Cartagena is a Mediterranean city and naval station located in the Region of Murcia, in southeastern Spain. It is the second largest city in the Region after the city of Murcia.
Cartagena has been the capital of the Spanish Navy in the Mediterranean since the arrival of the Bourbon dynasty in the 18th century. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and naval shipyard.
The Old Town is limited by five small hills which surround it. In the past, there was however an inner sea between the hills called the Estero that eventually dried up, and it was on this site that the city of Cartagena was built at the beginning of the 20th Century. It's watery past is still marked by the crossing of several watercourses, some of which go deep into the urban areas.
Cartagena generally has a warm, semi-arid climate. Its location next to the Mediterranean ocean moderates the temperature. The annual average temperature is around 20°C, with the coldest month being January with an average of 12°C. In August, the warmest month, the average temperature is 26°C. The wind is an important climatic factor in this region.
Cartagena’s coastal mountains have a huge concentration of botanical bio diversities of the Iberian Peninsula, with both European and African species present, due almost entirely to the local climate.
To the north east of Cartagena is Mar Menor, is a salty lagoon separated from the Mediterranean sea by a sand bar some 22 km in length and is of considerable environmental importance.
Thanks to its position on the Mediterranean, Cartagena has been inhabited by many different peoples over the centuries, all of which have left their mark on its rich cultural heritage during it's history. There are many things to see, from Archaeological sites through to Baroque and Neo-classical buildings. There are also a number of sites of Roman origins.
Although the city itself is basically a port. Cartagena holds the distinction of being the Spanish town with the most beaches, many with prestigious awards. These beaches are Cala Cortina, Islas Menores, playa Honda beach, Mar de Cristal, Cala del Pino, Cavanna beach, Barco Perdido beach, El Galúa beach, Levante beach and La Gola beach. The wild El Portús beach is also near Cartagena’s municipal district.
Cartagena is not just history and beaches, it has a wealth of historic gardens, monuments, museums and of course, some great restaurants. The nearest major airport to Cartagena is 'Murcia-San Javier', which is closer to Murcia city, and about 25 km from the centre of Cartagena.