The historical port city of Cartagena is less than 30 minutes drive from La Manga and with its rich cultural heritage, great attractions, museums and monuments is a wonderful place to visit on a day trip. Much of Cartagena's history revolves around it's port, one of the most important and heavily defended ports in the western Mediterranean, evidence of which can be seen in the large defensive cannons strategically placed in elevated positions in the countryside on either side of the city, such as the impressive Portman Guns. For centuries Cartagena has been one of the most important naval bases in Spain and still functions as a naval seaport and shipyard.
With the port dominating the city's coastline there are no central beaches in Cartagena, but hey you have all the beaches you could want in La Manga so get your walking shoes on and spend the day discovering the many attractions of the city. Many of Cartagena's historical buildings can be seen from the bay and a great way to do this is on a sightseeing cruise which takes in the impressive Fortress of Navidad. There are also guided walking tours, and for a taste of the local gastronomy a tapas tour is a rewarding and fun way to see some of the city.
Museums & Landmarks
Throughout the city there are wonderful museums and landmarks to explore such as the Roman Theatre Museum, Conception Castle, Barrio del Foro Romano and the Bateria de Castillitos that was one of the important defences in days of old and is an exciting place to explore for the young ones with a maze of underground tunnels, ammunition store rooms and two huge guns measuring over 10 metres long. It's best to avoid this attraction if you don't have a head for heights as the road up the mountainside is steep and narrow.
Wining & Dining
If you still wish to see more of the city but are feeling peckish then pop into a supermarket or delicatessen, grab some tasty treats and head for one of Cartagena's picturesque parks or plazas. Looking for good value and enjoy both fish and tapas, then you can't beat Bodega la Fuente centrally located on Calle Jara 17 where you can choose from a lovely selection of fish tapas served with a small beer or glass of wine (caña) for less than 2€. The owners have cleverly opened a further tapas bar across the road, La Uva Jumillana that specialises in meat tapas so, if visiting with family or in a group you can enjoy the best of both worlds. For dining with wonderful views, Cartagena's marina boasts a nice selection of bars and restaurants.