Located in the southeast of Spain bordered by the regions of Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Valencia, Murcia is a small but popular region among tourists. It has over 250 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline called Costa Cálida with beaches as far as the eye can see and an amazing. Apart from the beaches and the tourism prospects, this region is also the largest producer of fruits, vegetables, and flowers in Europe. The capital city of Murcia, along with Cartagena and Caravaca has deep cultural and religious importance. Murcia is the land best known for the grape variety, Monastrell, and is home to three Denominación de Origen – Bullas, Jumilla, and Yecla. These wines are known to have a deep rich color and high tannin content.
The lush countryside of the wine region of Murcia is surrounded by low-altitude mountains and dry coastal plains. Although the wines of Murcia are not renowned, they are worth discovering. Discover the three DO appellations – Bullas, Jumilla, and Yecla, within which a variety of wines are produced. The vine cultivation in Murcia is ancient and dates back to the approximate time when Phoenicians first came to this region. But the wines became famous around worldwide in the 19th century when habitats of French origin settled there. The first-ever grape varietal planted in the region was Monastrell, a bold red variety.
The Most Important Sub-Regions of Murcia
The most important sub-region of Murcia is DO Jumilla which stretches over the northern territory of the region. It has over 32,000 hectares of vineyards, cultivated by around 3,000 grape growers. It is the primary wine-growing area that delivers wines with the highest alcohol content to numerous wine shops.
DO Bullas is well situated in the northern part of Murcia and the history of its wine production dates back to 800 B.C. Many local winemakers of Bullas have succeeded in producing traditional wines using advanced technologies. Along with Monastrell, the Bullas DO region mainly grows Tempranillo, Macabeo, Airén.
In the northernmost part of Murcia is the ancient wine-growing region Yecla DO – famous for its Monastrell wines. Visitors are suggested to take MU404 road that goes straight to the magnificent region of Yecla. This territory is famous for the large number of wineries and restaurants where traditional cuisine complements innovative wines.
About 85% of the land is cultivated with Monastrell – the flagship variety of Murcia, planted alongside the Mediterranean Sea. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell, Macabeo, and Airén are also grown.
Red Varieties: Monastrell, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah
White Varieties: Macabeo, Airen, Pedro Ximenez, Malvasía, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel
What to Expect from Murcia Wine
Murcia vineyards enjoy excellent climatic conditions, fertile soils, and efficient human resources for vine cultivation of full-bodied wine production.
The wines of Murcia are the perfect blend of fruit flavors, earth, and minerals. Enriched with aromas, these wines are stored in barrels where a touch of coffee and oak spices is provided to ensure their superior quality.
Wineries to Visit
Wines in Murcia are produced in modern wine cellars, equipped with innovative machinery. You can visit the nearby restaurants and events where you can explore unique wine and food pairings.
Bodegas Fernandez is a family-run winery located in the Jumilla region. The winery makes use of organic and ecological methods to preserve the natural environment.
Bodegas Fernandez organizes various types of visits for tourists. Learn about the history and traditions of the winery during your visit.
Among the charming landscapes, the Bodega Lavia winery is situated in the Murcia region of Spain. The winery was founded by a group of true wine lovers devoted to crafting unique wines to share with the world.
Bodegas Lavia is a certified organic winery produced within the region of Bulla. Bodegas Lavia is a small winery equipped with advanced technology for grape growing, producing world-class wines from the grape variety, Monastrell.
The Asensio Carcelén winery, located in the D.O.P Jumilla region, in the northeast of Murcia, was established in the 19th century. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful landscapes, the estate has established its base in the most tourist-oriented part of Jumilla.
Places You Sholdn’t Miss While Traveling to Murcia
Cartagena – The Coastal Columbian Gem
Pay a visit to the alluring town of Cartagena. Enjoy its tropical beaches and mesmerizing old city stone walls. Witness the colorful culture of colonial civilization, combined with Columbian manifestation. Brace yourself to relish the nightlife in one of the best nightclubs like La Movida, La Jugad, to name a few.
If you are into beverages, find a spot amongst the bougainvillea-based balconies and sip the traditionally-made coffee. Later, head towards the lush tropical islands, a short drive away from the busy city life, capturing memories with loved ones while tapping your foot to salsa-beats. Let yourself be spellbound by the most famous tourist spots of Cartagena – the two must-visit Islands – Isla Barú & Islas Rosario both have breathtaking views of nature. Indulge yourself in a unique wine-food pairing menu at affordable rates. You can rent a bike as well and enjoy the tour of the town, discovering many hidden treasures of the city.
Lorca – Mountains, Valleys, & Fertile Plains
The historic city of Lorca is surrounded by mountains and charming valleys. Covered with ancient castle walls and backed by the Peñarrubia and Caló de Los Enamorados, the region looks onto farmland and beyond, down to the mesmerizing blue Mediterranean Sea.
Lorca was announced as the site with rich artistic and historic culture in 1964 due to its baroque-style structures and Paleolithic and Roman inhabitants. The city also houses medieval churches and convents guarded by the Gate of San Antonio Porch – A perfect tourist jewel to witness. The city is famous as well for its markets which date back to the 15th century. While roaming freely among the streets of Lorca, you will discover that ancient traditions are still alive. Do not miss out on the chance of visiting the famous pig market and two food markets – Explanada de la Estación and Plaza de las Hortalizas. In addition, wonderful beaches, a short drive away from one another, are excellent vacation spots, where traditional Lorca food is available at reasonable prices.
