Bordering the Costa Blanca and Costa del Azahar, Cartagena is a historic and important port city, being the world's third deepest and home to Spain's main naval station. The city enjoys excellent weather and is conveniently located less than 30 minutes from Murcia-San Javier airport and about 20 minutes from the unique inland sea known as Mar Menor. Aside from its port, the city's main claim to fame is being the place Hannibal set off from for his famous journey, complete with war elephants to Rome.
Attractions & Activities
Visitors to the Cartagena will find taking a cruise on the tourist boat a great way to gain local information and orientate themselves with the city. There is also a sightseeing double decker bus that has an audio guide and travels to most places of interest. Many of the city's attractions are free to visit including some of its 12 museums, parks, plazas, the marina and a walk through Parque Torres to Conception Hill which most choose to visit via a panoramic glass lift. The lift and tour of the castle at the top of the hill does have a charge but this is well worth the price for the informative interactive exhibition detailing the history of Cartagena.
Throughout the city there are excellent shopping opportunities, street side cafes, tapas bars and restaurants. The lovely marina is lined with eateries where the regions fresh produce and delicious fish and seafood feature highly on most menus.
Although a port city, Cartagena's coastline is mainly made up of rocky coves and small bays that are a favourite haunt for snorkelling and spear fishing. For those looking for sandy areas to sunbathe there is one main beach, Cala Cortina not far from the city. Just a short drive from Cartagena there are many more lovely beaches including the ones at Mar Menor and La Manga which is a favourite destination for water and wind sports and home to Europe's best rated sporting and leisure complex, the exclusive La Manga Club.