So, you’ve decided to become an expat (congratulations by the way!) and you’ve promised yourself that by this time next year you’re going to be living the life of Riley somewhere in sunny Spain.
To help you decide where that’s going to be, this post – part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain – will provide you with lots of useful information about the breathtaking province of Murcia.
We’ll also explain why other British expats love it there so much.
If you’re already an expat living in Murcia and want to know why you should continue reading this article, well, we’ll be unveiling some of the truly one-of-a-kind experiences and hitherto unknown sights to see across the region. If you’re thinking of moving home to here, or anywhere else on the Iberian Peninsular, contact us now for a free, no obligation quote for your removal to the Sun!
So… Let’s crack on and find out why Murcia is one of the best areas of Spain to move to as a British expat.
(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)
Where is the Region of Murcia?
Murcia is a typically Spanish area located in southeastern Spain – Click on the picture above for a Map Guide. It’s one of the country’s most beautiful regions, as it has escaped the coastal development of its neighbouring regions (apart from La Manga, of course).
Inland, Murcia is an arid desert vista where historic towns are surrounded by orchards, olive groves, plantations and vineyards, as well as the remains of weatherbeaten, time ravaged Moorish castles.
All are set to the backdrop of imposing pine-covered mountains which stretch all the way to the coast. Here, along the Costa Cálida – a selection of divine white sandy beaches stretching almost 170 km – is where two oceans meet one coastline. This results in Murcia’s coast having luxuriously warm, crystal clear waters and turquoise blue saltwater lagoons like Mar Menor. Absolutely heavenly.
Why Murcia Is The Perfect Place To Call Home
A combination of outstanding air quality, the Mediterranean diet, a warm dry climate, a low crime rate and being sparsely populated, all make Murcia region one of the healthiest and safest places in Spain to call home.
People here really do live longer, healthier lives. Slow-paced and stress-free, the only times most towns and cities stay up to party ’til dawn in Murcia are around the times of their local, flamboyant and vibrant fiestas, like the Burning of the Sardine. This is a night of madness and mayhem, where a noisy, colourful procession of floats, guarded by torchbearers, travels through the streets of Murcia city, throwing toys and sweets out to children and adults alike.
Expats who move to the region of Murcia can benefit from excellent private Medical care, superfast broadband and delicious Spanish gastronomy. The cost of living in the region ranges from the extremely cheap to the reasonably affordable.
This, of course, depends entirely on where you choose to live, but much like in the UK, most villages and small towns will be cheaper to call home, compared to the cities. On the whole, though, essential grocery shopping, meals out and activities are about 16 percent cheaper than they are in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and renting property is almost 50 percent cheaper.
The weather in Murcia is consistently wonderful all year round thanks to its Mediterranean climate. In general, the region boasts around 325 sunny days a year with average temperatures getting slightly above 19 C, as well as very little rain.
The winters are mild, the summers are hot, and the air quality is incredibly high. So much so that the World Health Organisation has named Murcia’s regional climate as one of the best in the world, particularly for sufferers of arthritis and asthma.
The region of Murcia also has strong British expat connections, so high levels of Spanish aren’t needed. This makes the transition of moving to Spain a whole lot easier. Across the region’s cities and larger towns (which we’ll discuss in a moment!), expats will find plenty of English speaking organisations and clubs to join, so no one will ever feel like an outsider here.
Popular Cities and Towns in Murcia
Plus the unique things you can see and do there
Murcia is a vibrant city, home to a mishmash of cultures, an assortment of architectural designs, and a plethora of colourful traditions and lively fiestas.
It has been ranked as one of the top ten cities to live in Spain for the quality of life. The city has all the large facilities, modern amenities, wonderful shops, and exciting nightlife that people expect from, say, London or Leeds, but the pace of life really is much slower.
It’s a place where nothing is ever hurried, period. It’s also a place where expats will never get bored. Culture and history just seem to ooze from every narrow street, and these streets always lead to attractive plazas and wide, tree-lined walkways. There is always an interesting museum, bridge, garden or restaurant to visit.
Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Murcia City
- Hike to La Marenica Monestary and taste the heavenly Chocolate de La Luz
- Experience true passion and an amazing culture at the Bullfighting Museum – rated on Trip Advisor as a real hidden gem
- Discover the city’s delightful mini Aquarium and come face-to-face with baby sharks
Just Some Of The Must Visit Restaurants in Murcia
- Madre de Dios on Calle del Arzobispo Simón López – A beautiful restaurant found tucked away on a narrow street.
- La Pequena Taberna Típica in the Plaza San Juan – An elegant restaurant which is a favourite with the locals. The fish they serve is tremendous.
