Cartagena, Spain – Port of Cultures
Cartagena, Spain is one of the oldest cities in the world. Founded more than two thousand years ago and home to some incredible historic sites and dizzying architecture, it’s the perfect city to explore on foot.
Cartagena, once an outpost of the Roman Empire, has some of the most well-preserved ancient ruins in all of Europe. A highlight of the trip was exploring the Barrio del foro Romano — part forum, part meeting place, part bathhouse, the ruins are covered by a gorgeous contemporary fiberglass canopy that brilliantly clashes old and new.
If our sightseeing was influenced by the Italians, our lunch was decidedly influenced by the Spanish. We sat at an outdoor table at El Encuentro and enjoyed squid ink paella, so dark that we had a hard time taking a picture of it! Caution: your teeth will look like you bit into a ballpoint pen after a pan of this.
Walking around the historic district allows you to stumble upon beautiful marble-tiled streets and sprawling pedestrian plazas.
Cartagena is home to Museo Teatro Romano, an amphitheater built between 5 and 1 BCE. Incredibly, it went undiscovered until 1988 and today is now one of the largest and best preserved amphitheaters in Europe.
Our love for Cartagena was somewhat unexpected. It’s less flashy than other ancient cities like Rome and doesn’t boast the vibrant nightlife of neighboring cities like Barcelona, but for a low-key gem of a city, Cartagena is definitely worth checking out.