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Cartagena, Spain

Cartagena is in the Murcia region of Spain.


Cartagena is the main Seaport of the

Murcia region

. It has 214,000 inhabitants, ranking second in the Region. Cartagena concentrates an artistic legacy that summarizes almost three millennia of Spanish History, being inhabited by most great Mediterranean Empires that have conquered the Iberian Peninsula sometime. Cartagena is a city full of monuments, with many archaeological sites and outstanding buildings of historical interest, together with the charm of the sea and the typical bustle of a port city. Dirty and very polluted in the past (due to the nearby Refinery), the new redevelopments (like the initiative "Cartagena, Port of Culture") and restorations have turned it into a major tourist destination,... Read more

Cartagena, Spain


Cartagena is in the Murcia region of Spain.


Cartagena is the main Seaport of the

Murcia region

. It has 214,000 inhabitants, ranking second in the Region. Cartagena concentrates an artistic legacy that summarizes almost three millennia of Spanish History, being inhabited by most great Mediterranean Empires that have conquered the Iberian Peninsula sometime. Cartagena is a city full of monuments, with many archaeological sites and outstanding buildings of historical interest, together with the charm of the sea and the typical bustle of a port city. Dirty and very polluted in the past (due to the nearby Refinery), the new redevelopments (like the initiative "Cartagena, Port of Culture") and restorations have turned it into a major tourist destination, and is a frequent disembarkation point for numerous cruises. Its wide municipal territory also include part of the famous holiday resort

La Manga del Mar Menor

, part of the Mar Menor coast and several protected areas of natural beauty near the coast.

Cartagena has been inhabited for over two millennia, being founded around 227 BC by the Carthaginian Hasdrubal the Fair as Qart Hadasht, the same name as the original city of Carthage. The city had its heyday during the Roman Empire, when it was known as Carthago Nova (the New Carthage) and Carthago Spartaria, capital of the province of Carthaginensis. It was one of the important cities during the Umayyad invasion of Hispania, under its Arabic name of Qartayannat al-Halfa.

Much of the historical weight of Cartagena in the past goes to its coveted defensive port, one of the most important in the western Mediterranean. Cartagena has been the capital of the Spanish Navy's Maritime Department of the Mediterranean since the arrival of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, together with Ferrol in the North. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and is home to a large naval shipyard.

The confluence of civilizations as well as its strategic harbour, together with the rise of the local mining industry is manifested by a unique artistic heritage, with a number of landmarks such as the Roman Theatre, the second largest of the Iberian Peninsula after the one in Mérida, an abundance of Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine and Moorish remains, and a plethora of Art Nouveau buildings, a result of the bourgeoisie from the early 20th century. Cartagena is now established as a major cruise ship destination in the Mediterranean and an emerging cultural focus.

It is the first of a number of cities that eventually have been named Cartagena, most notably Cartagena de Indias (Cartagena of the Indies) in Colombia.

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What to see in Cartagena, Spain

  • Roman remains, including the brand-new

    Roman theatre

    , recently restored. Also of interest is its Museum.
  • Modernist houses, made by the pupils of the famous architect Gaudi. Including the former Town Hall, the Gran Hotel, the Casino and the Casa Maestre, among others.
  • Military fortresses and facilities.
  • The Promenade and the harbour, including the famous Peral Submarine and the ARQUA (National Museum of Subacquatic Archaeology).
  • Other ancient remains (of punic, byzantine or arabic origin).
  • Several churches throughout the city.

What to do in Cartagena, Spain

  • A route by the Tourist catamaran throughout the Port area on way to the Christmas Fortress, at the end of the Harbour and at the beginning of the open sea.
  • A route by the Tourist bus, covering the Old part of town.
  • Take the Panoramic Elevator and have a view of the city.
  • Go to the nearby beaches.

