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Trimmed by the 175km long Costa Cálida and dotted with quite a few of Spain’s most historic towns and cities, not to mention Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon, it’s a bit misleading to describe Murcia as a, ‘best kept secret’. Best loved, probably sounds more accurate to those who know the province. And it’s unlikely they have themselves pegged as intrepid explorers. After all, Murcia sits between Andalusia and Valencia, right on the Mediterranean, and several of its spectacular beaches are so well documented they could have their own Instagram accounts.

It might not be a secret, but Murcia definitely has an independent spirit and sense of serenity you don’t find in the neighbouring provinces these days. Even the busier coastal resorts don’t come close to frantically mobbed Benidorm and Alicante. And it does have a hidden-gem-size: technically you can cover Murcia from end to end in under two hours, if you have a will of iron and a complete lack of curiosity.

But the tiny province is disproportionately packed with marvels, so just imagine what you could see and do in seven days.

Murcia-Teatro-Romano-de-Cartagena.-J.Zamora

Day 1: ancient Cartagena and modern La Manga

Spend a few hours exploring the historic port of Cartagena and it’s easy to see why the Phoenicians and ancient Romans were such big fans. Put your holidaymaker hat on here and take a city tour: Teatro Romano alone is worth it. The beaches and pretty waterfront demand some attention too. And don’t quit town without checking out Murcia’s very own Modernist masterpieces: see you and raise you, Barcelona.

The long, shiny and glamorous resort of La Manga is just across the Mar Menor lagoon from Cartagena. If end to end water sports, world-class diving and fantastically cute seafood chiringuito are holiday essentials, this is where to find them. Kids and teenagers love La Manga and La Manga loves them right back so it’s a good choice for family-friendly hotels, fun attractions and round the clock activity.

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