It’s a very straightforward drive to get there and parking was easy, along the sea front in an underground car park which was walking distance from the centre. If you are interested in past civilastions and the mix of times gone by with the present then Cartagena is for you.
Cartagena is a popular port with cruise ships stopping by to allow their passengers to explore this fascinating town which has been inhabited for over two thousand years by many diverse populations. The Roman ruins are popular on the tourist bucket list and our visit clearly answered why. Until recently covered by the local bullring, now the area has been stripped back to show the beauty of the Roman amphitheatre that once stood here. A majestic place that didn’t fail to capture my attention and awe at the grandeur.
We walked around the top on the public footpath and it is easy to make out where the stage once stood; it’s fascinating to see the work taking place restoring it back to it’s previous life. It would be lovely one day to visit Cartagena and see a play carried out on stage as you can in the Verona amphitheatre.
The Roman Theatre is surrounded by modern buildings, churches, apartments and shops all bustling for space, just imagine the view from them. It’s well worth a visit inside but if, like us, you just want a glimpse then this is possible thanks to staircases and walkways leading around the top and down one side.
There are many other traces of the Roman Empire to be found walking around the city including the Barrio del Foro Romano (the Roman baths) and the House of Fortuna which sadly was shut when we got there, it’s a building that was once the home of a wealthy family dating back to 1AD. Check for opening times on the Cartagena Tourist Board website.
There are many different types of architecture in the city from Art Nouveau to contemporary but with a reminder of what used to be. The streets in the centre are pedestrian, it’s lovely to walk around freely in the warm sunshine and there are plenty of squares with bars and bistros dotted around for light refreshments.
We took the lift to the top of the hill and visited the castle at the top, Castillo de la Concepcion, which is home to a fabulous historical display of the town and its history. The views of Cartagena from the top are spectacular.
As you walk around the city there are many interesting pieces on the walls of homes, buildings, churches and more like this prose signed M de Cervantes below.
I loved how this block of flats have such a fabulous view over the port and yet are ordinary homes with the washing hanging out.
One of my favourite photos from Cartagena was taken on my phone and one of those ‘Go and stand there a minute for me’ moments. I was in awe of how BIG this church door was and you can see that by the size of the girls in front.
We walked into a quiet town square, I imagine this place to come alive in the evening but the fact that it was empty did give me the perfect opportunity to take a photo of these enormous trees which must be standing there for years offering shade to those sitting beneath its boughs.
And lastly we walked back towards the car park along the seafront stopping off for an ice cream. We passed by one of Cartagena’s museums, this is the museum of underwater archeology, it has a very contemporary design to the architecture and walking in between the two buildings you see in the photo below, you get a glimpse of some of the pieces on display. Each of those letters are as tall as the girls!
We visited Cartagena on a warm day that was a little cloudy and I can imagine that on a very hot day you would need, a hat, sun cream and a bottle of water. We did find various water fountains around the city to top ours up.
This completes the series of What to see and do in the Mar Menor in Spain, please find my other posts here.