Spain’s sleepy Costa Calida

Located in Murcia, a region more known for its fragrant citrus groves than its tourist hotspots, Costa Calida lies between the Costa Brava to the north and the world-famous Costa del Sol. The name translates to Warm Coast, reflecting the hot dry climate this coastline enjoys for most of the year.

As well as the sandy beaches you’d expect to see along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Costa Calida is known for its unspoiled coves and curious rock formations like the gredas at Bolnuevo, which look like giant mushrooms carved out of the soft yellow sandstone. Another natural landmark is the Mar Menor, a saltwater lagoon separated from the sea by a 24-kilometre slither of fine sand. There’s history and culture too, most famously in the 2,000-year-old city of Cartagena which with its Forum, Amphitheatre, and stout city walls. Costa Calida is one of the quietest of all the Spanish Costas, so now’s a good time to visit while it’s still relatively unknown.

There’s a lot to love on this unspoiled coast of Spain, from sleepy fishing towns to the ruins of Roman cities and Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon, Mar Menor.

Aguilas in the south makes a good base for exploring on your Costa Calida holiday. The town is guarded by an 18th-century castle and has a scattering of Roman remains, including some baths dating back to the first century. Follow the Ruta por el Barrio de los Pescadores - the Route through the Fishermen's Neighbourhood - and pause for paella made with ingredients fresh from the sea. From Aguilas you can also visit the coastal wilderness of Cabo Cope, which is particularly beautiful at sunrise and sun set.

Playa de las Delicias is great for water sports and watching the sailing boats come and go in the marina, while Playa La Carolina just a short distance away is said to be the most attractive cove on Costa Calida.

If Costa Calida is the coastline, Murcia is the region, and its capital shares the same name. The city is a spirited place with a large student population, yet you’re never far from the huge fruit and vegetable plantations where some of the world’s best mandarins, oranges and lemons are grown. Smaller market gardens known as ‘huerta’ surround Murcia City and provide a plentiful supply of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Costa Calida has a Mediterranean, semi-arid climate with warm dry summers averaging 28-32oC and mild winters. On average, the sun shines on 320 days a year making it an ideal year-round destination.

Costa Calida is 1 hour ahead of the UK.

Yes. Major credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATMs in the larger towns and cities. If you prefer to use cash, the local currency is the Euro.

Most flights from the UK to Costa Calida fly to Alicante Airport. Murcia does have its own airport but there are currently no direct flights from the UK.

Flights from London to Alicante take about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

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