“Murcia is the unknown province, even for the Spanish!” That was the gleeful introduction to the area by my tour information and native Murciano, Carlos Reis.
He is not flawed. Earlier than visiting, I had described Murcia as “south of Valencia” to the quite a few questions on the place it was. Even nearer to the area is the crowded and generally hectic coastal resorts of Alicante, however the relaxed tempo of life in Murcia reigon couldn’t be farther from these scenes.
As a substitute, Murcia has every little thing you like about Spain with out the crowds: from glorious regional tapas and native wine; to historical past spanning the Moors and historic Roman ruins; native fiestas all through the calendar yr; and a shocking shoreline for out of doors fanatics.
Whereas a few of Spain’s hottest locations are on the lookout for methods to handle tourism numbers, Murcia’s new airport is including routes on a regular basis, which implies this jewel of a area cannot stay “unknown” for very for much longer.
When ought to I am going to the Murcia area?
The area of Murcia makes a fantastic winter solar vacation spot, averaging greater than 300 days of sunshine a yr. Even autumn and spring will be sizzling, with common temperatures reaching as excessive as 26ºC in October and Could. Summer season can usually get too sizzling for most individuals to take pleasure in; if you’re visiting throughout these months, goal to spend so much of time on the breezy coast.
Easter week could be a fantastic time for festivities in Murcia city. A number of completely different spiritual processions happen on the streets, every with a special theme and id. The primary Tuesday after Easter is Bando de la Huerta, one of many largest festivals within the metropolis. Many individuals will likely be in conventional costume within the streets, regional meals specialities will likely be obtainable all over the place and there will likely be showcases of folkloric music and dances in a riot of colour.
This being Spain, many cities and cities have their very own fiesta days, so there are many alternatives all year long to rejoice.
How lengthy ought to I spend within the Murcia area?
In the event you’re on the lookout for a calming “fly-and-flop” vacation – or simply wish to incorporate a chill component into your itinerary – you might fortunately spend two weeks dozing on quiet seashores, paddling in crystalline water and lingering over late tapas and vino.
Murcia metropolis makes for a calming metropolis break if flying straight into its airport or you might feasibly go to most of the highlights of the area in 4 days. However why rush?
Is it simple to get in and across the Murcia area?
Murcia area is now served by its personal airport with common direct flights from Dublin, Palma de Mallorca, England and Belgium to call a number of. The busier Alicante airport can be an possibility and is simply 50 minutes drive from Murcia metropolis.
The compact nature of the area means it’s simple to see plenty of it in a comparatively quick journey – you’ll be able to drive the size of the area in somewhat over two hours. There are public transport hyperlinks between cities by way of bus and practice, however you will notice much more you probably have your individual set of wheels.
High issues to do within the Murcia area
Historic websites and re-enactments
The Murcia area is house to a wonderful mishmash of historic influences and remnants to discover. There’s loads of well-preserved Roman historical past, significantly within the city of Cartagena. All year long, you’ll be able to go to a splendidly restored Roman theater on the Museo del Teatro Romano or the stays of a whole part of the Roman city at Barrio del Foro Romano. A spotlight of the calendar is the Festival of Carthaginians and Romans in late September. For 2 weeks, the city is stuffed with hundreds of locals in historic costume, participating in battle re-enactments, marriage ceremonies, races and firework shows.
In Murcia metropolis, it’s essential to pay a go to to the Real Casino, probably the most distinctive historic sights within the area. Now open to the general public, many rooms had been constructed and designed throughout completely different durations from 1847 to the early twentieth century. Every room is a pleasant dedication to numerous architectural and design types, from the splendid Arabic courtroom, adorned in gold leaf and the lavish ballroom, impressed by French neo-Baroque design, to the celestial women’ room with its unique lampshades, mirrors and silks, full with a ceiling portray of the moon goddess Selene.
Get out on (and into) the water
Murcia’s shoreline and dependable sunshine make it nice for water sports activities, particularly when you might want to cool off through the hotter months.
Cabo de Palos can be house to a few of Europe’s finest scuba diving the place you’ll be able to dive to quite a few shipwrecks, most of them languishing since each World Wars. Snorkeling can be enormously standard.
For swimmers, plenty of the shoreline’s seashores stay gloriously undeveloped – with a set of wheels and endurance, you’ll be able to even discover pretty empty stretches of sand in the summertime.
What to eat within the Murcia area (and the place to search out it)
Like all of Spain’s areas, Murcia has a wealthy and distinctive gastronomic tradition to discover. There’s an enormous number of greens grown and naturally, recent seafood courtesy of its shoreline. Look out for a few of these specialties whereas visiting:
Marineras: a tapas dish with tuna, potato and normally some veg on toasted bread.
Paparajotes: deep-fried lemon leaves served with ice cream. Peel the batter off the leaf earlier than consuming, it has a scrumptious lemon taste. Strive it: El Secreto is an effective spot to strive conventional regional tapas dishes.
Arroz caldero: actually translated as “rice cauldron”, normally served in an enormous pot and infrequently with fish and to not be confused with paella – you may be corrected! Strive it: Bocana de Palos serves up a scrumptious model with a sea view.
Pastel de carne: a puff pastry meat dish full of egg, chorizo and varied spices.
Murcia al Vino: goat’s cheese may be very standard right here and this variation has been cured in pink wine. Pair with the native Monastrell pink selection. Strive it: La Diligente has glorious wine and cheese tastings.
Salt-baked fish: not distinctive to this area however a superb method to strive the various types of fish caught alongside the coast. Sea bream and sea bass are two standard variations. Strive it: Alviento in Cartagena.
The place to remain within the Murcia area
Murica area has a broad vary of lodging choices, from conventional pensions to an abundance of 4-star resorts. Costs remail comparatively cheap, significantly in Murcia metropolis. I stayed on the four-star Occidental Murcia Agalia the place rooms begin from simply €60 an evening.
For one thing extra luxurious, the newly renovated five-star Grand Hyatt La Manga Membership is a vacation spot in and of itself. It’s most well-known for golf, with three programs appropriate for a wide range of talent ranges however it’s additionally house to 11 eating places, together with the scenic La Cala overlooking the Mediterranean, specializing in recent seafood. In the event you’re not staying there however wish to deal with your self, you’ll be able to guide in for an epic Sunday brunch unfold (€90 for adults, €50 for kids).
Alongside the coast, there are many self-catering villas you’ll be able to lease if you wish to keep in an enormous group or with a household. Many of those are second properties of native residents, so that you’ll discover much more availability outdoors the summer time months.
How a lot cash do I want for the Murcia area?
Murica is superb worth for cash for guests in contrast with many components of Spain.
- Hostel room: €20-25
- Primary room for 2: €60-130
- Self-catering residence (together with Airbnb): €60-150
- Native public transport ticket: €1.85 (single tram ticket for Murcia metropolis)
- Espresso: €1.50-2.00
- Tapas dish: €2.50-5
- Dinner for 2: €30-50
- Caña (small beer) at a bar: €1.50-2
- Glass of wine at a bar: €2.50-5
AnneMarie traveled to Murcia courtesy of Lotus PR and Turismo de Murcia. Lonely Planet contributors don’t settle for freebies in return for constructive protection.