Easter Destination: Murcia, Spain

February 28, 2013 2:48 pm

Easter is only a month and a half away, and the best choice this holiday is to escape to a sunny place. As a native Spaniard myself, I will suggest Murcia, in Southern Spain. Worried about the money? Don’t worry at all; below I will detail everything you can do to have a fun week without spending much.Murcia

(Lesson #1 before we start: it’s not Easter in Spain, it’s the Holy Week, the “Semana Santa”. We celebrate it in a different way, and we live it with other customs. Funnier ones, by the way. Sorry…)

Pros of spending Holy Week in Murcia: the weather, no doubt.  Not even the best week in England is as sunny and warm as this city in the South of Spain will be by the end of March (as I type this, the temperature has already reached 22º). Sun, heat and good environment. Guaranteed.

 

THE STYLE OF SEMANA SANTA

Processions: if you have never been to this holiday in Spain, you must know that processions are a very important part of the celebrations (especially in the South). If you have already been to one, you should be aware that, in the city of Murcia, penitents give away sweets and food! And if they notice you are foreigners, even more. I have been a penitent for years, and I can tell you that there is nothing better than giving sweets and such to people who don’t see these things often.

 

WHERE TO EAT IN MURCIA

Plaza de las Flores MurciaIt is the South, so you can expect dozens of “tascas” where they will serve you food (and drinks!) at a good price. The style of food is quite similar in every bar (Spanish food, Murcian food to be precise). Below, you have some places worth visiting at lunch time or supper time:

 

Las Tablas

Las Viandas

Las Tablas del Escribano

Togo

Gatico Negro

La Caña de España

Frasquito

La Tasca

Príncipe de Gales

Las Chapas

Talula

El Garrampón

Bodegón Santiago

El Palomo

El Secretario

La Bernarda

Parlamento Andaluz

Madre de Dios

Cien Montaditos

La Fuensanta MurciaIf you end up going and you have any doubt about the places, do not hesitate to write and ask me in the comment section.

This tascas vary in style and price, but the food is basically the same, and the good thing is that most of the places are in the same area of the city (although you can go everywhere walking). I would recommend (take notes) tortilla de patataspinchos morunosmontaditos de lomo or queso frescoensaladilla murcianazarangollomigas and the famous pastel de carne. And of course, jugs of sangría or Estrella Levante beer.

 

WHERE TO SLEEP

If you feel like going to a centrally situated hotel not extremely cheap but not very expensive either, I recommend the Hotel NH Amistad. In central Murcia, you have everything on hand and the environment is quite pleasant. The average price is 47 euros, although to get a great offer in Semana Santa, you should book in advance.
You can also go to hotels Hesperia or Zenit, both a minute-walk away from Plaza de las Flores (Flowers Square), nerve centre of tapas and drinks at noon (where you should be everyday from 1pm). These hotels have an average price of 35 euros per night. You can search the web for hostels, but the truth is that they are not that much cheaper, so it is probably worth it to stay in a hotel for a 5/10 euro difference. Anyway, check this link to see hostels.

 

WHAT TO SEE

Besides the famous Murcian processions (Good Friday morning is the one with Francisco Salzillo’s sculpture), it is highly advisable to stay the following week as well, since in Murcia begins the celebration of Spring with the Fiestas de Primavera: quite a spectacle of flowers, parties and bands marching down the streets, a true Spanish fiesta.

MurciaYou can also organize excursions to nearby villages, or to go up to the hills and La Fuensanta (10 minutes away by bus), where you can see the whole city and spend a day surrounded by nature, hiking and having a picnic (now, take sun lotion with you).
And if you want to go out at night, you may find the tascas area near the Merced University (at night, tascas means a different thing) with cheap drinks, as a first option to start the evening. Another slightly more expensive option (but not much more) is Pura Vida, a cocktail pub situated next to the Cathedral. And a third option, if you want to blend in the Murcian youth, is to have a “botelleo” (“botellón” for the rest of Spain) in the garden of La Fama. After one of this three options, you have two main choices: the clubs Boutique or Luminata in the centre, where you can dance top 40 music (although you have to pay tickets after certain hours), or Mariano Rojas, located 10 minutes away. In this area you can find the best indie pubs from the city, and the advantage is that most of them are free entry.At the city, Cardenal Belluga Square stands out, where Murcia’s Cathedral can be admired while having some “aperitivos“, and the Gran Via, where you can adquire everything you need. And Plaza de las Flores, definitely.

 

What are you waiting for to book a flight? Semana Santa begins on March 22nd, and Fiestas de Primavera on April 1st. Murcia is the place to be.

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