British Airways has started to operate a twice-weekly summer service from Heathrow into Murcia-San Javier airport, offering easy access to one of the fastest-growing tourist regions in Spain.
Figures released by the Region of Murcia revealed overseas visitor numbers rose by 45.3% over the winter, compared to last year.
The number of people travelling from the UK increasing by more than 11% in January alone.
The region’s historical attractions include: rock-paintings in cave-shelters dating back to the Iberian period; Roman antiquity; Visigoth cities; Arab medinas; Christian castles, watch-towers, churches and temples; and numerous civil and military buildings.
Although the region has been inhabited for more than 2,000 years, the capital, Murcia, was not founded until 831, when a walled city was built on the banks of the Segura River and turned into the Caliphate of Murcia.
It is the seventh largest city in Spain – and has a baroque cathedral dating from 1394; the imposing 15th-century Almudí Palace, and, a couple of miles from the city, the castle of Monteagudo, an 11th-century fortress atop a rocky hill almost 150m above sea level.
One of the main attractions is the Costa Cálida, the 250km coast where a wide variety of watersports are available, including kayaking, paddle-boarding, sailing, scuba diving, windsurfing, and water-skiing. One of the most popular areas for this type of activity is La Manga del Mar Menor, a narrow strip of land, around 24km long, which divides the Mar Menor Laguna from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Region of Murcia also benefits from natural habitats, on the coast and inland. From beaches, with dunes and coves, to mountain ranges and the regional parks of Sierra de Carche, Sierra de la Pila, Sierra de Espuña, and Carrascoy y El Valle, Murcia is a region of contrasting natural and man-made.
A seven-night, four-star break in the city of Murcia in June costs from GBP152.50pp, based on two sharing, on a room-only basis, at the Arco de San Juan, in the heart of the historical centre of Murcia, near the cathedral.
Access to Costa Cálida, Región de Murcia, is via Murcia-San Javier airport all year round, while Alicante airport is also nearby. British Airways flights from Heathrow Airport to Murcia-San Javier start from GBP80 in June.