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Almeria is Andalucia's easternmost capital city and is an incredibly charming town. The winding cobblestone streets and historic architecture that is not roped off or preserved, but lived in and used, are easy to fall in love with. If the prettiness of the town isn´t enough, get thee to the beach and take a look at the warm gentle waters of the Mediterranean. Expat life has it´s difficulties, there´s no denying it, but towns like Almeria make it worthwhile for most. Not all, but most.

Getting There

Almeria has its own airport (the second largest in Andalucia after Malaga) and there are direct flights from the larger European cities – particularly London. There are also domestic flights, with most Spanish airports connecting to the town, but unless you really have to, take a train instead – the cost of domestic flights to Almeria can be outrageous.


Almeria is relatively popular with expats, considering its size. Because of its popularity with tourists, Almeria has good support services for English-speakers and good infrastructure, but the benefits can often be outweighed by the surge in numbers of holidaymakers in the peak season. This is simply the way life is living in a seaside town on the Mediterranean coast, and if you don´t find this particularly appealing, you can do as other expats have done and live a little further inland: enjoying the benefits of proximity to the beach without the hassles of the summer crush.


There are no international schools in Almeria proper, but the broader Andalucian region does have a few. Before you think about sending your kids to an English-speaking school, it might pay to investigate the public and private Spanish schools. Spanish education standards are pretty high, schools are heavily subsidised and non-Spanish speaking kids often have access to free intensive language courses before the school year begins. Additionally, your kids will run less risk of becoming ´ghettoised´ into an English-speaking community. This is, of course, not always the case, it is simply one of the factors that may be overlooked by expats.

Getting Around

In Almeria proper, it is easiest to get around on foot – in fact may streets are either closed off to cars or simply unnavigable on anything other than a bike or motorscooter. There are bus services that run less frequently than other towns in Spain, but enough to be able to get around for at least the first few weeks without a car. There are more services in summer and plenty of routes to and from the coastal resorts. Eventually though, you should think seriously about buying a car, as it´s difficult to get by in Spain without private transport. Train travel in Almeria is basically non-existent: There are long distance services to Madrid and Barcelona, and one route to Malaga, but that´s about it.

Settling In

If you are an EU citizen, then you do not need to apply for residency, but if you are planning to stay for longer than six months, it makes a lot of sense to do so. Residents are able to register with Social Security (free emergency medicine) and will also be given an NIE (Numero de Identidad de Extranjeros). This mouthful is essentially a foreigners number, similar to the ID number given to every Spaniard, and without one you can´t get contracts for things like mobile phones and internet, or in some cases even open a bank account. Most banks these days do not need you to have an NIE to open an account, but some do and in all cases you will be charge extra fees when you lack an NIE.


There are some, er, renovators' delights to be found in and around Almeria. Be wary of the crumbling ruins unless you are truly inspired by the idea of finding your very own hidden treasure and spending plenty of time and money on it´s restoration. For those of you who prefer to be able to live in your new place from Day One, expect to pay between 80,000 Euro (for a shabby little place that is cute but old) to about 200,000 Euro for a modern, three to five bedroom home with all the mod cons including a pool. Renting is pretty inexpensive in Almeria, with a three bedroom terraced apartment in the middle of all the goodies for around 550 Euro a month.

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