Murcia is a small, and for the most part, un-discovered region of Spain. It
has, along with its neighbouring province Almeria, one of the driest climates
in Spain. Its coast is sometimes called the Costa Cálida, meaning the warm coast,
and because of its own microclimate, the temperature averages around 5 degrees
warmer than the rest of the Mediterranean.
Murcia boasts Europe's largest seawater
lagoon, the Mar Menor, its waters reputedly having therapeutic qualities. The
Mar Menor also attracts plenty of wildlife too and is home to thousands of flamingos
during their migration in the autumn. The main tourist resort in the area is La
Manga, a mecca for watersports and golf enthusiasts. A short drive
along the coast from La Manga will bring you to the attractive fishing village
of Cabo de Palos, with its numerous harbour front restaurants
and boats for charter. Other resorts in Murcia include Mazarrón and Aguilas.
The historic city of Murcia lies inland about 45 minutes drive
from La Manga, and is worth visiting for its many beautiful buildings and historical
treasures. Murcia also has its share of festivals and throughout the year there
are fairs, concerts, music festivals and theatrical events. The second largest
city in Murcia is the ancient port of Cartagena, a principal
naval base of Spain. It was founded by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century
BC and the city has done much recently to restore many of its important buildings.
There are good museums and parks, and the port area is particularly worth seeing.
Cartagena is also well known for its traditional restaurants and good shops,
especially fashion and jewellery.
Nature lovers should visit the Sierra Espuña National Park, Murcia's best kept secret. It's a mountainous area covered by
pine forests and excellent for walking, climbing and mountain biking. One good
place to stay nearby is the village of Gebas, known for its
ravines or barrancos in Spanish, the unusual rock formations that are
to be seen there.