Sights of Small Town Murcia

Murcia Beaches
Quiet Murcia beaches are well worth the trip.

Located on the southeastern coast of Spain nestled between Valencia and Andalusia, Murcia is a place that few people ever visit on their package tour of Spain.

Even those who travel without a guidebook generally skirt this Spanish province, opting instead for the small villages and coastal towns of its neighbors. That’s not to say that Murcia doesn’t receive any tourism– it is the region of choice by many summering Spaniards whose vacation budget has been hit hard by the recession. It is also a popular destination for a quick escape among other Europeans (mainly from the UK), who are enticed by low cost flights with the promise of cheap tapas and the Mediterranean sea.

I didn’t have many preconceptions about Murcia. I could locate it on a map and recalled that its locals were known for their strong Murcian accent. Later, I learned that it is a region famous for its production of a the high quality bomba and calasparra rices, which catapulted it to the top of my list for must-visit regions of Spain.

On a quest to find the perfect Murcian rice dish, I set out with El Caldero Restaurante and a group of Spanish bloggers for a quick overnight trip to this often overlooked part of southern Spain. Let me tell you, I’m so glad that I did.

Apart from the incredible rice that does indeed exist, Murcia was a beautiful place that I would love to explore in greater depth in the near future. From its port towns and small rocky beaches, to dry inland mountains and far off lighthouses, Murcia is a place to drive through slowly, stopping from time to time in the little towns still observing age old traditions.

The Sights

The lighthouse of Cabo de Palos.

Cabo de Palos Puerto

The old fishing port in Cabo de Palos.

Murcia fisherman

A local fisherman shows us a cadufo, the traditional way of catching octopus in the Murcian waters.

Murcia beach at Cabo de Palos

Late June seemed the perfect time to visit. Right before the Spaniards take their vacations, the weather was lovely and the beaches were empty.

Visiting Murcia Spain

Driving through the twisting roads of the arid Murcian mountains with the sea as the view.

Cartagena Murcia

With about 220,000 inhabitants, Cartagena is a small but important city on the Murcian coast. Extremely important during Roman times when it was known by the name of Carthage, it is home to the second largest Roman Theater on the Iberian Peninsula (after Mérida). Currently a large naval base, Cartegena also receives quite a bit of tourism as a cruise ship port.

Cartagena Murcia

The center of Cartagena was scattered with interesting statues and works of art. This one was in memory of victims of terrorism.

Cartagena Spain

I loved the beautiful buildings from the early 1900’s. This is the city’s town hall.

Cartagena Spain

Roman ruins in Cartagena

A glimpse at some of Cartagena’s Roman ruins.

Roman ruins in Murcia

The Roman Theater in Murcia, Spain.

The People

No matter where we went, the people of Murcia were kind and friendly. As we learned about Murcian rice, the cooks smiled for the camera. In the local deli, the owner didn’t hesitate to pose. It isn’t often I come upon that level of comfort from the very start; I guess I can conclude that Murcians aren’t camera shy!

Murcia Deli Cabo de Palos

 

The friendly owner of a small deli in Cabo de Palos, who got us to try raw pork!

Murcian rice

As we observed the process of making arroz al caldero this woman posed for a picture.

Murcia rice restaurant

The man was the woman’s boss, and the owner of Restaurante Katy, one of the best places in Murcia for rice dishes on the beach.

Casa Herminio Murcia

Herminio himself mans the fires at the delicious Casa Herminio Restaurante.

Quaint towns, beautiful views, warm waters, amazing food, and friendly people– needless to say I really enjoyed Murcia. Only about 3.5 hours from Madrid, I know I’ll be back soon to swim in the sea and eat my fill of rice!

Have you visited Murcia? Any fantastic towns to visit or local foods we missed?

Comments

  1. Nice one Lauren.You’d love Murcia’s NW.It is totally different from the coastline and has some amazing food. Mountainous with lovely towns.The food in the capital is also is often said in Spanish circles to have the best tapas in Spain…I lived in Murcia for a year and have been going to Julia’s hometown in the NW for many years so I’m a bit biased!

  2. Kike and I went to Murcia when he has a one-week course there. He studied in San Javier and has family in Aguilas, so he knew where to take me for the pulpo al horno, and we had a few tastings at locally-run bodegas in Jumilla. Shall we meet sometime in the middle there?

  3. I have a friend who lives there who kept begging me to visit during my current trip to Spain (unfortunately don’t have time on my journey north from Madrid), but I will definitely be going during my next trip to Spain. Also glad I came across this article in English 😀

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