Located 10 – 15 minutes from Murcia city centre and just 20 minutes from the nearest beach on the Mar Menor, El Valle has the best of both worlds with some amazing cities, tourist destination and beaches, lots of great places to explore.
In Spain there are National and Local Holidays. Public holidays are taken on the day they fall and not moved to the following weekend, if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday. Each municipality has a maximum of 13 public holidays a year, up to nine are set by the national government and a least two are chosen locally. The regional holidays changes every year, partly because of the national holidays falling on Sunday.
Assumption Day – The feast day of the Assumption of Mary, also known as Assumption Day, is the principal feast day of the Virgin Mother Mary, according to Christian tradition. It is celebrated annually on or around August 15.
Hispanic Day (Día de la Hispanidad) or National Day (Fiesta Nacional de España) is an annual national public holiday in Spain on October 12. It commemorates when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas in 1492.
Further information on National and Local holidays can be found on the following link: www.officeholidays.com/countries/spain (if you know a better link)
Here are just some of the places of interest to visit in the region.
Murcia Cartagena Fortuna Jumilla Caravac De La Cruz Sierra Espuna Archena Los Alcazares Puerto De Mazarron Santiago De La Ribera San Pedro Del Pinatar Cabo De Palos La Manga
(click on the links for each region)
Murcia is a university city and the capital of a region also named Murcia. It is located along the, mostly dried up, river Segura that runs through the center of the city, Murcia is the seventh largest city in Spain. Plaza Cardinal Belluga is the city’s architectural showpiece, where the ornate cathedral, with its mash-up of styles from Gothic to baroque, and the colourful 18th-century Palacio Episcopal stand in striking contrast to the modern 1990s Ayuntamiento (city hall) annex by architect Rafael Moneo.
Well-known for being home to one of the holy week festivals in Spain. The week before Easter, processions are held daily throughout the city, some include the throwing of candles, biscuits, hard-boiled eggs, and even sardines from floats.
Murcia like most cities have a lively nightlife and the city parties hard with many spectacular fiestas throughout the year.
You will find many marbled streets full of boutiques, cafés, restaurants and tapas bars. There are many beautiful plazas to sit and people watch. (Insert pictures)
Cartagena is Murcia’s second largest city and is the regions most important port city and naval base. Founded by the Carthaginians around 220 B.C., the city boomed during the Roman period. Cartagena has a beautiful old town with many tourist attractions and beautiful Art Noveau buildings. Among its many Roman ruins are a 1st-century B.C. theater and Casa de la Fortuna, a villa with murals and mosaics. The Muralla Púnica (Punic Wall) interpretation center houses the remains of a 3rd-century B.C. defensive wall. The Conception Castle offers panoramic views of the port and city below.
The Cathaginians and Romans Fiesta recreates the conquest of Cartagena by the Roman empire in 209 BC. Many locals dress in traditional costumes, battles are re-enacted, troops march the streets, and parties last for a week.
These days there are many music and film festivals throughout the year, and many of the big cruise ships make a stopover, and you take a boat trip out around the docks and other attractions.
Roman baths and thermal waters define the identity of Fortuna. The municipality of Fortuna lies in the north-east of the Murcia Region, It is a municipality replete with history, its thermal waters at the heart of its identity, the town surrounded by the vast parkland of the regional park of the Sierra de la Pila.
Although the Iberian tribes which inhabited the region prior to the arrival of the Romans certainly knew of, and used, the spa waters, the area assumed major importance during the period of Roman occupation of the modern-day Region of Murcia, when its thermal waters became a Roman tourist attraction in the first century BC.
There were two main sites; the Cueva Negra, located in the Sierra del Baño, 3 km from Fortuna and comprising three caves, orientated towards the sun, containing a natural water spring and with “tituli picti”, Latin texts painted on the walls, and the Roman thermal baths, one of the most important Roman sites in Spain.
Jumilla, in the north of the Region of Murcia, has become internationally famous over recent decades due to the quality of the wines produced, with their own Denominación de Origen.
The Ruta del Vino (wine route) has 15 “bodegas” (or wineries) affiliated to the route, all of them selling wine and other products directly from their premises. Only four of them are in the centre and outskirts of the town, with the others dotted around the outlying rural areas of the area.
The town is steeped in history and cultural heritage, and a great many traces of its evolution are still visible today. The Iberian village of Coimbra, in the Barranco Ancho, is one of the most important in the region; likewise the Roman villas, the remains of which can be visited at the town’s Jerónimo Molina museum. The legacy of the Arab world is evident in the archaeology and place-names. When the Reconquest recovered this region for Christianity, it fell under the protection of the Manor of Villena, which was when the town began to take its present shape.
Many of the buildings constructed during these centuries bear witness to the town’s splendour: the 15th-century Castle, on top of the hill, built over the Roman settlement, and the Arab fortress, which still preserves the Keep, and the patio de armas, the Church of El Salvador (a symbol of Jumilla) and lastly the Ancient Council and Exchange: a mid-16th-century building and the only example of civil (not military) architecture in Murcian Renaissance.
Caravac De La Cruz
Caravaca de la Cruz is a town near the left bank of the River Argos, a tributary of the Segura. This city is the capital of the northwest Region of Murcia.
It is one of the top 5 holiest cities in the world, and has the Temple of the Holy Cross with the relic being bathed every year during the festival of the Holy Cross in May; there is also many other 16th Century churches to visit.
There are many popular fiestas such as the Caballos del Vino, where decoratively harnessed horses gallop up the steep slopes to the castle.
This mountain nature park which is located in the centre of Murcia region which has many cycling, walking & climbing routes for you to discover the various wildlife, with high peaks, canyons, forest & Moorish castles. During the winter months the mountain peaks are covered in snow.
