Arriving in Cartagena by cruise ship you’ll be met by two arms creating the bay, making it one of the safest harbours in Spain. For details on the cruise ships entering Cartagena harbour take a look at this site: http://www.apc.es/general/apc13c.asp Ships from around the world dock here; P&O Cruises, Saga Shipping, The Yachts of Seabourn, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line and Thomson Island Cruises. Some of these boats disgorge thousands of people for a few hours into the beautiful city of Cartagena. Make sure you make the most of your time here with a little research first.
Discover the highlights of Cartagena, originally settled in 223BC, the city has flourished under Roman, Muslim and Arab rule. Walk up to the Concepción Castle, enjoy panoramic views over the city and the harbour, walk along the sea wall to reach the Town Hall Square (Ayuntamiento) and the main street and visit the archaeological site of Muralla Punica, the remains of the old wall that protected the city during Carthaginian occupation.
The old town of Cartagena is limited by five small hills (Molinete, Monte Sacro, Monte de San José, Despeñaperros and Monte de la Concepción). In the past there was an inner sea between the hills called the Estero that eventually dried up. On this site the Ensanche (expansion or new town) was built at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The main road is Paseo de Alfonso XIII, to the south of which lie most areas of interest, including the city’s port (pedestrianised area) and tourist sites. The majority of tourist attractions have a maritime theme, perhaps the most obvious example being the submarine from 1888, which was installed at the port end of the main pedestrianised shopping area but has now been moved to the Cartagena Naval Museum.
There is a naval museum, an underwater archaeology museum and (although not open to the public) a large arsenal down by the port. Near the bullring there’s a recently re–discovered Roman amphitheatre.
Cartagena is full of surprises and excellent places to eat, shop and spend an hour. For more information get the Cartagena City Guide.