Top choice in Almería

A looming fortification with great curtain-like walls rising from the cliffs, Almerìa's Alcazaba was founded in the mid-10th century and went on to become one of the most powerful Moorish fortresses in Spain. It's survived in good shape and while it lacks the intricate decoration of Granada's Alhambra, it's still a magnificent sight. Allow about 1½ hours to explore everything. Pick up a guide leaflet at the kiosk inside the four-arch entrance gate.

The Alcazaba is divided into three distinct recintos (compounds). The lowest, the Primer Recinto, was residential, with houses, streets, wells, baths and other necessities – now replaced by lush gardens and water channels. From the battlements, you can look over the city's huddled rooftops and down to the Muralla de Jayrán, a fortified wall built in the 11th century to defend the outlying northern and eastern parts of the city.

Further up in the Segundo Recinto you’ll find the ruins of the Muslim rulers’ palace, built by the taifa ruler Almotacín (r 1051–91), under whom medieval Almería reached its peak, as well as a chapel, the Ermita de San Juan, which was originally a mosque. The highest section, the Tercer Recinto, is a castle added by the Catholic Monarchs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Almería attractions

1. Ermita de San Juan

0.02 MILES

This austere brick chapel, located in the second compound of the Alcazaba, stands atop the fortress' former mosque. Little remains of the original Mudéjar…

2. Primer Recinto

0.04 MILES

The Alcazaba's lowest compound, the Primer Recinto, was originally a residential area. Excavations have unearthed remains of houses, streets and a complex…

3. Alcazaba Entrance

0.05 MILES

The entrance gate to the Alcazaba is on Calle Almanzor. Climb the stairs and go through the Puerta de la Justicia to enter the fortress.

4. Segundo Recinto

0.06 MILES

The second enclosure of the Alcazaba sits above the Muro de la Campana de la Vela, a wall named after its bell, which once chimed in times of danger. Much…

5. Muralla de Jayrán


Visible from the Alcazaba, this fortified wall was built in the 11th century to defend the outlying northern and eastern parts of the city.

6. Tercer Recinto

0.13 MILES

The highest part of the Alcazaba, the Tercer Recinto consists of a castle constructed by the Catholic Monarchs in the early 16th century. Many of the…

7. Iglesia de San Juan

0.17 MILES

Remains of Almería’s Islamic past are evident throughout the city, including at this church, which was built over the remains of the city’s former mosque…

8. Plaza de Pavía Market


Offering a colourful picture of local neighbourhood life, the rowdy Plaza de Pavía market has stalls selling a mix of produce, cheap shoes and churros …