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Day Out Cartagena City
Cartagena has over 12 museums, 10 buildings of interest, 4 noteworthy churches and a whole host of monuments not to mention the archaeological sites. You can take the very informative Tourist Bus or perhaps sail out to sea on the Tourist Boat to get to know more about its history. The city became great during Roman times, when Hannibal set off from it with his elephants on his journey to Rome, and it has been the base for the Spanish Navy since the start of the 18th century. Take some time to discover the narrow characterful streets of the old town or relax at one of the bars, cafes and restaurants on the waterfront. A cruise ship may even be visiting, as Cartagena’s port is the third deepest in the world.
Places of Interest in Cartagena
- Tourist Office: more information about the museums, churches and monuments, a summary of which is after the Ideas of things to do in Cartagena section. Remember that most museums are closed on a Monday and for siesta which is generally 14.00-16.00 in the winter and 14.00-17.00 in the summer.
- Tourist Bus: 30 minute journey taking in the main places of interest with a narrative about the area. Tickets cost 4.75€ per adult. The bus only operates during the summer months of June, July, August, September between 10.00-19.00 and is closed at all other times except during fiestas.
- Boat Trips: 40 minute journey around the harbour with narrative about the area. Tickets cost 5.75€ per adult, the boat runs daily from 10.30-19.30 during July, August and September, it runs Tuesday-Sunday 10.30-18.30 during March, April, May, June, October and November and is closed at all other times except during festivities.
- Beach: Cala Cortina is the closest beach, it is really a small cove with a restaurant and stunning scenery.
- Marina: chic and sophisticated, lined with cafes and restaurants.
- Shops: many boutique style shops as well as the usual collection of well known high street names including the El Corte Ingles department stores.
- Parks: Parque Torres for a bit of greenery within the city limits on the way up to the castle with stunning views over the marina.
- Cartagena Football Stadium: watch Cartagena's football team play their home matches.
- Train Station: trains inland to Murcia and the Mar Menor.
Ideas of things to do in Cartagena
- To get to know the city in one day we suggest starting from the underground car park beside the marina (charged for by length of stay) with a trip on the tourist boat to receive a good introduction to this fascinating city. After a spot of lunch follow our Cartagena city walking route to discover some of its impressive buildings. End the day with a well deserved cerveza or vino on the promenade opposite the marina.
- Park at the marina (charged for length of stay) and start your day with a trip around the city on the Tourist Bus. The narrative on the bus will tell you all about Cartagenas fascinating history and introduce you to most of its many museums. Afterwards walk to the top of Conception hill through the Parque Torres or, for a more sedate option take the lift gangway have a tour around the Castle of Conception (charge) for a complete history on Cartagena and some great views of the city. Then treat yourself to a late lunch when the shops and museums close for siesta.
- Cartagena has more than 12 museums for you to explore so there is something for everyone and some of the museums are free! The Roman Theatre which was only discovered in 1987 is a firm favourite, but there are many others to try, so spend the morning discovering some of them and then drive the short distance to Cartagenas only beach, Cala Cortina where there is a restaurant or bring your own picnic. The journey takes you past the industrial harbour, stopping at the viewpoint for a great photo back towards the city.
- Watch one of Cartagena's Football Club home games. The Spanish are very passionate about their football, like all of the European nations, so enjoy the atmosphere at the ground and then spend some time in the city.
- Visit Cartagena by train from Balsicas, Torre Pacheco or for a picturesque journey from Los Nietos on the shores of the Mar Menor. The train station is opposite the main tourist office.
The Tourist Office for information about the museums and other places of interest
- National Museum of Underwater Archaeology ARQUA: large collection of artifacts from shipwrecks which mainly detail the history of trade.
- Naval Museum CIM: impressive collection of models of ships, maps and a room dedicated to Isaac Peral.
- Roman Theatre Museum: discovered by chance in 1987, the theatre has been impressively restored.
- Military Museum: located inside the artillery headquarters it houses the largest collection of artillery in Spain.
- Centre for the Interpretation of the Punic Rampart Museum: showing remains of the Punic city wall dating back to 200BC.
- The House of Fortune Museum: the former home of a prosperous Roman merchant makes up part of the underground city.
- Augusteum Museum: remains of two public buildings used as meeting place for the priest of the cult of Emperor Augustus part of the underground city.
- Decumanus Museum: the site of the main thoroughfare through the city during Roman times.
- Centre of Interpretation of the History of Cartagena: situated on top of Conception hill, displays info about the history of the city including a good video, great views from here over the city.
- Civil War Shelter Museum: tunnels into Conception hill completed at the end of the civil wall, now houses displays and information about the war.
- Panoramic Lift: Glass lift to the top of Conception hill.
- Municipal Archaeological Museum: base for all archaeological activity in the city, the museum is situated on a Roman necropolis.
- Aguirre House: this intriguing building houses the regional museum of modern art.
- Christmas Fort: building that occupies an imposing location at the mouth of the bay.
- Autopsy Theatre: this fascinating building is a museum of medicine and chronicles the history throughout time in Cartagena.
- Carmen Conde Antonio Oliver Museum: housed in 'the Ramón Alonso Luzzy' Cultural Centre is furniture and equipment from the former living room and office, as well as the invaluable archives-library of this local writer.
- Church of Santo Domingo: recently restored it has a stunning alter piece of multi coloured wood.
- Church Santa Maria de Gracia: started in the 18thcentury the façade is still unfinished.
- Church of El Carmen: home to the order of barefoot Carmelites.
- Caridad Church: the former church of the Caridad hospital, it has an impressive interior with several sculptures by Salzillo.
- Buildings: include City Hall, Campus Muralla del Mar, Midshipman’s Barracks, Arsenal Gate, Naval Headquarters Palace, Railway Station, Maestre house, Clares House, Cervantes House, Casino, Llagostera House, Grand Hotel, Pedreno House, Dorda house, Zapata House, Urban Expansion Company House, Regional Assembly.
- Archaeological Sites: include Hill of Molinete, Byzantine Rampart, Roman Colonnade and Torreciega.
- Statues & Monuments: include Pearl Submarine, Carlos II Rampart, Heros de Santiago de Cuba and Cavite.