Murcia at a glance
Hot and historic, the city has an atmospheric Old Town that’s a pedestrian’s paradise and some of Spain’s best tapas.
The Plaza del Cardenal Belluga, which looks on to the strapping cathedral, is a great spot to take a seat at a café terrace and people watch.
You probably didn’t know
It took nearly 400 years to build the cathedral – albeit in a stop-start manner.
Suggested reading and viewing
To read: More Murcia, Spain - Earth Eyes Travel Guides. To watch: As Luck Would Have It (2011), with Salma Hayek, was filmed in Cartegena.
- Population: 450,000
- Annual visitor numbers: 195,106 (Jan-April 2015)
- January mean temperature: 10.6°C
- August mean temperature: 27.6°C
Things to do in Murcia
Bar la Tapa
One of the best ways of seeing the city is to have tapas in several different bars. You’ll find a bunch of fine, traditional places around the attractive Plaza de las Flores, where there is a flower market. Bar la Tapa is a good one with tasty snacks such as tortilla española and sizzling garlic prawns.
When the locals splash out they head to Restaurante Salzillo, where the chef creates innovative dishes with a traditional twist. Diners could have artichokes with eels and prawns for first course, or stew with hake and seafood for the main.
Restaurante Vinotinto Parrilla
At Restaurante Vinotinto Parrilla you can get a three-course set menu at lunchtime for €9 and meats grilled on the barbecue.
Mesón de la Costa
If you’re prepared to travel a little, then over in Torrevieja on the coast, a 40-minute drive from Murcia, the Mesón de la Costa does some of the best seafood in south-eastern Spain. Select your meal from the large tank of shellfish or peruse a menu that reads like an encyclopaedia of all things aquatic and edible.
A good spot to start the evening is El Frasquito, just to the north of the cathedral at 7, Calle Vara de Rey, which offers great tapas made in the kitchen of the restaurant of the same name.
True music fans – especially lovers of indie bands – should get themselves over to the port city of Cartagena, around 30 minutes away by bus, and visit Sala Underground, where there is often live music. Check out its Facebook page to see the groups they favour and upcoming live acts.
For Pop Art heaven head for Bar Warhol. With copies of the Velvet Underground’s mentor’s pictures on the walls, this spot attracts an arty crowd but does not get busy until late in the evening.
Sala 12 y Media
Avenida Ciclista Mariano Rojas is a street full of late-night venues, most of which don’t get going until midnight or later. Of these, try Sala 12 y Media, which often hosts live bands.
El Corte Inglés
No trip to Spain would be complete without visit to El Corte Inglés, a department store that’s a national institution and offers everything from fresh food to clothes and electronics. It also sells concert tickets. In Murcia it can be found at 1, Avenida de la Libertad.
Otherwise, Calle Trapería, which leads off the cathedral square, is the best spot for window shopping. This pedestrian street is lined with exclusive and designer stores, as well as a host of beautiful buildings, including the city’s historic casino.
Thader commercial centre
For more retail therapy head out to the Thader commercial centre which stands close to the A-7 motorway. Make a day of it with a trip to shops, restaurants and cinemas.
Museo de Bellas Artes
The fine arts museum, Museo de Bellas Artes hosts some exciting exhibitions. Paintings by masters such as Ribera, Murillo and Zurbarán can be viewed in the permanent collection on the third floor.
Football fans can catch a game of the city’s biggest team Real Murcia and soak up the great atmosphere at the Nueva Condomina stadium.
Terra Natura Murcia
For a day out with the kids, the safari and theme park Terra Natura Murcia has water slides, swimming pools, sea lion shows and more.
Murcia has some great museums showcasing the history and culture of the city. The Museo Salzillo is dedicated to sculptor Francisc Salzillo, famous for his exquisitely-carved floats, which are paraded in the city’s Easter processions.
Head out of town to Mar Menor on the coast, which is a giant salty lagoon. The town of Los Alcázares on its shore offers a wide range of watersports and swimming from pristine beaches.
Events to look out for:
- Carnival fancy-dress processions (February)
- Easter processions (March/April)
- Bando de la Huerta spring-time folklore festival (April)
- SOS48 music festival (May)
- San Javier Jazz Festival (July)
- Lemon Pop music festival (September)
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