A Guide To Murcia Day Trips: Best Days Out Within 1 Hour Of Murcia City
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Murcia’s recently opened Corvera airport has increased the budget flight options for holidaymakers heading to this part of Spain from across Europe. So, it’s never been easier to take a short break in Murcia city and explore this entire region of sunny South-Eastern Spain.
So, if you plan to visit Murcia and want to sample some of the best Murcia day trips to the region’s stunning coastline, mountain terrain and historic towns, this guide will help.
And as well as the beautiful and atmospheric university city of Murcia itself, there’s a huge amount to see and do in the Murcia region. By taking a series of day trips from Murcia city you can try your hand at everything from adrenaline-fuelled outdoor activities to indulging with long lazy seafood lunches.
Savoirthere.com sent travel writer Zoey Goto to Murcia to try out a selection of day trips in Murcia and report back – read on to find out which day trips from Murcia are perfect for you and your holiday style.
All of these Murcia excursions are around a 1 hour drive from the airport, nothing too strenuous here, it’s still a holiday after all!
Why The Murcia Region Makes The Perfect Mini Break
Offering easy access from multiple points across Europe, including lots of direct flights from the UK, Murcia is becoming a hot new mini break destination for holidaymakers in search of a new part of Spain to explore.
There are several reasons holidaymakers are making a beeline for Murcia – one of which is the idyllic and sunny climate, which just can’t be beaten.
Basking in 323 days of sunshine a year, Murcia makes a great destination for a welcome dose of winter sun.
Secondly, it’s ideal for an active break; the rugged coastline of the Costa Cálida lends itself to hiking and biking, with plenty of trails dotted around the coast. Meanwhile the sea here is teaming with aquatic life, ready to be explored on anything from a serious diving expedition to a relaxed snorkelling session.
And finally, culture vultures will be kept busy and inspired with the stunning castles, historic cathedrals and varied museums that the region is home to.
Here’s our guide to spending 4 action-packed but utterly varied days in the beautiful region of Murcia.
The 4 Best Day Trips from Murcia City
Murcia Day Trip 1: Sea Life & Seafood at Cabo de Palos
Just 40 minutes’ drive from Murcia’s modern Corvera airport, Cabo de Palos is known as Spain’s premier deep sea diving spot, attracting enthusiasts from across the globe.
This fishing village in the southeast of Murcia juts out into the clear Mediterranean Sea, which is blessed with plenty of underwater life, including seahorses and turtles.
Visitors come here to stroll around the picturesque harbour, to test out their snorkelling and diving skills, and to sample deliciously fresh seafood.
Things To Do In Cabo de Palos
Diving in Cabo de Palos
It’s the special combination of undisturbed reefs, ancient shipwrecks and plentiful marine life that make this one of the most exciting underwater places on the planet, so it’s no surprise that diving is one of the top things to do in Cabo de Palos.
Experienced divers can explore the many discarded boats on the ocean bed, including a WWII ship, but beginners are welcome too. If you’re new to diving you can build up your confidence with an initial 3-hour diving session organised by Planeta Azul (based in the harbour) costing from 65 euros.
Snorkelling in Cabo de Palos
Savoirthere writer Zoey tested out all the Murcia day trips and loved the snorkelling expedition in Cabo de Palos. She explains how it felt to experience snorkelling for the first time in Murcia:
‘Our incredibly knowledgeable guide talked us through the local marine life, before our small group took the boat out to a quiet cove, just ten minutes away from the port.
As this was my first experience of snorkelling I felt a little tentative at first, but once we ventured into the sea and submerged our faces into the water, an amazing underwater world revealed itself.
Prisms of fish glided past, as we peacefully floated on the surface of the clear water. At sunset, we took the boat back to the port, having spent a relaxing hour snorkelling in the sea. The trip is a great introduction to the marine life of Cabo de Palos and super accessible, even for snorkelling novices.’
The snorkelling trip costs 25 euros for an hour and a half trip and this includes all equipment and life jackets. The expeditions can be booked for groups of 4 or more. Children aged 6 and over can join in the fun.
After your excursion you may be peckish and Restaurante Miramar is our pick for a meal whilst in town, offering ringside seats to the comings and goings of this picturesque harbour.
Where to Stay in Cabo de Palos
Surprisingly for such a popular diving spot, Cabo de Palos only has one overnight accommodation option: the recently opened Sub-Up hostel.
The place has a boutique feel, with simple rooms and a great location, just minutes from the port. You can also enjoy a sundowner on the roof terrace here, accompanied by views out across the sea.
