The best things to see and do in Murcia
Murcia offers the traveller a magnificent cathedral, the Royal Casino, squares, markets, bridges, shops and a vibrant outdoor life.
Murcia is a warm city, but not in the climatological sense – that too – but in the ethereal one. Its people are open and friendly; its varied and tasty cuisine; his parties and celebrations are intense; and a beautiful historic centre, for which it is a pleasure to get lost, finish the job with honour.
What to see and what to do in Murcia
Admire the Cathedral
The Cathedral of Murcia is, without any doubt, the icon of Murcia. The jewel of the Murcian historical centre was consecrated in 1465 and underwent some reforms and additions during the following centuries, showing characteristics and trends of Gothic (original style), Baroque, Renaissance and Neoclassical.
The Cathedral of Murcia is built on an old Muslim mosque. The oldest part of the current cathedral is its cloister, from the 14th century.
Strolling through the side corridors, we admire several chapels dedicated to powerful families from different eras, highlighting that of the Vélez, of an ornate flamboyant Gothic style, and that of Junterón, Renaissance.
Another thing that stands out is the imposing organ that is on the beautiful wooden choir stalls. The organ is one of the largest and most beautiful in the world and replaced the original after the great fire of 1854. The same happened with the ashlar, whose wood burned and would be replaced by the magnificent pieces that look today, a gift of the Queen Isabel II.
The Tower-Bell Tower of the Cathedral, with its 93 meters (98 including the weather vane) is the second highest in Spain, just behind the Sevillian Giralda. Built between 1521 and 1793 it has nothing less than 20 bells and is the symbol that can be seen from almost any point of the city. An authentic emblem of Murcia.
Visit the Casino
After the Cathedral, the Real Casino de Murcia is the second most emblematic building to see in this city.
Built in an eclectic style, you can find arabesque-style arches mixed with dance halls that seem to come from neoclassical France and sober libraries.
Created as a meeting place by the wealthy bourgeoisie of the city, it occupies its current location (the house of the Count of Campo Hermoso) since 1853 and has undergone several renovations since then.
See a play at the Romea Theater
Enjoying cultural life is another thing to do in Murcia. Called in honour of actor Jaime Romea, the Romea Theater has been the most important venue for shows in Murcia for more than 150 years.
Its facade is neoclassical and is crowned by the busts of the musicians Beethoven, Mozart and Liszt.
Nowadays, it is one of the Spanish theatres (apart from those of Madrid and Barcelona) that hosts the largest number of performances of all kinds. Murcia can boast about it.
As a curiosity, the legend says that the friars of Saint Dominic issued a curse of three fires on what was built there, since these lands belonged to that order. To date, two fires have deprived Murcia of this theatrical referent such as the Romea. According to the legend, the third of the fires will take place with full public capacity and its effects will be devastating, which is why, and since the second of the fires, one or two entrances are always left without selling.
Visit the Convent of Santa Clara la Real
This monastic ensemble of the Order of the Poor Clares is located in the historic centre of the city.
To find its origin, we must go back to the fourteenth century, when it was built on the Muslim palace of the thirteenth century.
Inside, there are still 6 Poor Clare nuns. In the interior we can find remains of an Arab palace, Gothic cloister and choir and a Baroque church compose an unbeatable historical and religious mosaic in Murcia.
In addition, you can also visit the Santa Clara Museum, which displays exhibitions of Andalusian art and archaeology and a section of sacred art.
Take a “marinera” and a beer in the Plaza de las Flores
The Plaza de las Flores in Murcia is one of the most outstanding places in the old part of the city. It is a pedestrian plaza full of bars, taverns and restaurants as well as all the streets that leave from it.
Its centre is presided over by a fountain in whose surroundings flower stands are placed, hence its name.
Located in one of the centres of tapas of the Murcian capital is a must for any tourist who comes to Murcia.
On Saturdays and Sundays the Plaza de las Flores and the Plaza de Santa Catalina, located together, are places of pilgrimage of Murcia, where you can delight the palate with its tapas and meals for its bars and restaurants.
It is also one of the meeting places on the big days of the city parties.
Admire the facade of the Town Hall (City Hall)
The City of Murcia (also known as Town Hall) is a beautiful building of the nineteenth century. Its facade is neoclassical.
It is a good point to start the tour through the old town of Murcia.
Cross the Segura River by the Old Bridge and New Bridge
This stone bridge replaced one of wood that was dragged in one of the floods of the Segura River in the 18th century. Before the current stone bridge was built, an elevated metal plate was placed on pivots. The temporary structure did not give much confidence to the citizens who had to cross from the centre to the Barrio del Carmen (or vice versa) and people crossed themselves when they were going to pass over it. That’s why there is a virgin on the side of the Carmen neighbourhood.
Buy products from the garden in the Veronicas Market
One of the main riches of Murcia is its garden.
It is difficult to find another area of Spain whose land gives birth to such high-quality products. Many of them are sold in the Mercado de las Verónicas, located a few steps from the Malecón gangway.