Today we reached Cartagena, the second jewel of our cruise with the Eurodam. Cartagena is located on the southeast coast of Spain. With its ancient archaeological sites, museums and the big defensive port, the city is full of treasures. The cruise terminal is near the promenade in downtown and within five finutes you can reach the city center by foot. Despite overcast skies, we were looking forward to the Spanish city yet unknown to us.
After breakfast we left the cruise ship to discover the city. When you stand in front of the ship, you just have to walk some steps along the promenade leading to the left to reach the pedestrian zone in the city center and to the right to the National Museum of Maritime Archaeology and the castle La Conception. Directly in front of us we saw the impressive city walls, which Charlemagne III. built to protect the military base in Cartagena.
5 things you should not miss in Cartagena
Discover the port of Cartagena
The port of Cartagena is a famous naval port and is the largest naval base in the Mediterranean. The surroundings of the port area offer a lot to discover: an impressive port facility, the Naval Museum (free entry) as well as the many monuments and the submarine Original of Isaac Peral, a Spanish submarine pioneer. The submarine itself stayed in the harbor until it was brought to the naval Museum. In addition, there is the National Museum of Maritime Archaeology (admission fee is 3 Euros). If you want, you can spend the entire day by exloring the port area.
You can also enjoy a wonderful view of the port area by going on a boat tour. If you leave the Eurodam and walk to the right on the harbor promenade, there is a ship leaving every hour from 11 am for a boat trip (60 minutes cost € 5.75). You can also combine the boat trip with visiting the fort Fuerte de Navidad (total price is 8 Euros for 120 minutes). In this fort you can learn more about the citiy’s fortifications throughout the history. After we walked for a while along the harbor, we turned left from the ship to the city center.
Stroll through the town in Cartagena
The pedestrian area of Cartagena is not particularly big, but it has many beautiful cafes and shops and offers many architectural highlights. At the beginning of the pedestrian zone you will find the Town Hall, which is also a tourist information. Here we got free maps. On the map, the Jugendstil buildings were marked and all other attractions were briefly explained.
We went from the Town Square straight through the Calle Mayor to Plaza Espana. In the Calle Mayor and the side streets there are many architectural highlights. We loved the typical white balconies on the houses and the many benches with figures in the pedestrian area. You should definitely pay attention to the architectural sights.
Observe your surroundings in a café oder a restaurant
Strolling through the streets of Cartagena, we discovered many cafes and restaurants. We decided to stay in a restaurant called Bar Carlos III in the Calle San Miguel and tried a bread with Spanish ham (Serrano). It was very delicious and we highly recommend it. There was also free wifi and you could wonderfully watch your surroundings while eating your bread in the pedestrian area. That way you can get an insight into the daily life in the city. After this break we went to the first archaeological site.
Visit an archaeological site
You can visit many different archaeological sites in Cartagena. We wanted to visit the Parque Archqueologico Molinete. This site is situated on a small hill near the pedestrian zone. Since it was already quite warm, we chose take the escalator. There was only one access point with escalators at the Calle San Fernando. Fortunately we discovered it on our city map. That way we didn’t have to walk up the stairs. At the top we walked along a gravel road. Here were several very nice playgrounds and viewpoints.
You can visit this archaeological site for free. From here we could enjoy the view of the Roman Forum and we got a first impression of the city from above. We also saw the famous castle La Concepcion. This castle was our next destination. We walked down the path to the castle.
Enjoy the city view from the castle La Concepción
The castle La Concepcion dates back to the 11th century and was built on the same named hill. Inside is the Museum of History of Cartagena. The castle La Concepcion can be reached either on foot via a rather steep path or by using the panoramic elevator. When you reach the Calle Gisbert, you can take the panoramic elevator. Directly near the panoramic elevator in Calle Gisbert was a small ticket office. Here we bought tickets for the panoramic elevator. A trip cost 2 Euros. Once at the top, you pass a metal bridge to reach the castle.
The entrance to the castle La Concepcion including a visit of the museum costs € 3.75 (with elevator € 4.25). The castle is open from 10 am to 7 pm. First we went to the right at the end of the bridge to take a picture from the amphitheater. Then we walked past the castle to the view point. The view from here is amazing. You can enjoy the view of Cartagena and the harbor.
We enjoyed visiting the archaeological sites and the view of many beautiful buildings downtown. We also saw the Eurodam from almost 70 meters above. On the way down we also saw two pretty peacocks that ran through the grounds.
With these many impressions we returned to the ship and were looking forward to dinner. That night we wanted to try the Pinnacle Grill. Read our next blog post to find out more.
If you want to walk this tour, you can see the individual highlights on our map: