Made up of the Almeria province coastline, this is a popular tourist destination due to its white, unspoiled sandy beaches, crystal clear water and warm temperatures, often hitting 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months. It is located in the southeast corner of Spain, right in between the Mediterranean ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There are a large number of golf courses in this area, and no shortage of luxury hotels and exclusive villas. Inland, there are some vast, sandy deserts some of which have been locations in many famous films. The name Almeria came about when the Moors occupied most of Spain, then called Al-Mariyya, which means ‘watchtower’. The city of Almeria is modern and fairly cosmopolitan, with some amazing art galleries, museums, monuments and shops. Just east of Almeria is the Cabo de Gata – Nijar, a protected maritime park and the city of Vera has some famous and rather popular nudist beaches. The regional cuisine has a strong influence of Arabic and North African flavors, with fresh fruit and vegetables featuring in hearty soups and stews. Tabernero is a spicy tomato stew, sopa moruna has vegetables, lentils and coriander and papas a lo pobre is made with fried potatoes, egg and roasted peppers. Popular desserts include deditos de Jesus, which are almond biscuits, produced by a convent in the city of Almeria, and papaviejos, made with milk and potatoes. As with most regions in Spain, there are plenty of festivals and events such as the ‘Our Lady of the Sea Festival’ which takes place in the last two weeks of August and the city of Almeria takes on a carnival atmosphere. Dia de la Virgin del Carmen takes place on the 16th of July, with a spectacular display of fireworks, live music and traditional dance. Almeria airport is located just 9km from the city centre, with regular national and international flights daily.