I’ve just returned from a quick 4 day break in Almerimar Spain, this gem of a resort is situated in Andalusia on the Costa de Almeria around 30 minutes from the city of Almeria and just a 3 or 4 miles from the well known resort of Roquetas de Mar.
This is a very Spanish holiday resort with a small expat British community and is a great if unusual place to visit, a long beach and an eye catching yachting marina in the centre of the resort, a superb golf course in the centre yet surrounded by local farms growing fruit and vegatables under what seems like miles of plastic sheeting, oh, and a warm welcome and where the locals still have a smile on their face despite their financial hardships.
It was interesting to arrive in peak season and pleasing to see the resort flourishing, the whole place was gearing up for the August rush when the Spanish traditionally take their holidays, visitors here are predominantly from Spain but you can hear accents from all across Europe as you wander around the pretty marina.
So you are in Spain and every Spanish resort is the same isn’t it? er…no! This part of Andalusia still keeps up the tradition of suppling drinkers in the bars with a free tapas with every alcoholic drink, even many of the sprinkling of British and Irish pubs join in with this local tradition. The modern Chiringitos by the beach are the best places for amazing sun-downers and the rich history and amazing countryside are all just a stones throw away.
The resort has currently one four star the Almerimar Resort hotel and that will soon be joined by a five star, this is due to open in November (but this is Spain so watch this space) and there are a wide choice of apartments ranging from compact to high-end luxury, these are usually privately owned but as the resort is relatively new the apartments all tend to be modern with all the latest of conveniences.
Like the rest of Spain the property prices have fallen sharply in the area, there are many tales of woe amongst British residents who have seen property prices plummet, one example quoted of a one time valuation of an apartment of 145,000 euros now down to around 50,000!
The banks are now the biggest property owners in Spain and to reduce the burden of these giant portfolios there is a fire-sale taking place with the banks selling off a huge choice of properties many with 100% mortgages, so if you were ever considering that holiday home in the sunshine the next six months or so would be a great time to invest.
Some of the British residents I spoke to in Almerimar were pretty alarmed at the downward value of their apartments and homes but feel prices had hit the bottom and many others remain fairly stoic as the vast majority of them either wish to remain in them as residents or keep them as holiday homes and are prepared to tough out any economic hardships along with their Spanish friends and neighbours.
The rock bottom prices may even attract new people from northern Spain and Europe to further populate the resort and maybe even kick start the resort outside its traditional August peak.
It was pleasing to see that even in hard times the right attitude can change many things, so hats off to the new mayor of Almerimar, he is very innovative and is trying to promote his town in as many ways as possible on the meagerest of budgets, last week alone there was a farmer’s market and also on another occasion a more traditional market set up in the resort, children and their families were treated to an animated film on a giant outdoor screen and the winner of the Spanish version of the X factor who is a resident of the nearby town of El Eijdo has been persuaded to perform live (and free) in the resort.
During my visit I also met up with Chris Marshall a good egg and local radio presenter and owner of Almerimar life a website dedidcated to expats living in Spain in general and Almerimar in particular. He and is lovely wife ‘Sands’ dedicate all their spare time in rescuing stray cats and dogs and re-homing them as far away as Germany and the UK. He along with other expats think that one of the ways of settling into a new country is to keep busy, integrate as much as possible into the Spanish way of life, keep Spanish hours, meal times and siestas and if possible learn the language.
During my 4 day break I met many interesting characters and this visit told me many things, that holidays to Spain are still really enjoyable and good value, I remembered that the weather is just about guaranteed, I discovered that if you are considering a move to the sun there is no better time or place than this hidden part of Andalusia.
Note to self – Almerimar deserves a more lenghthy visit and hopefully soon!