Don’t miss out on the city’s remaining fiestas this year
- The International Festival of Mediterranean Folklore – July, 11 – July 15, 2016 – A colourful event where folk groups from all over the world come to Murcia city to raise awareness of typical Mediterranean tradition and culture.
- The Moors and Christians Festival – September 1 – September 13, 2016 – One of the most important fiestas in the city, this celebration is truly steeped in history and it really is a theatrical performance not to miss. Colourful groups of Moors and Christians parade through the city, playing music and re-enacting the Re-Conquest. Most of the acts take place in the Medieval Encampment in the San Esteban Garden.
Lorca is a city which goes by many names: The City of the Sun, The City of One Hundred Shields, The Baroque City… Each name, whichever you choose, reflects how magnificent and spectacular the city actually is, and how much there is to see and do there.
It’s no wonder then that it remains an internationally acclaimed historic and artistic site, with oodles of museums, activity centres and churches to marvel at and enjoy.
In 2011, Lorca won the Europa Nostra Award for conserving its rich heritage of medieval, renaissance and Baroque architecture after an earthquake happened which claimed nine lives.
History really does just seems to ooze from every corner of Lorca and the stunning architecture gives the city an air of luxuriousness and regality. Centuries worth of craft traditions like embroidery, iron forging and pottery, are still made, by hand, by artisan craftspeople, and they, along with fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at the medieval Thursday market, which still runs to this day.
And even though Lorca will always be famously known for its legacy of archaeological sites, historic buildings, culture and rich traditions (particularly its spectacular Easter Week celebrations), it’s a city which has quickly blossomed into a modern and artistic one. With every amenity and convenience an expat could ever need, combined with a slower-paced lifestyle and rich heritage, Lorca is a wonderful place to call home. It has even been recently shortlisted for the European Destinations of Excellence program, in recognition for its sustainable tourism.
Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Lorca City
- Experience an atmosphere like no other as you uncover Jewish history beneath the Parador Hotel, which once was an impressive castle.
- Immerse yourself in the surroundings of Lorca by taking a leisurely 10 km trek through the Cejo de los Enamorados
- Find out exactly what the artisans of the city have to offer and grab a bargain by visiting the Centro de Artesania de Lorca
Just Some Of The Must Visit Restaurants in Murcia
- Casa Candido on Calle Santo Domingo – A rustic restaurant which makes delicious home cooked meals. What’s more, it’s found in a 16th Century building with its own underground caves. The meat is heavenly.
- Taberna El Camino on Calle Santo Domingo – A cozy pub with a big heart. Traditional food is served generously inside its cool stone walls.
- Restaurant Hiroshima, just outside the city – An elaborate restaurant located in a medieval castle. Elegant and sophisticated, the food is divine.
Don’t miss out on the city’s remaining fiestas this year
- Lorca’s September Fair – Last 10 days of September – 10 intense days of non-stop entertainment all across the city. Street theater, concerts, a huge fairground with Ferris Wheel and rollercoasters, children’s activities, exhibitions and so much more.
- The Moors and Christians Festival also known as The Feast of San Clemente – November 23, 2016 – History comes alive as Jewish and Christians parade around Lorca’s castle, its Old Town and medieval streets.
Aguilas is a bustling, flamboyant port town, thanks to its glorious weather, wonderful carnival and beautiful beaches. For this reason, the town is a very popular tourist destination for both the Spanish and the British.
That being the case, Aguilas isn’t as quiet as the other places we’ve mentioned, but it still oozes charm. Famous for its rich seafaring traditions and Roman history, the town adores culture and architecture, which is evident from its funky concert hall, its abundance of interesting museums and magnificent churches.
Dotted around its spacious streets and large plazas, expats will find traces of Roman history, beautiful gardens, exotic rubber trees, white windmills and medieval structures.
Down on the golden, sandy beaches, expats can discover delicious seafood and can even give scuba diving, sailing and other marine activities a try. For anyone who doesn’t like to keep still and who enjoys experiencing different things every day, Aguilas is the perfect place to lay down their roots.
Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Aguilas
- Try your hand at rock climbing, trek across a beautiful mountainscape, or take an epic 4 x 4 tour of the breathtaking Aguilas countryside.
- View the curious and poignant Ermita de Cope chapel, a tiny 16th Century church found on the coast.
- Visit the CIMAR museum, for free, and discover nautical wildlife and learn more about the town’s seafaring heritage.
Just Some Of The Must-Visit Restaurants in Aguilas
- Zoco del Mar near Castle Esplanade – There is nowhere better in Aguilas for delicious, hearty gourmet food and breathtaking views.
- Poli in Calle Floridablanca – A delightful restaurant that serves the best seafood in town. Has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor.
