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Holidays in the Region of Murcia: Costa Calida

Tucked away in southeastern Spain, the Region of Murcia is a treasure waiting to be discovered. With its sandy beaches, stunning landscapes and rich cultural vibe, it's an epic destination. Sure, many come for the Mediterranean coast, but the Murcia region has so much more to offer, including historic cities, untouched beaches, lively festivals, delicious gastronomy and some of the best wines around.

While it might not be on everyone's radar yet, it should be. This lesser-known part of Spain is perfect for those looking to mix a beach holiday with sightseeing thanks to the region's natural parks and historical sites. Plus, with its year-round sunshine and mild weather, there's never a bad time to visit the Murcia region. 

This hidden gem not only provides a diverse range of experiences but also offers great value, making it a more affordable Spanish holiday destination compared to more touristy areas like Costa del Sol or the Balearic Islands. Keep reading to get our pirate tips for the region, plus budget-friendly deals.

The Region of Murcia at a glance:

  • Largest city: Murcia city

  • Languages spoken: Spanish and English

  • Size: 4,368 sq mi

  • Flight time: 2.5 to 3 hours

  • Currency: Euro

  • Average temperature: 19 ℃ (all year round)

Getting around the Region of Murcia

The best way to get around the Murcia region is by renting a car. This offers the flexibility to explore the diverse attractions at your own pace. Major car rental companies operate at Region de Murcia International Airport and in the city centres. We had a look and the average price to rent a small car is about £10 per day, with some providers even starting from £6 per day.

For those preferring public transport, Murcia has an efficient system of buses and trains that connect key towns and tourist spots, though a car remains the most convenient option for reaching more remote areas.

Getting to the Region of Murcia

The easiest way to get to the Murcia region from the UK is by flying, which typically takes around 2.5 to 3 hours. Several airlines offer direct flights from major UK airports, such as London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester, to the new Region de Murcia International Airport (RMU), also known as Corvera Airport. This direct and convenient route makes travelling to Murcia from the UK straightforward and hassle-free.

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When is the best time to visit the Region of Murcia?

With over 300 days of sun a year and an average annual temperature of 19C, the Murcia region is a year-round destination. So, the best time to visit the Region of Murcia depends on what you're looking for.

In Spring, you can expect pleasant temperatures, perfect for outdoor activities, such as hiking. This season is particularly popular during Region of Murcia's Holy Week (Semana Santa) with vibrant processions in Murcia, Cartagena, and Lorca drawing in foreign and domestic tourists.

Summers can be quite hot with an average temperature of 27C, but it’s the perfect time to enjoy the Costa Cálida’s beautiful beaches and water activities. La Manga del Mar Menor and the beaches of Mazarrón and Águilas, are popular spots. It’s also the busiest time for events in the region - many of the music festivals, such as the flamenco festival in La Unión and the Music between Wines in Jumilla take place between June & August.

Autumn is cooler than summer with an average temperature of 19C, but it is still comfortable, making it great for exploring cities and the countryside and enjoying the beach. This season is especially good for wine lovers, who might want to go wine tastings and tour vineyards. It’s also Ideal for outdoor adventures like hiking, cycling, and river activities. You can also treat yourself to a wellness experience in the different spas in the area, some of them from Roman times.

The Murcia region enjoys milder winters than other regions of Spain (and much more pleasant winters than the UK!). Winter brings fewer crowds mean a more relaxed experience exploring Region of Murcia’s historical sites and museums. The Christmas season is festive, with markets and decorations, especially in larger cities like Murcia and Cartagena. You cannot miss the special sweets of this season such as the “cordiales” and “tortas de pascua”.

Our top reasons why we love the Region of Murcia

1. There is plenty of sunshine and some incredible beaches

When it comes to seas, you get two for the price of one on Spain’s Costa Cálida! There’s the Mar Menor and the Mediterranean, meaning you get a bunch of amazing beaches that are pristine and secluded, unlike the coast in other areas of Spain. Summer is the best time to explore the region’s many untouched coves and Blue Flag beaches. Some of the best beaches in the Murcia region with free access are Playa de Calblanque, Playa de la Llana and Playa de Bolnuevo.

