Many activities are available locally and we can help tailor your holiday to include golf, horse riding, scuba diving, photography, sailing, skiing, cycling, wind surfing, kayaking, tennis, padel, walking and sight-seeing tours.
We have two padel courts here in San Jose, the cost is just 10 euros per session of 1.5 hours.
Only just becoming popular in England, it's a mixture between tennis and squash, played with a tennis ball and carbon bats, with a standard tennis net in a 20 x 10m court with walls of wire mesh, and toughened glass at the back and sides. Serving is underarm, balls can be taken on the volley or after one contact with the floor (and any number of vertical surfaces including the back wall, as in squash).
The game has lots of advantage - easier to pick up than squash, since the ball has a decent bounce, but also easier than tennis, in that there are many more chances to get at the ball in the smaller, enclosed court. All squash and tennis players pick it up instantly, and even non racket-players are very soon having rallies. Games are FUN – the rallies are full of surprises, and four people on a padel court are guaranteed to be having a good time.
YouTube has loads of clips which will give you some idea - but the way we play is a little more "tranquilo".
Hiking, Walking and Cycling
For wildlife enthusiasts and walkers, there is a chance to enjoy a break in the Parque Natural with its mountainous terrain and red earth, desert-like features leading down to over 20 miles of unspoilt, quiet sandy beaches. There are various guidebooks covering the walks in this area and including easy-to-follow maps. Further afield, the great trans-European walking trail, the GR7, crosses the Sierra Nevada and continues along the Alpujarra. This trail is remarkably well-signposted and avoids tarmac as often as reasonably possible. Again, there are some great books, maps and guidebooks. Within the Alpujarra, there are numerous other well-signposted and beautiful trails to follow.
For the slightly more adventurous, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness, a sense of direction and common sense is capable of reaching some of the two or three thousand metre peaks in the Sierra Nevada. All of the guidebooks include cycle trails as well as walks.
The Alhambra Palace and Guadix
Take the opportunity to visit the incredible Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens in Granada, just two hours’ drive away. Known as the Calat Alhambra (Red Castle), it is one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built and the finest Moorish Palace still standing anywhere in the world. We recommend that you book your tickets in advance online at Ticketmaster. One of our favourite trips is to visit Granada, then break the return journey with an overnight stay in Guadix, where 2,000 people live in caves, some of them as luxurious as any home. Visit the Cave Hotel for more information about staying in a genuine cave (in real comfort), and eat nearby in La Tinaja, our favourite restaurant, where Rafa will look after you in style.
Alcazaba in Almería
Certainly worth a visit - free entry if you carry your EEC passport.
(excerpt reprinted with permission from The Reader 10th July 2009)
Perched above the ancient city of Almería stands the castle: the Alcazaba, which has controlled the bay for over a thousand years. In 955, Caliph Abd al-Rahman III, first leader of the kingdom of Al-Andalus, the Moorish lands of Spain, visited the village of al-Mariyyãt (mirror of the sea) and ordered it to become a city. Thus was born “Almería”. He granted the new city a mosque, a bigger port and a fortress. The mosque became the Catholic Cathedral of San Juan (now mainly rebuilt) but still in the centre of the city. The port would become the second largest port in Spain and a flotilla of 300 warships were based there. The fortress would become the Alcazaba, the second largest remaining Islamic fortress in Europe, after the Alhambra palace in Granada.
Western Film Sets
Visit Oasys (formerly called Mini-Hollywood and still considered to be the best), Texas Hollywood at Fort Bravo, and Western Leone, all near Tabernas, and follow in the footsteps of some of the most famous actors of all time, Clint Eastwood and all. Gunfights are staged most days at Oasys.
Near to San Jose is the village of Albaricoques, a fascinating place where many famous scenes were filmed, for instance the final gunfight in “For a Few Dollars More”. The famous watch, from the same film, can be seen in the great bar/restaurant, Alba, where you will find lots more memorabilia from the spaghetti westerns. The tapas are excellent there too, and the Menú del Día is incredible value and well-recommended.
The true western film enthusiast can do no better than to contact Tuco Tours (www.tucotours.co.uk) who are the local film specialists. They can take you on a tour of the locations used in the Dollars Trilogy, as well as many other notable films. Visit their website to get a flavour of what is on offer - it mustn't be missed by anyone who is a fan of the spaghetti westerns.
View this video Comparacion Lugares Almeria 1964-2004 to see how it was then, and how it is now.
It's not just spaghetti westerns that have been filmed here of course. Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, among others, were filmed in various locations in the area. More recently, Ridley Scott was here filming his latest epic, Exodus, just last October 2013. This involved over 2000 extras and entire Egyptian cities and pyramids were recreated in the desert near Sorbas. We can't wait to see the film when it's released!
Download our factsheet on the birds commonly seen in the Almeria area by clicking here. Any updates, corrections or information would be very gratefully received; please email and I’ll add the information to the factsheet.
Mountains, valleys, hills, caves
The geology of this area is fascinating. It is obviously a very large and complicated subject, but Howard Headworth, a chartered geologist, has prepared some notes which provide some guidance to the interested visitor - click here to download. Drive through the Alpujarra (foothills of the Sierra Nevada), ski in the Sierra Nevada in Europe’s southern- most ski resort of Sol y Nieve, visit the gypsum caves in Sorbas - there is plenty to keep you occupied.
There are a number of golf courses within an hour’s drive (the nearest is about 30 minutes drive away) including the Desert Springs PGA Course. Have a look at the San Jose Golf Society website for information on what is available. In the meantime, please contact us if you would like details of a specific course or if you would like us to arrange a round for you.
There are two dive schools here in San José, catering for all levels from beginner to expert. We have real experience of Alpha Buceo, as two of our partners have recently completed an Open Water Diving Course with them, but Isub also has a great reputation. Just a few miles away in La Isleta is Lijosub
Check for details of winter opening: many will be shut during the colder months.
Horse riding is available at the Hotel Cortijos del Sotillo, at the entrance to the village. Riding from the village to the deserted beaches of Genoveses and Mónsul is a wonderful experience.
It is difficult to imagine that this arid landscape was once green and fertile, and covered with ash and poplar trees. But 5000 years ago, when the Andarax River was navigable to over 20 km north of Almería, this was home to the most important copper-age settlement in the whole of Europe. You can visit the site at Los Millares, Santa Fé de Mondújar (just off the A-348 near Alhama de Almería) where you can see the original walls of the forts, tombs and copper workshops. The Museum has a reconstruction of the site, which is fun and informative – but make sure you watch the video (in English) right at the beginning of your visit to get the full benefit. There is no entry fee to either the Museum or the Site itself.
Travel throughout Andalucia and Spain
We would be pleased to advise and help you on any travel arrangements you would like to make within Andalucía and Spain. Granada, Córdoba, Málaga, Marbella, Jaén, Alicante and Úbeda are all reachable reasonably easily by road from here. Sevilla, Toledo and Madrid are a bit further away but not difficult to reach in a day.