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Nature

Nature
lour in the landscape

and diversity of the Region of Murcia is not only reflected in its multiple cultural traditions. It is particularly noticeable in the wealth of natural habitats, in the number of fascinating spots that we can find both on the coast and inland. It has often been said that while one Murcia Region ´looks towards the sea´ a second one ´faces inland´. All in all, it can in general be asserted that the Region of Murcia offers a wide range of activities which bring you into contact with nature.

The coast is not only a paradise for lovers of water sports and the traditional sun-and-sea seeking holidaymakers; here the visitor can also find places of special ecological interest like the San Pedro del Pinatar salt lagoons - which border on the province of Alicante - or the Calblanque nature reserve, nestling on the Mediterranean coastline close to La Manga and the seaside town of Cabo de Palos.
Almond Blossom in Murcia - February 2007

The interior also offers a mosaic of nature conservation areas and picturesque landscapes: from the Natural Park of Sierra Espuña to the El Valle Nature Reserve; from natural sanctuaries of ecological interest like Sierra de la Pila (Fortuna, Abarán, Blanca and Molina) or the Sierra del Carche (Jumilla), to the Revolcadores massif (Moratalla); or beauty spots like the Fuentes del Marqués springs (Caravaca) or the Salto de la Novia (Ojós). Travelling inland, visitors will also discover places of singular beauty such as lakes, reservoirs and water-courses, where they will be able to practise a variety of outdoor activities and sports in resorts fully-equipped with all the necessary services, or allow themselves to be carried away by the lure of routes leading to key natural or cultural locations throughout the region, like the Vía Verde (Green Way), a 48 km-long pathway built on a disused railway, connecting the towns of Baños de Mula and Caravaca de la Cruz. The Natural Heritage of the Region of Murcia awaits you.


Protected Natural Areas
Unspoilt beauty

It may be surprising that just eleven thousand square kilometres can encompass such an enormous environmental variety, but that is exactly what the Region of Murcia, half-way between the great influences of Europe and Africa, offers with its contrasting countryside. One can quickly pass from the arid basins of the southern peninsular, to the tree-covered areas of the inland mountains, or from the green fertile fields which line the River Segura to the Mediterranean washed coastline. These are the conditions which create the unusual natural ecosystem which means that the Region of Murcia contains a full network of protected natural areas and a wide selection of flora and fauna of universal interest. Among other things to be found in this network the marshes, salt flats, numerous coastal landscapes and the most representative mountain landscapes stand out.

Environment


Footpaths
The secrets of the road

The Murcia Region offers endless possibilities for hikers. You can walk for hours along the old miners' and fishermen's paths bordering the coast, between Cabo de Palos and Portmán, Cartagena and the Bay of Mazarrón or in the Natural park of Calnegre and Cabo Cope, never losing sight of the vast blue expanse of the Mediterranean.

Inland, Sierra Espuña and the Pila and Lavia mountain ranges provide interesting routes and sufficiently dense pine forests as to protect you from the summer heat. In Espuña we recommend the climb up the Morrón de Alhama and the Fuente del Hilo, the route from Aledo to the Collado de Bermejo, and the path across the Leyva valley. However, the largest and most interesting natural park area must surely be the Moratalla mountains, with their abundant vegetation and the added extra of having one of the Region's few permanently flowing rivers: the River Alhárabe. To visit this the "lung" of the Region, one of the routes to follow is up the valley from the Puerta to the district of La Risca. Another is the climb to the summit of Revolcadores (2,021 m), the highest point in the Region, from Cañada de la Cruz; or the Villafuerte (1,750 m), from Calar de la Santa; or the Buitre (1,428 m), from Moratalla. Another walking option is along the long-distance route G.R.7, which runs through the north of the Region. It enters the Murcia Region from Pinoso (Alicante Province) and crosses the vineyard-covered flatlands of Jumilla into the municipality of Calasparra, and from there to the mountains of Moratalla. After crossing the Calar de la Santa and rambla de la Rogativa the path enters the Province of Granada at Puebla de Don Fadrique.

Near Murcia capital the natural park of El Valle and Carrascoy offers walkers a whole host of footpaths.

Caves
Hidden charm

Nearly all the caves in the Murcia Region are formed by limestone or dolomite, which results in the large number of cavities catalogued. The longest-stretching cave is the Cueva del Puerto, in Calasparra, in which some 5 kilometres have been mapped. Some of the caverns are open for guided tours; the rest can be explored by groups of cavers accompanied by guides. As far as vertical drop is concerned, the Region's deepest cave is the Destapada, in Isla Plana (Mazarrón), which goes down 230 m. Others of note are the Torreta (-175 m), in the Revolcadores massif; the Buitre (-106 m), in the massif of the same name (Caravaca); the Talayón (-152 m), in Lorca; and the Caneja, near Barranda, which is 220 metres long and 99 deep.