The Mar Menor (meaning little sea) is Europe's largest salt water lagoon. Located on the northern part of the Costa Calida, in the province of Murcia, it is separated from the Mediterranean by La Manga (the sleeve) del Mar Menor, or what is better known as the La Manga strip.
The land around the Mar Menor is still mainly zoned for agricultural use, and indeed its parent province has a low population count for its size. Of course in recent years there has been considerable interest in the Mar Menor from native Spaniards and foreign nationals alike. In many places you can now find established residential zones, in addition to sporting facilities (golf courses, tennis clubs etc), and entertainment options.
Though there has been a sharp increase in the population of coastal towns, it has in the main been driven by those (native and foreign) seeking permanent residency. This has injected a cosmopolitan feel to the area, while retaining much community atmosphere and traditional culture.
Already well known for being relatively inexpensive, and having calm waters and beaches, the Mar Menor has a lot to offer. A great deal of investment has gone into the preservation of its historical and architectural heritage. There are many fiestas (festivals) throughout its calendar, some of which are a real spectacle and well worth a look. The cuisine is another major bonus, with affordable good food available everywhere, alongside the middle to high end restaurants. Plenty of shopping opportunities also exist; ranging from souvenirs, local goods and handicrafts, to fashion items and modern shopping centres nearby.
The Mar Menor is also well known for its mild climate and enjoys sunshine for in excess of 320 days per year. The sun is at its hottest during the summer months, with temperatures rarely falling below 30°C (86°F). Winters are typically very mild with averages hovering around 18°C (64°F).
This part of Spain is famous for its salt lakes (salt is a major export). This has a major knock on effect on humidity levels, and as a result the air is much dryer than in other parts of Spain and Europe. The low humidity levels coupled with a mild climate, mean the WHO (World Health Organisation) have rated this part of Spain one of the healthiest climates on the planet.
Mar Menor Hotels;
Hotel Carlos III****
Hotel Campanile Murcia**
A few more local towns and places of interest;
Cartagena La Manga Mazarron Mar Menor
Murcia Cabo de Palos La Union San Javier
San Pedro del Pinatar Los Alcazares Torre Pacheco
La Manga Club Torre Pacheco Golf Club Altorreal Golf Club
Camposol Golf Club