A road trip from Alicante to Murcia only covers a distance of 64kms, which on quiet roads can be accomplished in a little over an hour, but with the serpentine route winding its way through some of the Costa Blanca’s most beautiful locations, why rush a trip in an hour which is sufficiently enchanting to stretch over eight days? And, if you’re on a budget and prefer self catering, Spain has plenty of options to help keep your costs down.
The lure of Alicante stretches far beyond its golden coastline, but despite the many cultural attractions of this thriving Spanish city, it’s impossible to ignore this region’s abundance of breathtaking beaches, which make it one of the Costa Blanca’s most popular destinations.
Despite a thriving population of over 770,000, Alicante manages to retain its quaint appeal, which is due in no small part to the city’s relaxed, cosmopolitan vibe which results from a population base which consists of a large number of South American emigrates.
With a truly Mediterranean climate which includes mild winters and very little rain, Alicante attracts tourists all year round, which means the city is never left with that out of season, ghost town feel. In terms of cultural sights, the city sits against the backdrop of Mount Benacantil, the iconic landmark of the city and setting for the Castle of Santa Barbara. The castle, which stretches back to the 9th century, still stands proudly atop the hill and is open for public tours. There are also plenty of beautiful walks to enjoy along with a generous smattering of art galleries, museums and fantastic local restaurants.
A short stretch south of Alicante along the N-332 coastal road is the idyllic fishing town of Torrevieja. Torrevieja boasts many fantastic beaches of its own, with the more sheltered perfect for families, and those which are a little more exposed to the elements providing a lure for windsurfers and water sports fanatics.
In terms of accommodation, self catering in Spain is affordable and virtually limitless. However, in peak season Torrevieja reaches its capacity, and you will be hard pressed to find a vacancy if you do not book in advance.
As you would expect from a fishing town, Torrevieja’s cuisine centers largely on fish dishes, including the mouth-watering Caldero (fish stew) which combines many freshly caught, local favorites.
As you progress along the coastal road towards Murcia you will arrive at the historic city of Cartagena, which is blessed with a wealth of historic landmarks as well as the ubiquitous long sandy stretches and gently lapping seas.
The town’s cultural sites of interest include a number of museums including the Roman Theatre Museum, Archaeological Museum and the unique ARQUA Subaquatic Archaeology Museum, which track Cartagena’s colorful past. There is a rich Roman history in Cartagena evidenced by the amphitheater and distinctive Roman road.
Once again, self catering accommodation in this authentic Spanish coastal town is plentiful and affordable, although booking in advance is a must. An alternative would be to travel around Spain in a motorhome.
Which leads us to the final stage of our trip as we drive the few miles inland to Murcia. Murcia is a somewhat enigmatic region and is one of the least known, even by Spaniards themselves. For such a small region, the diversity of Murcia is a joy for visitors to behold, with plenty to keep keen beachgoers, walkers and sightseers happy.
Murcia is famed for the friendliness of its people, the Murcianos, and its warm, dry climate. It is also relatively inexpensive when compared to many other Spanish resorts, making it an attractive holiday destination for families and younger couples alike, who are drawn by the excellent tapas, relaxed bars and unspoiled nature of the region.