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Spotlight on La Manga

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Preserving La Manga’s Natural Heritage
Image: Shutterstock/ Massimiliano Finzi


SITUATED in the Murcia region, La Manga del Mar Menor is a strip of land bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Mar Menor lagoon on the other. Renowned for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and year-round sunshine, La Manga attracts visitors seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.


The 22-kilometre-long peninsula offers a wealth of recreational activities. Water sports fans flock to its shores for sailing, windsurfing, and jet skiing, while divers explore the rich marine life beneath the waves. The calm waters of Mar Menor are ideal for families with young children, providing safe and shallow swimming areas.


Beyond its beaches, La Manga boasts a vibrant nightlife and culinary scene. The area is dotted with beach bars, restaurants, and clubs offering fresh seafood dishes and traditional Spanish cuisine. Sunset views over the Mediterranean create a magical atmosphere for evening strolls along the promenade.


La Manga is home to world-class golf courses and tennis facilities, drawing athletes and fans. Nature lovers can explore nearby Calblanque Natural Park, with its rugged coastline and hiking trails offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean landscape.


Whether you seek relaxation on sandy beaches, excitement in the water, or exploration of natural beauty, La Manga promises an unforgettable Mediterranean getaway.


A Tale of Two Towns

LA Manga del Mar Menor is uniquely divided between two towns: San Javier and Cartagena. This split means that the northern half of La Manga falls under the jurisdiction of the San Javier Town Council, while the southern half is governed by Cartagena. Cartagena governs from kilometre 0 to about kilometre 3/4 in the Monteblanco area, while San Javier takes over from there onwards.


This division affects everyday services like taxis. In the San Javier area, you ll need a San Javier taxi, and in the Cartagena section, you have to use Cartagena taxis. It can be a bit tricky if you re moving between the two halves.


The reason for this division dates back to historical administrative boundaries and the development patterns of the region. Each town council manages its area’s infrastructure, tourism services, and local governance, aiming to provide tailored services to residents and visitors.


Residents have proposed forming a new municipality, Dos Mares (two seas), to ensure consistent services. Despite these efforts, legal challenges have prevented the establishment of a separate municipality, with the Supreme Court ultimately rejecting the proposal.


La Manga Club

LOCATED in La Manga is one of Spain’s most prestigious sports and leisure resorts: La Manga Club. This world-renowned resort spans 1,400 acres of stunning landscape, offering visitors an unparalleled blend of sports, leisure, and relaxation.


At the heart of La Manga Club lies its prestigious sporting facilities. Enthusiasts flock here for the three championship golf courses, each meticulously designed to challenge and inspire golfers of all levels. The Tennis Centre, boasting 28 courts and state-of-the-art facilities, hosts international tournaments and attracts players from around the globe. For football fans, the Football Centre provides professional-standard pitches and training camps attracting some of the best football teams like Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund.


Beyond sports, La Manga Club offers a wealth of amenities. Visitors can unwind in the luxurious spa, enjoy fine dining at a host of top restaurants, or simply relax by the poolside with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and the Mediterranean Sea.


Accommodations at La Manga Club range from elegant hotel rooms to spacious villas and apartments, ensuring every guest finds their perfect retreat.


Protected areas

LA Manga del Mar Menor, once a pristine stretch of sand dunes and shrub vegetation, underwent significant development in the 1960s, transforming into a bustling tourist destination with extensive urbanisation. Today, only small patches of its original flora remain, and native wildlife like deer and wild boars have disappeared entirely.


Despite this urbanisation, efforts to preserve La Manga s natural heritage are evident in designated protected areas. The Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar Natural Park, located at the northern boundary of La Manga, showcases diverse ecosystems and holds EU designations as a Natural Park, Site of Community Importance, and Special Protection Area for Birds under the Natura 2000 network.


Further south, the Marchamalo Salt Flats is protected as a Natural Park and Site of Community Importance. These flats host endangered species like the fish the Spanish tooth carp and provide habitat for various waterfowl species.


These protected areas not only conserve La Manga s ecological diversity but also offer glimpses into its original landscape.


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Written by
Catherine McGeer
I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!


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