On the drive to Espuna why not make a stop at the Santa Eulalia Monastery which is now a hotel and restaurant.
Archena is crossed by the Segura River and is the entrance to the Ricote Valley. This fertile oasis surrounded by mountains is notorious for the therapeutic power of its thermal waters and for a history that dates back to the Iberian period. It has archaeological remains including the Warriors Vase, now in the National Archaeological Museum.
Many historians place the origins of Archena in 234 BC, during Carthaginian control of the area. The present site, however, is of Roman Origin as is the name for the town. Its excellent spa baths, in use since Roman times, rounds off Archena’s charm. The waters that spring from the ground at 50ºC have healing properties and can be experience at leisure in the spa complex which offers a wide range of other services.
The church dedicated to La Virgen de la Salud (Our Lady of Good Health), the patron saint of Archena, stands within the grounds of the spa complex and is also one of the town’s visitor attractions.
Los Alcázares is a coastal spa town and former fishing village on the western side of the Mar Menor, with its warm waters and sandy beaches that stretch for many kilometres. It has a promenade that you can walk from one end of Los Alcázares to the other passing many sun beds, parasols and Chiringuitos. It is a great place to spend the day and has many water sport activities, on Saturday morning there is a large street market.
Puerto De Mazarron
Puerto de Mazarron is a seaside resort located west of the historic city of Cartagena. The coastline at Puerto de Mazarron boasts many kilometres of fine unspoilt sandy beaches with safe bathing. The municipality has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag for water quality over consecutive years, and The World Health Organisation recently declared the province of Murcia the cleanest in Spain with the least industrial pollution.
Cyclists will enjoy the quiet country roads. There are many trails and coves to discover and explore for the adventurous. Long distance runners have a choice of on and off road routes.
Mazarron old town is approximately six kilometres from the coast, where there is the town hall and a daily indoor fresh produce market.
Santiago De La Ribera
Santiago de la Ribera is a lovely town that sits on the shores of the Mar Menor. It is the coastal area of the town of San Javier and started life as a simple fishing village. Santiago has a modern feel, although it still maintains its ‘fishing village’ atmosphere. It has a very beautiful promenade, which is lined by majestic palm trees and 2 kilometres of wonderful sandy beaches. From here you can take a boat trip out across the calm waters of the Mar Menor, to the La Manga Strip on the opposite side.
San Pedro Del Pinatar
San Pedro del Pinatar is at the touristic heart of the Costa Cálida. Situated between the Mar Menor and the Mediterranean Sea, this small seaside town is famous for its fishing background, therapeutic mud baths, salt flats and vast stretches of sand.
Located at the northern end of the Mar Menor, its name comes from a small church the fishermen dedicated to San Pedro in an area of pine trees. With its agricultural and fishing character, it has busy tourist activity in Lo Pagán, where its mud baths are particularly famous and good for your health.
Its history stretches back to the Roman era, from which remains of houses have been discovered and during which the exploitation of the salt flats of Coterillo was begun; salt flats which are still working today. These wetlands were formed with the dunes and the beach of La Llana, which is the oldest of the Regional parks of Murcia, and which is a refuge for over one hundred bird species, you can see flamingos, walk along the hiking trails enjoy a refreshing dip in the Med.
The biggest outdoor mud therapy sight in Europe can be found here in San Pedro. To come here and not cover yourself from head to toe with its famous therapeutic mud would be a crime! You can choose to do it yourself on the seafront or in the thalassotherapy centre.
The festival known since medieval times as ‘Estrella del Mar’(Star of the Sea), a procession is held on the waters of the Mar Menor as a form of pilgrimage in which carnations are dropped into the sea in memory of the seamen who didn’t make it back to port. This hundred-year-old festival has been declared of regional touristic interest along with the Easter Festivals in San Pedro, in which the procession of Good Friday stands out.
There are some absolutely fantastic beaches in and around the area. Drive out to the dunes of Playa de la Torre Derribada, Mojon and Llana beach, where there is a sports harbour and a restaurant, along with ample parking. From here the views of the distant mountains, the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor, and La Manga are excellent. Stay till the early evening to enjoy the amazing sunset.
Cabo De Palos
Cabo de Palos is a cape on the municipality of Cartagena, and is a charming port at the start of the La Manga strip.
It is part of a small range of volcanic mounts that form a small peninsula, and this creates a unique eco – system which gives Cabo de Palos area, a reputation amongst divers being one of the best diving sites in Europe.
The shelves, gulley’s and rock formation rise to within 3 metres of the surface, the danger these rock presented to shipping made for the creation of the 19th century lighthouse which site on top of the peninsula.
La Manga Del Mar Menor
La Manga del Mar Menor is a seaside spit of Mar Menor, the strip is 21 km long and 100 metres wide, separating the Mediterranean Sea from the Mar Menor lagoon.
La Manga, a renowned touristic hotspot for decades, has been a Mecca for lovers of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and hustle and bustle with plenty of variety of bars and restaurants, its warm and calm water is popular for water sports.
Despite the huge number of visitors that descend here every year, this paradise still has many spots to explore, surprises to offer and secluded places to discover.
Only here can you choose to swim in two seas, or watch the sun set and or rise over either of these waters. It is cut off by natural channels that keep the two seas in contact with each other; the so-called “golas” allow water from the Mediterranean into the lake.
This is another seaside town with crystal water and white sand beaches, It is the best place to celebrate Carnival in Murcia. The party combines parades, costumes, elaborate decorations, and a week of festivities prior to Lent. The carnival in Aguilas is one of the most vibrant in Spain, the parade processions are extravagant and people party in the streets from duck till dawn.