Vera: Quality of life on the coast of Almería

Located on the Andalusian coast, Vera is a synthesis of everything that families are looking for in a holiday. Quality beaches, active tourism, first class cultural activities, and natural spaces to visit as a family. Don’t forget to bring the bicycles, as we assure you that you will use them here.

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In the east of Almería, 92 kilometres from the capital, Vera receives us in its comfortable enclave, firmly established, with a vibrant, sometimes dangerous, and always proud history. Upon arriving, an expression hits us like a revelation: quality of life. This is the best definition for a city which offers us privileged natural charms and at the same time provides us with all the necessary facilities for a very fun stay.

A quality coast

The beaches are a good example of the advantages that we are describing. Their expanse and the quality of their sand are amazing, seldom seen in other coastal areas. With a six kilometre strip of seafront, its exceptional character of care and cleanliness which is maintained there, and its crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it has obtained numerous distinctions awarded to the highest quality beaches.

002_Vera The tourist attraction of the beaches of Vera begins in the far south. Here we find the beach of Playa de las Marinas-Bolaga, certified since 2006 with the Q for quality by the ICTE (Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality). It is a quiet, expansive beach, over 1775 metres long and an average breadth of 100 metres, perfectly straight and of great quality.

Towards the north is La Playa de Puerto Rey beach, on which the outlet of the Antas river forms a small lagoon, whose surrounding reed beds and bulrushes have a considerable number of birds and anatidae which use the place for rest during their migration between Africa and Europe.

El Playazo, an immense sandbank almost three kilometres long and 180 metres wide, has an area reserved for naturism, with great international fame.

Finally, if we are looking for a separated area, the best option is Quitapellejos, an enchanting beach in a small cove with a forest in behind it.

We must also mention the seafront promenade, located on the beach of Playa de Las Marinas Bolaga, because it is a true centre of activity where there are many cultural and sports events such as concerts, children’s games, Biblioplaya, Explayate, watercraft championships at a national and international level and many other events.

The whole coastal strip has an excellent range of services and supervision so that our holidays are safe and comfortable: beach supervision and lifesaving service, health service, police patrol, signs for services, restrictions and danger. Balizamiento; dry and wet sand cleaning service, as well as screening and airing, and bins for different materials.

Active holidays

If services facilitate our visit, active tourism makes it much more fun. In this aspect, we and our children are guaranteed very entertaining moments.

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In Vera, we find a wide variety of sports activities which can be practiced throughout the year in the town, and also on the beach. Vera has municipal facilities prepared for the enjoyment of sports such as swimming, athletics, football and basketball. On the coast, watersports such as windsurfing, paddleboarding, kite surfing, optimist sailing, catamarans, kayak routes, sailing, cruises, boat excursions to Cabo de Gata, and water attractions can be enjoyed. However, if we are looking for something calmer, we can always enjoy a trip on the tourist train through the coast of the municipality.

Another option is contracting activities from local businesses dedicated to active tourism, such as guided or 4×4 routes, flights in gliders and ultralight aircraft, bicycle routes on the coast, hiking, Olympic shooting, paddle tennis and tennis, and paintballing to mention some of the options.

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Additionally, the Valle del Este Golf Resort offers 18 holes. It is a curious mixture of the Andalusian spirit and character and the restrained environment reminiscent of the American golf clubs of Arizona. At the heart of this golf club is the Club House, located in the same building as Hotel Valle del Este, where we find everything necessary for relaxation and practicing this sport.

Discover its History

We said at the beginning the Vera has had a vibrant history, and many upheavals have left traces that we can today admire thanks to reconstruction and preservation works. The Ermita del Espíritu Santo chapel is built on a hill which was the location of the former Hispanic-Muslim city called Bayra. An earthquake destroyed it in 1518, and after the order of Carlos V, the city that we know today was constructed.

006_Vera With a Little effort, we can reach the summit to reach the chapel, and it will be worth it, as from there we will have impressive views of the coast and the interior of the valley. We can also see the remains of its castle and wall which was constructed by the Muslims on the remains of ancient constructions from the Copper Age to the Roman period.

If we wish to experience life in Vera, the best option is to visit Plaza Mayor, the nerve centre of the city and one of its main squares. Here the Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación church, from the 16th century is found. Perhaps you would pass by this monument, as from the exterior it does not look like a church, because it served as a fortress due to the frequent attacks from the sea. With a late gothic style and a baroque interior, the Main Altarpiece is notable, made of Canadian pine, installed at the end of the 18th century, as well as the Virgen de la Victoria altarpiece, located in the Large Chapel, with allusions to concern about the danger of Moorish attacks.

In the same square the town hall, from the 19th century is found, the most notable civil building of the city. With a historicist aesthetic, its facade is notable, covered with seating and covering the two floors of the building. An essential visit is to the Municipal History Museum, with the Ethnographic section of the Trade Occupations, a permanent exhibition of different traditional trades and architecture with domestic agropastoral atmospheres. Did you know that the Andalusian guitar originated in Vera? This and other curiosities can be learned here, as well as allowing the contemplation of how life was in the trades of the city until not long ago.

The majority of these customs have been lost, such as the hard task of washing clothes in the public laundry, today converted into the Centro de Interpretación de la Cultura del Agua, added in the 20th century to the 12th century Fuente de los Cuatro Caños fountain. This originated in the Fuente Chica fountain; originally a gallery constructed by the first Arabs who populated the hill of Espíritu Santo.

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Also worth visiting is the Convento de Ntra. Sra. de la Victoria convent, from the 17th century, also known as the Convento de Los Padres Mínimos or San Francisco de Paula, inhabited by the Minim Priests since the start of the 17th century until 1823, when it was confiscated. It was constructed with amazingly few materials, due to the lack of financing at the time, marble and other noble materials being used sparingly, but with a result so satisfactory that it served as an inspiration for other similar constructions in the Americas.

The bullring, from the 19th century, the Glorieta and the Ermita de San Ramón chapel, from the 18th century, the Cabaña Eneolítica or the 13th century chapel of San Agustín are other examples of how much Vera has to offer us, and what we can discover as a family on a pleasant walk through the city.

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A journey through nature

If you like walking in nature, you can do so in Vera, in an environment with a landscape of great ecological value.

Vera is a starting point for visiting and enjoying the multiple spaces, parks and protected areas found in its environment; in the north, the Sierra María- Los Velez Natural Park; in the west, the Karst Natural Reserve in Yesos de Sorbas, with its magnificent caves and galleries which form a unique underground complex; in the south, the coastal mountains of Sierra Cabrera, the Maritime-Terrestrial Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Níjar and the desert of Tabernas, contrasting with its successor the Sierra Nevada Natural Park.

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The coastal strip, with its quaternary beaches, serves as a habitat for steppe birds, tereras, crested larks, stone curlews, nighthawks and occasionally black-bellied sandgrouse and birds of prey which travel from the watering hole of Jatico-Pelaos to the head of Pelea.

Of great value are the wet lands, lagoons which are formed in the outlet of the Antas river and the Gato pool.

Finally, volcanic outcrops of Cabecicos Negros, Pajarraco and Pelaos form an area of great geological interest, where we can find the unique species of European cactus, the European caramulla.

Good food

After so much adventure, we always want to make a stop to discover the good food of the area. In this case, Vera has a heritage full of aromas, colours and flavours. It is a Mediterranean style cuisine characterised by its clear Hispanic-Arabic influence from Al-Andalus, with hearty dishes such as stew, gurullos with rabbit, and ray stewed with garlic, among others.

012_VeraWe cannot forget the local baking, which will delight the palate of those with a sweet tooth, notable for the impression left in Vera by the different cultures which have passed through it.

If we wish to try this culinary tradition, we can do so at Terraza Carmona, a true guardian of the essence of the cuisine of Vera. The attention to the dishes and their presentation, along with care for produce are its hallmarks, always in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. It is a luxury.

If you are looking for more avant-garde cooking, you will also find it in Vera. In this case, we recommend the Juan Moreno restaurant, where the cuisine is inspired by the delicate and original treatment of its ingredients, and full confidence in the selection of its dishes. Its head chef, Juan Moreno, whose career is well known in regional restaurants, takes full care of his presentations.

Where to stay

Finding accommodation is an easy task in Vera, with a multitude of options for those travelling with children. Either on the beach or in the town, we will certainly find the most suitable accommodation for our tastes, and above all, for our needs. 3 and 4 star hotels, hostels, country houses and apartments complete a varied range, accessible by all.

If you would like a hotel near the beach, our recommendation is Hotel Adaria Vera, ideal for travelling with children. It has facilities which all families are seeking in a hotel. The rooms can accommodation two adults and two children, and depending on age, up to three. Don’t forget to consult its section for family holiday offers, as there are promotions which include children for free.

The best feature is tranquillity. As it is a hotel with just 75 rooms, we are not in a mass holiday area with too many people and too much noise. Rooms have a terrace and many of them have a sea view.

Ideas for having fun with children

From a walk through the historic centre to see how our ancestors lived, or discovering authentic marine fossils in the numerous museums and interpretation centres of the municipality, to practicing watersports, going on horse rides, or taking golf lessons, in Vera it is easy to have fun and learn on our family holiday. Here are some ideas:

Birdwatching at the Lagoon of Puerto Rey. These birds and anatidae use the place for rest when migrating between Africa and Europe.

Walking along the seafront promenade. Here there are the most cultural and sports activities such as concerts, children’s games, Biblioplaya, Explayate, watercraft championships at a national and international level, etc.

A bicycle ride. Vera has cycle lanes on which we can enjoy a pleasant cycle. The seafront promenade is perfect for this.

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A trip on the tourist train. Trips through the beach area with a duration of 1 hour and 15 minutes, with stops at the hotels.

Having fun in the parks. The recently renovated Recinto Ferial El Palmeral area is an enclosed space of 10,000m2 with five entrances. It is set out over hiking trails surrounded by gardens offering shade.

Vera, an accessible destination

Enjoying the beaches, walking through the streets and parks, and discovering the history of Vera through its museums is accessible for all. In Vera a city has been created which breaks down barriers, and thanks to this, in 2014 it was a point of reference for accommodating groups of disabled people, participating in programmes such as Vacaciones Imserso-Cocemfe, and collaborating with associations such as ASPRODALBA, fighting for the education, development and socio-labour integration of disabled people, in order to improve their quality of life and that of their families. The idea is to make the municipality a destination with universal accessibility: visual, auditory, motor and cognitive.

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