Murcia information

Introduction to the Province of Murcia
Murcia is both a province and an autonomous community, sandwiched between Andalucia and Valencia on the Mediterranean coastline. It is a region of contrasts, with around one third of it being rugged mountains, one third hills and valleys and the remaining third, flat plains. It has an ecological diversity to match its geography and makes for a superb, yet relatively undiscovered holiday destination.

Murcia City
The capital of the province, Murcia city, is a historic and lively yet still relatively laid-back and typically Spanish place to visit. Best explored on foot, make the starting point of your visit Murcia’s ornate Cathedral in the Plaza Cardenal Belluga in the historic old part of the city. Begun in the 14th Century but not completed until the 18th it is a real mix of architectural styles. You can climb up inside one of the Cathedral’s towers for a great view over the city. In the same square is also the colourful 18th Century Bishop’s Palace and the beautiful Baroque church of San Juan de Dios is nearby.

The Glorieta de Espana is a lovely square, lined with palm trees and set on the banks of the Segura River. This is considered the hub of Murcia city. In the Traperia area of Murcia, be sure not to miss visiting the Casino, which contains an exquisitely ornate ballroom, an Arabic patio, an English style reading room and the most extraordinarily decorated ladies’ “powder room” (open to all!).

Murcia’s Botanical Gardens, the Jardin Botanical de Malecon, make a perfect retreat from the midday sun.

Every May, Murcia hosts an “International Festival of the Three Cultures”, a celebration of the music, dance and culture of the city’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.

For eating and drinking, head to the Gran Via Alfonso X part of Murcia where the whole world and his wife like to hang out on the cafes’ and bars’ outdoor tables. See below for more on the gastronomy of Murcia.

Around Murcia City and Beyond
The town of Cartagena looks decidedly unattractive from the “outside” but if you ignore that and instead venture in to its historic mediaeval centre and port, you will discover a characterful place. It is a major Spanish naval base and has a military history dating back to the Roman times.

Lorca is a beautifully elegant town with a 13th Century Castillo (little castle) and some fine Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Lorca suffered a serious earthquake in 2011 and unfortunately many of its buildings were damaged or destroyed. Other pretty towns to visit include mediaeval Caravaca de la Cruz, the wine-making town of Jumilla and the picturesque town of Cehegin.

Murcia has a fine coastline in the Costa Calida with many beaches, seaside towns and watersports facilities. The most famous of these is at La Manga. Behind the resort of La Manga is a huge saltwater lagoon, the Mar Menor, the largest natural lake in Spain and whose muds are reputed to have therapeutic properties. On the Gulf of Mazarron, the town of Mazarron itself is both handy for the beach and also for exploring the Moreras Mountains.

Of its National and Natural Parks, that of Sierra Espuña is the largest and has a highly diverse range of flora and fauna. The village of Totana on the slopes of Espuña, is a great base for exploring this lovely area.

The Gastronomy of Murcia
Murcia is commonly known as the “Huerta de Europa” or the Market Garden of Europe and not without good reason It is renowned for its production of excellent quality artichokes, broad beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, figs and citrus fruit.

Murcia’s typical dishes use the wonderful fruit and vegetable produce from its fields alongside the fish and seafood from its seas and the meats from its land in such dishes as Pisto Huertano (fried peppers, onions and tomatoes, Zarangollo (scrambled eggs with courgettes and onions) and its traditional meat filled pies (Pasteles). The lobsters from the Mar Menor are highly prized too.

For something sweet, try Paparajotes, which are battered and fried lemon leaves, dusted with sugar and cinnamon or Picardias de Murcia, a type of hazlenut brittle. To accompany your food, don’t forget Murcia’s fine wines from the Jumilla and Yecla regions.


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