The price of free access

Almería’s most popular monument is suffering from regional laws prohibiting entry charges

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The Alcazaba misses out on potential income from thousands of visitors each year

The Alcazaba fortress in Almería has received more visitors than ever so far this year amid claims the monument could be missing out on a potential source of income by being largely unable to charge entrance fees.

More than 40,000 people visited Almería’s most famous monument in the first two months of the year, around 7,000 more than last year, and special tours operating over the Easter holiday weekend were reportedly fully booked.

Entrance is free to European community visitors, although a small fee of €1.50 is charged to non-EC tourists.

The castle cannot take advantage of its popularity and charge an entrance fee to help with its upkeep, however, due to regulations governing monuments in the care of the Junta de Andalucía.

Alcazaba director María Luisa Garcia Ortega said charging a fee that would be “reinvested in the monument” is something she has been requesting “for years” but to no avail.

Read more in this week’s print edition or go to e-paper

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