Cheap flights to Murcia
If it's a true slice of Spain you're after, then look no further than the city of Murcia.
That's because both the city, and its region have somehow managed to remain untouched by large-scale tourism. Add to this some 250 kilometres of beautiful and unspoilt coastline, a year round average temperature of 17 degrees and more than 3,000 hours of sun a year and you have a perfect holiday destination. So what's the catch? Well there isn't one, unless of course you don't like the idea of travelling to a region full of mountains, rivers, orchards, traditional towns and stunning desert. And there isn't a better place to base yourself than in Murcia City, or the 'Baroque capital of Spain' as it is commonly called.
An exhibition with more than 4,000 coins dating from the third century BC to the 19th century is taking place at Murcia archaeological museum, MAM. Called "Tesoros. Materia, ley y forma" (Treasures. Material, law and form), it features exhibits from 23 finds in the region including the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes frigate and from neighbouring provinces. It is on until 12 April and admission is free (7 Avenida Alfonso X El Sabio, murciaturistica.es/es/museos).
An exhibition containing 38 photographs by Pedro San Martín, one of the most important archaeologists to work in Cartagena, is taking place in the city's archaeological museum. Entitled La Otra Mirada de Pedro San Martín (The other view of Pedro San Martín), the exhibition features images portraying San Martín's vision of the historic port city between the years 1954-1958. Find the museum at Calle Ramón y Cajal, 45. The exhibition is on until 10 January.
Orihuela's Museum of Religious Art is exhibiting Philippe de Champaigne's classic painting "San Felipe". It has been loaned to the museum from the Louvre in Paris. Along with a portrait of Luis XIII of France on display at the Prado in Madrid, this is the only piece of work by de Champaigne in the country. Catch it at the museum's Sala Velázquez until 13 July. spainisculture.com
Calle Trapería, which leads off the cathedral square in the Old Town, is a wonderful pedestrianised street with boutique shops, historic buildings such as the elaborate Casino and top restaurants. Stop at a bar for coffee or tapas and watch watch the world go by.
Murcia is a fantastic region for walking, with all sorts of routes available, ranging from the flat and short to all-day mountain hikes. Winter is the best time of year to do it, with agreeable temperatures often around 20c. For shorter walks try San Pedro del Pinatar salk lake park - or longer routes in the Sierra Espuña. All the details can be found at www.murcianatural.carm.es/senderos
Click on 'red de senderos naturales' for the walks
Head for the inland sea of the Mar Menor for safe water sports all year round. The town of Los Alcázares has all sorts of options available ranging from kayaking to windsurfing. For those who want to take it easy, a paddle in the salty sea is a popular past time.
The port town of Torrevieja has some excellent beaches and top seafood restaurants near the harbour, making it a popular destination for young and old alike, couples and families. Pack a picnic and make a day of it. torrevieja.com
The port city of Cartagena is a fascinating place to visit. Founded by the Carthaginians, but made great by Rome, there are wonderful monuments to see such as the Roman theatre and the Forum. And don't miss the Modernist section of the Old Town.