When I moved to Isla Plana in Murcia about five years ago, I asked my friends and colleagues about what to do in my free time, what to see and visit around here. Their number one suggestion was (of course): Scuba Diving. But what else? Eeeehm, well, you could visit Castellitos. OK, I already did that, what else? Eeeeerm, more Scuba Diving?
It seemed I’ve moved to the end of the world where nobody did nothing. After some time I figured out there’s plenty of things to do around here!
Anyways, the Spanish would usually just enjoy themselves at the beach or at one of the numerous “Chiringuitos”, small bars right at the beach. Sit there, have a drink, relax, and enjoy yourself!
But hey: You’re in Murcia, the only Spanish province with two marine reserves, so you should really seize the opportunity and go Scuba Diving (I recommend Rivemar in La Azohia if you’re a novice or prefer easy dives or Cabo de Palos if you don’t care about waves and current and want to see some wrecks).
But what else?
Castellitos is an abandoned fortress that was built during Spanish Civil war in the 1930. The site sits on top of the Cabo Tiñoso Marine Reserve and has a wonderful view. It’s fun to explore with kids or also without. Make sure to grab some torches (divers: use your backup lights) either way! Because like many times, Spain doesn’t seem to be Europe and this site has no entrance fee and no rules. The downside: it has no explanations either. But then, that leaves so much room for your imagination! There are some signs that say „don’t enter“ and some „locked“ sections, but I think that is mainly for safety/insurance reason. As you took your torches, make sure to also explore the underground sections of it and just look behind every corner. You never know what to expect 🙂
And if you’re clever, you might also grab some picnic and enjoy the colorful sunset while at Castellitos.
Rocas de Bolnuevo
The Bolnuevo rock formations were formed by wind and water years ago. They remind me of the US Bryce Canyon, but again, Murcia is touristically unexplored, so there’s not even a parking fee here. Get as close as you want, but please, make sure to respect the site and don’t damage anything.
After exploring the site and taking some instragramable pictures you might want to go for a drink in one of the nearby bars enjoying a nice view at the sea.
Cabo de Palos
Cabo de Palos is a nice traditional fisherman town, the one thing to do there is to visit the Lighthouse (even though I don’t really understand the reason for that). But anyways, if you’re heading there, make sure to NOT ask everybody for the way to the lighthouse. The locals will for sure appreciate that!
If you want to have some good fish for lunch, today is the day! Just go to one of the many restaurants at the harbour and enjoy the view on the numerous fishermen and divers passing by on their boats. I also recommend the pizzeria there, it’s led by true Italians, so this is one out of only two places that serve really good pizza in Spain!
Cabo de Palos also offers wonderful diving: both, the marine reserve ‚Islas Hormigas‘ and the many wrecks starting at -30m are really worth a dive! (read more about Naranjito wreck here)
Cueva del Agua
If you’re a cave diver, this famous underwater cave is probably the reason you’re in Murcia. But even if it ain’t so, this cave is definitely worth a visit! Located in Isla Plana, right next to the main road, it is hard to miss. Just climb (like climbing a mountain, not like rock climbing) a view meters down and enjoy the cooler temperatures. If you want, take a bath in the water: it’s not sea water, but it’s not fresh water either. It’s mineral thermal water which is also the reason for it’s surface temperature being 21°C all year round.
Actually, one day, I even saw people dragging an inflatable boat down into the cave. But again: please make sure to respect the site. As almost everything in Murcia, it’s free to visit and there’s nobody controlling the site. And we want to keep it like that. Raw and beautiful. So leave nothing behind.
Check my blog post on cave guiding in Cueva del Agua
Do you like sugar, alcohol and coffee? So go to any bar and order some „Asiatico“. It’s the local coffee speciality and you won’t find it anywhere else in Spain. It’s made of Licor 43 which is produced near Cartagena (and also open for visits, but I haven’t made it there yet). If you’re looking for a more classic coffee from a real Barista, you should visit Cafelab in Cartagena. It’s my favorite place to go for coffee.
Cartagena is always worth a visit, just have a stroll around, walk along the harbour, if you’re lucky, you might see a submarine at the marine port, watch for some big cruise ships, go for coffee (I recommend Cafelab!) or do some classic shopping.
Cartagena is especially crowded during holy week (Semana Santa) and in fall, due to the two main events: Semana Santa and Carthagineses & Romanos