Local Area

The area around the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort has many towns and villages which are great to explore. Some of the closer towns and villages are briefly described below with links to websites where available. There is also a diverse range of bars and restaurants serving all tastes and some of these businesses are described below along with relevant website links. Other places of interest and services are also detailed such as car hire, sports facilities, shopping ……….

Car Hire

Al Andalus Car Hire

Local Area Al Andalus Car Hire 1

Al Andalus Car Hire has been established since 2010 and has gained a reputation for quality service and value for money. They do not believe in their clients paying for hidden extras on arrival so can guarantee that the price you are quoted is the price you pay. They operate from Alicante, Murcia San Javier and Almeria airports and can also offer local rentals in the areas of Mojacar, Turre, Los Gallardos, Palomares, Garrucha and Vera. They offer a full/full fuel policy regardless of the length of hire and do not charge for additional drivers. Al Andalus Car Hire has grown dramatically in a very short period of time and in order to keep up with demand they regularly increase the fleet of cars and indeed as recently as April 2012 the fleet was increased by 10%. All cars are in good condition and are serviced and maintained so that they remain reliable and completely roadworthy. The fleet consists of economy cars – Ibizas, Fabias, Corsas together with the larger Focus & Cordobas and finally the seven seater Zafiras. They can also provide car seats for babies and toddlers or booster seats for older children. These are available at €2.50 per day. Al Andalus Car Hire is our preferred and recommended car hire company should you need a car as part of your holiday plans.


Bars & Restaurants

Los Conteros Restaurant & Bar – Villaricos


Los Conteros is a brand new bar and restaurant opened on 6th December 2013 by Chris and Lenka (formerly of The Los Angeles Bar). You will find Los Conteros In a tranquil setting just off of the ALP-828 road to La Herrerias. Directions are follow the Vera Playa to Villaricos road and go over the bridge. After 200 metres take the first left, then after 200 metres take the first right into the large car park. A warm welcome plus wide and varied menu awaits you.


Los Angeles Bar & Restaurant – Palomares/Villaricos (ALP-118)

Local Area Los Angeles 1

Restaurant and Bar Los Angeles can be found on the ALP-118 coast road between Palomares and Villaricos. Within the bar area, covered terrace and air conditioned restaurant you can enjoy their menu del dia, bar snacks or a wide range of delicious tapas. They also offer a very popular menu de la noche, served from 7pm to 10pm daily. Sunday lunch is a mix of traditional and Spanish cuisine, with prime roast beef and paletilla de cordero (braised shoulder of lamb) always available. Both menu del dia and menu de la noche are changed weekly. The restaurant seats 60 people comfortably and is available for private functions, with menus tailored to suit your requirements. They also have regular music nights and whenever you visit you are assured of a warm welcome.


Frankies Bar – Vera Playa

Local Area Frankies Bar 1

Frankies Bar is on the Avenida Ciudad De Barcelona near to the Vera Playa Club Hotel and is about a 25 minute walk from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort. You will be warmly welcomed by the owners Alan and Shelley who have been running Frankies Bar since 2008. There is an extensive menu of homemade food and you are assured of a huge portion size – an example is 6oz fillet steak with homemade chips and peas or salad for just €8. Sunday Roast lunches are now also available as well as the famous Friday Fish & Chips special – booking advisable ! There is regular weekly entertainment such as Tuesday bingo, Thursday quiz and every Friday there is live music. As well as regular entertainment there are also one off events such as charity nights, tribute acts and karaoke nights. Frankies Bar is a great place to meet new friends, dine at exceptionally low prices or just have a drink and relax in the family friendly atmosphere. Sign up to our newsletter to be regularly updated with events happening at Frankies Bar.