What to eat and drink in Cartagena, Spain


City center: - La Tartana, Puertas de Murcia. Mediterranean food. - La Tagliatella, Italian nice Restaurant, near of the Roman Theater. - La Mejillonera, Seafood and good fish. Calle Mayor. - Mare Nostrum, in the port. Mediterranean food. - Mesón Jamaica, Calle Canales. Mediterranean food. - La Marquesita, Plaza de Alcolea nº6, mediterranean food, too expensive but excellent food.
Near of city center: - El pincho de Castilla, Calle Angel Bruna. - Sacromonte, in "La Vaguada". Excellent food. (5 km from city center). - El Trovador, in "La Vaguada". (5 km from city center). - Alameda Tapas, Alameda San Antón. - La Vagoneta, Alameda San Antón. - El Rancho, cocina argentina. - La Sella, vegetarian food and good ambient.


The most popular bars in Cartagena are on Calle Aire, just a street over from Calle Mayor. Popular sites include The Chaplin Meeting Club, Baronesa Music Room, and La Chämpa. A more tranquil option is Mister Witt Café on Calle San Roque. But if you're into dancing, El Telar is nearby on Calle Villamartin and 600m farther is Teatro on the corner of Calle Jabonerías and Calle Lic. Cascales. A popular Latino club outside of the city center is Tributo on Calle Jorge Juan (near El Corte Inglés).

Shopping in Cartagena, Spain

Shopping ranges from numerous, quality stores to an El Corte Ingles department store, most found on a pedestrianized avenue that begins at the harbor.

Safety in Cartagena, Spain


There are four kinds of police:
  • 'Policía Municipal' or 'Local' (metropolitan police), In Barcelona: Guardia Urbana. Uniforms change from town to town, but they use to wear black or blue clothes with pale blue shirt and a blue cap (or white helmet) with a checkered white-and-blue strip. This kind of police keeps order and rules the traffic inside cities, and they are the best people in case you are lost and need some directions. Although you can't officially report theft to them, they will escort you to 'Policia Nacional' headquarters if required, and they will escort the suspects to be arrested also, if needed.
  • 'Policía Nacional' wear dark blue clothes and blue cap (sometimes replaced by a baseball-like cap), unlike Policía Municipal, they do not have a checkered flag around their cap/helmet. Inside cities, all offenses/crimes should be reported to them, although the other police corps would help anyone who needs to report an offense.
  • 'Guardia Civil' keeps the order outside cities, in the country, and regulates traffic in the roads between cities. You would probably see them guarding official buildings, or patrolling the roads. They wear plain green military-like clothes; some of them wear a strange black helmet ('tricornio') resembling a toreador cap, but most of them use green caps or white motorcycle helmets.
  • Given that Spain has a high grade of political autonomy released to its regional governments, four of them have created regional law forces: the Policía Foral in Navarre, the Ertzaintza in the Basque Country or the Mossos d'Esquadra in Catalonia. These forces have the almost the same competences as the Policía Nacional in their respective territories.

All kinds of police also wear high-visibility clothing ("reflective" jackets) while directing traffic, or in the road.


