Mar Menor Lagoon

The vast Mar Menor Lagoon is often referred to as an inland sea and makes for a fantastic day out during a holiday in Cartagena. Almost totally enclosed from the Mediterranean, aside from a few fishing channels, the Mar Menor can be likened to an inland sea with its shallower waters and  higher salinity. Whichever way you look at it, this lovely area of the Costa Calida promises fun in the sun on its many popular beaches. Add to this the activities, attractions and entertainment venues of La Manga, and it's easy to see why many journey from far and wide to the Mar Menor.

Mar Menor Lagoon
Source: Flickr / eutrophication&hypoxia

Mar Menor Lagoon

One of the main reasons that makes the Mar Menor Lagoon a popular holiday destination in its own right, is the close proximity of Murcia-San Javier Airport. This lies between the lively towns of Santiago de la Ribera and Los Alcázares. The lagoon begins at San Pedro del Pinatar in the north east. Here you will find one of its most popular attractions, the Mar Menor mud baths (covered in a separate article). At its southernmost point the land curves around the lagoon to form the equally as popular La Manga Strip (also covered in a separate article). In between these are numerous beaches, villages and towns that really get lively during the peak summer season.

Mar Menor Lagoon Attractions

Each of the towns and villages along the lagoon's coastline have their own charm. Many miles of golden sand beaches offer safe bathing and a great choice of water sports and activities. Families with young children particularly favour the lagoon for it's calm shallow waters. Indeed, in places you can walk out from the beach for hundreds of metres and still only be waist deep. With the shallow waters comes a higher salinity than the Mediterranean. This gives children and those just learning to swim more buoyancy. Thrill seeking holidaymakers will be in their element, as the entire lagoon including the La Manga Strip offers some of the best water sports available.

Inland Attractions

Slightly inland from the Mar Menor Lagoon are several challenging 18 hole golf courses. Four of these can be found at the spectacular La Manga Club (covered in a separate article). The inland area is also popular for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. If these outdoor pursuits are a bit tame for you, La Manga Go-Kart is one of the best karting venues in Spain. A short distance from the go-kart track is Cape Palos. Crowning the cape is a well preserved lighthouse and its surrounding waters form part of a marine conservation reserve. This is extremely popular for scuba diving, and the Cape Palos Marina is home to many lively cafes, bars and restaurants.

Mar Menor Mud Baths

The Mar Menor mud baths are great fun, and visiting them from Cartagena can be combined with the many other activities and attractions of this vast lagoon.