Murcia is a province within southeastern Spain. Its capital city is also called Murcia. The province has borders with 5 other provinces, including Alicante and Almeria. Murcia is one of the most ideal places for foreigners to both settle down and visit on holiday. Murcia is the biggest city in the province, with Cartagena being the second largest city with a population of over 200,000 people.
The city of Murcia has a population of over 450,000 people (a quarter of all the people within the province). Throughout the whole of the city are many beautiful buildings and monuments.
The city itself does not have beaches and the closest would be in San Javier, Cartagena or Mar Menor. These are around 50-60 kilometres away. Around the city are plenty of great buildings including the amazing cathedral, the old jail and several museums.
Cathedral, Museums and Great Architecture
The city of Murcia is one of the most beautiful cities in the southeast of Spain. The architecture of the city is amazing. One of the most beautiful buildings in the city is the main cathedral. The Cathedral Church of Saint Mary, commonly known as the Cathedral of Murcia, was built in the late 1300’s, with its construction finishing in 1467. The bell tower was added between the early 1500’s and the late 1700’s and has since become one of the biggest talking points and features of the cathedral.
In the city, the old jail is another must-see attraction. This building was built to house prisoners in a more modern location as the older jails were becoming too crammed and unfit. The jail is beside the main roundabout, the Plaza Circular.
Around the city and the province are a multitude of museums, including a museum of the city, a science museum, an archaeological museum and more. The science museum is called the Museo de la Ciencia y el Ague, which is Spanish for The Museum of Science and Water. The other cities in the province such as Cartagena and Lorca also host fantastic museums.
Zoo, Theatre and Much More Fun
Residents and visitors will not find themselves bored in this area. There is a zoo, a theatre, a casino and many parks and nature reserves.
On the outskirts of the city is the Terra Natura Murcia, a water park and zoo which houses different species of animals from all over the world. You can find a mixture of African Savannah animals; Iberian peninsula animals, a range of birds, reptiles and much more. Some of the best sights in the zoo include the African lion; the spotted hyena, the brown bear, Iberian wolf, the grated hyena, leopard, the lynx and many monkeys such as the ring-tailed lemur and the lemur veri.
In the same park as the zoo, there is the Terra Natura water park and the Pony Club. The water park is a great place to take families before or after the zoo, or even as an activity on its own. There are many different slides including ring-float slides and a two-person slide. Around the park there are multiple pools and a gentle-current slow river. You can rent sunbeds in the park and you’re always safe with many lifeguards on duty throughout the day.
Great places for adults include the theatre and the casino in the city. Throughout the year there are many different shows put on in the theatre: from comedies to musicals, you will always find a great show suited to your taste. There is sometimes even great shows for kids – so, why not make the theatre a family event?
In Murcia there are two casinos: The Real Casino de Murcia and the Gran Casino Murcia. The biggest casino is the Real Casino. Both are located near the Cathedral of Murcia. You can participate in many casino games, including slot machines, blackjack, roulette, mahjong and much more.
Parks and Nature Reserves
In the nearby town of Molina de Segura there is a park called the Parque de la Compania. It is the central park of the town and holds the town’s weekly markets within it. It also host to many different performances throughout the year and especially during the summer months as it is the home to an open-air auditorium. There is also a wonderful café located in the park and is a great place to go on early morning or late night walks and runs.
Outside the city are two nature reserves: the Pargue Regional Sierra de la Pila and Sierra Espuna. The Parque Regional Sierra de la Pila is a wonderful nature reserve with many different walking and cycling trails. On your travels throughout the reserve you will come across many different plant and animal species, including the elusive perdicera eagle, a bird native to southern parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The Sierra Espuna is a very large part of the Murcia Province, with the nature reserve being much smaller. Within the Sierra Espuna you will find many forests, plants and wildlife. It is very much like the Parque Regional Sierra de la Pila and is very hilly.
There is also a beautiful park in the nearby town of Molina de Segura: the Parque de La Compania.
Sports and Leisure
The people of Spain love their sport; so settling down in Spain if you love sport is easy. With much success in the past, sport in the country is continuously on the rise, with many new clubs opening up. The province of Murcia is no different. There have been countless golf courses popping up, and all are excellent quality courses. Murcia even have their own football team and tennis club. Basketball is also very popular in this region.
With much of the province being along the Costa Calida, there are also plenty of opportunities to take part in water sports. In places such as Cartagena, Mazarron and Aguilas, it is easy to rent out equipment to take yourself out onto the water, or even bring your own equipment. Popular water sports include sailing, diving, kayaking and surfing.
The Murcia-based football club Real Murcia is a very popular football team in the province.
In Murcia there are plenty of opportunities to go shopping, with several retail outlets and shopping centres. The Nueva Condomina is one of the main shopping centres in the city, boasting its own cinema and multiple car parks. Throughout the mall there is a post office, multiple vending machines, bathrooms and a customer service spot. The mall also has many recognisable brands within it, including Adidas; Apple, Burger King, Claires, Disney, Foot Locker, Game, H&M, Haagen-Dazs, Jack & Jones, JD, Levi’s, Mango, McDonald’s, Pandora, Primark, Pull & Bear, Reebok, Stradivarius, Tiger, Vans and Zara to name a few.
Other malls include the La Noria Outlet, Thader Mall, Centro de Artesania de Murcia and Centro Comercial Atalayas.
Wine and Dine
The city of Murcia is quite large, therefore it comes as no surprise that the city has many bars and restaurants. Many of the great bars and restaurants are within the city centre. You can find anything from traditional Spanish restaurants to European and Mediterranean restaurants.
One of the best restaurants is the Salzillo restaurant, which offers a great variety of white and red wines. Here you can expect amazing seafood and meat dishes. Other great restaurants include El Jardin de los Dragones – a vegan restaurant.
Around the city there are many amazing bars. The Closer Cocktail Bar is a great spot for locals and tourists. There is also an Irish pub and the popular Parliament Bar, which offers a cosy, casual cocktail experience.
The region has many hospitals; including public, private and university hospitals (there are a total of 3 hospitals in the city of Murcia and some more in the cities of Torrevieja). The cities also have multiple medical centres. There are also various police stations dotted around the cities of the province, and more in rural areas – so you are never far from medical assistance.
There is the University of Murcia, as well as many other universities located across the province. There are universities in Cartagena and Torrevieja. The University of Murcia has many campuses and faculties, including a social work faculty. The area also has many public and private schools.
The area of Murcia experiences a typical Mediterranean climate: the summer months are the hottest months and the winter months of December, January and February are the coolest. The average temperature throughout the year is in the late twenties and can drop as low as single figures during the winter months.