Words and photos by Sam Hammond (unless indicated otherwise)
Let me take you on a journey to southern Spain where you find the region of Murcia. A short flight from the UK lands you in Murcia; a beautiful, unique and peaceful region. A city too – in fact, the capital of the region.
This blog is split into two holidays with my family: one in 2015 and another in 2018. In 2015, I visited Murcia. In 2018, I did not but did visit Cartagena, which is a nearby port city.
The city of Murcia
Murcia is draped in history; a city which dates back to 825 BC, it boasts a beautiful, European city vibe, and a beautiful Cathedral which was completed in the late 1700s. Walking around the city you realise how much history the city has. Murcia is also a religious city, with many residents identifying as Christians. The frequently-run festivals echo the religious nature of the city.
Murcia is littered with trinket shops, selling whatever you need for your holiday! In addition, the vast range of tapas bars and restaurants makes the culture. Whether you are looking for a cold beer or some Spanish tapas, you won’t go without! On the day I was in Murcia, it was 45 degrees Celsius. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of water and a hat!
The city and port of Cartagena
Next up is the port city, Cartagena. This beautiful city is an hour from Murcia. Like Murcia, Cartagena has a very religious feel to it, along with a stunning Town Hall draped in history. The nearby Roman amphitheatre is a must-see; this landmark goes back to Augustus’ era. It was amazing. As a result, the view from the top was fantastic!
You can walk around at your own leisure, walking in the footsteps of the Romans. There are audio guides in various different languages, including English, which some of the theatre staff speak too. There are also scores of artefacts.
Cartagena is a famous port city, with a number of European cruise liners serving the harbour. Along the harbour promenade, there are an array of restaurants, tapas bars and even well-known fast-food chains. The harbour is ambient in the summer, with many people coming out to explore the city. Cool off in a café overlooking the Town Hall in Plaza de Ayuntamiento. And try the local delicacies – you will not regret it!
Mar Menor and La Manga
Finally, we come to the Mar Menor and its stunning beaches. To name a few, Los Alcazares, San Pedro del Pinatar and Santiago de la Ribera are all hits for sun worshippers – and I can tell why. These are all blue flag beaches which boast safe waters and good cleaning regimes. The beaches are idyllic settings: overlooking the warm sea. Or, the Mar Menor. It overlooks a strip called La Manga. La Manga has a vast array of luxury golf courses and beachfront apartments.
San Pedro del Pinatar and Lo Pagan
We went in the summers of 2015 and 2018, so the temperature was around the low 30s. It was fairly comfortable with a slight breeze too. On one of the days, we tried out cycling from Lo Pagan (eastern end of the Mar Menor) to Playa de la Llana (near La Manga).
Secondly, we tried out the renowned mud baths. These had soothing qualities for all of your aches and pains! We stayed in San Pedro del Pinatar (near Lo Pagan). The promenade was lined with restaurants. All were playing brilliant music! A favourite was a small tapas bar on the beach which we visited most nights. The staff were very friendly and spoke good English too.
Definitely a place we will go back to – and maybe you will consider too! Happy travelling!