Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Different Things to See and Do in the Murcia Region

The sun doused region of Murcia is one of Spain’s largely undiscovered gems. Compared to the rest of the Costa Calida, it remains relatively untouched by mass tourism meaning it retains much Spanish charm. The region also boasts fantastic weather, beautiful countryside and sandy beaches all waiting to be enjoyed.
There are plenty to of things to keep you entertained here, but the expats and tourists who do venture here on holiday will find themselves too overwhelmed by guides offering the same attractions to visit with seemingly nothing different on offer. That’s where we step in; we’ve done some research and suggested 5 alternative things to see and do in the Murcia region that you may not have known about.
Wine Route
Whilst Murcia is known for some local specialities, it isn’t particularly well known for its production of wine. Wine lovers and tourists may well be pleased to learn therefore that there is an excellent 87km long circular wine route which takes you past a high concentration of vineyards growing the distinct Monastrell grape. Beginning in Jumilla, around 1 hour north of Murcia, the route then heads to Yecla and onto Pinoso.
In Jumilla, you can soak up the wondrous views of the vineyards which flank the mountainous terrain from the top of the castle here. The Case de la Ermita vineyard on the outskirts of the town is a real gem as is Bodegas Pedro Luis Martínez and Bodegas Silvano García which are more in the town centre.
Bodegas Castaño vineyard should be your first stop in Yecla – take the MU404 road across the vineyards to reach it. Each winery offers tours, walks amongst the vineyards and of course wine tasting! Anyone who likes wine should consider this “do it yourself” tour.
The Veronicas Market
Visiting a local market is always a good experience, you can really get a feel for the culture and there’s always a noisy, busy atmosphere bubbling away all around you. The Veronicas Market in Murcia is of course no different and well worth a visit for residents and visitors alike. Soak up the sights and smells and be sure to purchase some authentic Saffron – a wonderful souvenir and considerably cheaper than you’ll find it elsewhere.
If the car park opposite the market is full, just head down to the underground car park right next door. To get in, just turn around using the mini roundabout and traffic light system just opposite the gardens of Malecon a little further up.
The Mining Park at La Union
This is a great place to come to escape the searing afternoon heat and is also an individual and interesting attraction. As a visitor you will travel 80 metres underground into a 4,000 square meter old mine. You will also spy an underground lake which appears to glow orange!
Learn the fascinating history whilst clambering through underground passageways (don’t worry, they’re well lit) and be amazed. When you’re done with the tour underground, there’s plenty to see above ground, all found within 50,000 square metres of land.
Rincon del Hornillo, Aguilas
If you happen to be in Aguilas, this is the best place you can go for a refreshing drink quite simply for the building itself. Words won’t do it justice but it is simply the epitome of artistic inspiration. The small bar is hidden away in an urbanised area just behind the El Hornillo beacg in Aguilas.
One retired man is to thank for this work of art; steps, the building itself, the garden- basically everything in the surrounding area is completely decorated with small mosaic patterned tiles bringing life and colour to the area the whole year round. Whilst the bar is only open during July and August, be sure to head there at any time just to see it and get some snaps. Not to be missed!
Navidad Fort
You may have heard of the Fuerte de Navidad in Cartagena which is well worth visiting, but you may not know there is a lot more to it than just the fort. If you travel to it by car using car hire Murcia Airport, there is plenty more in store! Once you have arrived at the fort, instead of going across the bridge, why not carry straight on and be a little bit more adventurous. You’ll reach a track but don’t be deterred, keep going and you’ll be rewarded with civilisation in the form of a tiny time warped village. Whilst it isn’t glamorous it’s a wonderful small exemplary Spanish village that’s simply a real treat to see.
Have a little walk around and enjoy this small sheltered bay and then continue on the road through the village until you begin to climb into the headland. Park up at the car park and then drink in the views from the old military lookout with a small cove at the bottom. This place is a well-kept secret that you’ll be able to enjoy, most probably, completely by yourself.
Whilst the phrase hidden gem is certainly somewhat overused these days, Murcia is home to several genuine gems and with a little research, you can discover some wonderful places that may otherwise slip under your radar!
Guest post by Kerri Ware-Economy Car Hire

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