Living in the region of Murcia, you may have driven past a number of roadside restaurants (ventas) next to petrol stations without giving them a second glance. I did the same, but that is until recently when I discovered my first one – the Venta el Puerto 2.
Although I didn’t discover it so much, I arranged to meet someone by the petrol station next to it (off the A-30 exit 155 to Corvera). Arriving early, I ventured in, initially somewhat reluctantly as its exterior appearance is …. well for want of a better word let’s say it is not exactly quaint looking.
But inside was a revelation! First, it was nicely busy with a lively vibe and a wonderful mix of clientele. There was a smallish area hosting a delicatessen shop with local products, an impressive selection of Jamóns (ham), and a great range of wines. There was … Read More
There are so many things to do in Murcia during the Easter celebrations with all the cultural traditions of Holy Week (Semana Santa) that is special to Spain. This includes some amazing processions of people carrying an assortment of floats, wearing beautiful costumes, and conical hats! They often wind their way down narrow ancient streets, full of lots of character.
Holy week festivities usually begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and finish on Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), and you are likely to find lots of different processions on each of the intervening days. On Holy Thursday (Jueves Santo), for example, all of the church bells are tied up so that they will not be rung again until Easter Sunday.
Celebrations begin on the morning of Domingo de Ramos when people go to church carrying either a palm or an olive branch to be blessed … Read More
Spring in Murcia comes much earlier than in more northern parts of Europe. Here, winter is over almost as soon as it begins. While we can find ourselves enjoying a log fire at night, February is normally full of beautiful warm days with stunning blue skies. A perfect time to go exploring and the Cieza Spring blossoms should definitely be added to the list!
In spring our attention turns inland and it is the turn of the Floración de Cieza (fruit tree blossom season), up around the lovely town of Cieza in northern Murcia. This area becomes one of the most picturesque imaginable with thousands of acres of the most vibrant blossom displays. Many of these hundreds of colorful orchards are framed by a stunning background of mountains and river valleys.
A Season to Celebrate
The blossom season usually starts in February and ends in early April … Read More
Tucked between Andalucía, Castillo la Mancha and the region of Valencia, Murcia is a gateway to Spain. But the region has its own distinct culture and subregions, including Jumilla in the Murcia’s northeast. Widely recognized for its wines, a day trip to Jumilla is not complete without a visit to a winery or two but Jumilla offers distinct pleasures – a restored 15th century castle, Roman and Arab ruins, a notable Holy Week, and restaurants that serve a taste of northeast Murcia. And it’s only an hour’s drive north of Los Alcazares and Costa Calida, Dream Casas’ home. Retiring in Murcia can be relaxing but with towns like Jumilla so close by, adventure is calling.
Wines of Jumilla
In Murcia and especially in Jumilla, a Denominación de Origen or quality-controlled region, the prime grape is Monastrell accounting … Read More
One of the most popular reasons for buying that dream villa in Costa Calida is for the outdoor living which makes such an improvement to your quality of life. While the Camino de Santiago in the North of Spain is the most famous of Spain’s longer routes, the winter is probably not the best time of year to hike it. Fortunately, for those of you who enjoy walking, there are also plenty of opportunities more local to Murcia. This time of year is ideal as it is usually dry and sunny and not too hot.
Murcia offers some breathtaking landscapes whether you want to hike along a mountain trail or find a wilder clifftop path. There are some great regional and national parks to explore. Yet Murcia’s landscape is diverse enough that you can … Read More
Like its neighbors to the north (France) and east (Italy), Spain has a long tradition of making and drinking vermouth. Vermouth, or white wine fortified with herbs and spices, is widely known for its aromatics, characteristics sought after in American cocktails. In Spain, vermút (no “h” here) has its own hour of the day and its own bars, known as vermuterias where the aperitif is enjoyed straight from the bottle, right alongside beer and wine – a drink to be enjoyed before dinner.
Though the entire category has exploded in recent years to include a diverse range of flavors and styles, vermouths typically fall into one of three categories: sweet (red), bianco (white) and extra-dry. Sweet red vermouth, the style most popular in Spain, is what is typically added to the classic Manhattan cocktail. Bianco vermouth … Read More
There’s nothing like winter in Spain. Besides the fantastic weather it is a great time to explore Murcia and local traditions.
Unlike the colder and wetter parts in the north, the Murcia Region of Spain enjoys mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, with a perfect combination of sea, lowlands, and mountains to suit everyone’s taste. By winter the crowds have thinned and the beachgoers will probably have packed away their swimming costumes but it’s high season for golf, cycling, and hiking.
Winter also coincides with a prolonged period of fiestas that embraces several unique Christmas and New Year traditions. From the beginning of December, the cities and towns drape themselves in colorful lights so an evening or nighttime tour is well worth it. You will also notice grand nativity scenes, known as bélens, constructed in public spaces and in shop windows. They are elaborate constructions with lots of … Read More
If you are thinking about Spain as a place to live, consider the beer scene. Spain is perhaps better known for its wines but just like its northerly neighbors, Spain’s beer scene thrives in every community. It seems like every town has a brewery and certainly local beers are available at the many gastrobars, pubs and restaurants. To understand the local Murcian culture in a hoppy way, a quick spin around the local beer scene is what’s on tap.
Spanish Beer Styles
Beer comes in styles like pale ale, IPA and stout but the seasonal, session beers reflect the unique flavors of Murcia. In the fall, that might mean Pumpkin Ale scented with cinnamon , Christmas Ale or black beer as the winter solstice approaches and a fruited beer in summer. Known as chumbo in Spain, prickly pear is a refreshing addition to summer beers – or eat one straight … Read More
When you say the word Spain to a foodie, it conjures up a gastronomic wonderland. Eight Murcía Michelin restaurants have been selected and we have highlighted our favorites among the bunch. Vamos a comer en Murcía!
As a one-star Michelin restaurant, Odiseo is all about spectacle, but also surprise and delight. With a culinary focus that encompasses sushi, Spanish cuisine, and Mediterranean, this is a restaurant for special occasions and celebrations. Upon arriving at the restaurant, the outside resembles the kind of showmanship one might expect in Las Vegas and indeed, you can find a casino indoors. Inside, the grounds, a harlequin giant rabbit statue ensconced near fountains offers some diners dinner and a show. One outdoor dining space includes chic minimal decor positioned with the largest cantilevered swimming pool in Europe, according to Michelin. The illuminated bar resembles something out of a futuristic movie. Expect tasting menus… Read More
By now you probably know where in Spain is Murcia, and while there is plenty to see and do in Murcia proper, its location invites exploring nearby towns and cities. Taking day trips from Murcia is a leisurely way to spend all or part of a weekend. Here are a few of our favorite quick excursions (and a few more ideas to show how centrally located Murcia is).
Last Minute Travel: Drive 45 Minutes for Day Trips from Murcia
Cabo de Palos: Calling Conservationists + Scuba Divers
A short 45 minute drive from Murcia lies Cabo de Palos, a 400 meter wide peninsula full of coves and sparkling sea. In the sea, you’ll find the Hormiga Islands, declared an Integral Marine Reserve with some of the best scuba diving you’ll find in all of Spain (think shipwrecks, coral reefs, sunken boats, and more to explore underwater).