1 There is a certain brilliance behind a church designed to be enjoyed from the outside. The Cathedral of Santa Maria is the jewel in Murcia’s architectural town. Built between 14th-18th centuries, it encompasses a variety of architectural styles, most notably a stunning baroque facade which is best viewed from one of the al fresco cafés in Plaza Del Cardenal Belluga. Be sure to venture around the side of the cathedral to sight a long section of stone chain sculpted from a single block of stone by a blind artist.

2 While you’re sat in a café admiring the cathedral, you may as well order something to eat. The region of Murcia, with which the capital shares its name, is renowned for its fresh vegetable produce. But don’t just take their word for it. Tapas is the go for getting the most from your host so ask for zarangollo (stewed courgette, potatoes and onions scrambled with egg) or fried broad beans with chunks of cured ham, all washed down with a little sangria, of course.

3 The name Murcia is derived from the Latin word Murtae (mulberry) in reference to the silk industry which thrived in Murcia between the 16th-18th centuries. Mulberry trees, the staple diet of silk worms, can be seen lining the streets, these days serving as a reminder of this fertile period in history.

4 As the capital of the driest region in Spain, Murcia cops the heat when it comes to the politics of water. Signage around the city points to the drastic shortages facing the region and if you’re visiting in summer, the amount of sand and slime in the Savida River which runs through the city is a good indication of why you should half-flush.

5 For a taste of the city’s high-rolling past, poke your head inside the Casino. Not of the gambling variety, this was where the wealthy men’s business was conducted from 1847 on. Check out the ladies’ parlour and the ridiculously opulent ballroom.

The essentials
Time from London 2.5 hours flying, plus 25-minute drive
Getting there BA flies from Gatwick to San Javier airport, which is a 25-minute drive from the city of Murcia.
What to say Agua para todos” – Water for all.
Red wine and coke: the tipple of choice of uni students here