When you are thinking your options for a semester or two abroad, then some of the beautiful cities in Spain have probably come to mind. While you may have considered a few of the larger cities, such as Barcelona or Madrid, it’s clear that bustling Murcia is also a popular, less-costly option. In this guide, you can learn exactly what opportunities await you, from well-known universities, an exciting culture, places to see and student accommodation in Murcia.
Founded by the Moors in 825, Murcia offers a blend of over 500 years of intricate Islamic architecture, along with museums, old churches, cozy town square and narrow cobblestone streets.
The Autonomous Community of Murcia includes Castile-La Mancha to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, Valencia to the east and Andalusia to the west.
Spain is well-known for its diversity, whether it be its geography or its welcoming culture. While everyone in Murcia typically speaks Spanish, the people of Murcia do it with a bit of a flourish. The particular dialect of Spanish used throughout Murcia includes an accent quite similar to the Andalusian version.
Therefore, if you’re not a fluent Spanish speaker, you might find it a bit more difficult to understand. To use an example, many of the people in Murcia tend to add "ico" or “ica” to the end of some words, like the way many Spaniards use “ito.”
There is also a dialect that is often used in the country, which is called Panocho. It is a mixture of influences from Arabic, Catalan and Aragonese languages.
However, many people also speak English, especially in the popular student areas.
People all across the globe love Spain for its warm summers and mild winters. When you’re living in Murcia, you’ll find that this area stays true to the typical Spanish climate.
During the summer, July will be the warmest month, with temperatures between 27ºC and 35ºC. In the winter, January will be the coldest month, with temperatures around 10ºC. Fortunately, this is also not an area that experiences a lot of rain, so be prepared for clear skies to go along with this temperate weather.
Murcia celebrates numerous public holidays, but the celebration for Easter really stands out. On Good Friday, the "salzillos" procession should not be missed!
During the Spring Fiesta, you should also witness the "Entierro de la Sardina," which translates to the Burial of the Sardine. It hosts a huge parade that people from all over Spain come to see.
However, if you’re looking for a day that truly displays the culture of Murcia for all to see, Holy Tuesday has the "Bando de la Huerta", which has been a tradition for over a century and a half. You can expect delicious regional foods, parades, costumes, folklore and special performances.
Another day to remember is the Virgen de la Fuensanta Pilgrimage, which includes a procession that carries the representation of the virgin out of the cathedral and all the way to the shrine, which is just a bit over five kilometers from Murcia’s city center.
Below is a list of Murcia’s other primary public holidays for 2018:
January 1 - Monday: New Year’s Day - The start of the new year
January 6 - Saturday: Epiphany - Often known as Three Kings’ Day for the presentation of Jesus to the Magi
March 19 - Monday: St. Joseph’s Day - The feast for the patron saint of the Catholic church
March 30 - Friday: Good Friday - The Friday before Easter
May 1 - Tuesday: Workers' Day - Day of rest for most workers, also known as Labour Day
June 9 - Saturday: Murcia Day - Signifies the approval of the autonomous community
August 15 - Wednesday: Assumption Day - Celebrates the assumption of Mary
October 12 - Friday: Spanish National Day - Symbolizes when Columbus first landed in the Americas
November 1 - Thursday: All Saints’ Day - Is a day to commemorate all of the Christian saints
December 6 - Thursday: Constitution Day - Remembers the approval of the Spanish Constitution in 1978
December 8 - Saturday: Immaculate Conception - Day to symbolize the immaculate conception of Jesus
December 25 - Tuesday: Christmas Day - A Christian holiday that reveres the birth of Jesus and offers a time to spend with family
Keep in mind that the banks and a good portion of the businesses in Murcia will be closed on public holidays, so be sure to plan accordingly.