Parque Regional de Sierra Espuña – For Adventure-Lovers
Surrounded by the towns of Aledo, Alhama, Totana, Mula, and Pliego, Sierra Espuña is a perfect vacation site for nature and adventure lovers. The territory is covered with untouched nature and dominated by pine forest, kermes oak, and mastic trees.
Tourists are able to visit Ricardo Codorníu where they can learn everything about rich flora and fauna. In the northwest of the territory, witness the ice houses, lined up beautifully in the natural park. Moreover, pay a guided visit to the small but charming hamlets – El Berro and Gebas – where a perfect blend of rural habitats, traditional dishes, and beautiful nature can be encountered. Recreative areas like Fuente del Hilo and La Perdiz are designed for tourists to start up their hiking trails or organize a camping trip.
Cuatro Calas – Beaches with Mesmerizing Beauty
Surrounded by beaches, charming towns, and various tourist spots, Cuatro Calas is a place of mesmerizing beauty – a location to spend perfect vacations. The Four Coves have 250km of coastline and is considered the warmest Mediterranean coast of Murcia. The region experiences very little rainfall, making it a perfect place to plan a trip.
The site has been included in Natura 2000 by European Commission as it contains Canada Brusca marsh salt, making it a small botanical reserve. Cuatro Cala’s name of “Four Coves” comes from the charming beaches of Calarreona, La Carolina, Cala Cerreda, and La Higuerica.
Discover various natural sculptures while touring Cuatro Calas – made with a wonderful combination of different geological shapes. Let yourself be lost in the chaotic sceneries, a nesting place for several bird species like Alpine Swift, Peregrine Falcon, and more. Also, discover historic dunes, inhabited by wide species of flora.
Cabo Cope – Virgin Beaches and Undiscovered Coves
Regional Park of Punta de Calnegre and Cabo Cope is located on the southern side of Murcia, stretched over a land of about 1,000 hectares. The beach has an extended coastline of approximately 17 kilometers, situated between Punta de Calnegre and Calabardina. Discover a Special Bird Protection Zone in the Regional Park Cabo Cope area and witness the diverse ecosystem which houses a wide range of fauna and vegetation.
The area enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year due to its location in the Gulf of Mazarron. Although this area is separate from the regional park, there are a lot of coves and beaches that you can visit, such as Parazuelos Beach, Beaches of Lorca, and more. The Calnegre’s Cove, Women’s Bath Cove, and Siscal Creek are not just the mesmerizing spots but are also the heart & soul of the region
Barrancos de Gebas–A Lunar Landscape Full of Valleys
The moonscape area is stretched over an area of about 2000 hectares where tourists can witness several grass species, gypsum vegetation, and clumps of the robrachypodietea.
Perched in the middle of spectacular deserts, hills, and ravines, Barrancos de Gebas is situated in the eastern part of Sierra Espuña Park, between the towns of Alhama de Murcia and Librilla. In 1995, the region was announced as a protected landscape. Despite harsh and sparse living conditions for animals, one can discover moths, butterflies, herons, and seagulls. A hike in Barrancos de Gebas is a perfect activity with a photo session around the lush green forest. This spectacular landscape also offers a mesmerizing view of the turquoise Algeciras Reservoir.
Top-3 Local Dishes To Try
Traditional Dishes From Europe’s Vegetable Garden
Murcia has been famous for its cuisines, tapas, beers, and wines with character. They cook typical Spanish food with Mediterranean touch, enhanced by local products such as olive oil, lip-smacking sausages, and delicious seafood.The region is famous for its variety of rice dishes, served with vegetables and meat stews. Visit some of the local restaurants and challenge your palate with standard Murcian food which includes bread, water, or wine as complimentary food in the end.
Alcachofas de la Abuela – Grandmother’s Artichokes
The most famous dish, Alcachofas de la Abuela, also known as Grandmother’s Artichokes, is one of the delicious cuisines of Murcia, made with traditional techniques. This typically Murician dish, also found in South Alicante, consists of freshly collected artichokes cooked in a blend of rich-preserve olive oil, red wine, and white wine. It is served with toasted pinenut kernels on top.
The fragrance of the dish becomes irresistible when cooked in beef stock. The recipe doesn’t appear promising, but don’t let yourself be fooled by the appearance as it is a perfect mixture of flavors and traditions.
Arroz al Caldero – Cauldron Rice with Aioli Sauce
Another traditional dish of Murcia served at almost every event, or occasion is Arroz al Caldero. Also known as Cauldron Rice, the history of the recipe dates back to the 1800s. Its name hails from the container in which it is made. It is cooked with various types of fish and seafood, such as mullet and prawns from Mar Menor. The rice varieties used in the dish include locally cultivated Bomba and Calasparra, which add great flavor and absorb the sauce well. The taste becomes exquisite when served with the Mediterranean mayonnaise finished with garlic and olive oil. Spectacular!
Bacalao Fresco con Tomate – Fresh Cod with Tomato
Bacalao Fresco con Tomate is a versatile and traditional recipe of Murcia, cooked in various styles and sauces. To add more flavor to the dish, cod is served with hot tomato sauce, cooked over low heat with constant stirring and good bread. Generally, the fish used in the recipe is salmon, but different restaurants in Murcia use different fish. Its taste doesn’t change when made with tuna, served with tomato sauce, green sauce, and sometimes pepper sauce.
Even at homes, locals add many flavors and add unique styles to this dish, like single cod with ratatouille, traditional stew vigil, cod lasagna, and cod fritters. Serve on a plate with loins and basil for garnishing.
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