When you drive northwards from Andalucia and Murcia comes into view, spreading across the plain towards the pine tree clad slopes of the Cresta del Gallo, it is obvious from its size alone that this is a city with much to offer.
The sharply pointed and aptly named hill of Monteagudo is visible in the distance towards Orihuela, and the old buildings of the city can be seen from the main road and invite you to take the road into the centre.
The river Segura divides the city and although in summer it is often just a trickle, the big trees beside it offer shade and entice you to walk along its banks, which are near to the old quarter.
Here, the narrow streets which are full of a variety of shops as well as restaurants and bars, lead you to the plaza del Cardinal Belluga, where you will find the Cathedral.
The city hall and the Palacio Episcopal, the residency of the Bishop of Murcia are in the same square as the cathedral, and nearby there are a variety of museums.
The Museum Ramon Gaya was inaugurated in 1990 and named after the artist. Ramon Gaya was born in Murcia in 1908 and was influenced by great artists such as Vazquez and Rembrandt.
There is an archaeological museum and also one that shows the history and workings of the irrigation systems that have always been vital to life in the area and were introduced by the Moors.
The influence of the Moors can also be seen at the castle of Monteagudo and the Almudi Palace which are well worth seeing, as are the Market de Veronicas and the Malecon Garden. Although it is very interesting to visit these places, the sophisticated irrigation system probably had a more lasting impact than even the beliefs and the art of the Moors.
It helped the farmers in the fields around the city and all round the region to cultivate their crops, and today the agricultural produce of this area is famous throughout Europe.
The gastronomy of the region of Murcia is well known for its diversity. From the rich stews, rice dishes and oven roasts of the inland towns, to the fish and seafood delicacies of the coast, they can all be sampled here in the city.
The province of Murcia is producing better wines every year and becoming a strong competitor in the world of viniculture. This natural combination makes Murcia famous in the world of gastronomy and “El Rincon de Pepe” restaurant is renowned far and wide.
Murcia has a University and partly due to the students´ presence the city is a lively one. The narrow streets of the old quarter are often busy, but on a weekend evening the hum of voices can be heard from streets away and when you cross the main road and enter the old quarter you will find a delightful mix of students and the elegantly dressed citizens who have all come out to have a wander and sample the delicious tapas.
The wide, often tree lined streets, offer another attraction. Large, well stocked shops. People come from as far as Andalucia to shop here.
Murcia is more sophisticated than many towns within a wide radius and amongst its many visitors from all over the world, ex-pats come here to spend a day or sometimes two, shopping, sightseeing and enjoying the hospitality of this friendly city that offers a wonderful cross section of attractions together with the comfort and facilities of the modern world.