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CARTAGENA

ABOUT THE REGION > DESTINATIONS AND LOCALITIES > CITY DESTINATIONS > CARTAGENA

TOP TEN

CARTAGENA

Cartagena, with more than 3,000 years of history, has been the scene of some of the most outstanding passages throughout time. This Punic, Roman, military and art nouveau city offers nowadays so many things to see and do that it has become one of the most appealing destinations in the Mediterranean area.
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MILLENARY
HISTORY
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ROMAN
THEATRE
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FEEL LIKE A
ROMAN CITIZEN
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SEA
TREASURES
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BOAT
RIDE
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A CHARMING
BEACH
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HIKING
OR DIVING?
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FESTIVITIES
AND FESTIVALS
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UNDER
THE LIGHTHOUSE
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DELICACIES
MILLENARY HISTORY
On the top of one of the five hills of the city, in the Concepción Castle, is a good -possibly the best- starting point to visit this millenary city: the Interpretation Centre of Cartagena's History. Three thousand years of knowledge and history, together with the heritage from the most relevant civilisations from the past, in an hour's visit.
ROMAN THEATRE
The Roman Theatre Museum is the city's undeniable symbol. It is a wonderful architectural ensemble, designed by Rafael Moneo, where every space is even more amazing than the previous one. It integrates Pascual Riquelme Palace, Santa María la Vieja Cathedral and, after the last corridor, the Roman Theatre, which is the most impressive part. An interesting detail: Carthago Nova Theatre, built in the 1st century BC by Emperor Augustus, was not discovered until 1990.
FEEL LIKE A ROMAN CITIZEN
If you enjoy reliving history and stepping over the floor on which some important events took place in the past, you will feel like a child in the old Carthago Nova's Roman Forum district. It is a real privilege to visit this site, hidden underground for more than 20 centuries, where the thermal complex and the atrium building stand out. If you come with your family, we recommend dramatised visits.
SEA TREASURES
The Underwater Archaeology National Museum houses the famous 'treasure of Nuestra Sra. de Las Mercedes frigate', a booty including 570,000 gold and silver coins from the 18th and 19th centuries. The visit also includes many other elements which are maybe not as well-known but quite as valuable. We suggest you discover them step by step and then 'digest' the whole experience at the museum's restaurant, at a restaurant at the port, or at Santa Lucía fishing district. If you keep wanting more, the Naval Museum is another interesting visit; its most outstanding parts are the exhibitions on navigation and shipbuilding and Isaac Peral Hall, where you will see the famous submarine which has been the symbol of this port city for more than 80 years.
BOAT RIDE
This boat ride will take you to the most haunting spots in the inner harbour, bordering the bay's fortifications. By admiring this wonderful view, you will be able to feel like general Scipio Africanus and imagine what he saw before the landing which made him conquer the old Qart Hadast. The itinerary includes a visit to the Centre of Interpretation of Cartagena's Defensive Architecture, where you will learn about history and legends of both the trade and military role played by this Mediterranean junction for more than 2,000 years of history.
A CHARMING BEACH
Cala Cortina is Cartagena's urban beach. To get to it you just need to go through a tunnel and there you go! A wonderful Mediterranean cove will appear in front of you, with children's play area, seafront promenade, restaurant, loungers and sunshades. Besides having a refreshing swim, you can dive and enjoy the area's underwater life.
HIKING OR DIVING?
If you're keen on hiking, the PR-1 route will take you from Cala Reona to Calblanque: an easy walk at the end of which you should definitely have a swim in the crystal clear waters of this nature park's beaches. You will need a cap, a pair of binoculars and a camera. Essential stops are Playa del Portús and Cabo Tiñoso, since the beauty and diversity of its seabeds have turned this area into one of divers' favourite destinations. You will like it so much that you won't feel like rising to the surface, but... Don't worry. When you do, you will be able to admire the magnificence of one of the Southeast's most important ecological landscapes.
FESTIVITIES AND FESTIVALS
Among Cartagena's many different treasures, one of them is irresistible: its Holy Week. The Passion Week in Cartagena has been declared to be of International Tourist Interest. Its processions are hypnotic due to the rhythmic movement of thousands of hoods and the polychromy created by flower ornaments and small lamps, an effect that is even more impressive in the small hours. If you arrive in summer, we have a special suggestion for you: spend the day at Calblanque idyllic beach, and the evening at La Mar de Músicas festival in Cartagena, where you will enjoy art and musics of the world. And remember: the scenes are placed at strategic spots by the Mediterranean seaside with amazing views.
UNDER THE LIGHTHOUSE
On Sundays, the street market takes place in Cabo de Palos, a picturesque fishing village next to La Manga del Mar Menor and less than 30 minutes away from Cartagena by car. Walking about the stalls, finding some bargains, enjoying the sea atmosphere and tasting a typical, delicious caldero rice dish -a fish rice dish cooked in a pot- at Paseo de La Barra, in front of the sea, is a perfect plan. Our advice: follow the seafront promenade and you will get to this locality's impressive lighthouse, which used to be a lighthouse-keeper school and is one of the best places to stare at the skyline by the Mediterranean.
DELICACIES
Any time is a good time to pamper the palate. Typical from Cartagena are grilled fish, roast fish or fish baked in salt, michirones, the famous caldero rice dish, and rabbit, either with rice or ajo cabañil. The most typical salad is the cantonal salad made with smoked fish, including salmon, cod and harvestfish, together with capers, onion and olive oil. As a dessert: melon, prickly pear, arrope and tocino de cielo. To top it off, the famous asiático coffee, made with condensed milk and a little Licor 43, cinnamon, lemon peel and several coffee beans. The asiático cup is so original that it has become one of Cartagena's most singular souvenirs.
Cartagena is a city with more than 2,500 years of history. Each corner, street and square of the city offers travellers monumental examples of its splendorous historical past, of the civilizations that put in at its port.

