We started our day trip to Cartagena by heading outside the town to the fortress overlooking it. It turns out this is quite a long drive away up a narrow, snaking road. Once at the top there is an awful car park which pretty much requires a 4×4 to get into, so much so we ended up parking just on the edge of it. The impressive fort was built between 1933 and 1936 to prevent any hostile invasion on that area of coastline. The Bateria de Castillitos blends into its background so as to avoid being noticed from afar but it does have a couple of large giveaways- the massive guns! Below the fort is a labyrinth of underground passageways where all the internal workings of the weaponry was kept. It is pitch black inside but with a torch/ phone light we were able to find our way through. The views from the fortress are magnificent and as it is free of charge to walk around I would highly recommend it.
After we had finished up on the hill top we drove back down and then along the coastline into the actual city of Cartagena. Here we sat by the marina to have some lunch. The food was cheap, touristy and really sub-par. The setting was nice, the food sadly not so much.
For our last stop of the day we went to the entrance of the Roman amphitheatre. This historical monument was originally built between 5 and 1 BC but after having a market put over the top was not discovered until 1988 and excavations did not finish until 2003. This has made it one of the most important archaeological finds of recent times. It has a small entrance fee, just 6 Euro for an adult, and for this price you get to go through a small museum and then into the theatre itself. It is clear to see where is original and where has been restored but this in no way detracts from the spectacle of the place. It may not be the Colosseum but there are fewer tourists and it is well worth a visit.
I found Cartagena much more pleasant than Murcia which we visited earlier in the week and would much rather make the effort to go here.
What do you think? Have you been to Cartagena? Any tips on where to visit?