We stayed in Murcia for two nights, and it would have been great to stick around longer. This is a city–and region–that’s largely unknown to Americans, but it should definitely be on your radar. It’s affordable, easy to get around, and chock full of all of the mandatory things a Spanish destination should have: we visited cathedrals, did a tapas crawl, shopped at Veronicas market, shopped at the legendary El Corte Ingles (they have everything!), wandered around a beautiful casino and spent a full day learning about the town.
Here are some fun facts I picked up along the way:
– Veronicas Market, a fabulous market filled with food stalls, is named for the convent that’s next door. Locals will shop here for food on the weekends and then take it to a nearby restaurant and, for a few Euro, the chefs there will prepare it for them.
– If you see an organ with pipes that resemble cannons, it came from either Spain or Portugal.
– Alfonso X of Castille left his heart in Murcia. No, really. He did. It’s in the Murcia Cathedral. He said he loved this city the most, behind Seville.
– There’s a chain that was sculpted on the church, and legend has it that the work of art was considered so perfect, the artists’s hands were cut off after its completion. (Nice way of saying thanks!)
– The orange trees on the streets are a nod to the Moorish influences on the city.
– Throughout town, the city has placed photos of beautiful buildings not the facades of neglected/abandoned buildings.
– There is no gambling at the casino here. It’s a gorgeous building and a social club, filled with antiques, art and stunning chandeliers.