Alhama de Murcia is one of those towns that you see signposted off the A7 (E15) motorway when you are passing but never get around to visiting. Well, we finally made a special effort and were not disappointed. Pick up a map from the tourist office and do the short walking route around the town to discover its rich history and see some wonderful views along the way.
As you enter the town behind the enormous El Pozo meat processing factory, you’ll notice some enormous and intriguing statues on the roundabouts. You can park near the cemetery to get a better view of them before heading a few more blocks closer to the town centre where you can leave your car and begin your exploring on foot.
The tourist office is located on the main road which runs through the centre of town. Pop in and ask about the walking route through town then just follow the map. It’s straight forward and not particularly energetic, although the hot sun might have you looking for shady spots along the way. First up is the indoor market, and directly opposite a nice pedestrianised street with a couple of fountains – one with ducks (the Jardin de los Patos) and one with seahorses. A little further up is the church dedicated to Saint Lazarus.
Make sure you have enough time to call into the Archaeological Museum. It’s definitely worth the 30-60 minutes it will take you to see everything, and it’s free! Its primary purpose is to show off the old Roman baths which were surprisingly deep underground. The Hotel Balneario was located on the site in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the exhibits do have English explanations, but not all of them, and the video we were shown was only in Spanish. There are some interesting sculptures in the lovely gardens and a Roman mosaic floor has been relocated from the church to the museums internal forecourt. There are also some good views looking up towards the castle.
From the museum the walk will take you to Plaza Vieja with its colourful buildings. From there steps lead up to the Castillo de Alhama and you can get some incredible views on the way up. Unfortunately the castle is undergoing heavy restoration at the moment and isn’t open to the public. A pretty, cobbled street then leads down to the granary of the Marquis de Vélez which dates back to 1755. Look for the coat of arms on the wall.
That street brings you down to the small Martyrs’ Square which tells the tale of five men from the town who were deported to Nazi concentration camps between 1940 and 1945. Only two of them survived the horrors of the camps.
Over the road is the impressive Plaza América. Take some time to wander around and identify all of the flags laid out in mosaics on the floor. It’s quite a challenge! Luckily they all have the country’s names displayed above them.
This walk will leave you feeling thirsty. There are lots of options in Alhama de Murcia but we were so pleased to find Gastrocervecería La Abadía. We had a wonderful menu del dia and a cold beer before returning to the car and heading on our way.