Spanish Road Trip Day 2 - 26th July Murcia to Riopar, 208km

Travelling across country to our next destination, Riopar, we spotted a sign for a sanctuary which looked quite interesting, not knowing just how beautiful and well known this place was, we were surprised to find the wonderful (Sanctuary of the Virgin of Hope).

Santurario de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Sanctuary of the Virgin of Hope) Calasparra

The sanctuary is located in a cave carved into the rock 6 km from Calasparra, and dates from the seventeenth century.

The sanctuary houses two images of the Virgin of Hope known as La Pequeñica and La Grande. The small image is said to have been found by a shepherd who kept his cattle in the cave eroded by the water of the Segura River, neighbours of the town tried to move it to the municipality of Calasparra but due to its weight they understood that the Virgin wanted to remain in the grotto and new rooms and were added.

The Sanctuary is among the top five in Spain, with about one million visitors a year, although it was very quiet when we visited.

The surrounding area is very picturesque with the Segura River nearby, and there are plenty of walks signposted, picnic areas and a lovely restaurant with stunning views.


Riópar is a municipality located in the province of Albacete, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. It is located in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, in the region of the Sierra de Alcaraz. It is located 118 km from the provincial capital, Albacete. 

The main tourist attractions here are the mountain landscapes in the natural park of the Calares del Río Mundo and the Sima.

There are quite a few bars and restaurants in the town itself and a good municipal swimming pool.  We had a wonderful mixed meat platter in one of the local restaurants which included, red and black sausages, chicken, pork, lamb chops with chips, bread and two drinks for 25€ which was great value for money. 

Night 2 - Accommodation Hotel Riopar Spa , 3 star, 50€ including Breakfast and FREE parking

With views of the Segura and Alcaraz Mountains from the balcony, this air-conditioned room had simple, traditional décor, adequate for our one night stay, the only strange thing was that there was no tourist information available and the two vending machines remained empty, which was annoying when you required a bottle of water once the restaurant had closed and all the reception staff had left for the night.

Spanish Road Trip 2022 Riopar

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