Lorca

Lorca is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive to the north of Almeria Airport, and 1 hour 30 minutes to the west of Murcia (Covera) International Airport. Backed by the Peñarrubia and Calo de Los Enamorados mountains, the historic city of Lorca faces down the fertile plains of Murcia towards the Sierra de la Almenara, beyond which lies the crystal blue Mediterranean sea.  An impressive site is Lorca castle which looks down over the town from its prominent position at the rear of the town. 25-minute drive and you can enjoy the glorious beaches, of Aguilas and Pulpi.

History

In 1964 Lorca was declared a Historic and Artistic Site. Lorca is known as the “baroque city” due to the significant number of buildings in this style.  From the Paleolithic period until Roman times, a wide variety of cultures and settlers converged on the ancient city of Lorca. The many archaeological sites are a testament to this: The Milaria Column from the Roman age, the Tower of Espolón or the Alfonsina Tower, is but a few.  The San Antonio Porch, a gate from the old walled enclosure which guarded the city, from the 10th century; the churches and convents of different ages and styles; and the palaces and baroque stately homes, such as the palace of Guevara, the palace of the Counts of San Julián or the Mula ancestral home, are all of historical interest.  The fortress, which transformed the medieval citadel into an impregnable prize, is very impressive. Popular architecture can be seen on the cobbled streets, which flank Plaza de España, like the Zapatería and the Cava.

Culture

The Teatro Guerra, is in the Plaza Calderon de la Barca, Calle Principe Alfonso, facing the square. It is a regal red and white building. The theatre offers a wide variety of events, including cinema, children’s theatre, drama, musicals, concerts, dances, and opera.  The Semana Santa parade is well known throughout Spain and people come from all areas to watch this spectacular event.

Lorca also has a fine Archeological Museum, run by the city council.

Markets

The weekly market dates back to 1465, when Enrique IV granted a free market on Thursdays. The concession was confirmed by the Catholic Monarchs in 1495 and by Charles II in 1685.  It was first celebrated in the streets near the cathedral of Santa Maria By the 16th century it was next to the church of San Patricio. It even took place for a time in the pig market at Santa Quiteria.

Today the weekly market is held in the Huerto de la Rueda every Thursday.

There are two food markets, one at Explanada de la Estación, and the other at the aptly named Plaza de las Hortalizas.

Shopping

Lorca has many fine boutiques and shops where local arts and crafts can be found. There are also branches of the best Spanish department stores.  You can shop in the town centre, there are also a couple of local commercial centres that offer shopping also 365 days a year.

Leisure & recreation

There are a good number of gyms and fitness centers in Lorca, and the city has a fine sports hall where a variety of indoor sports can be practised. In addition, there are facilities for tennis,  padel, and football.   In the countryside around there are great opportunities for the walker and the long-distance runner. Try the Ruta del Cajo de Los Enamorados. For the cyclist there is a labyrinth of quiet rural roads amongst the market gardens to explore, or for the more adventurous there are some pretty testing routes up in the hills.

Beaches

The wonderful beaches at the port of Aguilas and San Juan de Los Terreros are just 25 minutes’ drive.

Excursions

A day trip to Murcia for its fine buildings, riverside walks, and excellent dining is worthwhile.

Adventuring in the countryside, visiting small towns and villages, and sampling the local produce is a popular pursuit.  There are also many good vineyards to visit locally.

Cuisine

The plains of Murcia are incredibly fertile and produce a vast array of fresh fruit and vegetables, which make up the base ingredients of the cuisine of the region. Rice is a staple here and finds it’s way into many dishes.

The abundant and varied seafood from the Mar Menor, Aguilas and the rest of the Mediterranean, along with game and farmed meat from the mountains complete the picture.

Some typical dishes include: Arroz y Conejo (rice with rabbit), Arroz de Verduras (Rice and Vegetables), Arroz y Costillejas (rice and ribs), Arroz Marinero (seafood rice) and Paella Huertana, a vegetable paella.

Non-rice dishes specialities include Potaje, a rich stew dish; Menestra, a dish of sautéed vegetables; Habas con jamón” (ham and broad beans and Caldo Murciano, a local soup dish. The king prawns fished in the area are also particularly fine, and the Huevas de Mújol, a type of caviar, is also a high delicacy of the region.

Climate

Lorca enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate. Very hot in summer and protected by surrounding mountains against the cold North winds in winter. The area averages nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and the average temperature easily exceeds 20 degrees.

In 1986 the World Health Organisation recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world – neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. On average it can boast 325 sunny days each year making it an ideal all-year-round destination.