ETR // Stage 55 // Murcia - Lorca

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  • Murcia - Lorca
  • Radius 100 km
  • 169 km


  • Cartagena Harbour
  • Sierra de la Muela
  • Roldan Tiñoso
  • Bay of Mazarrón
  • Bateria de Castillitos
  • Cope Cape
  • Puntas de Calnegre
  • Calabardina
  • Aguilas
  • Parador Castillo de Lorca
  • Fortaleza del Sol
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Cartagena Coastline

Leave Murcia and take the backroads to Cartagena, a ride of about 50km. Arriving at Cartagena will give you another taste of the Mediterranean Sea, and far from your last. Grab some breakfast or lunch at the harbour in Cartegena before heading southwest along the coastline.

From here, Ride along the coast from Cartegena through the spectacular natural area of the Sierra de la Muela, and Roldan Tiñoso, which extends westwards from the city of Cartagena, to the Bay of Mazarrón. Take a deep breath and inhale the local scents - the vegetation in these mountains is characteristic of a Mediterranean forest as we know it - with Aleppo Pines, Rockrose, Rosemary , Olive groves, Cornicales, Garrigue, Thyme and Crasifolias formations.

The Guns of Mazzarón - Bateria de Castillitos

Visit the ‘Bateria de Castillitos’, an anti-aircraft fortification perched precariously on the edge of Cabo Tiñoso. The enormous guns featured in the 1961 film “The Guns of Navarone”, with gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn. The narrow winding roads to the Bateria de Castillitos are to be taken seriously, and you need to be aware of oncoming traffic on these narrow tracks. Take a moment to enjoy the beautiful scenery and stunning views from this remarkable location. Continue along the coast to Cope Cape and Puntas de Calnegre, a protected area of a great natural beauty.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Explore the small backroads in this arid region

There is a lot to see in this area, so feel free to explore. Known as the “enchanted landscape”, the Bolnuevo Erosions are a curious formation of naturally sculptured rock formations behind the main beach. These curious limestone shapes have been formed over millions of years by wind erosion, and seem almost like modernist sculptures. The white clay of which they consist, is a mixture of silica and aluminium, and is widely used in pottery.

The wind erosion has been made more powerful by the fact that the air carries particles of sand and seawater, and this is what has sculpted the rocks into such a magical landscape, reminiscent to many people of giant mushrooms which seem to defy the laws of gravity. Quite often, the rocks feature as the backdrop for shows and concerts during the local fiestas.

Ride further along the coast, passing Calabardina, to Aguilas, before you head north into the hills towards the beautiful town of Lorca, where we will have a great view ovr the town from Parador de Lorca, on the hill overlooking the city. From here, you can plan your evening/morning in Lorca, or choose to stay up here at the hotel, and explore Lorca on the way home again.

Parador Castillo de Lorca

Parador de Lorca is a ‘Parador Nacional’, and here, you can enjoy delicious food, artisanal beers and magnificent local wines while you take in the excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Built on the site of Lorca Castle, this ‘Parador de Turismo’ offers visitors the chance to embark on a journey through time, with the archaeological site located under the hotel, which is completely integrated into the building. Remnants of the past include a 15th-century synagogue, a Muslim cistern, Almohad walls, and the castle citadel known as the Fortaleza del Sol - The Fortress of the Sun.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Paradores de Turismo de España

Paradores de Turismo is a Spanish state-owned chain of luxury hotels that are usually located in historic buildings or in nature areas with a special appeal, such as restored Castles, Monasteries, Convents, Fortresses, Manor Houses, Palaces as well as some exceptional modern properties. Paradors are located all around Spain, and have a presence in all its provinces except for the Balearic Islands, where a parador in Ibiza is under construction, and Biscay. Its very first parador was inaugurated on 9 October 1928 in Navarredonda de Gredos (Ávila). Every parador has its own restaurant offering the regional gastronomy of its area.

The Parador Network was created with the double objective of promoting tourism in areas that lacked adequate accommodations, and of putting unused large historic buildings to use, for the maintenance of the national heritage. Along its history, the establishments of its network have been branded as Parador, Parador Nacional, Parador de Turismo or Parador Nacional de Turismo in different times. As of 2022, it operates ninety-seven paradors in Spain and one in Portugal, with 5,988 rooms in total. Past motorcycle tours have been based on visiting as many Paradores as you can fit into an itinerary, and this makes for an interesting and deeply immersive tour concept, in itself.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS


  • Dave O'Byrne

  • European Touring Route AS


© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

A medieval fortress and Site of Cultural Interest

A great place to take a breather for a day or two, Castillo de Lorca is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista. At 640m long and 120m wide it is one of the largest castles in Spain, therefore listed as a Site of Cultural Interest.

Archaeological excavations conducted between 1999 and 2011 have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic time, and the existence of an Argaric town that extended from the castle to the actual site of the current town. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir), who ruled seven cities in southeastern Spain, mentioned in the Treaty of Orihuela that was preserved by the Andalusian historian Ibn Adarí in the thirteenth century.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

From abandoned ruins to cultural riches

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. On June 4, 1931, Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument and on March 5 the historic centre of Lorca including the castle was declared a Conjunto Histórico-Artístico (Historic-Artistic Group).

Waking up in the Parador Castillo de Lorca brings a new day and a couple of choices; you could take the morning or a full day exploring Lorca Town, then head back to the hotel to relax and gather energy, for the following days of great riding. Alternatively, spend that energy today, and continue your ride along the ETR heading westwards!

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