated just a 25 minute drive from the coast is the pretty villages of Arboleas, Zurgena and its neighbouring village of La Alfoquia. The villages have a population in excess of 2500 – mostly friendly Spaniards working in local agriculture. The nearby amenities include a doctor’s surgery and an English speaking pharmacy, primary school, older children can attend the secondary school in La Alfoquia, and a free school bus is available.

Zurgena has 2 banks and numerous shops and bars which stay open long into the evening, also a newly constructed kiddie’s play park. The fresh food market is held every Friday.

Over the bridge from Zurgena lies La Alfoquia, again it has numerous shops and banks, including, a hardware shop, an electrical shop, bakery, butchers, tobacconist, a boutique and a petrol station. A recent addition is the new municipal swimming pool.

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Los GallardosLos Gallardos is a small town found between the mountain ranges of Bedar, Los Filabres and Cabrera the Aguas River. The town developed around the mines of east Bedar at the end of the 19th century. It is perfectly situated being just 30 minutes from Almeria Airport and just a few minutes from the motorway, giving easy access to the rest of Spain. Yet it is only 10 minutes drive to the coast for the beaches and golf courses.

It is an ideal place for horse riding or for the more energetic there is rock climbing in the canyons. The town is also an excellent base for hiking with the Rio de Aguas canyon and the Rio Jauto canyon close by. There are walks around the old industrial sites in the Sierra de Bedar, though beware of the open wells used by the old mines. Or take a walk down the Rio de Aguas canyon to experience the beauty of this
fertile piece of land with its numerous water springs and visit the remains of two 16th century flour mills, the Higuera and La Cueva mills. There is also an archaeological site in Cadima that has the remains of an Ibero Romano town.

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Mojacar pueblo

Mojacar – A one-hour drive from Almeria’s modern international airport, through ever-changing dramatic scenery, lies the last Arab enclave left on the Spanish mainland- Mojacar. Conquered by the Moors, recaptured centuries later by Catholic kings, the village’s existence can be traced back to 2000 BC. A Spanish national monument, this quaint “corner of enchantment ” remains unspoilt and unexploited- a village of sparkling white houses seemingly built on top of one another, separated by a labyrinth of narrow and twisting cobbled alleyways, providing a fascinating mixture of ancient and modern.

Mojacar is one of the most beautiful, picturesque and enchanting villages on the entire coast, with some 17 kilometres of fine, sandy beaches. It enjoys an excellent location, protected from behind by the Cabrera mountain range and overlooking the inviting Mediterranean sea. Its Southerly location, close proximity to the African continent and the high surrounding mountains assures an exceptional subtropical climate, where temperatures are kind all year round with an average of 21 degrees Celsius.

The climate allows for an abundance of wild flowers and herbs, and this area is host to a large variety of birds including linnets, swifts, green finches, woodlark, hoopoes, magpies and partridges.

The town is divided into two areas, the original village, Mojacar Pueblo, two kilometres from the coast, and Mojacar Playa which accommodates the tourist developments and offers a complete range of services, and attractions, whilst still in keeping with the local environment. Mojacar still remains loyal to her past with her architecture, and white washed houses cut into the cliff.

Old women can still be seen doing their washing in the flow away of the public fountain, offering the fresh mountain spring water, which is fantastic. These combine with the highly cosmopolitan world of shops, bars, discos, restaurants, banks, hairdressers, and a mini shopping centre called “Parque Comercial” offering lots of boutiques and ceramic shops.

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Partaloa_2Partaloa is a municipality of Almería province, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.

Village situated in the foothills of the Sierra de las Estancias, made up of a harmonic group of houses beside the Rambla de Arquillos, within a white clay valley and flanked by two low ridges covered in a continuous layer of stone. The landscape this constitutes is quite singular.

History of Partaloa
Through its history it appears with very different names: Carsaloba, Cartaloba, Cantalobo, Paralobra, in the Papal Bull of 1505 it appears as Partaloba, the name which it had until the end of the XVIII century.

In the XIX century it appeared with its current name.After the Christian conquest it passed through different hands due to transfer or sale. The Catholic Monarchs gave Partaloa to don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza who named Muhammad Valenci as governor.