2. You can enjoy a diverse range of outdoor activities

From kayaking to sailing a catamaran and from SUP boarding to snorkeling, the Murcia region has it all and for a very affordable price. You’ll never believe how clear and blue the water is on the Costa Cálida, and you’ll welcome a swim with the sea’s warm temperature. There are four diving areas and two Marine Reserves in the area, so there’s plenty of exploring to do. If you want to combine nautical activities with health and beauty, then, you must do a Mar Menor mud bath (which is free for all) in San Pedro del Pinatar. Rumour has it your skin will be feeling super soft after, and the mud is said also to have healing properties.

3. The gastronomy is mouth-watering

Vines have thrived in the region of Murcia since Roman times, producing delicious whites, reds, and rosés from Bullas, Jumilla, and Yecla. These wines are gaining global fame, so why not explore them during your visit? Don't miss the Music between Wines event in Jumilla each summer.

Murcia's cuisine is a tasty fusion of cultures, featuring fresh vegetables and seafood. If you love tapas, you absolutely must try Marinera, a combination of potatoes, eggs, tuna, anchovies, mayonnaise, carrots, and beans that's served on crunchy rosquillas. If you need a bit of caffeine to get you going, don’t miss out on Cartagena’s iconic Café Asiático (although, it does pack quite a punch!)

4. Explore natures playground

With sunny skies and stunning landscapes from high mountains to coastal trails, this region is a paradise for nature lovers. You can go hiking and cycling along the coast and mountains, go caving, or raft down the Segura River. Our personal favourites include the coastal walk and the beaches in the Calblanque Regional Park, and driving an electric buggy on the protected trail of Calas de Bolnuevo.

5. Immerse yourself in Murcia regions cultural and religious activities

Murcia is a region rich in culture, religion, and festivities. Visit Murcia’s Museum of Santa Clara, (a building that inspired the architecture of the Alhambra), explore Cartagena's 3,000-year old Roman Theatre, or admire Lorca's baroque heritage.

Region of Murcia’s deep religious traditions can be seen in every town and city. Caravaca de la Cruz, one of the holy cities of the world of Christianity, celebrates its Holy Jubilee Year in 2024, while Lorca’s Holy Week procession is an impressive annual spectacle.

No matter your interests, there’s sure to be an event for you! Cartagena’s vibrant Carthagineses and Romans Águilas Carnival or Spring Celebrations in Murcia. Festivals are must-sees, and music lovers can enjoy the WARM UP festival in May in Murcia city, Rock Imperium in June La Mar de Músicas and the San Javier Jazz Festival in July.

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A guide to accommodation in the Region of Murcia

Accommodation in the Murcia region caters for all tastes, whether you're looking for a short city break or a relaxing beach getaway. For budget-conscious travellers exploring historic Murcia or bustling Cartagena, centrally located hotels with a Tripadvisor rating of at least 3.5 out of 5 offer comfort and convenience without breaking the bank, typically ranging from £40 to £100 per night depending on the season. If you're dreaming of a quiet week on the beach, consider splashing out on a beachfront resort, where prices can range from £50 to £250 per night. Despite the allure of beachfront luxury, the Region of Murcia remains affordable compared to more tourist-heavy destinations. Where similar accommodation can often exceed these price ranges by a significant margin. There is accommodation to suit all budgets and preferences.

Scroll down to read about the region's top holiday destinations, where we have also hand-picked our favourite accommodation options for each location.

Top holiday destinations in the Region of Murcia

1. Murcia City

Murcia City, the capital of the region, offers a rich blend of history, culture, and modernity. Explore the stunning Murcia Cathedral, with its mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, or stroll through the picturesque Plaza Cardenal Belluga. The city's lively tapas bars, vibrant festivals, and warm Mediterranean climate make it an ideal spot for UK visitors seeking a less touristy and more laid-back city break.

