Beaches in Costa Calida, Murcia.

Along the coast of the Mar Menor and Costa Calida are numerous sandy beaches, lively ports and deserted coves with impressive cliffs and crystal clear water, attempting families, couples and sports enthusiasts alike. The water is very clean and clear, with many beaches being awarded the BLUE FLAG.

There are two distinct parts to the coast. The east-facing part is dominated by the Mar Menor ("Little Sea"), a huge natural lagoon over 10 miles long by 6 miles wide. The waters of the Mar Menor are 5 degrees warmer than in the Mediterranean Sea, and also much shallower with a maximum depth of 7m. Great care and attention is paid to litter collection, and lifeguards/police patrols operate in popular spots. The long, thin strip of land between the lagoon and the Mediterranean is La Manga ("The sleeve") and the whole warm lagoon is lined with clean, gently sloping beaches and pretty, low-rise resort towns. It forms the perfect water sports environment, hence the wide choice of marinas, and is dotted with dramatic islands.

San Pedro Del Pinatar & Lo Pagán
Starting from the north and south, you will find the salt marshes and man-made 'pans' where salt is harvested, now a protected Nature Park. Migrating birds use the marshes as a stop-over and bird-watching is popular. The mineral content of the mud makes it a sought-after remedy or conditioner, especially for the skin, and there are several therapy spas. Lo Pagan has 2 sandy beaches separated by a marina and fishing harbour. A long promenade stretches to the rear of both of these beaches and joins up with the next resort – Santiago de la Ribera.

Santiago de la Ribera
Perhaps the most attractive of the Mar Menor resorts, Santiago de la Ribera sits on the shores of the Mar Menor directly in front of San Javier and the two are closely linked. Home to a superb marina area and some of the best restaurants in the region. Here you will find a ferry that travels across the Mar Menor to the Tomas Maestre Marina on the La Manga Strip every 2 hours.

Los Alcázares & Los Narejos
These two neighbours sit right at the centre point of the Mar Menor coast and have an excellent range of modern facilities, including a sizeable marina. They also have a long history, both as fishing ports and as spa towns. Los Alcazares has a promenade that is over 4km long stretching from the airport right through to the marina at the southern end. There are many beach bars and restaurants that line the beach. The beaches at Playa Los Narejos and Playa del Espejo have won the famous Q Awards for their high standards.

Los Urrutias
A relatively new resort, Los Urrutias has almost a mile of golden beach with good facilities, enhanced by an unusual offshore marina in a hexagonal shape. Behind the beach is a modern, spaciously laid out town with an attractive promenade and public spaces. The coast either side is protected land, preserving the quality of the environment.

Los Nietos
Divided into an 'old town' just off the coast and a newer resort area with a very good beach, Los Nietos is another Mar Menor town with a popular marina.

Mar de Cristal
Separated from Los Nietos by a small river, Mar de Cristal is a compact and friendly little resort with three good beach areas and a new, pretty promenade with bars and restaurants. A good sized marina adds to the charm.

Playa Honda & Playa Paraiso
At the very southern end of the Mar Menor, these two beach areas have seen quite a bit of expansion in the last few years and have evolved into fully fledged resorts. With the hills of the Calablanque Nature Park behind, the protected Marchamalo salt flats to the side and the whole length of the Mar Menor in front though, the area is set to mature nicely.

Cabo de Palos
Across from the Marchamalo salt flats, Cabo de Palos is a small point of land jutting out into the Mediterranean. Naturally equipped with many small bays and inlets, it has always been a centre for fishing and the main port area is one of the prettiest on the entire coast. Using fresh local fish and vegetables, some of the best restaurants in the area line the traditional quayside and charge amazingly reasonable prices.

La Manga Strip
Mostly only 200 to 400 yards wide, the La Manga strip separates the Mar Menor from the Mediterranean. With beaches on both sides, countless bars and restaurants, several marinas (Tomás Maestre being the largest), clubs, casinos and even a 9 golf course.

Calblanque is an area of exceptional beauty and tranquility with fine golden, sandy beaches and clear, sparkling waters. It stretches along 13 km of the coast and consists of beaches, peaceful coves, ancient sand dunes, stunning rock formations, beautiful walking trails and pine forests. The peaceful beaches are one of the main attractions - the most popular being Playa Calblanque, Playa Larga and Playa de las Cañas. There are many peaceful coves to explore and due to the remoteness of the area you may even find yourself alone in one of these coves.

Mazarrón & Puerto de Mazarrón
West of Cartagena, a wild and craggy coast has kept development to a minimum and it's not until the huge bay of Mazarrón that there is much sign of activity. Within the bay itself and immediately around are 30 beaches and a number of small but growing resorts, some of which will be linked by a new 6-mile seafront promenade.

West of Mazarrón is almost 15 miles of undeveloped coast. Just before the border with Almería though is a beautiful series of 4 bays and over 30 coves, with a crescent of mountains behind, between which sits the town of Águilas. Established as a port in Roman times and protected by a fine 1597 castle that survives to this day, it is a classically friendly and relaxed southern Spanish town where strangers become friends in record time. Home to great natural beauty, a spectacular carnival and a perfect lifestyle, Águilas is not to be missed.

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