- Meson del Willy on Calle Ciclista Julian Hernandez Zaragoza – This is the ideal restaurant to experience an authentic taste of Spanish cuisine. Great value for money and an incredibly warm and friendly service.
Mazarron is a historic port town, set around a glorious bay which opens up into the warm Mediterranean ocean.
Surrounded by outstanding geological rock formations, breathtaking scenery and stunning beaches, this really is the place to just laze around and relax. Spacious, palm tree-lined plazas and walkways let expats meander around the town’s monuments, ancient buildings (including a Roman Salting Factory) and warm yellow, rich red or sandy coloured houses.
Not known for its nightlife, Mazarron is more famous for its Roman and Phoenician history, seafood, nudist beaches and mining.
The restaurants and handful of cocktail bars may offer English versions of their menus, but an expat will never find a pint of Fosters or pie and a pint being served. For a true slice of quiet Spanish life, Mazarron is the ideal place to call home.
Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Mazarron
- For a truly peaceful, romantic evening, take a walk up the gentle slopes of Mirador del Cabezo del Gavilan – the views are incredible from the top.
- Take a glass bottomed boat trip around the coast and witness marine life in its natural habitat, or, for those who’ve never seen them up close before, why not go dolphin spotting?
- Explore the magnificent 19th Century Mazarron mining reserves.
Just Some Of The Must-Visit Restaurants in Mazarron
- Restaurante el Pilon on Calle Librilla – A delightful establishment that’s cosy and serves excellent traditional Spanish food including tapas and churros.
- Chez Zoe in the Paseo de Rihuete – A wonderful seafront restaurant which serves honest, bourgeois French cooking. Fantastic value for money.
- El Palenque on Avenida del Mediterraneo – An upscale restaurant which unites the best-grilled meats from Argentina with the flavours of Italy and the Mediterranean.
Don’t miss out on the town’s remaining fiestas this year
- The Virgen del Carmen – July 16, 2016 – A traditional and emotional religious marine procession which culminates on the beaches near the port. Expats can see the beautifully decorated Guinamon – a boat chosen to have the honour of carrying the image of the Patron Saint of Fisherman, Virgen del Carmen – and join in the Mass.
- The Bolnuevo Sardine Festival – November 17, 2016 – Join in the bright, colourful historic celebration which came about after the Virgen de la Purisima saved the town from Berber pirates.
La Manga del Mar Menor
La Manga del Mar Menor, also known as the paradise between two seas, is an upscale beach resort on an exquisite strip of land which separates the Mediterranean sea from Europe’s largest saltwater lake, Mar Menor.
Here, expats can enjoy the finer things in life – like golfing, playing tennis, eating delicious and healthy foods, boutique shopping, relaxing and immersing themselves in culture – whilst breathing in the pure air and benefitting from bathing in Mar Menor’s salt waters (they’re incredibly good for those who suffer from rheumatism and eczema).
As a luxurious beach resort the town is clean and spacious, Every Sunday there is a bustling market, the Mercadillo de Cabo, which is rather like a car boot or flea market, but on a grander scale.
On the whole, La Manga is relatively peaceful, but it does become particularly lively during the summer thanks to tourism. From June until September, the nightlife becomes even more exciting and the beautiful beaches become packed with bathers.
This really is a wonderful place to call home if you enjoy the modernity, hustle, bustle, excitement and touches of luxury that a top resort town offers.
Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around La Manga del Mar Menor
- Try your hand at standup paddle boarding or kitesurfing
- Take the kids or grandkids to Peke Park, a quaint Spanish amusement arcade
- Take a leisurely stroll up the lighthouse at El Faro de Cabo Palos and watch the sunset over stunning vistas
Just Some Of The Must-Visit Restaurants in La Manga del Mar Menor
- Restaurante el Mosqui on Carrer Subida al Faro – For a unique ambience and to taste some incredible rice dishes and seafood (including delicious, fresh lobster), there is nowhere better.
- Pizzería di Mare – on Calle Embalse de Sichar – A small, decorated in a traditional Spanish style, but which serves five-star Italian cuisine at great prices. They even do take outs!
- El Pez Rojo – on Calle Los Palangres – A restaurant that comes highly recommended by the local Spanish people. Fantastic service, affordable prices and exquisite foods. Don’t forget to try their famous caldero.
With the region of Murcia being so beautiful, healthy and such a wonderful place to relax and unwind, it’s undoubtedly the best location for any expat wanting to get away from it all and thoroughly enjoy life in their new, Spanish casa. Ahh, true bliss!
Now all you have to do is decide where exactly it is you want to call home!
If you’ve found this article useful and you’d like to find out more about moving to Murcia from the UK, or if you’d like more advice about becoming an expat in general, contact us now for help with your removal from the UK to Murcia in Spain.
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