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Nine things you need to know before moving to Murcia

Nine things you need to know before moving to Murcia
Amazing views from the Batería de Castillitos on the outskirts of the Murcian city of Cartagena. Photo: Pablo Cabezos
You don’t hear a lot about Murcia. Sandwiched between Alicante and Andalusia, the region is often overlooked by those wanting to relocate to Spain. Former Murcia resident Conor Faulkner has the lowdown on what to expect before buying a home or moving there.

If you’re looking for Mediterranean coastline, orchards and olive groves between the mountains, medieval castles and traditional Spanish villages, Murcia could prove to be a hidden gem.

However, there are a few other facts you should keep in mind:

Like the rest of southern Spain, Murcia is sizzling hot – Temperatures can top 40C in the summer, and it very rarely rains. During the summer months locals don’t leave the house during the afternoon, getting everything done in the morning and at night to avoid the dry heat. A cold winter in Murcia is considered 10C, with temperatures occasionally reaching the high tens or early twenties.

In Murcia the accent is as fierce as the heat –  Famous, or infamous, among other Spaniards for the accent, like in Andalucia Murcianos often drop the end of words all together –  particularly the D’s and S’s. This can be confusing when you first arrive, but after a few months you’ll be calling people ‘acho’ – a diminutive form of the Spanish ‘muchacho.’

Not just countless Mediterranean beaches – Known as the Costa Cálida, Murcia boasts over 250km of sandy beaches and although there are more touristy spots, most lack the foreign presence you get in nearby Alicante and Andalusia. But the region also offers nature lovers everything from canyons, to deserts, rivers and rock formations to explore. 

Mount Arabí cave is one of the hidden gems Murcia has to offer. Photo: Antonio López/Pixabay
Mount Arabí cave is one of the hidden gems Murcia has to offer. Photo: Antonio López/Pixabay

House prices are some of the cheapest in Spain – The city of Murcia, the region’s capital, is one of Spain’s cheapest, and in the region’s smaller towns you can rent two or three bedroom apartments for as little as €300 a month, or buy property for €600/sqm. 

The capital city aside, most Murcianos drive – If you opt for a small town, having a car will probably be essential as public transport in the region is… unpredictable, to say the least. The vast majority of towns in the region are without connections, and many don’t have train stations. Those that have bus stations often aren’t serviced by national companies, and if they are there are usually one or two departures to cities like Murcia, Alicante and Valencia a day.

Murcia Cathedral and Puente Viejo in the Murcian capital. Photo: Ricardo Arevalo/Flickr
Murcia Cathedral and Puente Viejo in the Murcian capital. Photo: Ricardo Arevalo/Flickr

Murcianos are very friendly and welcoming – If you move inland from the Costa Calida into one of Murcia’s many mountain towns, you will be helped and hosted in a way you rarely see in cities, nor in the twenty-first century much at all. In town for a day trip? You’ll probably be shown around by a local. Moving in next door? You’ll be invited for lunch and given baskets of oranges and lemons, and bottles of olive oil. Murcianos are some of the friendliest people in Spain, provided you can understand them.

Murcia can be outdated – That being said, for all the old world charm and hospitality, some may find life in small town Murcia somewhat old-fashioned or conservative – Whether it be the lack of public transport infrastructure, international chains and brands we’ve become accustomed to, or perhaps even a political opinion not heard in bigger cities for a couple of decades, in small Murcian towns life seems to be a few decades behind, for better or worse. If you want to experience traditional, small town Spain, consider one of Murcia’s northern towns or villages.

Playa Lunar is one of countless amazing beaches and coves Murcia has to offer. Photo: Dr Zito/Flickr
Playa Lunar is one of countless amazing beaches and coves Murcia has to offer. Photo: Dr Zito/Flickr

Murcia no existe – Murcia, and Murcianos, are often the butt of Spanish jokes. ‘Murcia doesn’t exist’ or ‘Murcia is Africa’ are common jibes to hear directed at Murcianos, as well as gags about lemons and olive oil and farmland. Due to their kind-hearted nature, many Murcianos couldn’t care less and take it in their stride, laughing off the ‘city-types.’

Jobs – Although falling recently, Murcia is historically one of Spain’s regions with the highest levels of unemployment, and is still above the national average. This is particularly true among young people (where it hovers between 15 percent and 20 percent) and there aren’t a great deal of jobs around outside of the capital. If you are considering moving to Murcia, it might be best to make the move with savings ready, or to consider teaching English as locals are keen to learn. Average annual gross salaries in Murcia are €16,828 in 2021, one of the lowest in Spain. 

By Conor Faulkner

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