Alternatively if hostels just aren’t you’re scene, take the short drive from Cabo de Palos to nearby Hotel Balneario La Encarnacion, a beach-fronted period property in Los Alcázares built around a charming courtyard filled with flowers and vines.
Murcia Day Trip 2: Hiking & Biking in Mazarrón
Like Cabo de Palos, Mazarrón is around 40 minutes from Murcia airport, and is a great base for adrenaline junkies.
If you’re keen to explore the cliffs and coves of the Costa Cálida’s coastline Mazarrón should be on your list when it comes to day trips in Murcia.
This area’s big selling point is its epic landscape, which includes the surreal Las Gredas de Bolnuevo – huge sandstone formations that have been sculpted by water and wind over thousands of years.
Things To Do In Mazarrón
Sierra de Las Moreras Trekking
This three-hour hike takes you from the coastline, up through the dramatic Mulberry Tree Mountains, to heights of almost 500 metres above sea level.
It’s one of the best Murcia day trips on our list for seeing the local fauna and flora, with plenty of palms and herbs lining the rugged landscape. The hike is ideal for those with moderate hiking experience as the terrain can be a little rocky at points, and it’s best to join an early morning trip to avoid the midday sun – and of course as with all hikes remember to take plenty of water and sunscreen with you.
The tour, organised by the Mazarrón tourist board, is completely free to join – you just need to give the tourist office a call and ask when the next hike is.
Explore Mazarrón by Electric Bike
If you’ve ever cycled up a hill and wished someone would give you a quick push, then e-biking is probably for you!
Zoey tried a guided 8 km tour from La Cala del Hondon to Cala Leño, organised by Eco Adventures, who also hire out kayak and paddle boarding equipment. She explains:
‘Cycling along Mazarrón’s cliff tops, and down to the deserted coves and beaches, is a breeze with the boost that the electric bike gives you, especially when you’d usually be trying to furiously pedal uphill. Our guide points out all the local plants along the way and we even stop for a refreshing dip in the sea. It’s my first time on an e-bike and I hop off my bike at the end of this tour totally converted to electric bikes.’
E-bike hire with Eco Adventures costs 15 euros for 2 hours.
Jet Ski in Mazarrón
You can also head to Playa del Alamillo beach to hire a jet ski from specialist operators Noranautic – which is situated at the end of the beach by Cartagena.
The jet skis cost 80 euros for two people for half an hour and an instructor comes out into the sea to supervise things, but once you get the hang of it you can really explore the area’s amazing coast at high speed.
Where to Stay in Mazarrón
Situated right on the beachfront, the Hotel Playa Grande is the definition of location, location, location.
The 38-room hotel has an onsite swimming pool and opens up onto a palm-lined sandy beach. Even if you don’t get to stay here, it’s worth visiting the hotel’s La Meseguera restaurant, for expertly-prepared local delicacies such as Jamón ibérico and squid.
Murcia Day Trip 3: Lavish Culture & Colourful Museums in Lorca
Steeped in local history and just an hour from Murcia airport, Lorca is a great Murcia day trip destination for anyone seeking a big dose of Spanish architecture and culture.
The historical town boasts a number of ornate baroque churches, a pretty square surrounded by cafes and one of Spain’s most significant synagogues.
Lorca has been hit by a number of earthquakes over the years that have left their scars on the area, so expect to see many buildings in the old town in the process of being restored. Note that the castle is situated at the top of a very steep hilltop, so pack your walking boots, hat and sun cream – or just hop on a bus at the Lorca tourist office.
Things To Do In Lorca
The White Museum – Museo de Bordados del Paso Blanco
Lorca is home to four religious brotherhoods, and the friendly rivalry between these groups manifests itself in theatrical biblical processions where each group competes for the most intricately embroidered costumes.
If you can’t make it to the flamboyant Easter Week Semana Santa parade to see these fantastic cloaks in action, then don’t worry, you can view them up close in the museums of Lorca.
Alongside the famed silk needlework, The White Museum also has a spectacular gold altar.
The Blue Museum – Museo Azul de la Semana Santa
You’ve seen the White Museum, now it’s time to experience The Blue Museum – or the Museo Azul de la Semana Santa – to get an insight into how Lorca’s famous embroidered cloaks are created.
The museum is proactive in keeping local craft skills alive and passed onto the next generation: visit on a weekday to see the local women demonstrating their hand stitching skills within the galleries.
There is also has a large collection of biblical cloaks on display.
