The disabled cruiser visiting Cartagena will discover that tourism for all is one of the primary objectives of Cartagena. They are working to ensure access to the largest number of visitors. At present, their museums and tourist transport offer their visitors with special needs the following facilities:
- All architectural barriers have been eliminated through ramps, lifts and stair lifts in order to allow the best possible views.
- Special toilets.
- Free use of wheelchairs in the Museum of the Roman Theater.
- Museum resources adapted for persons with hearing and visual impairment.
- Reduced rate for those with disabilities, presenting official proof at the box office.
- Guide dog access allowed with the corresponding accreditation.
- Cartagena Puerto de Culturas suggest to people with reduced mobility three accessible itineraries in the city.
The main roads tend to have wide pavements with dropped curbs. Some of the narrower side streets may be a bit less disabled-friendly. The main tourist parts are mostly flat.
There is a lift available at the Concepcion Castle for the Disabled Cruiser. There is still a short, pleasant walk uphill from the lift but there is a wheelchair friendly path but it is cobbled so it is a bit of a rough ride.
Cartagena is located in the region of Murcia, in the south eastern part of Spain.
Sightseeing opportunities include a visit to the Roman Theatre, Museo Nacional de Arqueologia Subacuatica, Barrio del Foro Romano, Conception Castle, The Spanish Civil War Museum and Bateria de Castillitos.
The Tourist Office can be found in the Town Hall.
Boat trips are available from the Muelle de Alfonso XII Marina or take a trip to the town of Elche, famous for it’s ancient palm forest.
Cartagena has many beaches nearby for visitors to enjoy, even though the city is only a port. These include Cala Cortina, Islas Menores, Mar de Cristal, Cavanna beach, El Galúa beach and Levante beach.
Where You’re Docked
The Cruise Terminal is located in the outside area of the Marina, next to the Yacht Club.
Facilities include a bus stop, taxi rank and information points. There is pedestrian access from here to the Alfonso XII Quay where boat trips can be taken from.
The main shopping area is around 0.25 miles away from the port.
Good to Know
Cartagena is a safe, friendly, low-cost city. The caveat is in your pre-cruise preparation. In many travel forums, people often confuse it with Cartagena, Colombia, sharing incorrect info and debating where the cruise ship terminal is, for example. Several North American travelers download maps, read up about restaurants and historic sites, only to embarrassingly realize once they arrived in this Spanish port that they had had the two cities confused in their research.
On Foot: Cartagena’s easy accessibility from your ship is a time-saving bonus. As you walk off the gangplank, leaving the port security gate, head north alongside a picturesque marina, filled with vessels. The broad walkway is landscaped with dozens of majestic palm trees and colorful flowers.
Take a left, turn right to cross a road and continue past a small leafy park, Plaza Heroes de Cavitte, which has an obelisk war memorial in its center. Going straight, you’ll be on bustling pedestrian street, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, covered in gray-white-and-saffron-hued marble tiles.
You will now be inside the compact historic area, delineated by Muralla del Mar, an 18th century seawall built by Carlos III. Next to Heroes park is Palacio Consistorial (City Hall), a gorgeous Art Nouveau towered structure dating from 1907, containing a tiny tourism office outpost that provides helpful info by a few English-speaking staff and a free detailed street map that illustrates sites and worthy buildings. From there, your many options are footsteps away and cinch to navigate.
By Taxi: If this is your second trip to Cartagena, you might enjoy going to Cala Cortina, a sandy beach on the city’s outskirts that is popular with residents; it features a casual fish restaurant, lifeguard and toilet facilities. Hire a taxi at Pier Alfonso XII Cruise Terminal’s taxi stand; the driver will zip along the shoreline on Paseo del Muelle for the quick 1.8 mile trip.
The official currency is the euro. While credit cards are accepted in some stores and restaurants, it greatly helps if your cards are the embedded-chip-and-pin versions that work with the European point-of-sale systems. Some Cartagena stores and restaurants do not accept credit cards at all.
