Summer is in full swing as school's out and July ramps up the heat. The municipal swimming pools will be open for July and August, so make the most of these excellent facilities.
There's no excuse for feeling listless and lifeless (you're confusing July with August!); fun in the sun is your goal. You can choose your personal label here in NW Murcia: party-animal; music-lover; culture-vulture; foodie; wine-taster; sports-mad; craft-aficionado; nature-addict; or mix and match – there's something for everyone at venues near you.
Remember to make good use of each tourist office for latest information and booking advice if necessary – website address and telephone contact details below.
T: 968 652 244
Sunday 3rd – the morning Artisan Market (10am-2pm) features the skills of wood turning and carving with plenty of local products for sale in the Plaza Vieja and the Plaza del Castillo. There's always a good choice of genuine products at this regular monthly El Zacatin market.
Sunday 3rd – Free Guided Visits (in Spanish) of the town are a good way to explore the history: book your place at the tourist info point set up in the market place, 15 minutes before each departure at 11am, midday or 1pm.
T: 968 745 325
The celebrations in honour of the saint martyrs Abdon and Sennen take place in the last week of July and include the Saints' procession, an open-air dance at Barrio de los Santos, and bullfights at the bullring, La Caverina.
On the third Sunday of each month, there is a morning Craft Market in the Esperanza Sanctuary square.
T: 968 702 424
Sunday 17th – a Free Guided Visit (in Spanish) of the historical quarter over one and a half hours, starting from in front of the Castillo y Basilica de la Vera Cruz at 11.15am. There may be some English speakers and leaflets and info boards are in English. The route is very visual and a good way to familiarise yourself with the town. Book through the tourist office website or phone and for advice on parking/footwear.
T: 968 723 550
The first week focuses on celebration fiestas to honour Saint John the Baptist, including a fair, concerts and live music acts.
Saturdays & Sundays - The Archaeological City of Begastri is opened for tours at 10.10am, 11.15am and 12.20pm. Cost per person 2€.
Another weekend venue is the Tourism Activity Park, for all ages, with campsite and activities which include horse riding, paintballing, assault course and Quidditch pitch (ref Harry Potter – if you've been living in a cave for many years!). More info at www.cotodelasmaravillas.com
Sunday 31st – a Family Nature Walk (in Spanish) to Sierra de la Punta and the ancient town of El Portillo close to a natural gorge facing the river valleys of Benamor and Argos. It's an easy 6km walk of about 3 hours. Meet at Explanada Centro Tecnológico del Mármol close to the motorway west exit at 8pm and then follow the leader in your car. Max 2 children per adult and bring drinks and snacks.
T: 968 780 23
If you're a connoisseur of wine and music (silly question?), Jumilla's bodegas play host to a blend of wines and live music as follows:
Tickets are 23€ pp to include a visit of the bodega, glass of wine, the concert, nibbles and tasting; (arrive 1 hour after the start time to miss the visit).
Here's where they're happening and when:
Sat 2nd at 8pm Bodegas BSI www.bsi.es 657 342 344
Sat 16th at 8pm Bodegas Hacienda del Carche www.haciendadelcarche.com 600 479 005
Sat 23rd at 8pm Bodegas Xenysel www.xenysel.com 617 290 171
Fri 29th at 10pm Vinoteria Los Chilines www.loschilines.com 968 780 710.
Or search on www.rutadelvinojumilla.com
T: 968 730 208
Fiesta fun in honour of Cristo del Rayo between the 11th and 17th of this month which includes the running of the bulls will keep you on your toes. Check out the website for days and times of the bull runs. Various other activities going on all week.
For young family members (fluent in Spanish) keen on archaeology, Mula council is running a series of workshops this month aimed at two age groups: 6-9 years and 10-16 years. Workshops cost 7€ and are from 5pm to 8pm. Information and registration via the Ayuntamiento on 968 637 510.
T: 968 358 749
Friday 1st – The stars are shining bright to kick-off July: Anastacia is on stage at the Cuartel de Artilleria, the old military barracks, at 10.30pm. Tickets 36€ from ticketmaster.es, at El Corte Ingles and compralaentrada.com
T: 968 754 104
Culture-vultures know about Yecla - do you need to tick this box? Here you'll find a wealth of history, architecture, mythical legends and of course traditional dishes and glorious wines. Don't miss out!