In 1501 it was sold to don Jose Álvarez de Toledo y Osorio Cordoba y Guzman, owner of the estates of Cantoria and Partaloa. In the year 1515 it was sold by the Duke of Cantoria and Partaloa to don Pedro Fajardo for two and a half million “maravedí­es” (an old Spanish coin), of these, 150 were for the buildings and forts and the rest for the 470 vassals that there were in both villages at a price of 5,000 “maravedí­es” each.

Pedro Tortosa was named governor.The tradition of the “farras” is worth mentioning. They are parties held by friends where they eat and drink, or “La Cencerrá” an occasion celebrated with songs, the noise of tin cans and saucepans at night when there is a marriage between two people one of whom is a widow or widower.

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puerto-reyPuerto Rey – If you are looking for a relaxed way of life, free from stress, in a healthy environment, then Puerto del Rey is for you.

Here you will find a beautiful and unspoilt beach stretching for many kilometres, an uncrowded beach where you will find a feeling of space and tranquility. Yet there is plenty of action with water sports for the sports enthusiast, you can practice all kinds of aquatic sports such as water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, fishing, diving, boating and yachting.

Nearby is the aquapark (water-park) that has wild water, whirling rides and water slides. There are numerous golf courses very near the beach, Desert Springs, Valle de Esta and Marina de la Torre, with its golf course overlooking the beach.

A little way back from the beach there are commercial areas with shops and restaurants and the large towns of Vera and Garrucha are only a few kilometres away.

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beachThe resort town of the Roquetas de Mar offers something for everybody. It is a traditional Spanish fishing town and holiday resort.

It has a small marina surrounded by tapas bars and restaurants, specializing in fish dishes. With an outstanding newly constructed shopping centre filled with international brand stores, a new theatre featuring many local and international acts, miles of unspoilt beach and a promenade which runs for over three miles, making for a great evening stroll.

Roquetas also has a good mix of bars and restaurants covering all tastes and budgets.There is also a free mini-train available to explore this resort.

There are excellent facilities for water sports enthusiasts, aquatic sports such as water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, fishing, diving, boating and yachting.

For the golfer, Play Serena golf course is situated right by the beach and natural park area. Playa Serena was founded in 1979 and designed by Angel Gallardo and Peter Alliss. The course has a flat character as it is located straight at the beach approximately 5 kilometres west of Roquetas de Mar.

From the 23rd August to the 1st September Almeria celebrates its fiesta in honour of Our Lady of the Sea, with open air dances, sports competitions, the traditional Flamenco Festival in the Plaza Vieja, fun guaranteed into the early hours of the morning.

The old coastal town, dating from Roman times is a maze of narrow Moorish streets, though now surrounded by hotels and shops. However, signs of its history still exist, for example in the remaining tower of Castilla de Santa Ana and in other 16th to 18th century fortifications along the Roquetas coastline.

The restored church of la Virgin del Rosario, built in 1789, is home to an outstanding altarpiece, painted in 1957 by Jesus Perceval, depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.

Open air street market Thursday in the Roquetas old town

The municipality of Roquetas de Mar covers a stretch of coast in the south-eastern part of the province, including, among others, the towns of Aguadulce, El Parador, Las Marinas, Urbanización, and Las Salinas.

The historic centre contains several monuments, such as the church or Nuestra Señora del Rosario, from the 17th century, the castle of Roquetas, and the Arab watchtower of Cerrillos.

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san-juan-de-los-TerrerosSan Juan de los Terreros is just a couple of miles along the coast south of Aguilas. This idyllic area nestles between the hills and sandy beaches fringing the Mediterranean. With a handful of restaurants, bars and shops, San Juan has been a favourite destination for discerning Spanish people seeking a peaceful and tranquil beach location.

San Juan de Los Terreros is located 30 minutes drive from Mojacar on the coast, and 5 minutes drive from the typical Spanish Town of Aguilas.

The historic castle town of Lorca can be reached within 30 minutes drive & Murcia within 1.25 hours.

San Juan de los Terreros is a small Spanish Seaside Resort with Supermarkets, Chemist, Restaurants/Bars, Tapas Bars, Coffee Shops, Ice-cream Parlours, Medical Centre. Nightclub and Garden Centre. An open market takes place during the summer each Sunday morning.

San Juan is a well known tourist destination for the Spanish who holiday here all year round. Festivals are also plentiful throughout the area- the largestbeing in nearby Aguilas every February.

