l, La Manga, a strip of land some 21 km long, narrowing to 100m in some places, lies between the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor, the largest salt water lagoon in Europe. It is renowned as a very healthy environment and from beaches on the Mar Menor you can collect therapeutic mud, used to alleviate skin and joint ailments. But it is much more than that! With clean beaches on both sides you have 40km of sand and sea to choose from.
So to start with, if you are looking for a relaxing holiday with the family by the sea, this is the ideal place for you. All the properties we offer have a pool, either private or communal, so the choice is yours – pool or beach, or both. The waters of the Mar Menor are shallower and warmer than those of the Mediterranean and therefore ideal for children. In some places on the Strip, by the Paquebote restaurant or in the El Estacio area for example, there are inflatables in the sea for both children and adults. There is always a beach bar close by to enjoy.
For those who wish to combine their stay with more activities, La Manga and the area around offer a wide range of aquatic sports. In La Manga itself you have the choice of kayaking, jet-skiing, wind-surfing, kite-surfing, boat and ferry trips (from the Tomás Maestre marina) and diving in Cabo de Palos, which is renowned for its numerous diving centres and schools. Suitable for all ages. For the more energetic and especially if you are staying in La Manga Club, there are a wide range of cycling and walking routes through the hills and along the Mar Menor. Perhaps you are looking to play tennis and paddle. Some of our properties have their own courts and there are many more in La Manga Club, as well as in Mar de Cristal, on the Mar Menor. Golf is another major activity in the area – there are three world-famous courses in La Manga Club, as well as a number of others in the area. Horse-riding is available near La Manga Club and in Los Belones. If you wish to entertain small children, then by Plaza Bohemia in La Manga is the “PequePark”, with a range of rides, go-carts, inflatables and activities, open from 19.00 in the summer. In Plaza Bohemia itself, on summer evenings, there is a artisan market selling all sorts of jewellery, bags and accessories.
Two other general markets also take place locally. One on Saturday mornings, at the entrance to the Tomas Maestre marina, and the other in Cabo de Palos on Sunday mornings. Well worth a visit for the great variety of products and produce on offer.
PLACES TO VISIT
CARTAGENA This is an old naval port, dating from Roman times, now visited by major cruise lines. It is set on an impressive, large bay with fortifications on the hills either side and is home to a number of museums and Roman sites. There you will find preserved the first viable submarine in the world. It is a beautiful place in which to stroll along the typically Spanish streets, enjoy tapas and perhaps do some shopping! Park in the underground carpark in the port, walk up the Calle Mayor (the main pedestrian street) and you will immediately have so much at your fingertips.
SIERRA MINERA This site is situated close to the town of La Unión, between la Manga Club and Cartagena. Here you can experience the mining history of the area, dating back to Roman times. A “train” takes you through the area and you can go down a mine to experience what it was like to work underground. An exciting experience for children.
CALBLANQUE This is a protected nature reserve between La Manga and La Manga Club. It is an unspoilt paradise of hills, long beaches and sea. Totally undeveloped, without beach bars or facilities but an excellent day out away from everything. Take a picnic, sun umbrella and plenty of drinks!
CABO DE PALOS This is a small fishing port at the beginning of La Manga. It is a beautiful location for sitting on the waterfront, enjoying the sun and tapas, as well as watching the boats come and go. As mentioned, it is known for its diving schools as well as for its wide variety of fish restaurants, either overlooking the port or on the beach. Here we would particularly recommend the restaurant La Bocana, on the left hand side of the port.
SALT LAKES At the beginning of La Manga are the salt lakes (Salinas) which are home to a wide range of bird life and flamingos in particular. They get pinker as the summer progresses! Also, on the other side of the Mar Menor you will find the working salt lakes in San Pedro de Pinatar, which are much bigger and are in a popular area of beaches and dunes, so ideal for spending the day there .
MONTE DE CENIZAS (“THE GUNS”) Off the road between La Manga Club and Portman – park in the carpark by the turn-off to Llano de Beal, cross the road, and go up the path around the hill. Sensible walking shoes should be worn: the path is wide and shaded by trees, but it is a steady climb that takes about 40 minutes so it is advisable to take some water or soft drinks to quench your thirst when you reach the entrance. The fortifications were built in the 1930s to provide protection for the naval base in Cartagena. In addition to its two enormous guns of over 18m in length and a range of 35km (built in the 20s by Vickers) there are numerous tunnels and chambers beneath the battery to visit. The views out over the Mediterranean are breath-taking.
THE MAZARRON GUNS – CABO DE TINOSO On the other side of the Cartagena bay is another disused military gun battery – bigger and more impressive than the guns of Portman. It has also been partly restored. A bit tricky to find but take the 332 road out of Cartagena towards Mazarron, heading for La Azohia. Before reaching La Azohia, follow the sign for Campillo de Adentro and drive up the narrow windy road to the carpark at the battery. Its construction is Disneyesque, with turrets and towers and one remaining gun. Again with spectacular views out over the Mediterranean and the Cartagena bay.
La Manga and the surrounding area offer a wide range of restaurants, for all budgets and tastes. There are a wide variety in La Manga Club and in La Manga itself. Cabo de Palos, as mentioned, offers many restaurants specialising in fish dishes and paella. In the Tomás Maestre marina there are numerous restaurants, offering Spanish and international cuisine, overlooking the sea. This is an ideal place in which to enjoy the spectacular sun setting over the Mar Menor. Here we would suggest SUGAR & SPICE, despite its name, a French restaurant, offering wonderful crêpes and other à la carte dishes. BE SURE TO BOOK! Also, you will find there DI MARE, an Italian restaurant, which we recommend for pizzas, as well as for children’s’ meals. They are also open earlier than many other Spanish restaurants. On the Strip at km 8, try also AREA SUNSET, on the beach and offering good food. Or BAMBOO, next to PequePark, great for barbecued steaks at a very reasonable price. There are many more, so ask us for ideas.
We, Steve and Tim, want your holiday to be as successful and enjoyable as possible, so do ask us for ideas and recommendations – we will be delighted to share our opinions and suggestions. Holidays are all too short so we want you to make the most of them!