If you’ve already booked yourself a holiday to Vera Playa, chances are that one of the things that attracted you is the world famous naturist beach. But once you’ve honed that perfect all-over tan, you’re going to discover there’s much more to Spain’s leading naturist resort than nude sunbathing: there are also some fabulous restaurants – although, of course, you will need to get dressed to visit them.
Set on Costa Almería on Spain’s south coast, the modern beach resort is linked to the pretty historic town of Vera which lies 10 kilometres inland. Without doubt its biggest claim to fame is its naturist beach – the only year-round naturist beach in mainland Europe. Vera Playa is beautiful stretch of more than 2 kilometres of golden sand which is designated for those who want to sunbathe naked. But that’s not all: a section of the resort itself (shops, restaurants, hotels and all) is also designated a naturist area, so if ‘baring all’ is your thing, you’ll feel part of a welcoming community of like-minded people here.
Of course there’s more to this resort than just nudity. There are a number of other ways to have fun in the sun here, and once the sun’s gone down, there are some fantastic local restaurants to seek out.
The Best Food in Town
The Almeríans of this region have a passion for food, and it is a passion which is reflected in many of the local restaurants. The best on offer here are the ones which celebrate their coastal location with plates of fresh seafood prepared with traditional Spanish flare.
Here’s a selection of my three favourite places to go for a traditional Almerían fine-dining experience in the area.
1. Terraza Carmona
Set in the heart of Vera’s historic old town is Terraza Carmona Hotel, with its traditional Almerían restaurant. While the gleaming white façade may look brand new, the owners have actually owned a hotel on the site for more than 60 years and the cosy dining room is full of traditional Spanish charm.
In the kitchen, tradition is important too, with the third generation of the Carmona family maintaining the restaurant’s specialisation in local Almerían cuisine. The menu includes dishes such as: rabbit stew, garlic mash potato, whole wheat hot pot, avian tortes, fritadas and even a local desert known as ‘drunken tart’.
In 2010, Terraza Carmona was awarded a Catering Award From Foods of Spain by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs in recognition of its efforts to support the delicious local cuisine.
2. Juan Moreno Restaurante
On the edge of Vera, close to the town’s bullring, you’ll find the modern Juan Moreno Restaurante. Specialising in traditional Spanish food with a modern, contemporary twist, Chef Juan Moreno has won a number of local awards for his imaginative dishes.
Moreno has a taste for the dramatic (à la Heston Blumenthal), so expect clouds of dry ice with desert and an impeccable presentation.
The restaurant has a modern, bustling main dining room as well as two private dining rooms perfect for family parties or meeting up with a group of friends.
Dishes include fresh local ingredients such as: salmorejo with Iberian pepper, red prawns from Garrucha, and slow cooked local pork.
Just along the coast from Vera is the small resort of Villaricos where you’ll find this cosy, family-run eatery. Just a short walk from the beach, Playa Azul is all about the fresh seafood, which is caught daily here. In fact, the restaurant not only has its own fishing boat to provide the very freshest of seafood, but it also has its own small holding on which it grows the vegetables and herbs served daily in the restaurant.
Think delicious traditional fish stews, rice with lobster and even octopus and you’ll be close to imagining Playa Azul’s wonderful seasonal menu, which is served in its small but inviting dining room by its friendly, welcoming staff.
How to Get to Vera Playa
If all that fresh seafood and Spanish cuisine has got your mouth watering, the quickest way to get to the Spanish resort is to fly to Almería Airport – although Alicante and Murcia are also close. Almería is served by a several airlines flying directly from the UK, including easyJet and Thomas Cook Airlines.
To avoid queuing for taxis at any of the local airports it’s a good idea to book an airport transfer online with Shuttle Direct before you leave home. That way you can relax knowing that your driver will be waiting for you when you touch down to whisk you away to your accommodation.
Where to Stay:
Zimbali Playa Spa Hotel Luxury – Enjoy the Moor-inspired Zimbali Playa Spa Hotel Luxury with its vast outdoor pool and sunbathing area complete with bar and close proximity to the beach with its own beach club. There’s also a spa onsite with an indoor pool and water circuit, guaranteed to help you relax and unwind.
Vera Playa Club Hotel – For those who want to take the freedom of the naturist beach a step further, the Vera Playa Club Hotel is a naturist hotel set on Vera Playa beach. Enjoy the outdoor pool, buffet restaurant, lounge bar, spa and beach club all in the comfort of your birthday suit.
Aparthotel Reina – Relax in your own stylish apartment at Aparthotel Reina. Just a short stroll from Playazo Beach, all the apartments have their own balconies and there is a communal outdoor pool, spa and rooftop terrace where you can enjoy a hot tub with a view of the sea.
About Shuttle Direct:
Travel in comfort from the airport to your accommodation with Shuttle Direct, the leading provider of airport transfers in Europe and North Africa. Shuttle Direct offers transfers to a wide range of destinations in more than 50 countries. Enjoy door-to-door service and a driver who will meet you at the airport as part of our private transfer service.