This southwestern city near the Murcian coast has an arid and mountainous landscape, extensive beaches with crystalline cliffs and small, little frequented coves.
There’s the Museum Arqueologico and Centro de Interpretacion del Mar, in the centre of town. A stroll to the Port, dominated by the lighthouse, leads to the wholesale fish market, where at 5pm there’s a fish auction.
To see the natural splendour of the region is the main reason for visiting. If you travel on from the beach at Poniente, you reach a group of coves – Cuatro Calas. These are in a protected area and so are not only great places for quiet sunbathing but also good for walks.
Tranquil beaches with fine sand, huge cliffs and beautiful coves can be found at San Pedro, Blanca and Los Hierros. Los Hierros is dominated by the tower named Torre De Cope, which has been attacked on numerous occasions by pirates. Close by are the beach at Calabardina and the natural park of Calnegre–Cabo Cope.
In February you can enjoy Carnaval, which has a Rio de Janeiro feel about it, with 3 days and nights of floats, processions and fancy dress.
Plaza Antonio Cortijos
968 411 470 – Calles Isaac Peral
968 410 149 – Munoz Calero
Buses – stop at the bar on the corner of Avenida Juan Carlos 1 and Calle Carlos Marín Menú. Buses go to Almería, Cartagena, Lorca and Murcia.
There are trains to Murcia and Lorca, with 3 daily trains to each.
Where To Sleep
There is a wide range of accommodation which includes camping in Aguilas (968 419205) and Bellavista (968 449151). Prices rise by about €12 in summer. Remember in summer and during fiestas you must make reservations well ahead of arrival.
Hotel El Paso, Calle Cartagena, 13
A/C, TV – 42 – 54 Euros per night – 968 447125
Hotel El Paraíso, Ctra. Cabo Cope–Calabardina
A/C, TV, Near the beach of Calabardina. – 40 – 51 Euros per night – 968 419447
Hotel Al Sur, Torre de Cope, 24 – Calabardina
Small but pricey, good sea views and nice location – 60 – 93 Euros per night – 968 419466
Pensión Águileña, Calle Isabel Católica, 8
Cheap, basic and central – 968 410303
Pensión Rodríguez, Calle Ramon
Hotel Carlos III, Calle Rey Carlos III, 22
968 411650 – www.hotelcarlosiii.com
In summer there are a lot of bars, discos and ice cream parlours (“heladerías”) along the beach front, especially recommended are Mar Azul and Colonia. The centre of the town has a number of pubs and bars, a lot of which have terraces. In the early hours of the morning the night life gets busy around the Plaza de España. Good night spots include La Glorieta, Dakota, Bhudabú and Tuareg.
Where To Eat
Águilas is a great place to eat fish and seafood, including prawns, octopus and sea bass.
Las Brisas – Explanada del Puerto –rich paella and fried fish.
El Faro – Calle José María Pereda – typical local dishes at reasonable prices, menu €15.
Rey Carlos III – calle Rey Carlos III, 22 –good fish and seafood.
Café Bar La Cigarrera – Calle Aire, 78. On the beach, specialises in fish and seafood including battered squid.
Café Bar La Poza – Avenida Juan Carlos I, 10. Roast octopus and anchovies in vinegar.
Café Bar Felipe – Plaza Alfonso Escámez, 1. Has a nice terrace for people watching. Dried octopus, prawns, and mixed fried fish.
Café Bar Mónaco – Calle Méndez Núñez. Very near the beach with Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician style octopus) as the speciality of the house.
Café Bar Peña Aguilera – Avenida Juan Carlos I, 17. This bar offers some delicacies that are for the more adventurous, such as snails, baby squid and some more challenging meat dishes like morcilla (Spanish black pudding).
Café Bar Rincón Maravillas – Calle Ramón y Cajal, 2. Caracoles, traditional Spanish cuts of pork (including trotters).
Casa Pepe – Calle Muñoz Calero. Good selection of grilled tapas including kebabs on skewers (Pinchos or Pinchos Morunas).
Café Bar Sol Y Mar – Plaza Antonio Cortijos. Outside seating with the usual variety of seafood.
¡N! La Veleta – Calle Blas Rosique, 6. Good but pricey.
Pescados Submarino – Calle Isaac Peral, 3. Battered squid.
Taberna Típica El Pimiento – Calle Joaquín Tendero. Meat–lovers only: snails, fried rabbit, fried liver and black pudding.
If you want to add anything, list your favourite restaurant or make a correction, please add a comment below.
Excerpted from Going Native In Murcia, available from Amazon, by Debbie & Marcus Jenkins.