From swimming to muddy quad biking, Roman theatres to robotics workshops, Murcia has no end of activities for all the family
With soft sand beaches, shallow, safe waters and a host of activities suitable for kids, Murcia is ideal for families seeking a budget-friendly, fun-packed holiday.
Families who want to see the region from the water should hop on one of the boats that cruise out of Cartagena to visit forts and historic buildings along the coast, or join a thrilling dolphin-spotting cruise from Mazarrón led by a marine biologist. Back on dry land they can also meet the local marine life face-to-face in Murcia City’s University Aquarium.
Five degrees warmer than the Mediterranean, Mar Menor’s shallow waters are ideal for toddlers, while older kids will love trying their hand at kayaking, windsurfing and other water sports in this buoyant lagoon. Murcia’s endless kilometres of coastline are also dotted with family-friendly beaches, including Playa de la Colonia, whose sheltered, sand-fringed waters are surrounded by play areas, and Cala del Pino with its delightful picnic areas shaded by dense pine forests.
For families who can tear themselves away from Murcia’s sparkling seaside charms, Terra Natura is a conservation-focused animal park where kids can get up close and friendly with monkeys and wolves as well as lions, giraffes and boa constrictors. And when the little ones get hot they can cool down on the slides and rides of Terra Natura’s water park, which is the regions’ largest.
There’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Murcia. Those with active kids should head for Casa La Pedrera, a rural centre where they can saddle up for pony trekking, get muddy on a quad bike or get to grips with a bow and arrow at archery.
Most kids start yawning when you mention museums, but Cartagena’s superb Roman theatre – where they can wear special goggles for an enhanced reality tour – is sure to keep them enthralled, as will the mediaeval tournaments and other gripping re-enactments that take place at Lorca’s Fortress of the Sun.
Murcia City also has some exciting cultural attractions for the whole family, including the Science and Water Museum where hands-on activities include telescope training and robotics workshops. Older kids will also enjoy the Parque Minero de la Unión mine museum, a 20-minute drive from Cartagena, where they’ll ride on a miniature train and learn all about the thrilling – and sometimes terrifying – history of the region back in the days when the Romans mined gold and silver here.