Why choose a cruise to Cartagena?
With its colourful past and vibrant present, the Murcian port town of Cartagena is a city worthy of exploration. With more than 3,000 years of history under its belt, there’s plenty to enthral, with its immaculate streets and manicured parks and gardens offering many a spot for quiet contemplation.
Everywhere you turn you’ll come across sun-dappled plazas, Moorish-inspired fountains and Roman ruins offering an eclectic adventure with a distinctly Spanish flavour.
Eat, dine, shop and explore the delights of this fascinating city during your Cartagena cruise stop-off.
A guide to Cartagena’s hotspots
Calle Mayor is a good place to take stock and get your bearings. This wide pedestrianised street, which links the Plaza San Sebastian with Cartagena’s impressive town hall, is dotted with shops, cafes and tapas bars. Pull up a chair, order a coffee and watch the world go by as you plan your schedule.
The Roman Theatre Museum is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. This 2,000-year-old theatre was discovered in 1988 beneath the ruins of the old cathedral and boasts an array of pristine artefacts such as a statue of Apollo and numerous ceramics from the middle ages.
The Molinete Archaeological Park is a popular spot and top of many visitors to-do lists. Roam across the hillside to check out the relics of a Roman sanctuary, thermal baths and some well-preserved mosaics.
There are also plenty of museums for those who want them, with the Spanish Civil War Museum and Military Museum among the most popular. The latter has the largest collection of hand-made military models in the world.
If you’ve had enough culture and have time, grab a towel and head to Playa de Calblanque, just 30 minutes’ drive from Cartagena. This secluded 300-metre beach offers golden sands and gentle surf ideal for bathing.
Eat like a local in the old town and head to Plaza Maria Jose Artes and Plaza del Ayuntamiento for the best selection of authentic food. Be sure to try out dishes such as berenjenas a la crema: béchamel sauce with aubergines, ham and prawns. Ensalada cantonal, a smoked fish salad, is another delicious dish found in Cartagena.
Cruise lines that sail to Cartagena
The best time to visit Cartagena
Cartagena is hottest in August when temperatures sizzle at around 29°C, with July offering the most sunshine hours, perfect for sightseeing, sunbathing and al-fresco dining. The cool season lasts for around four months between November and March, but you’ll still find the weather pleasant with January, the coolest month, averaging around 18°C.
Did you know?
· Cartagena was founded in 220BC by the Carthaginians
· The Murcia region averages around 330 days of sunshine per year
· Entierro, which translates as ‘burial’ is an anchovy dish often served in bars with crisps and olives
· Spanish spoken in Murcia has its own local words and accent.