Location – A privileged region
Located at the South-East corner of the Iberian Peninsula, between the regions of, Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha and Valencia, the region of Murcia occupies an area of 11,317 km2 (2.2% of the total surface area of Spain), bordering the province of Albacete in the North, the province of Alicante in the East, the provinces of Granada, Albacete and Almería in the West, and the Mediterranean in the South-East.
The region of Murcia has the typical Mediterranean semi-arid subtropical climate: namely an average annual temperature of 18ºC, with hot summers (registering absolute maximum temperatures of 40ºC) and mild winters (an average temperature of 11ºC in the winter months of December and January).
The number of days per year with clear skies is 120-150, with approximately 2,800 sun-hours per annum. In general rain is scarce throughout the region (approx. 300-350 mm/year), falling mainly in the spring (April) and autumn (October), leaving the summer an eminently dry season. The region of Murcia is characterised by certain climatic differences which may lead to variation in the above-mentioned figures. These variations depend on the orientation and exposure to the dominant winds, the distance from the sea and the configuration of relief. Due to these factors, the temperature differences between the coast and the interior are much more extreme in the winter. On the coast temperatures tend never to fall below 10ºC, whilst inland at higher altitudes they may not exceed 6ºC. The latter areas show a higher average annual rainfall, which reaches 600 mm/yr.
In terms of surface area the region of Murcia is the ninth largest of the Spanish autonomous communities. The Murcia region lies at the centre of the Spanish Mediterranean coastal arch, between the longitudes 37º 23′ – 38º 45’N and the latitudes 0º 39′ – 2º 20’W taking as reference the Greenwich Meridian.
Murcia has an astonishing array of museums, art galleries and historically interesting buildings and architecture, so if you want a dose of culture, this is a good place to begin. Just one example is the Casino which has been carefully restored to its original glory, the building is a fabulous combination of historical design and opulence and provides a fascinating glimpse of past aristocratic grandeur. The impressive Basilica ( Cathedral ) which sits opposite the tourist office, makes a great starting point to explore the city. The tourist office has a map of several interesting walking routes to follow.
Murcia is a city of Arab origin whose existence is closely linked to the fertile lands around the river Segura. A visit to the indoor city market, the Veronicas market is testament to this and a worthwhile visit there will show the vast array of fresh local produce available.
Murcia has the largest out of town shopping complex in the area, having 2 malls. The Nueva Condomina Mall is set over two floors. It has shops throughout including the hugely popular Primark as well as some small boutique-like outlets. Outside there are many large stores such as the electrical giant Media Markt and the DIY store Leroy Merlin. The Thader Mall also has two stories of much the same stores. The mall is open air in style and has a Ten Pin Bowling Alley.
Close by to Murcia are the Terra Nature and Aqua Natura Theme Parks where you can easily enjoy a whole day out.
Cartagena is the main port of the Murcia region and an important Naval City.. With almost three millennia of Spanish history, it is a city full of monuments, archaeological sites, interesting buildings and architecture and fascinating places to see, making it a place well worth visiting. The port area has been fully modernised and now offers an important disembarkation place for cruise ships. The famous holiday resort of La Manga del Mar Menor is within the municipality as is the beautiful scenic coastal area of the Calblanque National Park. Places to visit in the city include the Roman theatre which is the second largest in Spain and was only discovered in 1987, the military fortress, museums and cathedrals and modernist houses made by the pupils of the famous architect Gaudi, such as the Town Hall, Gran Hotel and Casino.
There is a tourist bus which tours around the old part of town, a catamaran for sight seeing around the port and harbour and the panoramic elevator for a great view over the city.
The bustling city is full of walkways and plazas offering a host of restaurants, bars and Tapas eateries as well as places to sit and relax and watch the world go by or have a romantic evening meal, there really is something for everyone.
The area boasts more award winning beaches than any other area in Spain and the calm waters and rocky coasts of the Costa Calida are an excellent place to go scuba diving. There are numerous facilities available to enjoy all kinds of water sports and activities.
For Naturists, there is a Naturist Family beach at El Portus some 12km southwest of Cartagena along with a Family Naturist Camping site.
San Pedro Del Pinatar Salt Lakes
The most important wetlands in the Region of Murcia are found here in San Pedro: the Parque Natural de Las Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar, with almost 900 hectares. It is an important stopping point for migrating birds and a home to many native breeds. Salt production from the lakes dates back to Roman times and the rising white mountains are a characteristic backdrop, along with the windmills which used to pump water into the storage lagoons. The area is a great place for walking and cycling next to the lakes and amongst areas of pine and dunes dotted with sea lilies, sedges and reeds.
At the end of the salt lakes are the beaches and the marina – again a good place to walk around and also to stop for refreshments.
Close by at Lo Pagan dip into the warm shallow waters and enjoy the therapeutic mud baths, the mud has been renowned from early times for its healing powers. Alternatively there are several hotels offering Spa and therapeutic treatments.