Easily accessible from the popular coastal resorts of Murcia and the Costa Blanca.
Murcia is around a 40 to 50 minute drive from the popular beach resorts of Los Alcazares, the Mar Menor, San Pedro del Pinatar and Torrevieja.
Although it is within easy reach of many of the top local holiday resorts, a visit to Murcia city is often overlooked which is a great shame as it offers so much to visitors.
Numerous historic buildings and sites make this an interesting and pleasant place to visit including.
The city offers impressive city walls, churches that were previously mosques and a remarkable Cathedral, arguably the most prized building in the city.
The pick of the places to visit in Murcia include the famed Santa Maria Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, the Convent Church of Santa Ana, the San Miguel Church and re is the impressive Almudi Palace.
Then there is the wide River Segura which meanders through the city, a great place to take a stroll whilst crossing over the ancient bridges along the way.
And if you are looking for shopping and eating out you won’t be disappointed. For the best tapas bars head into the old quarter where you find a whole range of bars plus a fun atmosphere.
The Veronicas Market – Mercado de Veronicas
My first port of call was to the indoor food market, Mercado de Veronicas, located right in the heart of the old quarter and just a couple of minutes-walk from the Cathedral.
I thought it was a great place to start my day trip to Murcia as I wanted to see all the stalls at their best with as much produce as possible.
The Veronicas Market is situated within an impressive building built in 1917, many of the stall holders are still runs by the original families from that era.
The market is situated over two floors and is a perfect way to see all the types of regional produce on offer within a typical municipal market.
There is a huge amount of local fresh produce on offer including fish, seafood, prawns, cheeses and just about every type of vegetables, olives, amazing juicy tomatoes, peaches and locally grown mandarins.
The spice stalls are good for picking up some fresh Thyme, Rosemary and Basil and not forgetting Saffron, one of the most prized spices from this region.
Did you know is takes around 220,000 stigmas from the plant to make just half a kilogram of Saffron.
The local cakes are well worth a try as well, the Pastel de Carne ( Meat-Tartlet ) is a speciality from Murcia.
Opening Times: Mon to Saturday 8 am to 4 pm
Location: Calle Plano de San Francisco, 10 B.
Cathedral of Santa Maria – Catedral de Santa Maria
My second place to visit was to the Santa Maria Cathedral, arguably the most prized building in the city.
The first foundation stone of the Santa Maria Cathedral was laid in the late 14th by Bishop Pedrosa and took four centuries to complete.
The different styles and cultures that have shaped the Cathedral is pretty impressive including 23 uniquely different chapels.
The bell tower is the second highest cathedral tower in Spain and can be seen from all parts of the city and beyond.
Make sure you visit Velez Chapel, the Central Nave, The Bell Tower, the Junteron Chapel and the Gothic cloister, which is now used as a Museum.
It was well worth the entrance fee to spend a couple of hours taking in the culture and atmosphere in such a historic building.
The Cathedral also offers guided tours for around €10 per person ( min 4 people ).
Opening Times: Tues to Friday. 11 am to 3 pm
Entrance Fee: Adults 5€ – Pensioners/Students 3€ . Includes Audio Guide.
Location: Plaza del Cardenal Belluga 1.
River Segura Bike Ride
My next stop was to hire a bike and go for ride along the River Segura.
I used a local bike company called Sobikes and went for their City Bike rental option at just €3 and hour rentals plus a refundable deposit.
The bike hire pick up point is located about a 5 minute walk from the cathedral.
I Rented the bike for 2 hours which was more than enough time to cycle along the river bank and double back through the old quarter.
Just a couple of minutes from the Cathedral there is a cycle lane right by the river. It will lead you over the two well historic bridges, Puente de los Peligros and the Pasarela Miguel Caballero, from there you can easily cycle right along the Paseo de la Mota. On reaching the Puente de la Fica I turned left and cycled back through the quaint lanes of the old quarter, exploring many historic sites and old buildings along the way.
Bike Hire: Sobikes Bike Rental: €3 an Hour.
Location: Calle Acisclo Díaz 15 (Ground Floor).
Tapas & Drink at the Plaza de las Flores
To say I was hungry after the first three visits including my stimulating bike ride is an understatement.
The popular Plaza de las Flores square is located just a four minute walk from the bike hire drop off point back towards the cathedral.
This is great place to eat and chill out for an hour or two. There is a fun atmosphere and its always buzzing with people eating and drinking.
There are a number of popular tapas bars dotted all around the square. Each one serving up their unique take of this famous Spanish dish.
Very little English is spoken by the waiting staff in Murcia so it’s defiantly a good idea to keep our Spanish/English food glossary guide handy.
I thought Id try a couple of different bars and started at the Parlamento Andaluz, for a few Euros I enjoyed a tapa of marinated fresh anchovies ( Boquerones en Vinagre ) some normal cured anchovies with olives on a slice of white bread, very tasty.
Next stop was the Bar La Tapa which is more of an upmarket tapa bar/restaurant.
Here I enjoyed a plate of grilled prawns ( Gambas a la Plancha ) that were delicious, all washed down with a small Cana, draught beer.
Location: Plaza Flores, 7, 30004, Murcia. 5 Minute walk west of the Cathedral.
Royal Casino – Casino Real de Murcia
My last visit for the day was to the impressive Murcia Royal Casino, a real hidden gem that I would highly recommend visiting.
The Royal Casino is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city located just a few minutes walks from the Cathedral.
The building is quite low key from the outside and you would never think it was the entrance to such a unique and beautiful interior.
Construction of the casino started in 1847 and as is many Casinos in Spain, this is a private members club with areas that are open to the public.
It is home to sumptuously decorated rooms, a remarkable Arabic patio, magnificently decorated rooms, marble sculptures, a music lounge, a charming two-story English style library and a first-class restaurant.
Opening Times: Sunday to Tuesday from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm. Wednesdays from 10:30 am to 12:00 am. Thursday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 2:00 am.
Entrance Fee: Adults 5€ – Children 3€
Location: Calle Trapería, 18 Murcia, Spain
Parking: Best to use the Municipal parking which offers over 6500 parking spaces throughout the city. You can choose which one is best for you via their website: https://aparcamurcia.com/
There is also underground parking below the Veronicas food market.
Train: National train service: Renfe
A return train fare from Alicante costs around €20 per adult and takes around 90 minutes each way.
By Road: It is very easy getting to Murcia by car, the roads and motorways are very good and pretty quiet. The national AP7 and A30 motorways lead to Murcia as well as the RM19 & RM23 dual carriageways.
All in all I was very pleased with my day out in Murcia, I think I got the right balance of places to visit.
To save time I would recommend booking the bike hire online.
For the less energetic I would recommend leaving the bike hire and replacing it with an easy stroll along the river bank.
In all the day costs me less than €45 which included entrance fees, food, bike hire and parking fees. This didn’t include the petrol cost for the trip from San Javier.
I made this trip in September 2019 before the current Covid situation so many of the historic sites now have limited opening times. If you are thinking of visiting Murcia, like any other place in Spain at the moment, its always best to check the opening times.