The beautiful mountain landscape of the remote Los Vélez district, in the northernmost part of Almería, is greener and more forested than most of the province. Three small towns – Vélez Rubio, Vélez Blanco and María – nestle in the shadow of the stark Sierra de María range, part of the Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez. There’s good walking in the area, as well as some celebrated rock art at the Cueva de los Letreros.
Vélez Rubio is the largest town, with an enormous 18th-century baroque church, but at 1070m Vélez Blanco has more charm with its scramble of red-roofed houses, fairy-tale castle and sensational valley views. On Wednesday mornings you can browse its lively street market on the central Calle Corredera.