Short Break to Murcia and Alicante Spain
On a recent stay at Principe Felipe Hotel at La Manga Club in South Eastern Spain we made a few day trips and took the opportunity to explore some of the local towns in the region. Here are just some of the many things you and see and do in the area. We travelled in October but there is lots going on in this region all year round.
Some Interesting Towns Nearby
Cape Palos is a friendly local town with a small marina about 10 – 15 minutes away by car from La Manga Club, which has a bustling Sunday market frequented by locals and tourists alike with everything from fruit and veg to clothes and gadgets.
There is also a small beach and some lovely water side fish restaurants where you can relax over a glass of wine watching all the boats.
is a great city to explore and only 15 minutes away from La Manga Club by car. One of the most historically important cities in Spain it has lots of good restaurants, plenty of shopping opportunities and it is still one of Spain’s major ports. It offer some unique artistic heritage and a number of landmarks including a Roman Theatre, the second largest in the Iberian Peninsula.
Murcia, the capital of the region, is a university city with some great architectural highlights at the Plaza Cardenal Belluga where you can see the Cathedral de Santa Maria which took over 300 years to complete. The lively square is always busy with musicians playing and bustling bars and restaurants but all across the city you will find charming narrow streets and attractive plazas of all shapes and sizes. Approximately 40 minutes away from La Manga Club, it has some great culinary offerings and apparently stages the most famous Holy Week procession in the whole of Spain. An interesting fact is that Murcia once recorded one of Europe’s highest-ever temperatures – 115F (46.1C)!
Alicante is a port city on the Costa Blanca, and the capital of the province. The old town, known as Barrio de la Santa Cruz, has beautiful narrow streets full of character with lots of colourful houses. From the medieval Castillo de Santa Bárbara on the hilltop you get sweeping views of the Mediterranean sea.
The coast line is dotted with restaurants with where you can dine just in front of the beach with fabulous views of the sea.
We stopped off at one at random and had some excellent local food – a local speciality of grilled octopus in a creamy sauce and freshly caught grilled dorado. It’s a convenient spot to have your “last meal” before you head to Alicante airport, about 10 minutes away by car.
The Mar Menor and the Mediterranean
Along the La Manga strip there is water on both sides – the Mar Menor on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. Although there are prettier beaches elsewhere along the Spanish coast, the Mar Menor side of the strip offers a unique opportunity for wonderful sunsets along the beach.
There are also a number of very good restaurants, many with fabulous fish specialities, situated right on the water. In October the sea was still warm enough to swim in and there were still lots of people bathing.
Plenty of companies offer boat cruises – a great way to experience Spain from the water. We took a boat from Area Sunset Restaurant on a cruise past the marina and round into the Mediterranean past some impressive rock formations and onto a calmer stretch of water where we went swimming and did some Stand Up Paddle boarding.
The water here is amazingly salty (the area is famous for its sea salt and there are many salt production factories nearby) which means you just float and hardly have to do any swimming at all.
Golf, Go Carting and Water Parks
There are many golf courses in the region, including the three 18 hole courses at La Manga Golf Club. The region also offers a number of go karting tracks and of course it’s a lot more pleasant to go round the tracks when the temperatures are a little cooler in the Autumn. In the Summer there are lots of Water Parks to explore.
Restaurants in the Area
Despite it being October there was plenty going on in the area and it didn’t have that “out of season beach resort” feel to it. In fact, this culturally rich region has a lot more to explore and discover, so you may wish to check out the local Tourist Office for more information.
Map courtesy of Google maps and photos taken on Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk iii