Admission to The White Museum and The Blue Museum each cost less than 3 Euros, making them great value.
Castle of Lorca or the Fortaleza del Sol
Lorca’s medieval castle is a particularly good choice for families, as history is brought to life here using actors in period costume and lively re-enactments.
It’s a large site, which requires at least an hour to walk around, and also includes a Jewish quarter, with the remains of a historically significant synagogue that dates back to the 14th century.
The castle also puts on regular evening tours and concerts in the grounds.
Where To Stay In Lorca
Parador de Lorca
There are few hotels in the world that can boast of having an archaeological site integrated into the building, but this stunning four-star traditional Parador in Lorca, located in the grounds of Lorca Castle, is one of those lucky few.
Remnants of a 15th-century synagogue, Muslim cistern and Almohad walls are incorporated in the building, but there are plenty of more modern touches such as a state of the art spa, and a pool area overlooking the rolling mountains.
It’s a fabulously unique place to stay, combining heritage with luxurious amenities.
Murcia Day Trip 4: Castles & Carnivals at Águilas
Around an hour from Murcia airport, and the farthest away of our Murcia day trips from Murcia city at 1h and 10 minutes by car, Águilas is worth the journey.
A pretty port city with plenty of energy, on the border with Almeria, it was named by the Romans and literally translates as ‘eagles’ – and the town’s San Juan de Las Águilas Castle certainly makes a perfect place to get a bird’s eye view of the coast.
Relax with a coffee in the beautiful, bougainvillea-lined Plaza de España town square before exploring the town on foot – and by boat.
If you visit during the town’s infamous Carnival Fiesta, which takes place before Lent (between February and March), you’ll be treated to a month-long celebration, involving dazzling costumes, music and lots of cuerva – a local wine-based drink that’s the official beverage of the carnival.
Things To Do In Águilas
San Juan de Las Águilas Castle
Situated high above the city, this 16th century fortress is a bit of a hike to get to, but your efforts are repaid with some truly fantastic views.
On your way up to the castle, stop off and have a photo taken at the insta-worthy rainbow steps.
Águilas old town also has a number of mural staircases, painted by local artists and commissioned by Department of Culture.
Once up at the castle, you can wander around the fortress that has protected the city from pirates; check out the cannons and take in the panoramic vistas. Entrance is a bargain at 2 Euros.
Don Pancho Boat Trip
Águilas’ coastline boasts 35 different beaches, some of which are gloriously deserted in low season. An hour-long boat trip on the Don Pancho is a relaxing way to explore the bays and coves of Águilas and there’s also a bar on-board. Atmospheric evening cruises are available.
Where To Eat in Águilas
For a generous buffet lunch with lots of health-conscious options, especially fresh fish and tasty local paella, stop by at Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel. It’s a popular spot for family celebrations and also has a nice terrace area overlooking the marina.
The views from the Zoco del Mar, situated just below the San Juan de Las Águilas Castle, are magical and make this glass-fronted restaurant the ideal place for a romantic meal at sunset. The fine dining menu focuses on refined traditional dishes, so expect delicious croquetas and fresh catch of the day fish, all expertly prepared.
Where To Stay in Águilas
Bea Beach Hostel is a funky new boutique hostel, close to the marina and beaches of Águilas. The design is hip, the rooms are affordable and it’s located right next to the watersports centres – where you can explore the turquoise sea by kayak, paddleboard, windsurf or parasail
Your Murcia Holiday Checklist
Flights To Murcia
Murcia is well covered for flight choices with BA, EasyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, Norwegian and Aer Lingus all flying into the new airport from the UK. The flight duration from London to Murcia is 2 hours 40 minutes.
Getting Around Murcia
The great thing about Murcia is how accessible the region is by car. If you hire a car and want to explore you’ll find most of the sightseeing towns along the coast are within an hour’s drive of the airport. Alternatively there are plenty of tour companies who will help you visit some of these Murcia day trip suggestions without your own wheels – and there are lots of places you can explore on foot or by bike.
Best Time To Visit Murcia
Avoid the months of July and August as the region is at its busiest, and at this time temperatures tend to soar.
Spring and autumn provide a great combination of blue skies, quiet beaches and a warm climate, and a visit in December could even offer up an average temperature of around 15 degrees.
Murcia also has year-round festivals and parades, so it’s worth trying to coordinate your visit with one of the major events for a slice of authentic Spanish culture.
Zoey was hosted by Region de Murcia but all opinions stated are genuine and her own.
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