The history of the area goes back to the days of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans and remains of their possessions have been found at the bottom of the Mar Menor.
The small town of San Javier is situated just a couple of kilometres inland and originated as a village in the 17th century around a hermitage dedicated to Saint Francisco Javier. The village has grown into a small town and is now joined by a series of urbanizations to Santiago de la Ribera, where in fact the airport of San Javier is situated. San Javier has always been famous for the Spanish Air Force Academy; King Juan Carlos was stationed here in 1959, when the country was still in Franco’s grip.
When Franco died in 1975, conditions within the Air Force changed and many pilots sought work with Commercial Airlines. Since then, although still used as a Military Training Base, the airport has expanded and flights from all over Europe bring tourists to the area.
As a consequence, the village has grown enormously over the last two decades, as many people of all nationalities have come to live here. This has created a new prosperity and the ambience is lively, as now young families no longer have to move away to find work because there is industry and tourism here, and this once sleepy little village is now a bustling, lively place with all the amenities you could wish for.
Apart from the traditional fiestas, for example the bonfires on the 23rd June, the night of San Juan and the fiesta dedicated to San Francisco Javier on 3rd December, there are many cultural events celebrated here especially throughout the summer months.
During July and August, San Javier is host to the International Festival of Theatre, Music and Dance. This event is a very important one in the calendar of the whole region of Murcia. Over the last 26 years the theatre groups, singers and dancers have delighted the crowds with their talent and the event is now bigger and better than ever. The variety of performances means that there is something for everyone to enjoy, and helps to make of San Javier an important place to visit for those who want top class entertainment during their summer holidays.