As part of our continuing Spain Top 5 series, I asked Murcia-based Matthew Bennett from The Big Chorizo (which covers news, comment and opinion about Spain and Spanish) to come up with 5 great reasons to visit this often overlooked corner of Spain. Is there more to Murcia than empty lunar landscapes and gated golf towns? Over to Matthew:
Ben asked me to write about the top 5 places and things to do here in Murcia. There are loads more but these would be the top 5 for me right now. If you’re ever down this way, check them out:
1. ZM Nightclub
On the beach at the beginning of La Manga: candles in the sand, outdoor dancefloors, bowls of fruit on the tables to relax away the alchohol, refresh tired bones and watch the sun come up with your friends.
2. Bando de la Huerta
On the first Tuesday after Easter, the biggest traditional Murcian fiesta of the year – half a million Murcians get dressed up in local costumes and start drinking promptly sometime before noon – nobody I’ve met has ever seen the procession which is supposed to be the centrepiece and the party ends the following day around dawn.
3. Easter Week
Semana Santa, both in Murcia city and in Cartagena down the road, is spectacular, whether or not you’re the least bit religious. The solemn, splendid, military-style religious processions in Cartagena contrast with the more lively ones in Murcia where the pilgrims dish out sweets for the kids. My favourite procession is Holy Thursday here in Murcia where the procession is a silent, darkened one because that’s the night Jesus was killed.
4. Calblanque Beach
If you turn right off the La Manga road just before you reach Cabo de Palos, instead of following the road into La Manga, you will completely miss all the tourist beaches, golf villas and throngs of people in the Mar Menor to find Calblanque: deserted natural beaches at the end of a (purposefully, I think) winding dirt track.
5. Mar de Músicas
Every July in Cartagena, music from around the world (this year South Africa was the special guest country) resonates around this ancient seafaring city and, especially in the Parque de las Torres amphitheatre high-up on the hill overlooking the port, takes your breath away as you sip a cool copa to escape the suffocating summer heat.
Image: Two friends at the Bando de la Huerta fiestas, by Matthew Bennett
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Spain Bloggers: got a blog or website on Spain and want to add to the Top 5’s featured on Notes from Spain? Contact me with original list ideas!