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With a Flamenco twirl and a flurry of patatas bravas, Almeria has come headlong into the 21st century. Balancing a gritty industrial past with a rich stream of Moorish and Andalusian culture, it's now a fine place to while away a trip close to the Costa Tropical. Don’t be put off by the package holidaying meccas that pepper the Spanish coast nearby; Almeria is different. It's lived-in. And it's crowned by that glorious Alcazaba, where Mudejar carvings and babbling fountains hide between the merlon-topped walls. Head there early to beat the crowds, and listen as your Almeria tour guide spins tales of Reconquista knights and Indiana Jones films. Then, make your way back down to the town to see the palm-fringed front of the gorgeous Almeria Cathedral, around which mezze places beckon and beer bars beat with youthful vibes. Also, don't miss the shores, where ferries await the journey across to North Africa, and the rickety Cable Inglés jetty belies the look of the new city in favor of the industrial old.