Spain is a safe country, but you should take some basic precautions encouraged in the entire world:
  • Thieves prefer stealth to direct confrontation so it is unlikely that you will be hurt in the process, but exercise caution all the same.
  • There have been instances where thieves on motorbikes drive by women and grab their purses, so keep a tight hold on yours even if you don't see anyone around.
  • Try not to show the money you have in your wallet or purse.
  • Always watch your bag or purse in touristic places, buses, trains and meetings. A voice message reminding that is played in most of the bus/train stations and airports.
  • Do not carry large amounts of money with you, unless needed. Use your credit card (Spain is the first country in number of cash points and most shops/restaurants accept it). Of course, use it with caution.
  • Beware of pickpockets when visiting areas with large numbers of people, like crowded buses. If you report a thief, people are generally helpful.
  • Don't hesitate to report crimes to local police.
  • In general, you must bear in mind that those areas with a larger number of foreign visitors, like some crowded vacation resorts in the East Coast, are much more likely to attract thieves than places which are not so popular among tourists.
  • Avoid gypsy women offering rosemary, refuse it always; they will read your future, ask for some money, and your pocket will probably be picked. Some gypsy women will also approach you on the street repeating "Buena suerte" ("good luck") as a distraction for another gypsy woman to try to pickpocket you. Avoid them at all costs.
  • Women who carry purses should always put the straps across their bodies. Always hold on to the purse itself and keep it in front of your body. Keep one hand on the bottom, as pickpockets can otherwise slit the bottom without you ever knowing.
  • Never place anything on the back of a chair or on the floor next to you, keep it on your person always.
  • If you must use an ATM, do not flash the money you have just picked up.
Stay healthy
  • Pharmaceuticals are not sold at supermarkets, only at 'farmacias' (pharmacies), identified with a green cross or a Hygeia's cup. Nearly every city and town has at least one 24 hour pharmacy; for those that close at night, the law requires a poster with the address of the nearest pharmacy, possibly in one of the nearby streets or towns.
  • People from the European Union and a few more European countries can freely use the public health system, if they have the appropriate intereuropean sanitary card. That card does not work in private hospitals. Agreements are established to treat people from a few American countries; see the Tourspain link below for more info.
  • However, do not hesitate to go to any healthcare facility should you be injured or seriously ill, as it would be illegal for them not to treat you, even if you are uninsured.
  • Though most foreigners tend to think Spain is a warm place, it can be terribly cold in winter, especially in the Central Region and in the North, and in some places it is also rainy in summer. Remember to travel with adequate clothes.
  • In summer, avoid direct exposure to sunlight for long periods of time to prevent sunburn and heatstroke. Drink water, walk on the shady side of street and keep a container of sun cream (suntan lotion) handy.

Language spoken in Cartagena, Spain

Unsurprisingly, the official and universal language used in Spain is Spanish (español), but it is more complicated than that. It is part of the Romance family of languages (others include Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Italian, Occitan, French, and Romanian) and is one of the main branches of that family. Many people, especially outside Castille, prefer to call it Castilian(castellano).

In addition to the native languages, English and French are commonly studied in school. While most younger Spaniards have studied English in school, due to a lack of practice and exposure, proficiency is generally poor, and most people will not know more than a few basic words. If you are lost, your best bet would generally be young urban people. To improve your chances of being understood, stick to simple words and avoid long sentences.

That being said, airlines, major hotels and popular tourist destinations usually have staff members who speak an acceptable level of English, and particularly in popular beach resorts such as those in the Costa del Sol, you will find people who are fluent in several languages. English is also generally more widely spoken in Barcelona than in the rest of the country. As Portuguese and Italian are closely related to Spanish, if you speak either of these languages, locals would be able to puzzle you out with some difficulty, and as long as you speak slowly, you won't need an interpreter for the most part.

Castillian Spanish differs from the Latin American varieties in pronunciation and other details. There is also a pronoun ("vosotros", literally "you others", used to address a group of two or more people in the second person) and its associated verb conjugations, rarely used in Latin American Spanish. However, all Latin American varieties are easily understood by Spaniards, and are recognized simply as different versions of one language by the Royal Spanish Academy, the barometer for all things Spanish language. While some Spaniards believe theirs is the more 'pure' version of Spanish, most Spaniards recognize the reality that there is no 'pure' Spanish, even within their own country.

French is the most widely understood foreign language in the northeast of Spain, like Alquezar and Cap de Creus (at times even better than English), as most travelers there come from France.

Locals will appreciate any attempts you make to speak their language. For example, know at least the Castilian for "good morning" (buenos días) and "thank you" (gracias).


6:56 pm
June 18, 2019


27.33 °C / 81.194 °F
sky is clear

23.18 °C/74 °F
overcast clouds

22.55 °C/73 °F
sky is clear

21.17 °C/70 °F
scattered clouds

21.99 °C/72 °F
broken clouds



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