To explore the Region of Murcia, you need your feet on the ground!
At each step you will find yourself experiencing sublime emotions, taking your spirit to otherworldly levels.
The Region of Murcia is a meeting point for Christianity, proof of which is that in 2003 Pope John Paul II granted Caravaca de la Cruz the celebration of a Holy Jubilee Year every seven years in perpetuity: Caravaca is only the fifth place in the world to be honoured in this way, after Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Santo Toribio de Liébana, and 2017 is one of the years in which a Jubilee is being held.
OTHER PLACES OF PILGIRIMAGE
Other points of religious interest along the Camino in which you can find peace and answers.
CUADRILLAS DE BARRANDA FESTIVAL
They say that in the small village of Barranda you will find the oldest tradition of folk music in the country, and this is demonstrated on the last Sunday of every January during La Fiesta de las Cuadrillas. Declared a festival of National Tourist Interest, this classic event between all the popular music festivals is capable of gathering thousands of people out onto the streets, turning the town into a huge outdoor stage in which singers, musicians and dancers show off their talent whilst, as always, accompanied by great food and wine.
A 10/10 GASTRONOMY
In this neck of the woods, you'll find typical dishes such as migas ruleras, stews and tartera, a lamb and potato roast accompanied by an aioli sauce. You'll also find an ample variety of typical rice dishes with rabbit, chicken, chickpeas, snails or cod. In terms of confectionary, it would be a real shame if you left without trying alfajor or the incredibly famous yemas -egg-yolk based sweets made with sugar, and smothered in caramel or chocolate. Even in the most holy of cities there's still room for temptation - they are just scrumptious! To digest all this food, guests traditionally try the house drinks such as la mistela and the licor café.
TO ONE'S HEART'S CONTENT
Going from one terrace to another, from one square to another, walking about the streets and enjoying life in the open air is one of the best ways of blending in with the Murcian atmosphere. The good climate, together with cultural blending, have made Murcian people learn how to enjoy the hubbub to the full. Having some 'cañicas' -small draft beers- while chitchatting is here a real pleasure. If you add a couple of typical tapas from the region, we're talking about luxury. You won't be able to say 'no' to marineras, caballitos, matrimonios or pasteles de carne. Other typical dishes are michirones, Murcian salad, pisto and even some raw broad beans from the huerta with dried and salted bonito or some tomato slices. If you have a sweet tooth, try the paparajotes: lemon tree leaves coated in a dough made of flour, eggs, milk and grated lemon peel, which are fried and then dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Having them with a little glass of sweet wine is an authentic Murcian pleasure. But don't let anybody kid you: you DON'T have to eat the leaves.
TABLECLOTH OR CANVAS?
If you want to go deeper into the cuisine of Molina de Segura, you have to follow two steps. Firstly, look for the establishments marked with La Dama -a logotype that represents all the top-quality restaurants supporting local products. And secondly, choose among our traditional dishes: "migas ruleras" (fried bread crumbs with cold meat), "arroz a la huertana" (rice with vegetables), "olla de cerdo" (pork with beans) or "mondongo viudo" (rice, potato, onion, chickpeas and garlic); or try our avant-garde cuisine and enjoy its most sophisticated tastes and mixes offered by the most innovative restaurants... and always with a Mediterranean touch!
KEEP THE SECRET
If you want to go for a dip in revitalising waters between exuberant nature, then the Salto del Usero, a waterfall of several feet of altitude, won't disappoint you. Legend has it that a Moorish died in these waters for the love of a Christian. Since then, every year on the night of San Juan the scene's recreated to celebrate this magical evening. If you come, it's important not to forget to test the water that the Moorish has in her pitcher. It's supposed to give good luck!
Located six kilometers far away from the town, the Valle del Aceniche (Aceniche Valley) is a beautiful and natural spot surrounded by pine groves where there're strains over half a century old. The perfect destination for those fleeing the heat, due to its highland, fresh air and a cool microclimate. The place is so beautiful that it seems that everything has been placed on purpose, as in a painting. No matter if you travel on foot, by bike or by all-terrain vehicle... you'll want to stay there forever!
