It’s always a surprise when you come across something you feel you really should have known about before, but somehow didn’t. Los Albaricoques in the Almeria desert is exactly one of those places. Having visited Tabernas some years ago, it is strange to think that nothing at the Spaghetti Western filmsets pointed us in this direction. It was only a chance comment on a friend’s Facebook timeline that led us to this fabulous location!
Los Albaricoques is just a small desert village really, but it should be far more famous than it is. The main film to have been made here was “For a Few Dollars More.” Now we are a long way from being fans of the Western genre but it’s still amazing to see where these classics were made. There is a small route where you can see the location of particular scenes with stills from the silver screen located alongside their now crumbling reality. In places you have to block the modern houses from your view, but it is still a very rewarding visit.
A quirky thing that Los Albaricoques (known as Aguas Calientes in the film) has embraced is its street names. Each one is named after an actor, producer, musical director or location involved in the Western Film industry. There’s quite a collection!
The most famous scene from the film is the shoot-out at the end. Youtube have fortunately isolated this into a six-minute clip. I presume electricity came to the area after the 1965 filming of this particular sequence!
We stayed at the only place to stay, Hostal Rural Alba. It was a great place, not only for exploring Los Albaricoques, but also for a drive around the countryside an evening by the coast. Upstairs a handful of rooms are looked after by friendly staff who will supply you with a map of the area and a guide to the nearby film locations. It is easy to get around by foot but you will need a car for the out-of-town stuff. Mind you, it’s impossible to get there without a car anyway, so you’ll no doubt have your own transport! Downstairs is the bar and restaurant with film posters galore at the entrance and plenty of memorabilia inside should you choose to eat and drink there. No alternatives are nearby hence our drive to the coast!
About five kilometres out into the desert is Cortijo del Fraile. The road there is pretty rough in places and if you have a low car or a family saloon, you might be worried about bottoming out in places! We got there in one piece and had a good walk around. It’s a shame the place has become so derelict as it must have been quite something in its heyday. Clearly renovation projects have not received the funding they required. Perhaps someone from the Western industry could intervene!
It would have been nice to have driven up into the multi-coloured hills around there. Unfortunately the roads are closed because the mines are dangerous. That’s fair enough but apparently some scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed there. I could have released my inner Harrison Ford!!
Instead of going in search of the lost ark of the covenant, we went in search of dinner. A circuitous route took us through stunning landscapes to the Mediterranean coast. There we settled on La Isleta for some pizza with a sea view. It was a really relaxing place to be and we just made it back to Los Albaricoques before it got dark. There don’t appear to be any lights on the roads!
We hope you have enjoyed this post. Please let us know, and even better, if you visit the area yourself, let us know about your own experience. And if you are a huge fan of “For a Few Dollars More” then there is a blog dedicated to this, and especially to actor Lee Van Cleef. Why not take a look?!
Oh, and for a bit of fun, I wrote a poem (well, AI did!) about Spaghetti Cowboys in the Spanish Desert!