Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mar Menor & La Manga, Murcia [Part II of IV]

One of the main highlights of my 5 day south-eastern Spain trip was Mar Menor.
Mar Menor is a huge salt water lagoon located on the coastline in Murcia. Formed over time by a strip of land that almost completely separates it from the Mediterranean Sea, Mar Menor quite literally becomes ‘the little sea’. [Click here for a satellite view of Mar Menor.]

With a surface area of 170 sq. km, Mar Menor is just 8m at its deepest. The beaches of Mar Menor slope so gently, that you’ll have to walk quite a distance into the water before reaching a waist deep level. Its calm and warmer waters make it an ideal place for kids and families.

I spent a couple of nights at a town on the inland coast called Los Alcazares. It's one of those small and friendly towns where everybody knows everybody, and locals spend their hot summer evenings sitting outside their homes with their abanicos and chatting the night away with their neighbours.

Above: The Manzanares beach of Los Alcazares.

Above: Seafood at San Antonio restaurant which is built on a pier stretching out into Mar Menor.

Above: View of the houses by the Manzanares beach in Los Alcazares from San Antonio Restaurant.

Above: What looks like an almost completely blacked out picture is actually the partial view of the 21km long La Manga lighted up at night, as seen from Los Alcazares.

Now back to the strip of land which separates Mar Menor from the Mediterranean Sea. It actually does have a name of its own. It’s appropriately called ‘La Manga’, or ‘The Sleeve’ as it resembles one physically. It is approx. 21km long with an average width of 300m.

Today, La Manga has many luxurious sea facing apartments, hotels and restaurants and the really cool thing about being on La Manga, is that you can choose to go to the little sea, or to the big sea!

Above: As we drove down the stretch of La Manga, we came across this restaurant by the beach called Restaurante Escuela de Pieter where we stopped for lunch. They typically do not entertain walk-ins but we were promptly taken care of by a gracious gentleman who appears to run this place. Thanks Miguel!

Above: The 'must try' local fish + rice dish, Caldero.

Above: One thing we noticed while having lunch, was that most of the patrons came into the restaurant via the beach on their yachts!

Above: The rocky part of Mar Menor beach.

To take advantage of the 'double fun' that La Manga uniquely offers, we decided to park our car at possibly the narrowest part of the strip, just so that we can spend some time waddling in the shallow waters of Mar Menor, and then literally just cross the road and be at the Mediterranean sea...ahh...heaven...!!!

Above: The side with the Mediterranean sea. I can't believe how clean and quiet it is. The 2 hours spent here was possibly the best moment for me.

Above: One of the many dream beach houses I saw on La Manga.
This one has a front that faces the Mediterranean sea, and a back that faces Mar Menor.

I just can't get enough of the Mediterranean water...how I wish I could live here all summer!

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