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Roquetas de Mar Beach
A relative newcomer to the Costa package holiday market, until the early 1990s Roquetas de Mar was little more than a fishing settlement, typical of this coast, with its small port backed by a village of Moorish streets and little white houses ('the pueblo'). Now this has been augmented by outlying urbanizáciones (urban developments) where most holiday apartments, hotels and tourist facilities are located. Aside from the original village houses the only obvious reminders of the past is the imposing landmark of the medieval Castilla de Santa Ana.
Backed in part by a neat promenade, the beach is a 3km-long (2 miles) straight stretch of coarse silver sand that is never crowded. All watersports are available though the waves can be rough. There is a specially designated nudist section.
Roquetas de Mar has a smart 18-hole golf course Club de Golf Playa Serena (Urbanización Playa Serena) (www.golfplayaserena.com). Three other courses, La Envia Golf, Alboran Golf and Golf Almerimar, are also with easy reach. Birdwatchers visit the salt marsh at Las Marinas, 5km (3 miles) south to see flamingos, little egrets and avocets. Another popular spot is Punto Sabinas. There are indoor amusements at the Gran Plaza shopping centre.
Aside from various playgrounds there isn't a great deal in the way of family attractions. On the beachfront on the way to the neighbouring resort of Aguadulce is the Mario Park Parque Aquatico (Camino Las Selinas, 10) (www.mariopark.com). This is a small water park with slides, pools and a wave machine. Older children will get a bigger buzz at Karting Roquetas (Carretera Alicum, Roquetas). This is Andalucia's biggest go-kart circuit with karts for children as well as adults.
Almería is well worth the short trek for its Alcazaba (Moorish fortress) and shopping. Granada, with its magnificent Alhambra Palace is a must see. For a classic 'white village' visit Nijar, famous for the quality of its handicrafts. The desert area around Tabernas is known as Cowboy Country as it was here that some of the iconic Spaghetti Westerns (including A Fistful of Dollars) and many other action movies were filmed. Mini Hollywood (Carretera Nacional 340) the original movie film set has now been turned into a small theme park featuring live action hold ups, shoot outs and other action sequences alongside film memorabilia and also, somewhat incongruously, a desert zoo. There are two working film locations very close by; Texas Hollywood and Western Leone, which also show visitors around. Texas Hollywood also has themed areas but unless you're a real movie buff you can give Western Leone a miss.
Spoil yourself at the Vitalmar Medical and Beauty Centre at the Hotel Portomagno (Paseo Maritimo, Aguadulce, Roquetas de Mar). It offers a wide range of treatments and facilities including Turkish bath, sauna, Jacuzzi, hydrotherapy, massage, reflexology and anti-cellulite, anti-stress and laser treatments.