El Balconcito – Vera Playa

Local Area El Balconcito 1

El Balconcito is a fabulous Spanish Restaurant/Tapas Bar and can be found next door to Frankies Bar on the Avenida Ciudad De Barcelona near to the Vera Playa Club Hotel. It is about a 25 minute walk from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort. You will be warmly welcomed by the owners Carmen & Steve and their attentive staff. There is an extensive menu with main meals as well as raciones and Carmen’s Paella is highly recommended but must be ordered 24 hours in advance. El Balconcito has year round regular and varied entertainment such as singers, bands and film nights and occasionally a joint night of entertainment is laid on with Frankies Bar next door. El Balconcito is a great place to meet the locals, sample real homemade Spanish food and tapas or to simply relax and have a beer or glass of wine. Sign up to our newsletter to be regularly updated with events happening at El Balconcito.


The Blue Parrot – Vera Playa

blue parrot

The Blue Parrot is on the Avenida Ciudad De Barcelona near to the Vera Playa Club Hotel and is about a 25 minute walk from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort. It is named after the resident Blue Parrot called ‘Babe’. This English run bar and restaurant has an extensive menu and you are assured huge portion sizes. There is regular and varied entertainment at The Blue Parrot with live bands, quizzes, special menus and themed food evenings. It is recommended that you telephone to reserve your table for the evenings when there is entertainment. Sign up to our newsletter to be regularly updated with events happening at The Blue Parrot.

La Peperina – Vera Playa

Local Area La Peperina 1

Just a short ten minute walk from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort is the Bar Restaurant La Peperina which provides an environment of hospitality, good company, wine and gastronomy that all come together to create pleasant and unforgettable moments. It is one of the most stylish bars in the area, offering a varied menu of tapas, entrees and desserts. Being a bar La Peperina is open all day, from 1200 and never closes before 0100. On warm days the restaurant moves to the terrace where guests can enjoy lunch or dinner at the edge of the gardens and experience the freshness of the breeze and the sound of water. Besides the terrace there are two areas which are ideal in which to chill out, relax and enjoy thier wide variety of cocktails along with a fine selection of music. There is also regular entertainment at La Peperina.



Parque Acuatico – Vera Playa


The Water Park at Vera Playa is a two minute drive from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort. With ample parking it is a great place to enjoy a family fun day out. The park is open throughout the summer season. There are slides and attractions for visitors of all ages. For more information please visit thier website. Play the games on their website from which you can win vouchers for up to a 40% discount. Please also look out for discount vouchers in local newspapers.


Karting (Go-Karts) – Garrucha


Just a short drive away from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort is the Karting at Garrucha. Situated on the right on the A-370 road just past the final turn for Garrucha is the fabulous dual track Karting Garrucha. There is a ‘Piste Pequena (small circuit)’ for ages up to 12 years old and the ‘Pista Grande (large circuit)’ for ages 12 years and over. The Pista Pequena is perfect for families with younger children because you can have the Biplaza Kart in which an adult and a child can ride at only €10 for 8 minutes ! The Pista Grande is perfect for those who like to travel fast and race with a choice of 200cc or 300cc Karts.


Towns & Villages


Local Area Vera 1

The town of Vera is situated in the Levante region of Almeria and is very close to the coast. Indeed part of its area includes a stretch of about 5 kms of safe sandy beaches which is known as Vera Playa. It is a typically Spanish town with a smallish population of around 14,000 and has many streets, plazas and interesting historical buildings including its own bullring.

Vera dates back to the Paleolithic Age. Artifacts from this period have been found throughout the town. There is also proof of man’s existence during the Bronze Age. Eventually, the Carthaginians settled in the area. They continued a long history of mining the mountains for lead and silver. As is true throughout history, their success caught the eye of the Romans who attacked and killed or banished the Carthaginians. Under Roman rule, Vera continued to thrive. Silver mining reached an all-time high, but by the 8th century, the mines were pretty much cleansed of the precious metal. Moors had been entering the area for some time, and they took over control. The Moors thrived until the Christian armies launched a war that would kill many. When the dust settled, the Moors were forced to live in the outskirts of the town they had once called home. As Christians worked to rebuild the population, they also dealt with repeated attacks by the displaced Moors. Tariffs demanded by the kings began to rise drastically, and many Moors opted to leave Spain and return to their ancestors’ original home – Africa.

