Warm, relaxed, scenic and affordable, who wouldn’t want to live in the province of Murcia and its aptly named Mediterranean coast. But where should you retire to the Costa Cálida, what will a home cost and what will you spend your time doing!? We went to investigate.
The Costa Cálida or “Warm Coast”, stretches for 250 kilometres and includes quaint towns, grand resorts and the beautiful Mar Menor, a saltwater lagoon which was made a World Heritage Site in 1994.
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It enjoys a wonderful, dry microclimate all year, which is perfect for people suffering from rheumatism, arthritis and asthma. It has 3,000 hours of sunshine every year – twice the average in the UK – which does wonders for your mental health too. Even in the depths of winter daytime temperatures average 15-20°C. And many of its beaches are Blue Flag, meaning that there is access for the physically disabled.
The landscape is varied with long and sandy beaches, high cliffs and little inlets. La Manga – the sleeve – is a 22 kilometre strip of land lying between the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor. It’s also the name of a long-standing golf and leisure resort, with thousands of beautiful homes in lush landscaping and with a private beach. It’s very popular with retired sports stars! Golf features a lot on this stretch of Spanish coast, with 10 golf clubs to choose from.
Getting to the Costa Cálida
You can probably get away without a car here, as if you fly to Alicante Airport, there are buses to most resorts. There are plenty of flights from the UK with budget airlines from different parts of the country including London Gatwick, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, EastMidlands.
Alternatively, you can fly to Murcia-Corvera airport which is served by Ryanair and Jet 2. British airports with flights to Corvera here include Bristol, London Gatwick, London Southend, Birmingham, Bournemouth, East Midlands, Glasgow Prestwick, Leeds Bradford, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester.
For those who prefer not to fly, a car journey from Dover to Murcia will take around 20 hours, giving ample opportunity to stop overnight in France or in Spain and to discover somewhere new. And since by the time you’ve lived here a few years the HS2 should be built, it’s worth bearing in mind that Spain built its high speed railways a decade or so ago. You can get to Barcelona in one day from London, then catch a direct train from Barcelona to Murcia which takes about seven hours.
Where to retire on the Costa Cálida
Once a fishing village, like so many of Spain’s coastal resorts, it has seen many peoples come and go from the Romans to the Moors. Today it is a spa town visited by citizens of many countries. Owing to its popularity, there are excellent healthcare facilities including a university hospital nearby.
The town is a 30-minute car journey from Murcia airport and lies by the Mar Menor. The beaches are linked by a delightful promenade, perfect for a stroll as the sun goes down. If you enjoy watching water sports, this area is renowned for regattas as the sea is calm and stays warm until the autumn.
Two-bedroom apartments start at €80,000 and a town houses with pools and three bedrooms from around €130,000
Foodies can enjoy seafood and game, as well as rice and a variety of local dishes in the many restaurants and bars by the beach and in the town. The Tuesday market is always very busy.
Property in Los Alcazares tends to be a little pricier than in other towns along the coast. That’s partly because of its proximity to an airport, partly because it is a spa town and also because it is by the Mar Menor. Two-bedroom apartments start at €80,000 and a duplex with three bedrooms will cost upwards of €150,000. Town houses with pools and three bedrooms are priced from €130,000 while a detached villa is upwards of €220,000.
La Manga Resort
Sucina and Balsicas
Moving inland the property becomes a little more affordable, yet is just a short drive from the beach. A popular area is just inland from the Mar Menor, with the two villages of Sucina and Balsicas offering golf developments as well as village and country properties.
You can buy a lovely detached villa with access to a golf course for little over €100,000, or perhaps this ranch-style home in the countryside for €335,000.
Cartagena is famous for being a major naval base in Spain. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country and has recently undergone renovations to make it tourist and resident friendly. The harbour is very attractive and there is some fine architecture. You’ll enjoy losing yourself down the narrow streets teeming with tapas bars, cafes and restaurants, plus little individual shops selling books, jewellry, shoes and fashion. On the outskirts is the Espacio Mediterràneo, a large shopping centre with cinemas, a bowling alley and restaurants as well as the usual stores.
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One of the city’s jewels is its Roman theatre, only discovered in 1987. It has been restored and you can see plays and music there. Calblanque park is a natural park enjoyed by bird watchers and lovers of nature, where you can take a guided tour to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
A two-bedroom apartment close to all amenities will cost from €124,000 and a three-bedroom villa close to the beach will be in the region of €234,000 up to €1,500,000.
Bolnuevo and Mazarrón
For those who want somewhere quieter and more traditional, have a look at Bolnuevo. It lies 50 minutes’ south of Murcia airport. The town and its surroundings are some of the least over-developed in the region. The charming centre still retains its authenticity but offers everything you need for daily life. In any case, it is just 10 minutes by car to the bustling Puerto de Mazarrón for entertainment, all amenities and shops.
Bolnuevo is surrounded by several natural parks which are perfect for relaxed walks. The town has a pleasant beach with golden sand – famous for its weird rock formations. You’ll find plenty of welcoming places to eat, including a British restaurant. Being so far out on the extremes of southeast Spain, it appeals to a more alternative lifestyle too, with naturist beaches.
A budget of €100,000 will offer a choice of two-bedroom apartments and over €150,000 for a town house. Larger villas with three-plus bedrooms start at €225,000. and can cost up to €520,000.
The water temperature off Águilas is around 15°C even in the depths of winter. That’s what you’ll find off Eastbourne in summer!
The famous Camposol development is nearby, highly popular with British buyers and with a ready-made expat community to make friends with. But it’s not just British, and there are all the amenities and medical facilities nearby that you would need for tear-round living.
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The final stop before we reach the Costa de Almería is Águilas. Set on cliffs above a series of bays, this is an affordable option that’s lively and packed in summer but distinctly quiet in winter. Or at least, they used to be quiet in winter. The opening of the new airport at Corvera has made the journey here a little less onerous, with the 80 kilometres driveable in less than an hour.
The water temperature off Águilas is around 15°C even in the depths of winter. That’s what you’ll find off Eastbourne in summer! So for a healthy, warm and active lifestyle, retire to the Costa Cálida. It really does tick a lot of boxes.