Sierra Espuña contains Murcia's largest extensions of forest, as well as being one of its most emblematic areas of outstanding natural beauty. Its modern verdure is due in large part to reforestation campaigns carried out towards the end of the 19th Century by Murcian philanthropist Ricardo Codorníu, known by the nickname the Tree Apostle.
The districts bordering the area are Río Mula (Mula and Pliego) and Sierra Espuña (Alhama de Murcia, Totana, and Aledo). Mula and Pliego nestle between the Espuña and Ricote ranges and are places steeped in local tradition and culture, which, along with the area's scenery make them an ideal stopping place on inland routes in the region. Alhama de Murcia, Totana, and Aledo are all within easy reach of these wooded uplands, which naturally form part of the identity of the towns themselves.
The district is also known for its pottery manufacturing, and Totana is Spain's second most important area for pottery production. The district of Aledo has kept alive the tradition under the gaze of its Moorish watchtower and has dominated the valley since the days when it bore witness to skirmishes between Christians and Moors.
The Regional Park of Sierra Espuña and its surroundings has become the first protected natural space of the Region of Murcia, supported by the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism, CETS.
This area has an overstory which is thought to be the biggest in the region and one of its most emblematic natural settings: Sierra Espuña Regional Park. Scene of fights between Moors and Christians, pottery area par excellence, active tourism sanctuary¿ Sierra Espuña is one of the greenest and thickest areas in the southeast of Spain and a real temptation for nature enthusiasts.
Are you looking for fresh air, a scent of resin in the morning, walks in the middle of nature? Come to Sierra Espuña Regional Park and enjoy any of the routes through this legendary setting: hiking and orienteering activities are very popular here. And if you come across an arrui -barbary sheep- or a wild boar, you should remember that they have right of way over you.
Alhama is one of the best places to fly. The take-off runway is a slope of the mountain, and the landing runway is the surrounding multicoloured field. There are tandem flights available, so you don't need experience; all you need is enthusiasm. Flying without any engine noise, with the art of thermaling, and enjoying the air around you will leave you speechless. If you experience it in the afternoon, you will never forget this special sunset.
Some of the most popular curiosities in Sierra Espuña Regional Park are its snow wells. These constructions have been used from the 16thC to the 20thC in order to keep snow and supply ice to people in Alhama and the surrounding areas. Now in disuse, they act as witnesses for a way of life from the past. There are 25 of them among the summits of the Regional Park but... You have to climb up 1,400m to enjoy them. Quite an experience.
Rock climbing shoes are frequent in Sierra Espuña. At the Leyva Ravine, a spectacular limestone wall -almost 200m high- is waiting for you. It has more than one hundred climbing tracks; climbers of all levels come here since this place is considered to be an important climbing school, due to the variety of the tracks, the quality of the stone and the beautiful scenery. This will definitely give you a rush of adrenaline.
If you enjoy being at one of the most active handicraft and pottery centres in the Iberian Peninsula, you are at the right place. Don't miss the opportunity to witness an exhibition at the various workshops of the Ollerías Quarter in Totana, where some of Spain's most important pottery craftsmanships used to be in the past.
In La Bastida de Totana site, the continental Europe's most powerful city during the Bronze Age -4,200 years ago- is waiting for you, as well as is a fortified square, comparable to Troy's second city. Of special interest are the dwellings, graves and ceramic objects found. A classical touch characterises Los Villaricos old Roman villa in Mula. The site is divided into a residential area -with thermal zones and domestic spaces -and a working area -with remains of wine and oil mills-.
CULTURE AND ART
Mula has one of the most important museums of Iberian culture in the world: El Cigarralejo. It has a collection of 80 grave goods from a nearby Iberian necropolis, as well as other ceramic pieces, stone sculptures and weapons. Another emblem of this locality is the Casa Pintada -Painted House-: a house-palace of 1770, now the Contemporary Art Interpretation Centre. It is one of the four venues in the world, together with the ones in New York, Valladolid and Barcelona, exhibiting sculptures and paintings by Cristóbal Gabarrón, the famous artist from Mula.
Santa Eulalia Monastery in Totana, known by locals as La Santa, is one of the municipality's treasures. The shrine's Baroque altarpiece, the Mudejar coffered ceiling and the 17thC paintings make this church a great treasure within the Region of Murcia's artistic heritage. It is 7km away from the town and surrounded by big pine forests, vegetable gardens and orchards; once you are here, you will definitely understand the true nature of this special place. We recommend you go to the Virgen Blanca Viewpoint, from which you will admire one of the most wonderful views in the area.
At midnight on Holy Tuesday every year starts a drum roll in Mula which is prolonged until 4 pm the following day. This is the Night of the Drums: everybody can take part in the celebration, as long as they bring a drum and wear a black tunic. Other festivities in the area which have been declared of Tourist Interest are the Holy Week in Totana and Los Mayos in Alhama de Murcia.
REALLY UNIQUE SPOTS
The more you explore, the more unique spots you find in Sierra Espuña, such as the Torre del Homenaje in Aledo, the Castle and Calle del Agua street in Pliego, the Castle in Alhama de Murcia, El Berro small village... Indulge yourself and visit these charming places where time has not passed; take the opportunity to taste this area's excellent cuisine.