Located in southeastern Spain, and seventh-largest city in the nation, the city of Murcia is capital of the Murcia region named after it. Surrounded by La Huerta, a fertile and bountiful low-lying plain named after the many orchards and vineyards within it, the city has a rich agricultural, horticultural and viticultural heritage, its fields made verdant by Moorish irrigation as far back as 825 AD. In fact, Murcia is so famed for its local produce that it is sometimes known as “the orchard of Europe”.
Many book cheap flights to Murcia for the sumptuous beaches that line the region’s Costa Calida (“warm coast”), stretching for 250km from charming fishing village El Mojon to the historic town of Aguilas. The region, once a frontier between Christian kingdom of Castile and Muslim-controlled Andalusia, is also notable for its many castles, such as Jumilla Castle (a Roman fort adapted by the Moors) and the Castle of Moratalla.
With its semi-arid Mediterranean climate, Murcia is given to hot summers and mild winters and often enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year. In summer, it is subject to average highs of around 30 degrees, with regional temperatures generally lower nearer the coast and higher inland. In winter, temperatures barely drop below three or four degrees.
When to fly to Murcia
Although weather in Murcia is generally favourable throughout the year, the summer months of July and August constitute its peak season for tourism, as this is when weather is warmest. This is reflected in travel and accommodation prices and availability.
Tourism is lowest in Murcia during the winter months, as this is when weather is generally coolest. Late spring or early autumn are good times to visit off peak, as weather is still comparatively warm, but crowding levels and prices are not as high as during peak season.
Getting around Murcia
Murcia is a pretty small city, so most of the tourist attractions can be reached on foot. For a ride to the airport, Latbus offers public transport. The bus can also take you to other parts of the region.
Murcia insider information
- Mar Menor, meaning “little sea”, is a saltwater lagoon on Murcia’s southeastern coast. With a surface area of almost 70 square kilometres, the lake is the largest of its kind in Europe and a popular water sports spot, and its northern salt-flats are conserved as a natural park, a beautiful wetland area hosting flocks of flamingos and other migratory birds.
- The Terra Natura theme park offers fun for all the family. The wildlife park, which is divided into areas themed around the African Savannah and the Iberian Peninsula, features more than 300 animals spanning 50 species. The park also contains the Aqua Natura water park, which boasts a range of water slides, pools, and even a sea lion shows.
- The stunningly ornate Cathedral of Santa Maria in the city of Murcia is built on the site of an earlier Moorish mosque and is composed of a mixture of architectural styles. The cathedral’s mainly Gothic interior evokes the time of the building’s initial construction, whereas its striking Baroque façade was added in the 18th century.
- Cartagena, a nearby city to the south, is perfect for a sightseeing day trip as it is notable for its wealth of Roman and Cathaginian ruins. These include the restored Roman amphitheatre of Carthago Nova, which dates back as far as the first century BC and was dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar.
- If visiting in the springtime, be sure not to miss the traditional Bando de la Huerta (“proclamation of the orchard”) and Entierro de la Sardina (“burial of the sardine”) festivals. These lively occasions occur just after Easter, the former being a celebration of rural life in the region and the latter a carnival featuring a giant model of a sardine paraded through the streets.