With one of the best natural harbours in the Mediterranean, Cartagena has been an important port since the days of the Carthaginians. Once you arrive at your hotel in Cartagena, you’ll be able to see thousands of years’ worth of attractions, along with the bays and beaches of the Costa Cálida.
Founded by the Carthaginians as Qart Hadasht in 223 B.C., Cartagena was occupied by Rome and ruled by Muslim emirs over its long history. Its archaeological sites and museums attest to this rich history. The National Museum of Underwater Archaeology showcases some of the underwater finds from the Mediterranean and explains how divers go after these treasures of the deep. The Museo del Teatro Romano takes you on a tour beyond your Cartagena hotel that not only explores the Roman theatre, but also takes you underground through the city to showcase the many layers of Cartagena’s past.
Every September, Cartagena hosts a festival unlike any other: the festival of Cartagineses y Romanos (Carthaginians and Romans) is a ten-day re-enactment of the battle between Carthage and Rome to take the city. After you’ve arrived at your hotel in Cartagena, head out to watch the “armies” on both sides parade through the city and fight mock battles while the city celebrates with culinary events, theatre performances and competitions.
During the Easter Holidays there are various processions. The Semana Santa starts the weekend before Easter and finishes with Easter Sunday. The processions show the cultural and military background of the city as well as the strong Christian belief of the region. If only for the unbelievable amount of dedication put into these processions – it is worth visiting Cartagena during Easter.
For a city that has seen so much human activity, the natural surroundings of Cartagena remain surprisingly pristine, at least in places. To the north of the city lies the Sierra Espuña, a reforested mountain range with verdant pine forests interspersed with rocky peaks and Moorish castles.
To the west of the city and extending towards Andalucia is the Costa Cálida (Warm Coast), a dry, sunny stretch of Mediterranean coastline. Don’t miss out on the Cuatro Calas (Four Bays), just south of Águilas. These undeveloped rocky bays are a perfect getaway, with scenic views of the coast and crystal-clear water.
Another excursion that’s not far from your Cartagena hotel is the Mar Menor, a spanish coastal lagoon that’s separated from the sea by a 20-kilometre sandbar. The salt flats at the northern end of the lagoon have a wetland that is home to a high diversity of birds, while the dunes of the sandbar, called La Manga, are another favourite area for migrating birds.
Whether you’re looking for history, nature or just some southern Spanish sun, Cartagena is waiting for you! Book your Cartagena hotel today with B&B Hotels.