Espandy - Places of interest
This is a small sample of places worth visiting within reasonable driving distance of Espandy. More information can be found on many on-line sites giving information on Murcia or from Tourist Information at Condado de Alhama.
Murcia is approximately 40 minutes drive from the apartment. This is a beautiful city with a cathedral, museums, churches and many squares with small restaurants; it is particularly well known for its tapas. It is a lovely city to stroll around and then have a coffee, beer and/or tapas in one of the outdoor cafe areas. Some of the best are in the area around the Plaza de Flores (Flowers Square) and the University area called Santa Eulalia.
Cartegena is an historic 2,200 year old city located on the coast with many restaurants, including some on the waterfront. It has a number of castles and boat rides are available around the harbour. The City also has an extraordinarily good and interesting 1st century Roman amphitheatre and a number of museums.
The Sanctuary of Eulalia
The Sanctuary of Eulalia (approximately 10 Kms) is a National Historic Heritage site. In a beautiful setting in the Sierra Espuña National Park this Sanctuary which dates back to the XVI century is now rebuilt and is an hotel. There are short walks around the garden or it is possible to branch out for longer walks into the Sierra Espuña National Park. The hotel has an indoor restaurant and a terrace restaurant (both open to non-residents). The latter offering a reasonable menu, including tapas, and beautiful views of the Sierra Espuña. It is a delightfully peaceful setting.
Calasparra and Sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza
Calasparra (a little further afield, but well worth the effort) - Sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza is a beautiful church set into the side of the mountain, it dates back to the 17th century. The Sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage and many people travel here from all over Spain and beyond. The Church is fundamentally a cave, but it has an elaborate frontage built from the rocks. It is a quite extraordinary building. Part of the Church contains wedding dresses, dolls and many unusual items.
On the way to the Sanctuary there is a viewing point where you can enjoy panoramic breathtaking views of the mountains, the town of Calasparra and the rice paddies.
The Sanctuary has a souvenir shop, restaurant, bar and children's play area. The restaurant overlooks the river.
There is a delightful short walk along the side of the river Segura and there are Barbecue/picnic facilities. It is an idyllic and peaceful spot.
Sanctuary of la Vera Cruz, Caravaca
Sanctuary of la Vera Cruz, Caravaca (is a reasonable distance, but well worth the effort) is in the town centre and inside the fortress and castle which is of Arab origin dating back to the thirteenth century and rebuilt in the seventeenth century. Caravaca is basically a Holy City, the city of the cross, which holds its name.
From the Sanctuary/Castle there are views across the city showing new and ancient parts of the City. There is a small cafe at the Castle and cafes and restaurants in the town (within walking distance of the castle).
Lorca is located on the border of Castile, Granada and the Kingdom of Murcia.
The Castle was constructed on the former site of a Muslim Citadel, which capitulated to Christian forces in 1244. This castle dominates the skyline and having both Christian and Moorish aspects tends to be interesting even to those who do not usually enthuse about castles.
The Castle hosts open days and theatrical performances and special evenings, eg, Halloween (nights of the witches) not to mention candlelit evenings during August.
Some weekends host theatrics with costumed actors on site, making the visit atmospheric and more exciting, and areas of the castle are screened off for the special concerts and events which are enjoyable to attend.