The Northwest bears the hallmark of contrast. This area has mountain moors, vineyards, cornfields, ricefields and mountain ranges. The origin of its history dates back to the Paleolithic period, and its geography makes places be unique enclaves, very different from the rest of the region and far from traditional crossing points.
We do not have proof that Jules Verne ever was in the Region of Murcia, but we are sure he would have appreciated the fact that Calasparra has something similar to the entrance to the Centre of the Earth. The Cueva del Puerto, with a distance of 14km, is a reference cave if you enjoy spelunking, stalactites and stalagmites. Adventure, sports and science, all in one.
TABLE AND TABLECLOTH
Visiting this area is a piece of cake. In addition, it has one of Spain's best rice types: Calasparra rice, with guarantee of origin. It combines perfectly with wines from Bullas, also with guarantee of origin, and famous for their taste and intensity. Moreover, adding a wide range of stews, such as empedrao and rin ran, and some typical pastries, such as yemas from Caravaca de la Cruz, you get a quite tasty route.
THE LOST CITY
Just 3km away from Cehegín is Begastri, a Roman-Visigothic city, considered to be Spain's most important villa of its kind. Iberians, Romans and Visigoths settled in this place, which has been hidden for centuries, and the symbol of which is the 'Monogrammatic Cross'. Experience archaeology in its purest form.
AT THE TOP
One of the excuses to visit the Northwest is going up the region's highest peak on the Macizo de Revolcadores in Moratalla, which seems to have been created for mountain climbers. The difficulty is moderate and the views from the top are outstanding. At about ground level is the Sabinar -savin forest-, a place to dream: it is a forest with centenarian savins which will take you millions of years back in time. If you don't feel like hiking, you can admire the mountain beauty from one of the neighbouring villages, while you enjoy a traditional rice dish.
Caravaca de la Cruz is one of five towns in the world with the privilege of celebrating the Perpetual Jubilee. It was comfort for templars and knights, and is filled with the scent of thyme, olive trees, centenarian holm oaks and natural springs, such as those at Las Fuentes del Marqués natural setting. The town is one of those special places to which travellers come from all over the world; everybody should experience its atmosphere at least once in a lifetime. Which is the best way to get there? As a pilgrim, going along the Camino de la Cruz -Way of the Cross-, which starts at Roncesvalles and goes through five different Spanish autonomous regions.
The Almadenes Canyon is one of the region's most beautiful and remote natural settings. Its walls, some 120m high at some points, are full of caves and caverns with cave paintings which have been declared to be a World Heritage by UNESCO. La Serreta Cave-Chasm is a reference: it has 50 figures inside, and the view from the heights is overwhelming. The Canyon is also perfect to enjoy rafting, canyoning, bird watching, and hiking on its summits. Going down the zip line will be an unforgettable experience for the daring ones!
CAVE ART HERITAGE
Casa Cristo de Moratalla is an Interpretation Centre devoted to spreading and preserving Levantine cave paintings, declared to be a World Heritage by UNESCO. It is at a beautiful natural setting near the old part of the town -just 7km away from it-.
A CHARMING TOWN
Cehegín's historic district is one of the nicest and best preserved in the whole region. It is highly recommended to lose oneself in its narrow streets with a Medieval air and to enjoy its manor houses, palaces, squares and churches. It is quite a ritual to arrive to Plaza de la Constitución square and stick out the Mirador -viewpoint-, in order to admire a wonderful panoramic view of the town and the neighbouring huerta.
If you enjoy sports and nature, indulge yourself with a healthy day on foot, by bike or on horseback along the Northwest Greenway. It is one of the nicest walks in the area: it is surrounded by nature and history, and it has been developed from the old railway lines linking the towns of Murcia and Caravaca de la Cruz. A 78km distance with deserted settings, badlands, mountains, pines and almond trees...
TRADITIONAL STREET MARKETS
Two of the most emblematic craftwork street markets in the region take place in the Northwest: El Zacatín in Bullas and El Mesoncico in Cehegín. The first of this two is celebrated on the first Sunday of every month, being the only one to take place all over the year; it includes traditional exhibitions of old trades. The second one takes place on the last Sunday of every month, except for the summer period.