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Almería is essentially the Hollywood of Spain. Many of the iconic Western movies we watched, and our parents watched, while growing up were filmed there. Not to mention more modern movies! So where are all the best Almería filming locations? Read on to find out. I only spent 48 hours in Almería but I ended up stumbling upon quite a few spots that I recognised from the silver screen, so there’s a lot to be seen!
Almería Filming Locations and More
The Tabernas Desert is an iconic filming location in Almería, especially for the old spaghetti westerns. BUT it has been used to film more modern things such as Little Mix’s “Shout out to My Ex” music video. The Western scenes from season 3 of the TV show Penny Dreadful, featuring Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton, were filmed in Tabernas as well.
There’s a petrol station just outside Mini Hollywood which was used as a filming location for the episode “Black Museum” from season 4 of Black Mirror. Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale and Joel Edegerton, was also filmed in the desert. Michael Fassbender has even riden through the dusty trails of Tabernas desert while filming Assassins Creed. So there’s no shortage of filming locations to explore in Almería’s desert.
Within the Tabernas Desert 3 major Western film sets are left and have been transformed into tourist attractions. You can visit some of the original sets from your favourite movies. The three parks are Mini Hollywood/Oasys, Texas Hollywood/Fort Bravo and Western Leone.
Mini Hollywood/Oasys – This theme park/ film studio has been used for filming movies such as A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Cleopatra and Lawrence of Arabia. Stars such as Raquel Welch, Bridgitte Bardot and Sean Connery have walked through the western style streets of Mini Hollywood. In their recreated Western Town they have daily cowboy stunt shows and can can dance shows. After you catch a show you can wander around the set, take some photos and visualise yourself back in the days of the old spaghetti westerns. They also have a cinema museum, carriages museum and a cactus garden. But it’s not just a movie set at Mini Hollywood, they have a zoo, a pool area, train tour, souvenir shop, fancy dress area and photo studio and more to keep the whole family entertained. Adult tickets cost €22.50 and child (4-12yrs) tickets cost €12.50.
Texas Hollywood/Fort Bravo – This park has preserved its sets perfectly from back when they were used to film the old westerns. There’s an American and a Mexican town and they also offer stunt and can can shows. It has much of the same as Mini Hollywood with souvenir shops, photo opps, swimming area, horse riding and a saloon bar. There’s also accommodation on site. You may recognise the saloon from a Pepsi ad featuring David Beckham and other international football players. In fact, more than 100 films were filmed here, including Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you’re into Sci-Fi there was also an episode or two of Dr.Who season 7 filmed here (as well as in Oasys) in 2012. Tickets cost €19.40 for an adult and €9.90 for a child (5-11 years). A horse cart ride is included in the admission price.
Western Leone – This park is smaller than the above two and the least popular (the TripAdvisor reviews are quite worrying). It was originally built to film Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and still retains several of the buildings that you might recognise from the movies. The entrance fee is only €11 per person, which is obviously cheaper than the others, BUT judging by the reviews I’d choose Mini Hollywood or Texas Hollywood instead.
Tabernas Desert is not the only famous filming area in Almería. The city itself is a mecca for film buffs. If you’re on foot you’ll find signs around the city giving you info about filming locations along with a map so that you know where you’re going. There are two walking routes; Route Films and Film Totems. There is a map available online that you can download. At each point on the route you’ll find information about the movie(s) filmed there as well as a shot from the scene of the movie filmed in that location. Films mentioned along the route include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lawrence of Arabia and The Passenger.
Almería city even has its own Walk of Fame beside the Cervantes Theatre. You’ll find stars dedicated to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Blake Lively, Ridley Scott and more. There is an app available that you can download for android and ios which gives you more info about each star on the Walk of Fame.
The Alcazaba fortress that looks over the city has been used for several movies and TV shows. In Game of Thrones it was used for scenes from Dorne. It was also used to film scenes from the latest Wonder Woman movie, Wonder Woman 1984 and the 2016 movie Risen. A couple of episodes from the second series of Jack Whitehall’s “Bounty Hunter” TV show were filmed in the Pescadería area of Almería, just below the Alcazaba. The fortress is free to enter if you’re from an EU country, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you want to see movie memorabilia and get all the info about Almería as a filming destination then a trip to Casa Del Cine is a must. The museum is built in the house where John Lennon stayed during filming for the movie, How I Won the War. Bridgitte Bardot and Clint Eastwood also stayed there. The museum is small enough but full of interesting exhibits such as photos, costumes, holograms, 3D movies and more. You can even see yourself in famous movie scenes. It’s about a 40 minute walk from the centre so some might prefer to take a taxi. Entry costs only €3 but you have to book in advance.
Cabo de Gata
This nature reserve is absolutely stunning, full of craggy islands, rocky outcrops, salt-flats, hippy fishing villages and beautiful beaches, so it’s no wonder that it has been used for filming. Scenes from the magical fantasy film, The Never Ending Story, were filmed on Playa de Monsúl. Sean Connery will also be familiar with that beach from filming scenes of The Wind and The Lion. Scenes from Assassins Creed were also filmed in Cabo de Gata in Almería. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade had a couple of scenes filmed in Los Escullos and Punta del Esparto. In fact, Sean Connery must know Almería incredibly well because he also filmed scenes from Never Say Never Again in Cabo de Gata.
To wrap it all up, Almería is a cinephile’s dream. I’ve squeezed in as many Almería filming locations as I could into one article. You might not be able to see them all in one visit, but you’ll have fun trying!
**This trip was sponsored by the UK Spanish Tourism Office.
However, all opinions are, as always, my own.**
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