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Located in the Andalusia autonomous region of southern Spain, Costa de Almeria is one of the most scenic and unspoilt places in the country. The area is famous for its desolate beaches, rugged coastline and windswept coves and the amazing desert-like environs of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar National Park.
Almeria has had a long and checkered history, and archaeological evidence reveals the influx of Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians and Arabs, besides people from Europe and Africa. These historical remains are scattered all over the coast, along with spectacular fortresses, coastal strongholds and ancient ports and harbors.
Another great place here is the Sierra Maria Loz Velez National Park with its incredibly steep cliffs and mysterious gorges, snow-capped mountains and pine forests surrounded by arid deserts. The area is also rich with historical associations, as it was once the hunting preserve of Spanish royalty and is the natural habitat of shy denizens like squirrels, badgers and rare butterflies. The sparrow hawk, golden eagle and peregrine falcon also make their home in the lofty peaks here. Fabulous and fragrant juniper forests thrive along the rocky slopes and many of these are estimated to be more than a thousand years old! However, the Sierra Maria region is known for its extremes of temperature and can be quite inhospitable in mid-summer, with its dry, hot climate. The region is also known for its dark and hidden caves, dating back to the Paleolithic Age, and the famous Los Leteros Cave which contains wonderful specimens of ancient cave paintings. The Los Velez castle is also worth a visit.
The cuisine of this area is distinctive and rich with the fresh and distinctive flavors of sea-food, fresh salads and spices. Parrillada, a blend of squid, shrimps, prawns, whiting and sardines, sea-food in garlic, vinegar and olive-oil dressing, stews and soups with fresh tomatoes and capers are some of the region's specialties.
The white-washed houses perching on the cliff-side in Almeria offer wonderful photo ops, while the historic city of Mojacar recalls the glories of the Moorish settlers. An annual festival held here recalls the magnificent and dramatic battles that took place along this coastline and is a must-see for visitors, with all the pageantry, fake arms and armory, outlandish costumes and mock fights!
Almeria also has hundreds of beautiful beaches, with good facilities for tourists. It is also a well-known center for arts and crafts, with great ceramics, pottery, shawls, textiles and marble artifacts. Stained-glass, leather, red-coral artifacts are some specialties here.
The region is also great for adventure-lovers: Swimming, sailing, climbing, kayaking, hiking, biking etc are available along with some wonderful, world-class golf-courses.
Almeria indeed has something for everyone!
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