Murcia’s Costa Cálida is in full bloom at this time of the year, displaying a vast panorama of spring grandeur. Many areas of the region offer picture-postcard vistas of flowering nature, but one town is particularly dazzling.
In Cieza, “La Floración” (“The Blooming”) is an annual festival of nature that announces the start of spring in stunning style, with local peach, plum and nectarine orchards blossoming in a burst of bright colours.
Located in the northern part of the region, on the border with Albacete, Cieza is the largest peach-producing municipality in Europe, growing more than 130 million kilos every year.
In addition to natural displays, the “La Floración” festivities include open-air artisan markets, tapas trails, sporting competitions, hiking, rafting on the River Segura, photographic workshops, tastings and concerts – showcasing the town’s culture, cuisine and traditions until 22 March.
One current event being held in Cieza (until Sunday 8 March) is SaborArte, the town’s inaugural Gastronomy Fair. Visitors can enjoy tapas and tasting menus and learn how to cook local dishes, while also enjoying live music and DJs.
While springtime shows Cieza at its most spectacular, the area is popular with UK and other tourists throughout the year.
Its Palaeolithic and Neolithic remains are considered unique to the Mediterranean fringe and its cave paintings at Sima de la Serreta have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Climbers and adventure lovers are drawn to the nearby Almadenes Canyon, a gorge with walls hundreds of metres high. It is formed by the River Segura, with crystalline waters and fun-filled descents that are suitable for all ages and abilities.
Spanish Capital of Gastronomy
The SaborArte fair is just one of many events being held held around the region to mark Murcia’s designation as this year’s Spanish Capital of Gastronomy.
Murcia won the honour after presenting an innovative culinary concept for 2020, “La Huerta de los 1,001 Sabores” (“Market Garden of 1,001 Flavours”), comprising 1,001 activities covering all four seasons: “Lemon Winter Colour”, “Eternal Spring Blossoms”, “Live the Summer” and “Autumn with a Glass of Wine”.
The year-long programme includes museum visits, gastronomy routes, fruit and vegetable festivals, healthy cooking workshops and culinary competitions, plus gastronomy days dedicated exclusively to municipalities such as Cieza.
Check out some of the Murcia region’s top restaurants here.