Roquetas de Mar is the largest and most popular resort town in Costa de Almeria, owing to its award-winning beaches, striking scenery and activities for children to enjoy. But this isn't a busy and overrun tourist hotspot – it has the same relaxed and slow-paced charm as other towns in Costa de Almeria, with blissfully unspoilt and uncrowded beaches.
Fun in the sun
Playa de Aguadulce is a large pebble beach with clear waters and a floating aqua park, which makes it perfect for kids. Bring a picnic or grab something to eat at one of the lovely restaurants that are dotted along the tree-lined promenade. Playa de Aguadulce also has a ramp that leads down to the beach for any visitors that have difficulty walking.
Another popular beach in Roquetas de Mar is La Bajadilla, which holds a Blue Flag certificate and covers three kilometres of caramel-coloured sand. This area is less populated than other resort cities and you are bound to find your own little piece of heaven on a beautiful stretch of sand, without anyone in your personal space. Bajadilla has beachside cafes and watersports available too, so you can spend the day in the sea, jet and water skiing, fishing and sailing.
For any avid history buffs, Roquetas de Mar's Castillo de Santa Ana is a great place to learn more about the city and region of Almeria. With free entry, you can peruse the art exhibitions, including black and white photos, oil paintings, artefacts and videos of the local area. Castillo de Santa Ana was built in the 17th century and was used as a place for shelter the common people from the frequent pirate attacks. Today you can take tours of the castle and look out over the sea and city from its spires. Castillo de Santa Ana has a small amphitheatre and in the evening visitors to the castle can watch a variety of performances taking place.
When it's hot outside take the family to Mario Park to cool down. This water park in Roquetas de Mar has six large slides, a wave pool and children's pool, all ideal for an afternoon of splashing around.
Another great place for the family to visit is the Roquetas de Mar's aquarium, the largest in Andalucia. This aquarium is full of bizarre and fascinating sea creatures, from tropical fish to piranhas. Children will love the interactive tank where, under the supervision of professional divers, you can stroke starfish and stingrays. If you are feeling adventurous you can even go in the tank for a swim with the sharks. The aquarium is only a five-minute drive from the town centre and is easily accessible.
Nature at its purest
The region of Costa de Almeria is known for its gorgeous scenery and Roquetas de Mar is no exception. If you're a nature lover visit Parque Natural Punta Entinas, where you can spot more than 150 different bird species, or join one of the guided tours and walk along the coastlines, wetlands, sand dunes and lakes. Many tourists decide to rent bikes and cycle their way across the park, stopping off in the small village nearby.
Roquetas de Mar has an abundance of dining and restaurant options, including Spanish, European and international cuisine. Roquetas de Mar is known for its pop-up beach bars, called chiringuitos, whose fresh seafood cool drinks tempt sunbathers from their spots on the sand. If you're looking for some local cuisine, head to Stilo Campo. It's known for serving the best tapas in Costa de Almeria. Or for something more substantial give Restaurante Chiringuito Nido Playa a try – their mouth-watering seafood paella is not to be missed.