The 200 kms of the Almeria Coast made a great route for a Summer road trip. Driving from Adra right up to San Juan de los Terreros we saw some great scenery along the way. Stretching between the provinces of Granada and Murcia, this corner of Spain has plentiful sunshine most of the year. There are lots of beaches and quaint villages along the Costa de Almeria.
This region of Andalusia is not as well known as the other western provinces but for me that is the charm. Of course Almeria province has been the set for many movies and TV shows over the last 50 years.
Let me tell you more..
Almeria Coast Route
Our route began at the edge of Granada province and as we drove we decided where to stop off and where to drive through. After a quick stop at Almerimar for drinks, we decided to continue on to Roquetas de Mar.
Roquetas de Mar
Roquetas de Mar is one of the busier resorts along the Almeria Coast. We spent a morning at the Aquarium at Roquetas de Mar. Gaze at the piranas and other tropical fish such as ´Nemo´ or clownfish, which will thrill Disney fans. Once a day the divers drop down into the large pool to feeding the sharks in the aquarium.
A more hands on section of the visit is towards then end where visitors can gently touch the manta rays and even hold starfish and hermit crabs. This is an interesting activity for children of all ages and will take no longer than 2 hours to visit.
Address: Av. Reino de España, 04740 Roquetas de Mar, Almería
Beach Hut for lunch
After the visit to the aquarium we headed to the seafront at Roquetas de Mar for lunch. La Barraca had been recommended to me by a friend and it didn´t dissapoint. Delicious fresh fish and a huge selection too. (Paseo del Mar 15, Roquetas de Mar)
The Capital city of the province, Almeria is always a place I like to visit. It has good shopping streets and tree-lined avenues. There are also plenty of great places to eat out too. Our acommodation was on the main street. This was a much cheaper option than coastal resorts in summer and more practical especially for eating out in the evenings.
In Almeria the grand Alcazaba Fortress overlooks the city and is a must see monument. It´s free to go in and has great views over the port and city. It´s so spectacular it´s even being featured in Game of thrones Series 6.
Another interesting monument is the structure that lies at the foot of the Paseo de Almeria. This loading platform moved minerals onto cargo ships in the 19th century, from local mines in the region. Built by Gustave Eiffel this interesting monument is lit up at night, reminding us of the industrial past of the region. Known as el Cargadero Mineral in Spanish.
Discover Cabo de Gata
Driving around Cabo de Gata Natural Park takes you back in time. The route includes old Windmills, water cisterns and Arab waterwheels made from wood. You´ll also see several fishing villages such as Isleta del Moro or Las Negras where you can taste fresh seafood. Some viewpoints along the Almeria coast are breath taking. Mirador de la Amatista or Mirador de las Sirenas are a few highlights.
It is a great place for watersports like kayaking and snorkelling as you can see from the video above. There are also Fortresses and defense towers along the coastline, these would have helped to ward off pirate attacks, which threatened this area in the past.
Some say that Las Negras (the black ones) takes it name from the black rocks along the shoreline, however it seems that the name Las Negras refers to widows from years gone by who waited for fishermen to return, who were lost at sea. They would have worn black clothes for a long time after their deaths.
This small fishing town is busy in summertime and one of the most popular spots is La Bodeguiya. A small bar just off the seafront. Its been named the best chirinutio in Spain by some.
Enjoy a Wild West experience in the small village of Los Albaricoques. This village was used to film several western films in the 60´s. The Alba restaurant at the entrance of Los Albaricoques serves a great daily menu. The interior is covered with photos, and props used in those films.
This is a great location for photo opportunities. You seem to be in the middle of an arid desert and yet the sea is just a stone´s throw away.
On the edge of the Natural park of Cabo de Gata this fishing village is one of the main towns along this coastline (along with San José). Carboneras has small family run hotels and apartments to rent rather than large hotel complexes.
The beach is huge and very wide so never really gets full. There are also lots of swings, slides and parks for children along the stretch of sand. Pedalos and Kayaks can be hired for the day from here.
