The Region of Murcia consists of a single-province, also called Murcia. It lies in the south-east of Spain, sandwiched between Andalusia to the west and Valencia to the north. Murcia has a total population of about 1.4 million, of which almost a third live in the region’s capital, Murcia City. The region enjoys a semi-arid Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. While the annual mean temperature is 18º, temperatures in summer are frequently above 40º and rainfall throughout the year is extremely low.
Visually, Murcia offers tremendous variety, with strikingly arid landscapes inland contrasting with the beautiful sunny beaches along the coast. Compared with other Spanish destinations, Murcia is still relatively unknown both inside and outside Spain. Perhaps because of this the coastline remains unspoilt and owe can get a glimpse of what the Mediterranean was like before the unbridled development that took place with the advent of tourism.
Because of its warm temperatures, the region is ideal for agriculture, although irrigation projects have been necessary due to low rainfall. The agricultural industry has been developed significantly in the last fifty years, and the region is now one of the most important areas in Europe for fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
There’s plenty to see and do throughout the region. Of particular interest are the castles dotted throughout the Murcian countryside, especially along the border with Andalusia. Murcia City boasts a magnificent baroque-fronted cathedral and several ancient synagogues. Cartagena in particular is a visitor’s delight with an amphitheatre, churches, museums and enough magnificent architecture to delight the keenest visitor.
Murcia has a strong culinary tradition with many dishes based on fresh ingredients produced locally. With the greatest market gardening produce in all of Europe, Mediterranean vegetables feature prominently, while the region’s coastal location means that a there’s a constant supply of fresh fish and seafood. Traditional dishes include zarangolla (vegetable-based dish), sardinas en salmuera (salted sardines) and pastel de carne (meat pie), as well as a number of rice and meat dishes.
Murcia’s most significant urban centres are Murcia City (population 440,000) and Cartagena. Transport to and from the region is extremely good with airports in Murcia City and in the neighbouring province of Alicante. Cartagena also has an important seaport, and both cities have rail and bus connections to the rest of the region as well as the rest of Spain.
The association of language schools in Murcia is called ACEIRMUR.