In addition to the fertile orchards for which it is justifiably famous, Murcia offers travellers a surprising diversity of scenery and wealth of monuments for such a small region. Lodged between three very different regions - the Levant, Andalusia and La Mancha - Murcia has received influences from its surroundings without coming to resemble any of them. It is at the same time Moorish, Mediterranean and Baroque, a place shared by deserts of blinding light, African vegetation and moist green spaces watered by irrigation channels and water wheels of Muslim origin; coastal landscapes of blue water and volcanic cliffs lie alongside the inland mountains which are dotted with vines, pine trees and castles.
Located in the southeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, between Valencia, Andalusia and Castile-La Mancha, Murcia covers an area of 11,317 square kilometres. In the north it is bordered by the province of Albacete, on the east by the province of Alicante, on the west by the provinces of Granada, Albacete and Almeria and in the south-southeast by the Mediterranean Sea. Along its coastline, known as the Costa Calida - " the warm coast" - which extends for 170 kilometres, small beaches and coves alternate with rocky areas and steep cliffs. It has sand dunes, salt marshes, wetlands... areas of indisputable environmental interest, many of them belonging to the official network of Protected Natural Spaces, and homes to endemic species of flora and fauna.
Semi-dry subtropical Mediterranean. The average annual temperature is 18º C, with hot summers (maximum temperatures around 40º C) and mild winters (11º C in January and December). The number of completely clear days is around 120 to 150 per year, and there are around 2,800 annual hours of sunshine. In general, rainfall is low, although the rains tend to be concentrated in spring and autumn. Average temperatures on the coast do not usually fall below 10º C, while in the higher inland areas they do not exceed 6º C. These are the areas with the highest density of rain, an annual average of around 600 mm.
Murcia's cuisine is typically Mediterranean and varies between the coast and inland. Cereals, vegetables and olive oil are the basis of a cuisine that finds its inspiration in the vegetable patch. Roasts, fish and seafood from the Mediterranean are also very popular, along with the locally produced rice. Sausages and other preserved meats, dried fruits and nuts, herbs, fruits and desserts are all plentiful in the region's restaurants, alongside the appellation d'origine red wines from Jumilla, Yecla and Bullas.
© 2000-2008, HOLA S.A., Madrid – Miguel Ángel, 1 – 28010 – Madrid (España)