Playa de los Muertos is one of the most beautiful beaches in Andalucia and it´s located a short drive from Carboneras. (seen above) However if you want to spend time there you need to hike down the hill (and back up again)
You can also take the Catamaran from Carboneras port. This visits la Cala del Plomo or Cala San Pedro. These trips are 2 – 3 hours depending on which route you choose. On windy days the trips may be cancelled to avoid choppy waters. (More details from Ola 21 in Carboneras port)
Carboneras is neatly located between Mojacar (a very busy resort town) and the Cabo de Gata Natural park. So its a good location if you have a car to discover this area.
Garrucha is just past Carboneras and Mojacar. This important fishing port is famous for its red prawns. The town has a long walkway made from local Macael marble. The Paseo del Malecon is around 1 kilometre long and offers views over the beach and seaport.
At the entrance to the town is the Castle, Castillo de las Escobetas dating from 1769. This defense building was to protect Garrucha from berber pirates. Active on the Andalucian coast especially from 1500´s to 1800´s.
The building in Garrucha havev a colonial influence, so take a look at them as you wander along the promenade.
Mojacar Old Town
As we drove along through Cabo de Gata, we headed up to Mojacar. A white village perched high above the coast. A quaint location with squares and viewpoints over the coast. Looking out over Mojacar beach and the surrounding countryside is impressive from up there.
Some of the typical streets are cobbled and have historic arab style gates. The Plaza Parterre is quiet spot to have a drink and contemplate the historic setting and colourful plants. It´s worth visiting and has also been listed as one of the prettiest villages in Spain.
Mojacar beach is the resort on the coast below, this is a party destination with lots of nightclubs and chill out bars along the seafront. One of the best places I ate out in Mojacar was the The Roof Garden, casual dining and amazing desserts.
Mandala is the busiest nightlife destination in Mojacar.
Typical Almeria souvenirs
You will see lots of souvenirs with the Indalo figure on (also known as the Mojacar man). This prehistoric symbol is now the region´s logo. Said to protect you from evil this is seen painted on the front of houses. Originally discovered in a cave in the village of Cuevas de Almazora, just North of Mojacar. (you can visit the cave)
You´ll also see brightly coloured rugs called Jarapas, Nijar has a tradition for this craft. Gourmet fans will love the local olive oil and locally made pastries.
San Juan de los Terreros
As we reach the edge of the province, we drive from Mojacar up to San Juan de los Terreros. This quaint fishing village has a castle above it with beautiful views. Some of the beaches in this smaller resort are lovely. It´s not as built up as Vera or Mojacar beach but a lovely place to enjoy a few days in the sunshine.
Inside the castle was an installation with 3D glasses to visit the Geoda of El Pulpi, a giant gypsum crystal which was interesting to see. The mine opened for public visits in Summer 2019. Inside the world class Gran Pulpi Geoda can be seen, but you have to be fit as you walk down into the mine. More about my visit here: Going Underground in Spain.
Travel Resources to Plan Your Visit
Here are some resources to help you plan your own Almeria Road Trip:
- Find the perfect hotel or apartment on Booking.com
- Get the perfect Hire Car deal.
- Plan your trip to with these Guide Books
- Find out more from Local guides and Experiences.
- Don´t forget to arrange your Travel Insurance cover
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.
Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions for driving Malaga to Almeria. I’m renting a car in Malaga mid April 2023 and driving the coast up. I did it before about 45 years ago: no street lights, huge ruts in the streets and places I had to hike as they were accessible by boat. The best! I’ve always had a deep longing to return. You’re so lucky to live nearby.
Someone asked for places to stay, which is my question also. As she requested, lux hotels are ok but memorable hotels would be, well – memorable. The cave house?
thanks again, great job!
Please note that from 17th to 23rd April 2023 Andalusia will be in Easter Week mode. This will mean higher hotel costs and much busier roads and locations. If you can avoid these dates your experience will be better.
