If you’re visiting Spain for the first time, be warned: this is a country that fast becomes an addiction. It is a magnet for travelers all over the world. The Spanish way of life is irresistible! It’s impossible not to warm to a culture where food, wine, family and friends take priority over almost everything else. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself hooked by something quite different… the wild celebration of some local fiesta, perhaps, or the otherworldly architecture of Barcelona. Even in the best-known places to visit, from Madrid to the coasts, from the high Pyrenees to the Moorish cities of the south. There are genuinely surprising attractions at every turn, whether it’s hip restaurants in the Basque country, the wild landscapes of the central plains, or cutting-edge galleries in the industrial north. Soon, you’ll notice that there is not just one Spain but many.
  • A chain of mountains surrounds the plain which Murcia sits upon, a city of Arab origin whose existence is closely linked to the fertile lands around the river Segura. From among its streets of guilds emerges the tower of the Cathedral, one of the symbols of the city.

    Although Murcia has been inhabited for more than 2,000 years, the capital, Murcia, was not founded until 831, when the Emir of Cordoba Abderraman II commissioned a walled city on the banks of the Segura River and turned it into the Caliphate of Murcia.

    It was then that the Moorish region of Mursiya started to gain importance, until it became part of the Kingdom of Castile in the 13th century. Today there are many places that speak of its Moorish past. Some important architectural remains are the Almunia Real or the second residence of the Moorish monarchs. They are about five kilometres north of Murcia and many pieces collected there can be seen at the Santa Clara Museum. There are also remains of monuments from the Moorish wall in different parts of the old quarter in Murcia.

    The gastronomy of Murcia is based on excellent fruit and vegetables that come from the irrigated region. Casseroles and typical dishes are made with these raw materials, such as pisto huertano (fried vegetables, with pepper, onion and tomato), chickpea and Swiss chard stew and zarangollo (courgette, egg and onion). And to accompany our meal, we can choose any of the Murcia wines with Designation of Origin label: Bullas, Yecla and Jumilla.

    One of the main tourist attractions in Murcia is the coast, known as the Costa Cálida. The Menor and Mediterranean Sea bathe the 250-kilometre long coast and there are many beaches where you can take part in a wide variety of water sports. La Manga del Mar Menor is very close to the town of Cartagena and is one of the main tourist destinations on the Costa Cálida coast. This area is unusual because it is a narrow strip of land running for some 24 kilometres (from the village of La Punta del Mojón to that of Cabo de Palos), dividing the great Mar Menor Laguna from the Mediterranean Sea.