🏴‍☠️ Pirate Tip: For a lively start to your evening in Murcia City, consider booking dinner at Mercado de Correos. The market restaurant offers a vibrant atmosphere and a variety of local dining options, making it a great place to begin your night out in the city.

🏩 Our hotel pick

  • 4⭐️ Hotel Murcia Rincon de Pepe Hotel 🏷️ from £47-£100 per night

  • 4/5 on Tripadvisor

2. Cartagena

Cartagena is steeped in ancient history with its Roman Theatre, Punic Wall, and Naval Museum showcasing its maritime heritage. This coastal gem also offers stunning beaches and a charming old town. Ideal for both history buffs and beachgoers, Cartagena provides a glimpse into Spain's past while enjoying the sunny Costa Cálida.

🏴‍☠️ Pirate Tip: While in Cartagena, a fun experience is to pop into the Licor 43 store, where you can taste the locally produced liqueur crafted from a traditional family recipe. If not for our limited hand luggage, we would have purchased a bottle or two to take home, it’s that good.

🏩 Our hotel pick:

  • 4⭐️ Sercotel Alfonso XIII 🏷️ from £50-£70 per night

  • 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor

3. La Manga del Mar Menor

La Manga del Mar Menor is a unique coastal strip separating the Mediterranean Sea from the Mar Menor lagoon. This popular holiday destination is perfect for water sports enthusiasts, offering activities like sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. Its extensive sandy beaches and vibrant nightlife make it an excellent choice for travellers looking for sun, sea, and some fun.

🏴‍☠️ Pirate Tip: If you opt to stay in La Manga del Mar Menor, we’d recommend taking a short 30-minute drive to San Pedro del Pinatar. There, you can enjoy the natural mud baths and other activities the area has to offer. It's a relaxing and therapeutic experience amidst the beautiful natural park surroundings, perfect for a day trip.

🏩 Our hotel pick:

  • 4⭐️ Poseidon La Manga Hotel & Spa 🏷️ from £39-£150 per night

  • 4/5 on Tripadvisor

4. Lorca

Known as the "City of the Sun," Lorca is famous for its medieval castle, Fortaleza del Sol, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The city's stunning architecture, particularly the Lorca Collegiate Church, adds to its historic charm. Lorca's Holy Week celebrations are among the most impressive in Spain, making it an appealing destination for those interested in cultural and religious festivals.

🏴‍☠️ Pirate Tip: When in Lorca, make sure to visit the two remarkable embroidery museums: the Museo de Bordados del Paso Blanco and the Museo de Bordados del Paso Azul. These museums showcase exquisite embroidered pieces used in Lorca's famous Holy Week processions. The intricate designs and craftsmanship provide a fascinating glimpse into the city's rich cultural heritage, making both museums well worth a visit.

🏩 Our hotel pick:

  • 4⭐️ Parador de Lorca 🏷️ from £44-£100 per night

  • 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor

Top 13 things to do in the Murcia Region

  1. Explore the historic Murcia City with its stunning Cathedral and vibrant Plaza Cardenal Belluga

  2. Visit the Museum of Santa Clara in Murcia City

  3. Go for a hike in Calblanque Natural Park

  4. Visit the Roman Theatre and Naval Museum in coastal Cartagena

  5. Enjoy beachside relaxation and water sports, like kayaking, in La Manga del Mar Menor

  6. Experience the Holy Week festivities and medieval castle in Lorca

  7. Go for a mud bath in San Pedro del Pinatar

  8. Take a boat tour along the picturesque coastline of Águilas

  9. Explore the prehistoric cave paintings and peach blossom in Cieza

  10. Tour the wine vineyards and enjoy cultural festivals in Yecla

  11. Visit the charming seaside town of Mazarrón for its beaches and Roman ruins

  12. Indulge in a taste test at the Licor 43 store in Cartagena for a unique local flavor experience

  13. Go on a buggy experience with in Bolnuevo in Mazarrón