After the battle between the Moors and the Christians, the Moors were forced to create their own community away from the town centre. This area, called “The Hill of the Spirit Santo,” can be toured by visitors. Most of the buildings were destroyed by an earthquake, but the remnants of their water system and a few walls are still visible.

If you happen to be in Vera in the month of September, you will not want to miss the nine-day Celebration of San Cleofás. The celebration dates back to the 1500′s when the Moors and Christians finally ended their battles. Today, the nine-day event offers parades, games, races, culinary delights, bonfires, and more!

The 16th century Church of the Incarnation is a Baroque style chapel with one rectangular main building with towers erected on each corner. The main feature of this church is the glorious altarpiece. Another area church, Church of San Agustin also dates to the 16th century. The third church is the Hermitage of our Lady of the Orchards which was erected in the late 1500′s. This church sits on the outskirts of town. It is worth visiting due to its amazing architectural details. Vera also has a free to enter historical museum which is located in the 19th century City Hall.

Do spend some time shopping in the area – many artisans sell their goods from stores in Vera. The city square, established in the 1800′s, is beautiful with flowering gardens and rows of boutiques and cafes. When visiting Vera, it is hard to ignore the quality baskets, pottery, glassblowing, embroidery, weaving, and marble crafts that are all available. Tourism is very important to Vera. Without tourists, many locals would never sell their goods to the public. Make sure you take home a few treasures when you leave Vera. Agriculture only plays a small part in Vera’s economy with barley, citrus fruits, almonds and lettuce being among those crops grown in many farms and fields that surround Vera.

The culinary dishes in Vera vary from area to area. Those closer to the mountain eat more meat than those closer to the sea. For this very reason, dining within Vera is a treasure ! Meatball stew is a common dish consisting of beef meatballs being simmered in a rich broth with onion, cumin, coriander, and some local produce. The dish is delightful ! Ajo Colorao is also one of Vera’s most traditional dishes being potatoes, paprika, tomatoes, garlic, and red peppers sauteed in olive oil. Strands of saffron are then added along with some water. Once the mixture is soft, it is pureed and decorated with halved boiled eggs. For dessert, one might sample some locally made pestiños these are bread rolls containing aniseed. The dough is formed into a pretzel-like twist and then deep-fried in olive oil. Once they have cooled, they are dipped in honey and eaten slightly warm.

Tapas bars are a mainstay in Vera. A wide selection of tapas bars are available to weary travellers and locals alike. You cannot leave Vera without spending a few hours sampling the local beer, wine, and fare!

The Vera Bullring (Plaza de Toros) is located at the Calle Mayor roundabout to the south of the town. It is the oldest bullring in the province and was built in 1879 using money generated by the local mining industry. Its Mudejar style has suffered slightly through several resorations during the years, but nowadays, it can be seen and enjoyed during the bullfighting season or by just visiting the ring and its small museum of memorabilia. It has a capacity of some 6,500 spectators and still holds many bullfights each year. On a recent trip one renter and her family turned up at the bullring (which is open during ‘normal’ hours) and was given a free guided tour, albeit in Spanish, by the man on duty and which included their young son being dressed in full costume and having his photo taken by his family – not like some tourist places where they try to take pictures for you and sell you them ! Well worth a visit and can be found on your way into Vera from the Al Andalus Thalassa Resort using the A-1200 Garrucha to Vera road – arrive at the roundabout with the large fountain in the middle and head straight on and the next roundabout is the Calle Mayor. Parking is free and right outside the main entrance, you are also welcome to stroll around unhindered and free of charge. If you are wishing to watch an event then tickets can be purchased on-line by clicking here. Alternatively you can visit the bullring itself to find out about forthcoming events and ticketing details.



