Caravaca de la Cruz parades and gallops from May 1st to May 5th celebrating one of the most outstanding fiestas of the year, the fiestas of the Santísima y Vera Cruz. Its declaration as International Tourist Interest is absolutely justified. For five days of uninterrupted entertainment, the locality is bursting with vitality, visitors and the desire of having fun. The fights between Moors and Christians, the border skirmishes with the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada and the feat of a group of templar knights are the outline of these festivities.
Some things you won't forget
One of the most special things is to wake up on May 2nd at seven in the morning with the bell ringing and the strong thunders, already listening to the bells of the horses galloping in the streets. This day, wherever you look, you'll see it all in white and red.
Something unique of these fiestas is the number of different environments that are displayed according to the event and the time of day. It doesn't seem the same city in the morning as when the sun sets, but yes, both the spectacular nature and the hospitality of the caravaqueños is assured at any moment.
Coexistence between peñas caballistas and their charanga bands and Moor Kabyles and Christian groups, who take the streets willing to fight, to draw their swords and broadswords and gain positions around their kings and sultans.
The flavour of migas ruleras, the cakes or desserts like the alfajor (sweet of almond, pinenuts, walnuts, bread crumbs, honey and spices) the famous yemas, delicacies made of egg yolk and sugar, coated by caramel or chocolate. To end up with a good digestion, it is traditional to try homemade drinks like sweet wine and coffee liquor.
Caravaca de La Cruz is considered to be one of the five holy cities in the world, and a key destination for pilgrims and travellers alike who are looking for an inspiring, different and above all enjoyable place to go.
Don't leave until tomorrow what you could visit on a pilgrimage today. It's not every day you're lucky enough to visit one of the five cities in the world that celebrates the Jubileo Perpetuo. Caravaca's Basilica holds the Santísima and the Vera Cruz, worshiped since the 13th Century, which hold fragments of the cross upon which Christ died on inside. This is one of those special places where travellers come to from all over the world with an atmosphere worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime.
If you're a party person, there are dates and places that you just cannot miss. The patronal festivals of Caravaca de la Cruz, declared of International Tourist Interest, are celebrated from the first until the fifth of May. The two highlights include Moros y Cristianos, and the Caballos Del Vino, which attracts thousands of people and whose spectacular sight exceeds all known limits. You need only watch the thundering horse race down the castle slope for this to be proven. If you don't want to stand out, don't forget to wear a red neck-scarf.
CUADRILLAS DE BARRANDA FESTIVAL
They say that in the small village of Barranda you will find the oldest tradition of folk music in the country, and this is demonstrated on the last Sunday of every January during La Fiesta de las Cuadrillas. Declared a festival of National Tourist Interest, this classic event between all the popular music festivals is capable of gathering thousands of people out onto the streets, turning the town into a huge outdoor stage in which singers, musicians and dancers show off their talent whilst, as always, accompanied by great food and wine.
A CHARMING SPOT
Located a little more than two kilometres from the inner city of Caravaca, one of the prettiest spots in the region awaits you, the Fuentes del Marqués. Here you will find natural springs of pure water, lots of wildlife and an undeniable charm to help you unwind. There is also an old Torreón Templario which according to legends served as an outpost to defend against the Muslims in the Middle Ages, and which now houses the Centro de Interpretación de la Naturaleza.
THE TRAIL OF ORIGINS
The first remains of Caravaca's settlements date back to the Palaeolithic era. From then on and up until now, many archaeology sites still serve as a testimony to Caravaca's past. Out of all of them, the must-see is the Archaeological Complex of La Encarnación, which holds prehistoric, Iberian, Roman and Medieval remains - a paradise for archaeology lovers.
At this rate, we suggest you have a break from all that walking and go visit one of the city's museums. One of the most original is the Música Étnica de Barranda Museum, where around 1,000 musical instruments from all eras and continents are exhibited. Located in a district with less than 900 inhabitants and built upon the remains of a 14th Century flour mill, this museum would be enjoyable in any capital city in the world. Other recommended stops are the Vera Cruz Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the and Fiesta Museum, the Carrilero Museum.
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH
Caravaca has some of the best religious architecture in the whole Region of Murcia. A fabulous network of churches, convents and other places of worship form almost a labyrinth in which it would be easy to lose yourself... although to get lost in these narrow streets, plateaus and dead-end alleys would not be too bad. The Iglesia de la Soledad, the Iglesia del Salvador, the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, the Templete, the Santa Clara monastery, the Santa Elena, San Sebastian, Reja chapels and the magnificent Santísima and Vera Cruz Basilica are all must-sees.
LA VÍA VERDE (THE GREEN PATHWAY)
If you like trekking or biking then we have good news for you. Here can also be found the former railway track that joined Caravaca with Murcia and is now more commonly known as Vía Verde, which everyone can enjoy. You will find a 78 km long natural walkway with 7 hostels along the way in case you need a rest or any refreshments. Caravaca also has a large number of smaller walking trails, Eco tourist pathways and diverse pilgrimage routes that that all join up here from different places all across Spain and the Region of Murcia. Are you ready to go?
A must see for curious treasure seekers. On the third Sunday of each month the Peregrino Market is held, the best place to buy hand crafted and typical products of the area. If you're still looking for more, during La Constitución public holiday, a huge area of the old town is transformed and crowds of craftsmen come out onto the street to show off the fruits of their work, whilst demonstrations, food tasting, and fun performances take place for both the young and old.
A 10/10 GASTRONOMY
In this neck of the woods, you'll find typical dishes such as migas ruleras, stews and tartera, a lamb and potato roast accompanied by an aioli sauce. You'll also find an ample variety of typical rice dishes with rabbit, chicken, chickpeas, snails or cod. In terms of confectionary, it would be a real shame if you left without trying alfajor or the incredibly famous yemas -egg-yolk based sweets made with sugar, and smothered in caramel or chocolate. Even in the most holy of cities there's still room for temptation - they are just scrumptious! To digest all this food, guests traditionally try the house drinks such as la mistela and the licor café.