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sorbas225The best view of Sorbas, with its houses clinging to the edge of a deep ravine looking down on the Rio de Aguas, is from the main road to the east of the town. Likewise, from vantage points in the town, you can see the equally amazing desert area, where erosion has created a strange moonscape of flat topped cones and gorges

The white walled church of Santa Maria has a 16th century nave with Mudejas woodwork, its gable end was built between 1765 and 1768 and the main door is 19th century. San Roque and San Jose, patron saints of Sorbas, guard the corners of the bell tower, with the help of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Next to the church is the town hall and a 17th century mansion thought to have belonged to the Duke of Alba.

Sorbas is known for its traditional pottery, an old Moorish oven is used for firing pottery. Ceramics are sold from the workshops in the Barrio de las Alfareias. In the central square a market is held every Thursday.

Outside the town, farmhouses have been restored to provide accommodation for visitors to the Karst and Yesos Natural Park, where a big attraction is the caves, carved by water erosion, with chasms, stalactites and stalagmites, they stretch for several kilometres. It is one of the largest cave networks in Europe, over 1,500 have been mapped in a 12km area. There are guided visits in the summer.

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fistTabernas is a village that sits between the Sierra de Alhamilla and Sierra de Filabres. It is a place of contrasts and is probably best known as a backdrop for the production of spaghetti westerns. The climate here is extreme and rain is scarce. In the summer months it reaches temperatures of 45 degrees Celcius, whilst some winter nights register 0 degrees Celcius.

Tabernas situated in the arid desert, has several buildings of interest, a ruined medieval Moorish fortress, the elegant parish church of La Encarnacion (16th and 17th century) and the town hall that was once a grain store. Nearby, stands the solar energy research station (1979) with its rows of mirrors reflecting the abundant sunlight.

However, the main attraction of Tabernas is its place in film history in the 1960’s. As the only true desert in Europe, Tabernas became a popular destination for film producers and their film sets, especially westerns. More than 100 films have been at least partially shot here, including “A Fistful of Dollars”, “The Magnificent Seven”, and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. Many famous actors such as Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Yul Bryner, Henry Ford and Harrison Ford have all worked here. Indeed, many locals that had previously emigrated one decade before returned to the town to work as extras in the films.

For anyone with an interest in cinema history there are various film sets built in the Nature Preserves of the Tabernas Desert by the A92-C3226 and the CN340a roads and these have now been transformed into three theme parks; named Mini Hollywood, Texas Hollywood and Western Leone. The later two are still working locations at least part of the time.

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turre-plaza-200The small village of Turre, with its whitewashed houses and flat roofs, is of Muslim origin and stands on a hill surrounded by fertile land, only 5km inland from Mojacar.

Architecturally, there are two interesting building in the village, the Hermitage of San Francisco from the 16th century and the Parish Church de la Purisima Concepcion, built between 1861 and 1887.

Much of the municipality of Turre is in the Sierra Cabrera, a remarkably beautiful mountain range . The mountains here are excellent for rock climbing or for the more sedate there are many pleasant walks and the preserved remains of the old villages of Teresa and Cabrera to visit. The later has recently been transformed into a modern urbanisation with good sporting and equestrian facilities.

At the foot of the Sierra Cabrera is the tourist development of the Cortijo Grande urbanisation, which has its own private airfield and golf course.

Turre has a variety of shops, and there are numerous excellent Spanish owned restaurants and bars that are reasonably priced. The Friday market is well worth a visit.

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Villaricos – a real live Spanish fishing village
Villaricos is a simple fishing village, perched precariously between the Sierra Almagrera and the sea and flanked by the Almanzora River, ideal for golfing holidays in Spain.

A traditional but lively life…

Dating from Neolithic times, Villaricos was once a great Phoenician port. Forgotten by history for thousands of years, it resurfaced as a silver mining boom town in the 19th century before finally becoming the pleasant fishing village of today, with a special identity all of it’s own.

Every morning early, the men go out to sea to fish, farm the land or to work in local marble quarries. Women take their children to school and chat. Life has a very traditional rhythm. Every weekend its people meet in the small old village square where, each Sunday, a colourful market thrives.

