Cartagena is an historic port surrounded by mountains, with some industry and a naval base, but scenic nevertheless. There is a marina, which houses numerous white yachts that gleam in the sunlight and there are several quayside bars.
The shopping area and main attractions can all be reached on foot. It is a flat 10 min walk to the Calle Del Aire, turn left along the attractive tree lined promenade and cross the road.
This area has mostly local shopping with bars and restaurants, along with a few tourist shops.
Roman Theatre and Museum
The Roman Theatre Museum is very easy to reach and is one of the city’s highlights, built around the remains of the Roman theatre, which were only discovered in 1987. The museum tells the story of the theatre using film, displays and artefacts, from when it was built in the late 1st century BC through to its eventual decline and recent rediscovery.
The museum is well laid out and is accessible for those of limited mobility with escalators and lifts provided.
The museum section is air conditioned and has good clean toilets. Access to the theatre itself is also possible for wheelchair users.
The theatre really is quite spectacular. Wherever you stand you can get a feel for what it must have been like to have been there in its heyday, either in the audience or on the stage.
A highly recommended visit and one that is very easy to do on your own without needing to book an excursion.
Castillo de la Conception
For a panoramic view over the whole city, the climb to the Castillo de la Conception is well worthwhile.
There are also fabulous views of the port and cruise ships.
The Castillo de la Conception also houses the Interpretation Centre of the History of Cartagena and although not quite as impressive as the Roman Theatre Museum it is still an interesting stop.
There are easier ways to reach this however. One is to take the Panoramic Lift.
The other is to visit the Theatre Museum first, buy an inclusive ticket and then walk up from the theatre, which saves half the climb. An excellent spot for taking photographs of the city, harbour and, of course, your cruise ship.
Other museums near the port include the Naval Museum and the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
Many of the museums do seem to close at 2pm however, so you will need to check websites before planning your day. On our recent visit we were handed a map and a list of opening times as we left the port.
There is more than enough to see in Cartagena alone for several cruise visits without needing to explore further. We highly recommend a day in this port.