Murcia - a "hotspot" for 2017

The warm waters of the Mar Menor on the well known La Manga strip, the beautiful beaches of the Costa Calida (the "warm coast") and the few established high quality golf courses in the region are pulling in tourists and property purchasers to this beautiful region of Spain. And when the new golf resorts that are currently under construction in this area are complete, this stunning region will be a leisure paradise, according to Spanish Homes magazine. That is why they deem it as a "hotspot" for this year, 20017 - the place to buy your dream home in Spain.

Not only is the area known for its tourists attractions (the great beaches and golf and leisure activities), there is more to Murcia than meets the eye - a more serious side, a side that is not often recognised - and that is the one that treasures its Moorish heritage and commemorates its religious festivals in a serious style.

In Bolnuevo, not far from Mazarron you will find the Mazarron cliffs, whose interesting formations have been carved out by centuries of wind.

Nearby Cartagena, founded by the Carthaginians, is a traditional Spanish working port that has a large naval facility and is currently undergoing some improvements to make it more appealing to tourists. It is here that Hannibal and his elephant riding army landed before proceeding all the way to Italy by land to wage war on the Romans. You can find ruins from the Roman era and the remains of a temple to the Phoenican god Melqart.

Monteagudo boasts an immense monument to the Sacred Heart that was erected in 1951 to replace the one that was destroyed by Spain's left wing government some 25 years earlier.

In Caravaca de la Cruz, the fifth holiest city in the world, you will find the treasured Holy Cross. According to legend, the original cross is said to have been brought to the town by two angels but later stolen in the 1930's, just before the Spanish Civil War by the Templars. The Pope thus donated a copy of the Cross which, within are said to be two pieces of wood from the cross of Christ.

Also in Caravaca, each May the caballos de vino (wine horses) race takes place. Starting at the bottom of the town and finishing at the towns castle, the race commemorates the memory of the horses that brought wine to the besieged Christians who looked after the Holy Cross there centuries previously.

In the city of Murcia itself stands the impressive Teatro de Romea, named after a local actor, which houses a number of works of art and is a venue for some great stage productions.

In the far north of Murcia, in the Jumilla region, basking in the hot sunshine, you will discover acres and acres of vineyards growing, in the main, the Monastrell grape, ready to produce the full bodied fruity wine that this region is renowned for - try poaching Jumilla pears in this delicious wine - a tasty treat! Hot or sweet smoked Murcian paprika, with its strong, warm smoky flavour is an essential basic to many Spanish dishes. Murcia is a vast vegetable producing area - only Andalucia exports more vegetables than this region and farming is a major employment sector - over 70% of the regions produce is exported overseas. 120,000 tonnes of artichokes alone are grown in the region each year - they're eaten fried with ham, clams or used in salad dishes.