The coast of Almeria is relatively unspoilt compared to its neighbouring Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca regions. The area incorporates over 200 kilometres of diverse and predominantly natural coastline; inland much of the landscape is arid and desert-like and is sparsely populated. Supposedly Almeria enjoys the most hours of sunshine and lowest rainfall in Europe.
The name Almeria derives from the Arabic occupation, originally Al-Mariyya, meaning The Mirror, as it was compared to The Mirror of the Sea. The capital city of the same name, Almeria was an Arabic stronghold and the principal harbour in its domain. The Moorish castle of Alcazaba is the second largest of the Arabic fortresses in Andalusia, after the Alhambra in Granada.
The city itself is a lively, modern commercial city; culturally it is very Spanish, with few foreigners residing in the centre. There is a ferry port – where you can take a trip over to North Africa, a sports marina and a working fishing port. A visit to the city is definitely worthwhile; it has a good selection of galleries, museums and shops, as well as lots of pretty squares along the main central avenue Las Ramblas.
To the east of the city of Almeria we find the protected natural maritime park of Cabo de Gato – Nijar with its beautiful rugged and natural coastline. Much of the coast has restricted road access, so getting down to beach is usually on foot, but its worth it to experience some of the idyllic secluded bays with crystal clear waters, perfect for bathing and for scuba diving enthusiasts, untouched beaches and sand dunes, tiny fishing villages and sweeping headlands offering fabulous views to the Mediterranean sea and coastline. The area is one of the most natural and ecologically rich coasts along the western Mediterranean and is perfect for hikers, nature lovers and bird watchers.
The little town of Nijar has a cottage industry of clay ceramic ware and is definitely worth a trip to pick up a unique holiday souvenir.