The real charm of Villaricos lies in its old fashioned simplicity and warmth of spirit and it is this lack of pretension that catches you in the end.

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velez_blanco-2Velez Blanco is on the mountainside of the Sierra del Mahimón a few hundred metres above Velez Rubio. It is the smaller of the two towns. This wonderful location gives it remarkable views over the Blanco valley and beyond.

It is a beautiful picture-postcard town that is dominated by an impressive castle. The Castle of Marques de los Velez was built in 1506 in the hillside above the town and from here one can see all of Velez Blanco. However, even though it appears a solid fortress, behind the battlements is emptiness. Its white marble courtyard is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and friezes from the main rooms are in Paris. It was declared an Artistic-Historic Monument in 1931 and partly restored between 1960 and 1980. There are plans to rebuild the courtyard completely with marble from nearby quarries. There are many fine views from its Torre del Homenaje and the fort is open daily in the summer.

The Parish Church de la Magdelena, built before 1597, but became a ruin when the roof collapsed in 1822. The Church de Santiago (1515-1559) was built coinciding with the completion of the castle, a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Mudejar styles. It was restored in the 1980s. It is well worth taking a walk along the Calle de la Corredera where there are many baroque mansions, the Temple de Santiago (1559) and other historic buildings including the Ayuntamiento (town hall) built in 1888. It is said that this street is the historic and social axis of the town.

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velez-rubio-1The small agricultural town of Vélez Rubio is in a picturesque setting, surrounded by sierras, olive groves and fields of wheat.

This is a place of enormous historical significance. The town lies at the foot of the Sierra de Maria and proudly boasts the finest baroque religious building in Almeria Province, the Church of La Encarnation. It can be found on the plaza of the same name. Built in the 18th century, this has an imposing carved facade which includes the arms of the Marquises of Villafranca y Vélez, who built it. Inside, the main altar has a superbly detailed, 20-metre-high carved wood retablo.

Three kilometers north of the town are the UNESCO World Heritage listed pre-historic caves and paintings called Cueva de Los Letreros (Leters Cave) and La Cueva del Gabar, to the north of Vélez Blanco.

Although very rural and quiet with no industry the area provides everything. Excellent road and motorway networks with very light traffic mean that the four airports which service the area are within easy reach. Alicante approx 1hr 30 mins, Almeria 1hr 10 mins, Granada 1hour 30 mins and Murcia (St Javier) 1hr 15min

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townsquare_2The walled, renaissance town of Vera is one of the most important commercial centres in the region. Originally called Baria, it was located by the sea near Villaricos. Originally called Baria and located at Villaricos (Rich Village, due to silver mining industry) Vera relocated in the 13th century to the ground it stands on today. The Christian conquest in 1488, a massive earthquake in 1518 and the Moorish rebellion in 1568 have all contributed to the character of the town and its inhabitants.

The main square, Plaza Mayor, has several noteworthy buildings. The Church de la Encarnación (1520), flanked by 4 great towers, was built as a fort to protect against the frequent Moorish attacks. Inside there are marvelous altarpieces, remarkable in their architecture. To the left of this is the Ayuntamiento (town hall) built in the 16th Century and renovated in the 18th Century. Here, o­n the ground floor, is the Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum, originally the barracks of civil guard. There are exhibits on history, folklore and local traditions. The town hall also houses the municipal archives.

Other interesting buildings include:

* Church of the Convent de Nuestra Se?ora de la Victoria or de Mínimos (1605).

* The Royal Hospital of San Agustín (19th Century) which replaced the same named building founded by Charles 1 of Spain himself (1521).

* Hermitage de Nuestra Se?ora de las Huertas, built o­n outskirts of Vera to give thanks to the people of Lorca for their help in liberating Vera from the siege of 1569 by Moorish troops.

* Hermitage de la Virgen de las Angustias (19th Century) that houses the patron saint of Vera.

A more modern construction is the Plaza de Toros (Bullring) o­n the Garrucha road, built in 1879 in the Mudejar style and restored in1993. o­n the 25th September, patron saint Cleofas’ day, is the setting for bullfights.

Vera is a prosperous town with a great variety of shops, many selling locally made handicrafts, and o­n Saturdays there is an amazing street market that seems to take over the town. An equally strong attraction is the local cuisine, found both in classy restaurants and tapas bars.

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