After lunch at Cabo de Palos, the weather was still looking gloomy so we decided to explore the Manga Strip in our hire car. The winds were howling around us as you can see in the photo above, the trees bending over in the 40mph gusts.
As the aeroplane comes into land at Murcia airport you get an excellent overhead view of Mar Menor, the 170km square saltwater lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a 22km long stretch of sand, La Manga Strip. It’s a breathtaking shot so make sure you sit on the left of the plane looking towards the pilot on your way out.
The strip has been heavily built up since the 1960’s resulting in a long line of high rise apartments and hotels running on both sides of the main road from top to tail. I am not a fan of built up resorts but it does look pretty impressive from the other side of Mar Menor or from up high as you can see the strip quite clearly ‘in the middle of the sea’.
The Manga Strip at the end of April was also desolate, the main season for holiday makers being July and August. So as we drove along the empty wide main roads with lots of traffic lights at regular intervals it felt like we were in a ghost town. Admittedly it was a bad weather day but all of the high rise buildings were closed down and locked up. The shops were shut and the few restaurants that were open were empty.
I imagine this place is absolutely packed in the height of the season and speaking to the locals I understood the main road to be a nightmare during that period too.
We stopped off at a park to allow the girls to let off some steam and whilst they enjoyed the climbing frames I had a mooch down to the coast to see what I could find. I came across this building built on the beach; on the beach front it is a restaurant and swimming pool but on the road side I was impressed with this gorgeous door, I have a thing about doors.
We got back in the car and drove right to the end as far as we could go, on the tip, the land looks quite desolate but there were hundreds of mimosa bushes in flower.
There was also this really steep bridge to cross which was quite scary in our little car which took us to an area of low lying villas all beautifully cared for and we caught a group of windsurfers off the coast.
The weather calmed down a bit on our return journey so we stopped off on the Mar Menor side to take a look at the beach. A long sandy beach where the water was incredibly calm compared to the roaring Med just a few hundred feet over the other side.
The girls kicked off their shoes and waded in but a Spanish lady yelled at me she was making whipping movements on her arm and it was only when she showed me the hundreds of dead jellyfish lining the water did I realise the danger! How had I not spotted them I don’t know? Fortunately no one was stung and we learnt from this lovely lady that the local council dragged the waters frequently to remove the jellyfish but the rough seas had prevented them from working.
I’ll leave you with one other image of La Manga Strip taken on our last day when the weather was warm and sunny and the jellyfish had gone back out to sea. This is on the Mediterranean side, if you look closely you can see buildings stretching out almost to the edge of the photo. It wasn’t the clearest day, it’s the best I could do.
Disclosure: This post is part of a collection of our recent trip to La Manga Club Resort with James Villa Holidays who kindly gave us a fabulous apartment for the week. Find more local information here