Lights, Camera … Almería, Spain!


The coast of this eastern province of Andalusia is of course one of Spain´s top spots for sun and fun on the sand and sea, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars and the usual beach/resort trappings. But both on and beyond the shore, Almería also has plenty to engage visitors, from its appealing, eponymous capital city to natural landscapes so charismatic that they´ve often been tapped as backdrops for myriad film and TV productions. And that´s what we want to talk about today.


Almería´s Been Having its Close-up for 60 Years

Cliffs and coasts, arid deserts, virgin beaches and a multitude of paradisiacal corners make Almería a rich and beautiful area. You’ll enjoy their charms, but also be aware you might find yourself in a place where a scene or three from your favourite movie or TV shows may have been filmed. Even as far back as the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, hundreds of “spaghetti Westerns” like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars were shot in arid landscapes like the Tabernas Desert.


Almería city has also seen its share of film shoots. You can for example visit the 10-century 10th-century Alcazaba Andalusia’s second largest Moorish fortress (after Granada’s Alhambra), presenting quite magnificent views over the city and port (go for sunset, if you can), along with well-tended gardens and three walled compounds (one of them built in the 15th century under Ferdinand and Isabella following the Christian Reconquest) with their evocative crenellated battlements, courtyards, baths, fountains, royal halls, and more. Very Game of Thrones (in fact, a Dorne scene in season six was shot here), and it was also a key location of Conan the Barbarian. You can also walk through the San Nicolás Park, a setting for 1962´s Lawrence of Arabia, and admire the exterior of the 16th-century Gothic/Renaissance Almería Cathedral, which appeared in the 1970 war film Patton, starring George C. Scott.


And by the way, Game of Thrones also shot that sixth season in other areas of the province, including Tabernas and the Cabo de Gata Natural Park, including its distinctive Mesa Roldán volcanic dome, and the small fishing village of Carboneras,   about 45 mintes up the coast from the provincial capital (it also appeared in Lawrence of Arabia, as the locals like to remind everyone – there´s even a statue of Lawrence right downtown); one of the main landmarks in Carboneras is the restored late-16th-century Castle of San Andrés. Meanwwhile, scenes for the epic 2014 Ridley Scott film Exodus: Gods and Kings were shot in the Sierra Alhamilla mountains, northwest of the capital between the Tabernas Desert and the Bay of Almería.

The Almería Walk of Fame

The capital´s very own version of the Hollywood staple, established in 2012, is found on the pedestrianized Calle Poeta Villaespesa, located downtown next to the Teatro Cervantes. Its stars are dedicated to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Catherine Deneuve, Ridley Scott, and Brian De Palma, as well as Spanish actors such as Antonio de la Torre, Victoria Abril, and Álvaro Morte.


The Almería House of Cinema

This is a must for film buffs, established in 2011 in a rambling, 158-year-old manse which a few years ago was also used to house visiting actors doing location work, including the likes of Clint Eastwood, Brigitte Bardot, Stephen Spielberg, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and even John Lennon. And among the exhibits about the relationship between the film industry and Almería there´s a special nod to the Beatle, who lived here for a month in 1966 while filming the British black comedy How I Won the War: it was here, too, he was inspired to write the immortal song “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

Pretty neat, eh? And…that´s a wrap!


Images:  donvictorio; Worledit; MediaProduction; aluxum;eishier;