Local Area Villaricos 1

Villaricos is a small, unspoilt fishing village, both charming and tranquil, which maintains a typical Spanish feel. The village is located at the foot of the Sierra Almagrera Mountains. Villaricos (rich village) derives its name from ancient silver mines, which have their place in history, as its from here that Hannibal paid his mercenaries when he besieged Rome. Along with fishing, tourism is its main source of income. Its superb climate makes it a popular destination, with its mild winters and the summer highs refreshed by the soft breezes from the Mediterranean Sea. There are two beaches; a pebbled expanse that borders the village and next door an unspoilt golden sandy beach. The later is in a sheltered bay which, although popular with the locals, is never crowded. There is an excellent chiringuito called La Basilca which overlooks a pretty harbour where those catching the rays can get refreshed. There are actually two harbours that sit at each end of the village linked by a broad promenade with numerous places to sit and contemplate. It is a favoured for many for an evening stroll by both the Spanish and visitors alike. Villaricos is known for it’s crystal clear warm waters and it’s fabulous diving and for those with their water wings there is a local diving school. Just beyond Villaricos is a rugged undeveloped coastline where you can relax in peace and solitude amongst the rock pools and sand. There is a good selection of restaurants and bars with food at very reasonable prices and cuisine ranging from native Spanish to British pub food. There is a small market every Sunday morning in the village square.



Local Area Garrucha 1

Garrucha is a beautiful and lively fishing town that still retains much of its original charm. Over the last few years it has become a popular tourist destination. Its tourist slogan is “Garrucha, Sun & Seafood” ; the town is famous for the quality of its large red prawns, only fished in the local waters. Garrucha has a strong fishing industry, its main source of income, with a large port for both commercial and leisure pursuits. Garrucha has a great selection of restaurants and bars with many excellent seafood restaurants found along the seafront serving the fresh catch of the day. They are supplied with fresh fish from the nearby port, if you find yourself down at the seafront at dawn you will experience the typically Mediterranean sight of a flotilla of small fishing boats setting out to sea. Later (around 5pm) the fishermen host a daily auction at the quayside fish market which is well worth a visit. Two buildings of interest in Garrucha are the Parish Church de San Joaquin and the Hermitage de la Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of Garrucha. Every year on the 16th July the fishermen pass the chapel on their way to the sea in a spirited procession. One of the pleasures of Garrucha is taking a lovely evening stroll around the bay. A palm tree lined promenade framed by white marble balustrades spans the length of the town, almost 2 kms. There are landscaped areas to sit and relax whilst watching the sunset over the Mediterranean sea and delightful play areas for the children. A stroll here takes in three successive ports of Garrucha – the sports port, fishing port and commercial port. Garrucha is well known for its magnificent, golden sandy beaches, stretching as far as the eye can see, for several kilometers. The beach opposite the town centre is the only ‘town’ blue flag beach in Europe. You have a great choice of shops in Garrucha as well as a huge Friday morning market.


Playa De Mojacar

Local Area Mojacar Playa 1

This 8 km stretch of the coast is highly commercialised and offers great beaches and facilities with numerous bars, restaurants, chiringuitos, shops, hotels and alike. Free parking is readily available right on the beach and the summer months are particularly busy.


Mojacar Pueblo

Local Area Mojacar Pueblo 1

Mojacar Pueblo is the kind of vacation spot that you would expect to see on a postcard. A fairytale village, with its cluster of white sugar cubed buildings clinging to the side of the hilltop. For visitors the village is a delightful place to explore, you will find charming trinket shops, restaurants, bars and terraces. The village is a browsers delight. Arty shops beckon with their bits and pieces hanging from walls and make shift stalls. The winding streets lead you past smartly renovated houses decked out with potted plants and flowers and hole-in-the-wall shops selling everything from trendy clothing to locally made souvenirs. Look out for the great value hand woven rugs, jarapas and the famous Indalo Man. At the heart of the mountaintop village is the Plaza Nueva where you stand on what appears to be a marble dance floor overhanging the side of the mountain. The views of the unexpected green carpet of agriculture land surrounding the village and Sierra Cabrera Mountains and coast line are magnificent. For those with the energy, further spectacular views await at the Mirador Castillo, which is Mojacar Pueblo’s highest point.