The Costa Calida is one of the lesser known tourist spots in Spain, this makes it the ideal place to travel to get an authentic Spanish experience without the usual crowds.
I went to explore the Murcia region, known as the garden of Spain, to see what it has to offer.
I loved my time in Murcia but I’ve found that many people know very little about this gorgeous area and are unaware of all the reasons they should visit. Murcia isn’t as popular as the more touristy areas such as Salou so here are just 9 nine reasons why I think you should visit Murica…
1. Wine Tasting and Vineyards
The Spanish sure know how to make a good wine or two! Murcia makes some incredible wines, and with vineyards aplenty in the Bullas area you can enjoy some wine education along with sampling the best they have to offer. PLUS, it’s incredible affordable. The place we visited was just €10-15 for the wine tasting AND tapas.
2. Unique Spa Experience
Archena is a natural thermal spa area with mineral rich waters. The Romans, being big fans of bathing, built their own baths here 2000 years ago. Today, the thermal spa and hotel is 19th century with modern refurbishment. Book a mud massage for one of the most unique spa experiences of your life.
3. Flamingos and Mud Baths
In the summer time go and check out the white flamingoes (who knew they came in anything other than pink?!) at San Pedro del Pinatar salt flats then head over to the mud baths nearby. Smother yourself in the mineral rich mud from the pond then bake on the beach next door before finally rinsing off in the sea. Yep.
Head to Murcia city for excellent shopping options (I am a huge fan of Spanish designers) and delicious tapas. Wander through the old quarter for everything from high designer boutiques, through to local arts and crafts. It’s a hub for all your high street favourites including Mango and Zara, plus I did spot and Sephora or two.
5. Quiet Coastline Walks and Secret Beaches
You could hit up the major beaches (playas) or you could seek out the smaller coves (cala) for a more intimate and pretty beachside experience. If the weather isn’t sunbathing-worth such as when I went in November, pop on your best walking shoes for a coastline trek.
I enjoyed the walk along Cape Palos peninsular. There is also a lovely walk between Cala Cerrada and Calarreona.
6. Road Trip Through the Pretty Landscape
Hire a car to really get to see Murcia and enjoy the dramatic landscape and seek out small picturesque villages. I loved the Ricote Valley journey from Archena to Blanca full of dramatic rocky cliffs, lush lemon groves and sparkling turquoise river.
I’m sure every region of Spain considers themselves famous for their tapas. However, as Murcia’s number one industry is agriculture it is pretty well placed for serving up some of the highest quality ingredients.
The latest craze, or so I’ve been told, is for what us Brits call ‘daytime drinking’. Ladies dress up for lunchtime tapas and wine as restaurants spill out on to the many plazas in the city.
Or take it super casual like we did and head to the market to pick up your seafood or meat of choice and ask for it to be cooked there at the tapas restaurant in the corner.
8. Pilgrimage to Fifth Holy City
2017 marks the a Holy Year and a pilgrimage to Caravaca de la Cruz, the fifth holiest city after Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela, and Camaleno. Whether you are a religious person or not, you might find the festivities in this pretty city to be quite the experience.
9. Fewer tourists!
Unlike it’s wider known neighbours, Murcia is not a tourist trap. It is however popular with the Spanish so give it a try for a full on authentic experience.