As we are working our way slowly towards Granada via Vera, we looked for a place to stop for a few days. Aguilas seemed about the right distance and we selected a small campsite away from the coast. Camping Quintabella is surrounded by orange groves and fields of lettuces against a backdrop of mountains. The area is also covered in plastic greenhouses, which are not beautiful, but enable tomatoes and peppers to be grown in large quantities.
The town of Aguilas is a 15 minute drive away and has everything you might need in the way of shops, as well as a fishing port, beaches and a castle. We found that you could park for free at the port, and presumably stop overnight too. We were happy just to use the facility during the day. The fishing port and harbour opened in 1884 and was responsible for the start of commercial development in Aguilas. The fishing port has one of the largest fleets in the Murcia region. There were a large number of fishing boats there and plenty of nets stretched out along the fisherman boardwalk.
Having stocked up at Lidl, we had a walk into the town and found the tourist information office. As it was Monday, the castle was closed and so was most of the town. We had our lunch overlooking the port which was very relaxing. We returned on Tuesday to visit the castle. We had a steep climb up to the castle and once there we only had 45 minutes before it closed for the afternoon. As it turned out, it was plenty long enough as there is not a lot to see.
The San Juan de Las Aguilas Castle dates back to the 18th century, so it is relatively modern. It has been restored and a lot of what you see looks quite new. Due to the restoration, it lacks a certain charm that you get in some of the older, preserved castles.
The best part of visiting the castle was the views over the town and the port. See if you can spot our van down below.
The guard at the castle was pleased to see us leave and he was already locking up as we made for the exit! We met a Dutch couple on their way up and advised them it was closed. They laughed and agreed that it was not a surprise. We met them again later at Hornillo Bay and they had recovered from the climb with a cup of coffee at the small bar near the castle entrance. They had also climbed around the castle, on the rocks – crazy!
Back at the port, we walked along the sea wall to have a closer look at the sculpture of Neptune that is visible from the town. It is a curious mixture of materials and most unusual, but very effective.
From the end of the wall you get a good view of the very modern Auditorium and Congress Palace.
The town boasts a number of decorated staircases, some of which are looking a bit jaded. However, it is a rather charming idea and does add a bit of interest.
The best we saw was at Hornillo Corner, opposite the beach. The wide mosaic covered stairs are the work of Juan Martino “Casuco”.
I was interested to see the Hornillo Pier that was constructed in 1903 by the British South Eastern Railway Company for the purpose of loading ships with iron ore.
From the Hornillo Bay, you can also see the Isla Del Fraile. The island was inhabited by the Romans and there are still roman, and later, ruins to be seen.
Tucked away on a small street near to the port we came across this modern building. The Casa de la Cultura “Francisco Rabal” has a permanent exhibition hall, the library and other rooms. We didn’t go in as it was lunchtime and it was closed.
There is also a Casino which we thought might be worth a look, after the joy of the one in Murcia. Sadly, this one is a bit unimpressive and can only boast ten alllegorical paintings by the Murcian artist Jose Sanchez.
Given more time and better weather, we might have explored a bit more of Aguilas, but we had enjoyed our couple of days there and were ready to move on to pastures new.