The regional capital and University City on the river Segura is around 20 minutes away by car. This vibrant city was founded by the Moors in 825AD and boasts a beautiful Cathedral and University, as well as Botanic Gardens, Museums and other historic buildings around its narrow, streets full of character. Shops include El Corte Ingles, (the Spanish equivalent of Selfridges or Fenwick’s etc) and numerous designer label shops on the Calles Traperia and Plateria, dozens of great restaurants and a lively nightlife, especially during fiestas and carnivals. In recent EEC research, the region of Murcia was singled out as the most economically dynamic in Spain and this is being reflected in the rapid development of Murcia as a tourist and cultural destination. For lovers of nature, the Sierra Espuna National Park is 25-30 minutes drive away.
Around 25kms from Hacienda is Spain’s oldest port. Cartagena is one of Spain’s oldest cities, and still of major maritime importance to Spain, both commercially and militarily. A multitude of civilisations have left their mark on the city as numerous archaeological sites and museums will testify. In the heart of the city is a modern shopping area, which spills down past the tapas bars to the recently revitalised harbour. Here you will find the World’s oldest submarine on display, built in 1884 by a local man Isaac Peral.
Santiago de la Ribera & Lo Pagan
Two traditional Spanish seaside towns at the Northern end of the Mar Menor. The beach of Santiago de la Ribera is lined by tall palm trees along the promenade and there are numerous shops, bars and cafes to explore. There is also a new out of town shopping centre called Dos Mares on the outskirts of Santiago de la Ribera, whilst Lo Pagan has a lively fish market on the Esplanade every morning except Sunday.
La Manga Club
Just a 30 minute drive from Haceinda Riquelme is the world famous resort of La Manga, which boasts 3 championship golf courses, 28 tennis courts and a football academy set in a 1400 acre corner of the Costa Calida. It also contains the 5 star Regency Hyatt Hotel where the rich and famous spend their vacations. Look carefully and you might some premier league footballers or a TV star. La Manga is where the BBC series ‘Superstars’ was filmed.
Cabo de Palos
Immediately recognisable by its famous lighthouse, Cabo de Palos is situated at the mainland end of the La Manga strip around a quaint harbour. It has plenty of bars and seafood restaurants and a great view of La Manga. On Sundays there is a market, where you can find plenty of fresh local produce and other bargains. For diving enthusiasts, the Hormigas Islands near Cabo de Palos have been declared a Marine Reserve due to their exceptional beauty and the conservation of the sea floor, but they are also acknowledged by scuba divers as being one of Spain’s premier dive sites, due to the large number of unfortunate ships that have come to grief in the rocky waters around the area.
Orihuela & Orihuela Coast
About 45 minutes North East of Hacienda Riquelme is the city of Orihuela. In centuries past, Orihuela was the Political and administrative capital of the region and still displays many remnants of its proud cultural and religious heritage. Inland from the coast, Orihuela is one of those cities that doesn’t look much from the outskirts, but which blossoms on closer inspection, with a medieval centre stuffed full of historic treasures. Every week in July they stage a mock battle in remembrance of the battles between the Moors and Christians. There are still lots of traditional narrow streets, plus bars and a busy market for you to browse.
About 30 mins drive away is, Lorca, Spain’s largest town, is a lively and busy place all year round and it Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations are the most lavish in Murcia. Huddled around the ruins of its castle, Lorca retains many beautiful buildings such as the Collegiate Church of San Patricio and impressive town houses and mansions that remind us of it’s opulent past. Lorca also plays host to an annual Rock Festival, Lorca Rock, featuring bands such as Iron Maiden, the Scorpions, Slayer, Lacuna Coil and Dream Theatre.