Two seas, more than 300 days of sunlight a year and a whole bunch of beaches make the Costa Cálida in the region of Murcia a destination with almost endless possibilities. The area of La Manga and Mar Menor – the region’s tourist icons – is a vacation paradise where great hotel complexes coexist with bohemian areas and hidden, crystal-clear-water beaches.
The next relevant spot is Mazarrón, a day and night destination: it is perfect for a day on the beach, as well as for partying until dawn. Águilas is the southernmost town of the region – its shores invite you to discover bays, harbours, rocky headlands and fine-sand beaches, and to get the most out of nautical and underwater tourism.
The region of Murcia has four must-see cities: Murcia, the capital city, is both exciting and comfortable, perfect for wandering the streets and enjoying its terraces; Cartagena, a port with more than 3,000 years of history which today is, ironically, one of the most striking examples of a contemporary city; Lorca, the monumental place par excellence and a medieval, renaissance and baroque city; and Caravaca, one of five Holy Cities in the world and a site of pilgrimage, a past base for the Knights Templar.
Perfect for families
With soft sandy beaches, shallow, safe waters and a host of kid-friendly activities, this lesser-known region of Spain is ideal for families seeking a budget-friendly, fun-packed holiday. Families who want to see what the region has to offer 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’ well-stocked 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 vast stretches 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 the region of 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 and fractious they can cool down on the slides and rides of Terra Natura’s water park, which is the largest in the region.
There’s no shortage of family-friendly outdoor activities in this region – families with active kids should head for Casa La Pedrera, a glorious rural centre where they can saddle up for a day of pony trekking, get muddy on a quad bike or try their hands at archery. Most kids start yawning when you mention museums, but Cartagena’s superb Roman Theatre – where they’ll don special goggles for an enhanced-reality tour – is sure to keep them enthralled, as will the medieval tournaments and other gripping re-enactments that take place at Lorca Castle – Fortress of the Sun.
Murcia city also has some exciting family-friendly cultural attractions, 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.
It is easy to fly to the Murcia City and enjoy the newly opened airport (Corvera-RMU). Flights are available from London Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands and Bristol (and, from May, Bournemouth). Youtravel offer over 46 properties in the region ranging from towns, to costal areas including Mar Menor and La Manga. The region is well known for its sports interests and several properties including golf courses. Visit youtravel.com for our latest offers