The Cartagena inititiative, "Port of Cultures", opens up a wide range of possibilities which enable the visitor to enjoy the city's heritage and cultural riches: to find out about its origins by visiting the Punic Walls, evidence of the founding of the city by the Carthaginian Asdrubal in the year 227 B.C., where a Visitor Activity Centre will explain all about that fundamental part of its history and the local archaeology.

Cartagena "Port of Cultures" has developed these riches into a unifying theme in order to make it more accesssible to visitors. Just by strolling around we soon discover that the city also possesses a military history which takes us right back to mediaeval times when the Castle of the Conception was built. It is here where a Visitor Activity Centre offers information about the city and its history in a place which has been chosen for its privileged setting.
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This plethora of historical riches is not only a thing of the past: it is still present to this day in the local festivities and celebrations, the most significant of which are the Easter week celebrations and the Romans and Carthaginians festival. During Easter week the military precision of the penitents' marching, the lavish floral decoration of the thrones, and the richness of the costumes and embroidery, along with the never-ending rivalry that exists between the horse riders ("the californios") and their bitter and dangerous enemies (the "marrajos"), are characteristic in this day and age of the Cartagena processions and parades. With regard to the other important "fiesta", the month of September is the time of year in which thousands of Cartagena people dress up as Romans and Carthaginians in order to proudly commemorate the events which took place in the city during the course of the Second Punic War.

The city's festive delights is made complete with the "Mar de Musicas" (Sea of Music) festival, which is a festival of new and world music held during the month of July and which, in spite of its brief history, has achieved a unanimous recognition at both a national and international level.

The visitor will also be able to enjoy the local gastronomy which, in the case of Cartagena, is special in that it is a port, but with the country right nearby. Both fresh and salted fish and seafoods, the very typical "caldero" - a type of fish stew served with rice and garlic - as well as meat and agricultural produce from its fertile inland, all washed down with local wines and accompanied by the traditional drinks of the area such as the asiatico coffee (coffee with condensed milk, cinnamon, lemon and whole coffee beans), which delight the palate of all those who come to find out about its traditional cuisine.

The Cartagena project, "Port of Cultures" is working to increase the city's tourist potential, by making accessibility easier and by enabling people with reduced mobility to enjoy its sightseeing resources to the full: a good example of this is the panoramic elevator which connects the Port with the Castle of the Conception; by improving the street signs in the city, by providing excellent transport for the tourist both by land and sea, and in short, by valuing and giving importance to the whole tourist experience for any visitor who arrives in the city.

Cartagena "Port of Cultures" is the perfect opportunity for this city to become an exceptional tourist destination: we are talking about a well-designed thematic area which enables its visitors to find out all about the invaluable cultural attractions which Cartagena possesses.

But Cartagena also adds the opportunity to do some rural tourism in some of its inland villages in the district. Quiet areas near natural spaces of environmental interest, ideal for getting closer to nature have the added boon of their proximity to the coast.
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IN CARTAGENA

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Predicción por Localidades o Municipios:© AEMET - Información elaborada por la Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente para más información haga clic aquí
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