THE WINE FESTIVAL
Jazz and flamenco concerts, recitals, painting exhibitions and other activities such as wine-tastings and routes of the tapa are essential in this festival celebrated in February where wine is, without question, the star. This is a great opportunity to taste the best Designation of Origin wines and to enjoy wine pairings. People in Bullas said: "If you come to Bullas, drink wine, don't be shy!"
DON'T STOP THE PARTY!
By the end of September and in full grape harvest, festivals are held in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, saint patron of the town chosen by popular vote in 1723. Each year, these celebrations attract tourists and curious neighbors, who come to the Plaza Vieja to enjoy the traditional grape treading, the blessing of the first grape juice and the opening of the wine fountain. Most revelers will feel at home in the Diana, celebrations that start on Saturday at 7 a.m., when hundreds of people flock to launch dozens of kilos of flour, raw eggs and gallons of beer and wine. Are you ready?
CRAFT AND TRADITION
The Handicrafts Market of Las Cuatro Plazas takes places on the second Sunday of each month, except for in June, July and August, where the best craftsmen of the region come together to offer various products from forge and esparto grass tools to wooden objects, cold meat bread, sweets, pottery, carpets, cheeses and crafts. Here it is possible to see live artisan demonstrations, try typical products and take part in the activities and entertainment.
The Duke of Ahumada palace is one of the most symbolic and interesting private buildings of the Region. The palace, located in Calle Mayor, holds the ballroom, the duke's office, the red room and the chapel, preserving the Baroque altarpiece and other objects and liturgical garments. The Ethnographic Museum in the basement exhibits the Order of Santiago uniforms, several 19th and 20th centuries suits, a sample of craft canvas sandals -very typical here in Cehegín- and some horse-drawn carriages in the courtyard.
CRAFT MARKET EL MESONCICO
The craft market El Mesoncico, declared European Heritage, is held on the last Sunday of every month (except in summer) on the highest point of the historical centre of Cehegín. Many craftsmen of the area meet here and offer a great variety of products, such as cold meat, ceramics, sweets, soaps, wine and cheese. The markets are themed and there are usually tastings and live demonstrations of ancient craft trades. There is a free transport service connecting the Plaza del Mesoncico and the car park of the terrace of the Marble Technological Centre.
The Festival of the Patron of Cehegín is held every year from 8th to 14th September, the perfect moment to drop by and enjoy its perfect weather and the most cheerful atmosphere of the year. The focal point of the Festival is the Fairgrounds, holding about 150 stalls of groups and "peñas" (clubs). Furthermore, many events take place at this time for people of all ages, such as the Pilgrimage of El Rocío, the Día de los Huertanos (Day of the inhabitants of the "huerta") and for the most seasoned revellers, the Festibando (a night party with concerts closing the Día de los Huertanos).
After reading this you will go mad to go back to school. This one is located inside a 17th century wine cellar, in the basement of La Tercia Palace. Here you will learn everything about wine: grape varieties, kinds of glasses, bottles and even corkscrews, wine production processes, serving temperatures and wine pairing. As practice is the best way to learn, you should take an active part in tastings and workshops.
CRÈME DE LA CRÈME
The cuisine of Cehegín makes it worth a visit. Its most typical dishes are both wholesome and delicious, especially the "empedrao" (rice with cod, beans, garlic and tomato), "chamorro" (dough with saffron and meat), "migas" (flour crumbs with pork or fish), "potaje" (sauté with Swiss chard), "olla de matanza" (pork stew with chickpea and potatoes), and different rice dishes. The locals are especially proud of the Alcuza pear tree -also known as Cehegín pear tree- a winter fruit with particular taste and scent, which make it unique. If you have a sweet tooth, the typical sweets, such as "garrapiñadas" (caramel-coated almonds), "alfajor" (almond pastry) and "picardías" (hazelnut covered with caramelised sugar) will satisfy your appetite. And don't forget that the best way to get to know this world is to make a gastronomic tour or take part in tastings at craft markets.