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News: Exploring La Manga del Mar Menor, a tale of two seas on the Costa Calida


Exploring La Manga del Mar Menor, a tale of two seas on the Costa Calida
Written by Inmo Investments - 30 Jun 2020

Spending summer in La Manga del Mar Menor on the Costa Calida

IMAGINE A LOCATION that separates two vast warm-water seas, where - wherever you look, you´ll have commanding vistas over seemingly limitless expanses of idyllic open ocean. Welcome to La Manga del Mar Menor in the Region of Murcia.

There is nowhere in the Iberian Peninsula quite like La Manga del Mar Menor, found in southern Murcia. The 170-square kilometre shallow saltwater lagoon that gives the area it´s proper title is known locally as the Mar Menor or "small sea".

The lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by La Manga, a spit of sand 22 km´s in length whose width ranges from 100 to 1,200 metres, with Cape Palos in its south-eastern vertex making for the lagoon's roughly triangular shape.

Hundreds of years ago, the Mar Menor was a bay with a wide opening into the Mediterranean Sea. At either end, volcanic reefs gradually held back the sand and sediment that was dragged along by the sea currents to form a sandy column of dunes and rock vegetation, and long beaches in contact with the two seas.

The lagoon has five minor islets located within, and the relatively high salinity of the water aids flotation, and remarkable local sporting infrastructure make it a popular place for a wide variety of water sports.

At the northern end, visitors will discover salt-flats including a wetland of international importance. This area is preserved as the "Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar" natural park, administered and cared for by the regional government with almost all modern development strictly prohibited.

La Manga del Mar Menor area guide, Region of Murcia

La Manga del Mar Menor, your summer 2020 guide to the Region of Murcia

The area was untouched until the 1960s when La Manga was discovered as a tourist resort and underwent a substantial transformation establishing residential communities.

La Manga has undergone decades of additions and improvements, including the construction of world-class leisure facilities - upscale restaurants, vibrant bars, and a variety of amenities to attract domestic and international tourists.

The waters of the Mar Menor have a history of contamination that has somewhat tarred the reputation of the local area. Even as recently as 2019, the area was inundated with land run-off that dragged pesticides and chemicals into the bay following one of the worst storms in a century.

But the regional government, fundamentally aware of the Mar Menor´s importance to the local economy, is pouring millions of Euros into advanced flood defences that will re-channel run-off water and prevent future catastrophes. The lagoon´s water is tested daily by an ecological management team appointed by the town hall to ensure it meets strict European mandated quality levels.

The area first rose to prominence nearly 50-years ago, when the La Manga Club resort complex opened in 1972 just south of the locale. The sports and leisure resort is bordered by the Mar Menor and Calblanque Regional Park and covers an area of 1,400 acres (5.6 million square metres).

The exclusive venue sports no less than three 18-hole golf courses designed by icons of the sport, Robert Dean Putman and Dave Thomas. Named ´Real Golf La Manga Club´ in 2017 by The Royal Household of Spain, the North, South, and West courses offer a challenging layout suited to all levels of golfer.

La Manga del Mar Menor area guide, Region of Murcia

La Manga del Mar Menor, one of the finest locations on the Costa Calida

Additional resort facilities include the five-star Hotel Príncipe Felipe and the four-star Las Lomas Village apartments, ten bars and restaurants, a spa and wellness centre, 28 tennis courts, eight football pitches, and the La Manga Club Football Stadium.

The resort boasts a fine sporting pedigree having hosted the England national football team, the Spanish Open, and tennis tournaments including the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup. The stadium is often utilised as a training venue for the Spanish national football team.

Small towns and urbanisations have been established over the years, taking advantage of the beautiful sandy beaches and the idyllic beachfront location.

San Pedro del Pinatar occupies the northern end of the Mar Menor, with the area offering unparalleled views of the salt-flats - an area rich in native flora, and indigenous and visiting wildlife. Like Torrevieja to the north, the salt lake at the centre of the natural park offers refuge to thousands of African flamingos each summer.

Santiago de la Ribera and Lo Pagan occupy the western shoreline, with Los Alcázares slightly further southward. All three villages offer excellent water sports facilities and for the ultimate dining experience, check out Restaurante San Antonio in Los Alcázares - a stunning bijou Spanish restaurant built on a pier over the waters of the Mar Menor itself.

The Mar Menor offers countless sandy beaches, and La Manga´s fine white sandy beaches stretch along the spit on both sides, with Playa El Arenal often considered to be La Manga´s main beach.

La Manga del Mar Menor area guide, Region of Murcia

Exquisite beaches and a host of world-class local amenities

Ensenada del Esparto, to the northern end of the sandbank, retains it´s coveted Blue Flag accreditation for world-class levels of water cleanliness, safety, and accessibility.

This unassuming sandbar provides more than a dozen beaches, and small beach bars called "chiringuitos" offer a range of light refreshments, snacks, and a full bar service directly on the sand for eager sunseekers.

The area is loved for its outstanding natural beauty, family-friendly warm Mediterranean sea waters, and it´s cultural richness. It´s a popular choice with the international community too, attracted by its affordability, accessibility, and it´s relatively low-key authenticity compared with it´s Costa Blanca neighbours.

La Manga can be found just 45 minutes south of La Zenia. Well worth experiencing and eminently accessible, less than an hour by car from the super-modern Región de Murcia International Airport, with Alicante-Elche airport a 90-minute drive away.

With so much to see and so much more to do, visitors will find that even a two-week stay in La Manga del Mar Menor just isn´t enough to see it all. And that´s without exploring everything else that this part of the Costa Calida has to offer.

Would you like to view our beautiful homes in La Manga? Just click here to view our current portfolio of Costa Calida properties, or get in-touch with us by email, telephone, WhatsApp, Skype, or via any of our social channels.


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