With almost 200 kilometres of Mediterranean beach stretching from Adra in the west to Pulpi in the east and an interior that rises from sea level to the heights of the Sierra de Gador mountains, Almeria province in Andalucia has a varied topography. The province includes the only semi arid zone in Europe, the Cabo de Gata, and one of the most fertile and productive strips of coastal land on the Iberian Peninsula, the Tropical Coast. Almeria really is a province of contrasts. Perhaps the only constant throughout the province is the average of 320 days of sunshine per year.
The history of the province stretches back to the dawn of humans, remains found at Orce date back 1.4 million years. In more recent times the Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks mined, worked and traded in the metals found in the area. They were followed by the Romans, Visigoths and Moors, all of whom left their mark from the world renowned Copper Age site at Los Millares to the castles and fortresses found in almost every town.
Wildlife is as varied as the landscapes they inhabit. Saltwater marismas, the remains of salt workings on the coast, provide a haven for resident and migratory waders whilst inland the Sierra Maria-Los Velez Nature Reserves is home to notable populations of passerines and raptors. Not to be outdone the flora ranges from alpines in the mountains to cacti and succulents in the arid inland and coastal regions.
Almeria is not over populated with about 710,000 residents and almost a third of those live in the provincial capital, Almeria city. Nor is it yet a major holiday destination although that is changing, so it is still possible to treck through huge areas of land, admittedly desert like, without seeing another person and find relatively isolated patches of beach, often with spectacular sandstone wind and wave created formations and soft white sand.