When is the best time to fly?
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. For this reason alone it is becoming a popular destination for people to book their flights. In the summer (June to August), 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.
Although the 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 flight and accommodation prices and availability.
Tourism is lowest in Murcia during the winter months. Late spring (April/May) or early autumn (September/October) are good times to visit off peak, as the weather is still comparatively warm, but the city is less busy and the price of flights are not as high.
Easter Week, starting on Palm Sunday and ending Easter Monday, is the most important Catholic tradition of the year in Spain. Murcia celebrates this event with street processions and carnival celebrations, throughout day and night. Religious icons are paraded along the streets, showing a re-enactment of the moments before the crucifixion of Christ.
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. The Burial of the Sardine is a celebration for the end of carnival and other festivities. This particular celebration signals the climax of the April Spring Festival, with a procession of floats, giant and big-headed characters, entertainers, demons and samba groups.
The Three Cultures International Festival celebrates multiculturalism and promotes tolerance, particularly between Christians, Jews and Muslims, who have cohabited Murcia for centuries. Every year in May and June, the streets and squares of Murcia are brought to life with a range of activities, such as concerts, dance performances and exhibitions.
Founded in the 9th century by a Muslim ruler, Murcia is one of Spain's most beautiful cities, but is comparatively rarely visited by tourists. 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”.
The city is famous for its Islamic architecture, beautiful surrounding area and wide variety of tapas restaurants. It's also known for its hot weather, making it a perfect destination for sun-lovers.
Things to see in Murcia include the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria. Started in the late 14th century, the cathedral took centuries to finish. As a result, it has an elaborate Baroque facade with a medieval Gothic interior. The 15th-century Door of the Apostles is particularly striking. Nearby, the 19th-century casino preserves the relaxed and refined ambience of this historic Spanish city.
Art museums in Murcia are usually free or inexpensive; one of the most popular is dedicated to local sculptor Salzillo, whose works can still be seen in the city's many religious festivals. For many visitors, however, the main attraction in Murcia is strolling along the shady streets and sitting in the sun-baked plazas.
Outside the city, no visitor should go without climbing the nearby Monteagudo mountain to see the old Moorish castle, now Christianised by a massive statue of Christ. The city is also known for its nearby beaches: the strip of beaches known as La Manga is popular with tourists, but other areas are much quieter and less crowded.
Getting around Murcia
Murcia is a pretty small city, so most of the tourist attractions can be reached on foot. The public bus is another good way to get around but it also travels to other parts of the region. Rent a car if you want to explore the region in your own time.
Getting to the city
Murcia San Javier Airport (MJV) is located some 17 miles away from the city and is served by a public bus service as well as taxis. Car rental companies are also represented.
Murcia insider information
- Mar Menor, meaning “little sea”, is a saltwater lagoon on Murcia’s southeastern coast. With a surface area of almost 27 square miles, 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.