A short drive inland through the mountain ranges of the Cierra de las Estancias and the Sierra de los Filabres brings you to numerous charming villages and towns, enveloped in stunning countryside of olive groves, citrus orchards and dramatic hills and valleys. One such town is Albox, situated in the heart of the Almanzora Valley, situated 420m above sea level and approximately 130km from the provincial capital of Almeria.
The name derives from the Arabic word for forest and sounds similar to the Spanish term for forest ‘el bosque’. The origens of Albox date back to Medieval times when the ancient fort town was located on a hill nearby to its current location. In 1503 it was completely destroyed by an earthquake and most of its historical buildings were lost. The town was reconstructed from scratch in its current location.
Albox is a traditional white-washed Spanish market town with a population of around 11,000 inhabitants, of which a small percentage are foreign ex-pat residents. The town has all the facilities and service one would expect from a modern small town: shops, banks, post office, restaurants, bars, schools and a 24 hour medical centre. The nearest major hospital is in Huercal Overa, approximately 21km away.
Albox has a municipal swimming pool, very typical of inland Spanish towns that don’t have access to beaches. You will find most locals frequenting the pool during the weekends and summer holidays. It opens throughout July and August. There is also a sports centre and tennis club, which also has its own swimming pool.
The name derives from the Arabic word for forest and sounds similar to the Spanish term for forest ‘el bosque’.
A large market is held every Tuesday morning and a smaller market on Saturday mornings. On market days the neighbouring streets are shut off to traffic and stalls open up selling fresh fruit, vegetables and bread. Jamons (cured ham on the bone) can be found hanging from stalls and shop windows; dozens of varieties of queso (cheese), chorizo (cured sausage) and many more delicacies are on show. The market is extensive, with street upon street, a myriad of noise, colour and smells. In fact you can find just about anything in the Albox market.
The town offers visitors an insight into the lifestyle of a traditional Spanish town, with its traditional customs and culture.
Every year Albox celebrates All Saints Day (Halloween) with a massive week long fiesta (festival) from 31st October-6th November. In Spain Halloween is known as All Saints Day and is a day of celebration for lost loved ones, rather than the commercial version that is commonly celebrated in the UK and US.
The All Saints festival is the biggest annual celebration in Albox, when thousands of people from surrounding towns and villages descend upon Albox to join in the festivities and celebrations.
The week is filled with performances, theatre, fun and games, and of course lots of typical food and drink; a Spanish festival wouldn’t be the same without the typical serving of the giant paella (see photograph to the right) and lots of local wine.
A huge marquee is erected in the centre of town, which plays host to the main events and the streets are filled with stalls, games and fairground rides. The celebrations last well into the early hours of the morning (some until 8am).
Venture further into the beautiful countryside and you will come across other similar unspoilt villages, several rivers also flow close to the town, including the rivers Almanzara and Albanchez, which contribute to the area’s rich agricultural background. It’s hard to believe that the area is under an hour’s drive from the coastal resort of Mojácar.
Albox has the perfect all-year round temperate climate, as does the whole of the Costa Almeria with temperatures rarely falling below 18ºC. It can get a bit chilly during the winter evenings, but the days are generally clear and blue. During the summer months the temperature rises to around 30ºC throughout May-June. July and August can get hotter. It drops again around mid-September to a milder, but still warm 23ºC-27ºC degrees.