To obtain euros, go to banks in the historic district, to use ATMs.
The official language in Cartagena is Spanish. Most people in this Spanish port who interact with tourists; in their jobs at restaurants, bars, museums and other sightseeing venues; speak basic English.
Hand-made glassware, artwork and locally made ceramics, wood items and jewelry make good gift ideas. Ceramics and leather goods are popular buys in Cartagena, but look beyond stores stacked with mass-produced factory wares. Instead, hone in on artisanal boutiques and galleries with hand-made items that feel more authentic and personal.
The region serves authentic Mediterranean cooking, particularly making use of vegetables in many of their dishes. Popular dishes include ‘habas con huevos y jamon’ (bean with egg and ham), ‘rabo de buey’ (ox tail stew) and Caldero rice with fish and garlic.
Fresh fish is a menu staple. Grilled monkfish and grouper are often dished up with Spanish-style rice and garlic mayonnaise. Many restaurants specialize in zesty seafood stews and paellas. Even empanadas can be filled with fish, such as tuna. Also, sample the fig bread, sometimes spread with soft cheese.
Sip asiatico, a Cartagena-specific drink originating in the early 20th century, when Asian sailors visiting the port added condensed milk, brandy and cinnamon to coffee. Typically only served in this region of Spain, asiatico comes in a conical-shaped clear glass, into which ingredients are poured separately to create layers, with (usually) condensed milk on the bottom, then espresso, followed by brandy and a local liquor called Licor 43. It’s topped with foamed milk and cinnamon, plus a lemon peel and two roasted coffee beans positioned to float. Stir for a memorable caffeine concoction.
Points of Interest
Concepcion Castle – The old castle is home to a museum chronicling Cartagena’s long maritime history. Some might find it a challenging walk up to the Castile, and there are lots of steps, but there is a lift available for the Disabled Cruiser. Wheelchair access is particularly good. There is still a short, pleasant walk uphill from the lift but there is a wheelchair friendly path but it is cobbled so it is a bit of a rough ride.
- Punic Wall – This section of the city’s old walls dates from Carthaginian days. To assist the Disabled Cruiser, it does have a disabled ramp as well as steps, but the route up is steep. There is small museum at the top, and then the ramparts.
- Roman Theatre of Cartagena – You can spend time in the museum learning about the Roman times and how the place was built. You then enter the amphitheater via lit newly formed tunnels to a marvelous sight, the place has been restored sympathetically and gives you a great insight to life many years ago. The Disabled Cruiser will enjoy good access to get into the museum with a lift for wheelchair visitors to view the amphitheater from above. Escalators are also available to help you get to the higher part of the museum.
- Murcia – The regional capital is noted for its mix of Baroque and 18th-century architecture, its Salzillo Museum, and its legendary Holy Week festival. The city is famed for its citrus fruits.
- Sanctuary of Fuensanta – Founded in the 17th century, the sanctuary is home to the Virgén de Fuensanta, Murcia’s patron saint.
- Salzillo Museum – Sculptor Francisco Salzillo was renowned for his life-sized wooden sculptures, especially the figures he created for Murcia’s famous holy Week processions.
- Elche – This old Moorish town is home to an extensive palm forest and the Heurta Del Cura, an elaborate and beautiful Moorish garden.
- Huerto del Cura Gardens – The Moorish gardens are home to exotic palm trees, lakes, fountains and pavilions. The Disabled Cruiser will find the gardens area is easily accessible by prams and wheelchair. There are toilets and cafe/souvenir kiosk.
Fortress of the Sun – During the Middle Ages, Lorca was a fortified frontier town marking the boundary between Christian Castile and Moorish Spain. The Disabled Cruiser will find there is a steep footpath to enter the castle area, it is wheelchair navigable, but perhaps a little difficult. The tour is self guided and is over some rough ground, steps and hilly. You couldn’t get into all the areas with a wheelchair so you could be disappointed.
Cartagena Accessible Excursions
Cartagena Puerto de Culturas suggest to people with reduced mobility three accessible itineraries in the city.