Moratalla is a small traditional town of 6000 inhabitants in the hilly north-west region of inland Murcia, making its living by the cultivation of olives, almonds and apricots in the surrounding orchards, with related packing industries and a variety of small independent businesses. There is a commanding castle dating back to the 9th.C and three historic churches and countless small lanes in the old town. Forty bars offer a range of breakfasts, midday meals and evening tapas/restaurant meals of home-cooked regional food, not forgetting a popular pizzeria open at the weekends. Two bakers still use wood-fired ovens and the town is famous for its quality marzipan products.
The municipal sports centre has outdoor swimming pools with bar. Bicycles can be hired and horse-riding is available at two equestrian centres. The tourist office can arrange visits to the castle and tours of the picturesque old town. The Health Centre has a 24 hr. emergency service. Many people in the old town speak French, but English is preferred by the younger generation, and is spoken in the tourist office.
The two main fiestas are during Easter week (festival of drumming and religious processions) and the summer fiestas (July 11-17th) with many events. The theatre is used for drama, music and films.
Surrounding the town are extensive areas for walking or riding whether amongst the pine forests, mountains, rivers and gorges or the flatter orchards. Close by are Camping la Puerta with river bathing, restaurant and swimming pool for public use, and Casa de Cristo with a bar/restaurant and spectacular views. Further afield are Iberic settlements, caves with prehistoric paintings, the fields of lavender and ideal areas for birdwatching.
Within 20 minutes by car are the beautiful old towns of Caravaca de la Cruz (the second most important pilgrimage town in Spain), Calasparra with its rice fields, Cehegín and Bullas (a wine town). All have museums and monuments dedicated to their history and traditions. The city of Murcia is an hour away, and Cartagena with its spectacular Roman heritage an hour and a half. The coastline offers quiet beaches or resorts with water sports and entertainment.