Murcia is one of Spain’s richest comunidades, known fondly as Europe’s orchard or huerta due to it’s long history of agriculture production and exportation. The region’s capital city, of the same name, is Spain’s 7th largest and yet widely overlooked by tourists and Spaniards alike. Veteran language assistant Sienna has learned a thing or two about the city and area since moving there and shares her budgeting tips along with why she has grown to love it.
Name: Sienna Brown
City and Comunidad: Murcia Centro, Murcia
I was placed at an elementary school in a small town called Jumilla that is about 40 minutes outside of Murcia city. I somewhat liked working outside of the center because it gave me an opportunity to know a different part of the region. This year, I’ll be working in a secondary school just on the other side of the river.
Your living situation?
I live in a 4 bedroom (1 bathroom) shared apartment in the center of the city. My neighborhood has a great location and is walking distance from almost anywhere you’d need to go. When I moved last summer the kitchen had just been renovated so we have an electric stove, new counters, etc. We also don’t need to use gas for hot water which is fantastic.
My room is really spacious and fits a king-sized bed, couch, wardrobe, two desks with tons of floor space left over. I also have a balcony and the apartment gets tons of natural light.
How did you find your flat?
I actually found my flat before arriving to Spain through a great company called Instituto Hispanico. I got to see photos, speak with someone who knows both the city and piso quite well and have everything secured months before I arrived. I know many people prefer to physically see the apartment before signing anything but my situation worked out perfectly.
My rent with wifi included is 195 euros a month, which is a bit on the higher side for prices in Murcia but the space is worth it.
What did you spend on utilities?
On average, I spent about 20 a month on electricity and 20 on water. It normally varies (max 5 euros) each month depending on who else is living in the apartment and usage habits.
What did you spend on groceries?
Per month, I normally spent around 75 to 80 euros on groceries including fresh veggies each week and fresh seafood/meat from time to time. When I’m not purchasing meat, groceries average to around 60 to 65 a month.
Your favorite coffee or breakfast hangout?
My favorite breakfast is definitely Socolá Cafe. I’m a huge cafe junkie and this one is the best in town. They opened February 2015 and have a really modern vibe. I normally get the classic breakfast which includes freshly squeezed OJ, a coffee of your choice (lattes included) and a tostada…. I get the one with salmon and cream cheese. Plot twist: All of that only costs 3 euros!
Nightlife in Murcia:
To be honest, I don’t go out to discos as much as I used to, but with the weather in Murcia, you can find people sitting out at terrazas and drinking all year long. There are a few bars in the University area where you can get beer for pretty cheap, like dos quintos for a euro or una pinta for 1.50!
There’s also some good, low key bars like BizzArt which was great interior design and fun music. Copas are around 6 euros. Most places don’t have an entrance fee which is quite nice.
How did you get around?
To be honest, one of the beautiful things about Murcia is that everything is so accessible. I normally walk everywhere or if I need to, I ride my bike and I can get anywhere in the city within 20 minutes.
For those who need to travel a bit outside of the city center there are bus and tram options with quite frequent schedules. If you’ll take the tram a lot, I suggest buying a bono where you’ll only pay .70 (half the price) for each ride no matter where your destination. Definitely worth it and you only have to pay 1 euro extra the first time to purchase the card.
Your favorite thing about living in Murcia?
My favorite thing about living in Murcia is how relaxed everyone is. There isn’t as much hustle and wear + tear as you’d get living in a big city which makes life pretty nice. People are extremely open and it’s easy to find community here.
I also love how the arts and creative culture is on the rise in Murcia. It’s a bit underground but if you know where to look, you’ll fall in love.
For the most part, I really love everything about it. I think from time to time I miss the hustle and bustle of a bigger city like Madrid or Barcelona (originally coming from NYC) but life here is pretty great.
How easy is it to travel around Spain and Europe from Murcia?
Traveling to other parts of Spain from Murcia via train is quite easy as there is a Renfe station right in town as well as a bus station that goes to all parts of Spain as well as other countries. There is an airport close to Murcia but many people fly from the Alicante airport (around an hour away via bus) to snag cheaper flights. My personal suggestion is taking a trip to Madrid, enjoying a day there and then flying out to get the best flight deals!
Your guilty pleasure purchases:
In Murcia that probably has to be treating myself to different menus del día. The gastronomy here is to die for and I’m a total foodie so I try to treat myself as often as possible. Although I love cooking, there’s something comforting about going to one of my favorite restaurants, chatting with friends and eating great good.
Murcia’s top attractions?
The top attractions are probably the cathedral, the paseo by the river and I personally love the beautiful views you can find biking through the outskirts of town.
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