La Manga Strip, Mar Menor – Costa Calida

La Manga Strip - Spain

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.

Costa Calida spain - Cabo de palos

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.

La Manga Club Resort - view of the Strip

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’.

La manga strip highrise apartments

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.

la manga strip park

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.

La Manga Strip - door

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.

la manga mimosa Spain

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.

la manga strip bridge

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.

la manga strip high risebuildings

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.

la manga strip beach

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.

la manga strip jellyfish

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.

la manga strip spain

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

 

La Manga Club Resort

Cabo de Palos

Los Alcazares

San Pedro del Pinatar

Cartagena

La Manga Club resort | Costa Calida

 

Costa Calida spain - Cabo de palos

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the Costa Calida before starting to prepare for our Easter holiday and judging by the lack of travel guides available I’d assume it is a well kept secret. Plus every time I mentioned La Manga Club resort my listener would say, ‘Ooohh, isn’t that where the footballers go to train?’ I didn’t know the answer but I was intrigued to find out.

La Manga Club Resort Spain

La Manga Club Resort is a small town with the difference of security gates at the entrance to check on who comes and who goes. There is a beautiful 5 star Hotel Principe Felipe with the golf course stretching out in front, there are villas of all shapes and sizes and apartments too. The resort has everything you will need during your stay, even a petrol station.

James Villa Holidays Las Higueras Spain

Our James Villa Holidays home for the week, situated in the community of Las Higueras, was just perfect, so beautiful it seemed as if it was ours with the right kitchen and the right beds and proper garden furniture. It really was a dream home and as I lay in bed reading on Monday morning I was amused to see the pool maintenance man pass by to turn the taps on to water the plants in the garden.

la manga club resort James villa holidays

In fact the garden was gorgeous and I took lots of photos, sharing them on my Instagram feed, in fact I shared LOTS on my instagram feed as everywhere I looked there was beauty, or something curious, or something very Spanish. Something that made me feel happy so I shared it.

la manga club resort James villa holidays

I will admit to ballsing up the packing as I had been expecting sunshine and warmth, so in to the suitcase went sandals, shorts, t shirts, flip flops, sun cream and summer dresses. I quickly discovered that 1 cardigan each and 1 pair of long trousers wouldn’t see us through the 50mph winds during our first few days. However it did calm down and we did get our dresses out as well.

la manga club resort james villa holidays

There was a lot to see in the area and on the windy days we jumped into our little hire car and explored…

Cabo de palos Spain James Villa holidays

Cabo de Palos, the nearby fishing town with a fabulous lighthouse that you can walk up to. We also had some wonderful meals in this town.

la manga strip Costa Calida spain

 

La Manga Strip which is a ‘sleeve’ of sand stretching out into the Mediterranean creating the lagoon of Mar Menor. It was massively built up in the 70’s and today is a strip of high rise apartment blocks and flats, at Easter as quiet and dead as a mouse but I hear in summertime a real traffic jam to get anywhere.

los alcazares Costa Calida

Los Alcazares and the long white beaches on the Mar Menor.

san pedro del pinatar

 

San Pedro del Pinatar famous for the salt marshes and the mud which has been used for thousands of years for the therapeutic and healing properties. I didn’t go in as it was so cold but I totally would have done.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena the nearby port town stepped in Roman history. A fascinating place to visit but a good walk, we had moany girls by the end and bribed them with ice cream to get back to the car.

‘My legs won’t go an inch more mummy.’ – Alice aged 6.

Cartagena Spain

We found a park and they played for half an hour – no problem with the legs at all.

Last photo (for now) at a local town El Algar as it’s one of my favourites

Calle amor de Dios

I will be writing about the above in more detail as they were all so beautiful and I have so many photos but for now it’s time for Time Traveller, please link up one of your posts and join in the Travel Bloggers Linky. Please find all the Time Traveller details here

Disclosure: My family were kindly hosted at La Manga Club Resort in the villa mentioned by James Villa Holidays for the purpose of this post, all opinions are our own. See where we went exploring in the local area

La Manga Strip

Cabo de Palos

Los Alcazares and San Pedro del Pinatar

Cartagena

I leave you with a rare photo of me and the girls :)