There are lots of different hotels to choose from along the Coast of Almeria. It really depends where you will actually be wanting to spend time.
Personally I like the town of Carboneras as it has services and is on the edge of the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata.
I also stay in the city of Almeria as this is where I can enjoy a good selection of restaurants and everything the city has to offer.
Hope this helps
Your suggestions for Almeria sound great! We will be traveling to Spain with 2 kids in June. Flying to Barcelona where we will stay for 3 nights, then driving to Valencia for 3 nights. We are wondering where to stay on the way to Granada. Is it worth it to stay somewhere for one night or drive straight with just few hours stops… Thank you for your recommendations.
If you drive from Valencia to Granada it´s around 5 hours. I would suggest driving from Valencia down to Cartagena and spending some time there 3-4 hours. You can visit the Ancient theatre, the naval museum or walk around the old town. Have a nice lunch and wander.
Then in the mid afternoon drive onwards to Granada.
Another stop off is the Pasteleria Oriental in Guadix. I always make time to have a coffee and cake there on my way to Granada from Almeria/Murcia
we are planning a driving trip from Valencia to Jerez de la Frontera.
i have allowed 6 days for the trip
Granada is on our list of places to stay (thinking for two nights there)
Do you uhave any suggestions for us?
We will have day trips from Jerez to Ronda, Seville and anywhere else you would like to suggest.
Thank you for your help.
Of course, let me send some details over by email
sounds like a fabulous itinerary!
love your photos!
i’m driving in late may from valencia to cadiz w/ a side trip to granada. we are going for local food and beaches. what stops do you recommend?
That sounds like an epic road trip. There are so many cool places to discover along that route
I will send you an email with details Raquel.
I’m flying in to Murcia the end of May staying for two weeks in total. I’m looking at staying in Cartagena for a few nights and then on to Mojacar. Any tips for accommodation or places to see along the way would be really appreciated. We will have a car.
Thanks in advance,
If you are driving along the coast the best place to stop off is San Juan de los Terreros (appears just above at the end of this article)
However if you want to head inland Lorca is worth a morning to see some of the older monuments.
What is the lowest rent or investment for housing to live in the Almería area?
Also we will be visiting in mid May to mid June the area from Valencia to Cadiz driving.
What towns and restaurants do you recommend? Thank you in advance!
this is a great plan from Valencia to Cadiz there are some wonderful places to explore on your road trip
Will send you details by email
I’ve been agonising which route to take from Granada to Murcia and lucked upon your page.
The trip notes “Almeria Coast Road Trip” has been most helpful & I’ve now decided that’s the way well head so thanks for all those gems & saving me some internet time.
As we only have two days to do this stretch can you suggest a “must place” to stay for the night, I’m not opposed to fancy hotels but I’m after something rather memorable.
Thanks in advance
I have some great ideas, a cave house, a beachfront setting… it all depends on the month you are making the trip.
Sending over an email with some ideas
My first visit to this area,so your info was really great.I only found this area totally by accident,this was due to researching film sets.This must be the best kept secret of Spain,
The scenery is mind blowing,with so much to see and do.The roads are easy,but we are here out of season,I really enjoyed your web site,just wish it was bigger.Many thanks.
I´m thrilled you enjoy reading my articles
Over the last 2-3 years I have helped production crews as a Fixer on several TV productions for Dutch, British & USA Travel programmes
Andalusia has so much to offer with all its contrasts and epic landscapes
I continue to add articles each week and so far have around 300 posts.. however I do discover more than I can actually write about
Hope to continue to catch up with it all
Lovely to see you’ve covered one of my favourite parts of Spain and picked some of those beautiful spots I often take visiting family and friends to. As always lovely photos, I’m enjoying your posts, keep up the good work.
I Would have liked to have seen more photos of the Costa de Almeria and less of the food otherwise a good website<;
There´s only one food photo on the post and the other photos are all landscape shots.