Murcia is a Spanish city with the Moorish (Arab) past: the city was founded in the 9th century by Caliph Abderrachman II. The river Segura brought water to the otherwise very dry area. The Arabs constructed an irrigation system, which provided the basis for the city's and the region's growth. The old city wall dates back to Moorish times, a beautiful contrast to the Roman Catholic churches in Murcia. Highlights are the cathedral that was built in various eras and styles, and the Moorish castle on Monteagudo mountain.
The city has more than 400,000 inhabitants, four times more than a century ago. The presence of three universities means that the city has a young population and the feel of a university city: a lot of entertainment against a beautiful historical background.
Traditionally, Murcia's economy has been built on agriculture: citrus fruit like lemons and oranges, but also lettuce and tomatoes. Many of these products in Northern-European supermarkets come from the Murcia region.
These days, residential tourism is becoming ever more important. More and more Northern-Europeans have a second home in or near Murcia.
In addition, the city is an education centre. In addition to higher vocational centres, Murcia has no fewer than three universities. The oldest one is the University of Murcia. In addition, there is the Polytechnic University of Cartagena and the Catholic University San Antonio.
In recent years Murcia Airport (or San Javier) has become increasingly important, thanks to the arrival of budget airline companies. If you use this airport, we recommend booking a rental car. The airport is located 45 kilometres outside the city and there are only three direct bus connections a day.
Alicante Airport (El Altet) has more international connections and is very accessible via motorway (A7). The airport is located about 70 kilometres to the north-east of Murcia. There Are plans to build a new airport to the south of the city.
Public transport in and around Murcia is provided by Latbus. Although the buses of this company will get you anywhere you want to go, the timetables are not very reliable. If you want to explore the villages in the nearby area, we recommend renting a car.
Murcia's main street, Calle de Traperia, is car free. In the city centre, it is hard to find a place to park in the street. There are car parks, but even there it is hard to find a place to park at night. The solution: park your car in one of the car parks before the shops open again, at 5 pm. In Spain you are not allowed to park your car next to a curb with a yellow line. However, sometimes the yellow lines are hard to sea due to wear. You are allowed to park at a blue line, but you need to get a ticket from a machine. Seat belts are mandatory, both in the front and in the rear.
In Spain, fines for violations or for parking to long or in the wrong place are high. In addition, foreigners have to pay on the spot.
Murcia has a reasonable number of hotels in every price range. During the peak season and the Christmas holidays it is a popular holiday destination. We therefore recommend booking your hotel room in advance. Murcia has one 5 star hotel.
For more information about Murcia, we recommend Google, and the following sources: