The city of Murcia in south-east Spain deserves to be much better known, but it is in competition with nearby costas, Alacant/Alicante and, above all, Granada. For this reason, most people by-pass Murcia for destinations far more famous. This is a pity. The city has a wonderful cathedral; a compact but lively old quarter; a river lined with attractive buildings; interesting shopping opportunities that defy the chains and the multinationals; pretty squares with tempting bars, cafes and restaurants; and plenty of things a little less ordinary to tempt you into the surrounding suburbs. Excellent train and bus services connect you with the surrounding towns and villages, perhaps the best of the larger settlements being Jumilla, Lorca and Caravaca de la Cruz. Have a week in Murcia with day trips to the aforementioned destinations and your time wiil have been well spent. Oh yes. Just off the main square, the square with the west facade of the cathedral at one end, is one of the best tapas bars in southern Spain.