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LA MANGA

La Manga del Mar Menor is a fascinating area, a strip of land, 22 kms long and 50 to 1500 m wide, separating the Mediterranean from the inland sea, Mar Menor. Thousands of years ago it was a large bay, but gradually a long underwater ridge built up to create its present appearance.It lies to the southeast of Murcia province and the nearest airport is Murcia San Javier, about 40kms away.

 

La Manga del Mar Menor  
On the short journey from the airport you can see all the high rise apartments and hotels of La Manga, across the inland sea of Mar Menor. At night, this is an impressive sight. The trip takes you past the resorts of Los Alcazares, Los Urrutias, Los Nietos and La Playa Honda with its vivid high rise apartments. La Manga Playa Honda  
This road also takes you past the famous La Manga Club resort and sports complex. This has been used in the past by the England soccer team. The five star hotel must often host other millionaires, judging by the green fees at the golf course. You can see the high rise hotels and apartments of La Manga del Mar Menor on the horizon. la manga club  
This region is very popular with Spanish holidaymakers and it is easy to understand why. There are some excellent hotels and an immense selection of holiday apartments. All of this holiday accommodation is less than 500m from excellent beaches, much of it is next to the beach. la-manga-playa-to-hotel-galua  

Typical of the modern hotels is Las Gaviotas, situated in a good position half way between its sister hotel, the well known Los Delfines, and the Mar Menor. Staff here are very professional and friendly, and food quality is excellent with extensive buffet choices.It offers good views from the balconies of large modern bedrooms, especially if you choose the 5th floor or above.

See panorama below of southern end of the Mar Menor towards La Playa Honda and Los Nietos.

la manga hotel gaviotas hotel gaviotas reception
panorama from las gaviotas1 panorama from las gaviotas2 panoram from las gaviotas3
There are plenty of modest beachside restaurants to sample like Sol Y Mar shown. A wonderful custom in La Manga is the provision of a complimentary salad at the start of a meal in most restaurants. I have not experienced this in any other part of Spain (or anywhere else at all). It means also that after such a healthy start, you can choose a main course with impunity. la manga beachside restaurant  
Value for money in these little unpretentious places is usually phenomenal. Lunchtime offerings of fantastic seafood paellas cost a few euros. Tapas are of course in ample supply at most establishments la manga paella  
.If you would like to experience a truly authentic Spanish lunchtime restaurante, then make your way to Restaurante Christina, at the Nuevo Puerto Bello Bloque, opposite the Nuevas Sirenas apartments. The place was absolutely buzzing with Spaniards, and it was easy to see why. The menu del dia included: gazpacho; revuelto con guisantes; magra; lomo de cerdo; melon (two massive slices); tarta; and coffee. Also included was the complimentary starter salad and wine or water. The bill for two was 16 euros!! gazpacho with accompaniments  
ext door with pretty fairy lights at night is the popular Buenos Aires Plaza restaurante, Argentinian would you believe! One of the joint owners, Horatio, is extremely friendly and attentive. Try the succulent steaks, typically tasty Argentinian fare. We met an interesting couple, Herr and Fru Wide, who had driven 3,300km from Sweden! and had been coming to La Manga for 24 years. They had bought a place and knew a lot of people in the area. He was a silver and goldsmith and had designed a fish logo for the Hotel Dos Mares, just a kilometre down the gran via. He advised trying the Sol D`Or at Plaza Cavanna, which was run by a Brit. la manga buesnos restaurante  
If you prefer and English-speaking host, the Dia y Noche restaurant and bar, is run by a friendly English couple and have a good menu with complimentary bottle of wine for two diners. dia y noche restaurante  
Transport communications are good on La Manga, with an excellent dual carriageway running almost its entire length. The buses are fairly frequent and there are plenty of taxis. Care is needed if you have children because the road can be busy at times. Although for the most part it is fairly quiet, as in the picture. la manga del mar menor gran via  
One could be forgiven for thinking the strip is dominated by utilitarian high rise blocks. However this is not altogether fair. There is a tremendous variety of architecture including individual attractive designs. la manga del mar menor characterful casa  
The Hotel Los Delfines is known locally as the 'wedding-cake' but its probably more ziggurat in profile. The adjacent plaza is the spot for out door dancing to live music courtesy of the hotel. This is what summer Mediterranean life is all about, dancing into the late evening in the warmth! la manga del mar menor la plaza de delfines  
A good way of exploring the full length of La Manga is to take the GuaGua, the little yellow tourist bus. It departs twice a day from Hotel Entremares, the first hotel built in 1966, near the bottom of the strip, and the driver provides an informative commentary. It is in Spanish, so challenging for your listening skills. First call is a small southward diversion to Cabo de Palos. A small busy port and a strong scuba diving centre. The residential area has grown significantly in recent years and is matched by the restaurant provision on the seafront. More about this below. la manga del mar menor tourist bus  
The Guagua makes swift progress back up the dual carriageway, passes its starting point at dos Mares, and continues northwards to its next stop at the busy Hotel Cavanna plaza. From here, the tour passes the Hotel Galua on a promontory on the right, and takes in views of the extensive development of the strip. Eventually arriving at the impressive lifting road bridge opposite, La Gola del Estacio. This is the only place big boats can sail through from the Med to the Mar Menor. A real feat of civil engineering. la manga lifting road bridge  
One of the most influential architects of the area was a lawyer called Tomas Maestre. He was responsible for many of the early developments on the strip including the marina of his name. You could spend a long time here admiring some of the expensive boats. Which lucky people own all these fantastic crafts? la manga tomas maestre puerto  
The journey north terminates at the humpback bridge near to Veneciola, named after Pequena Venecia, a residential estate with canals. The initial plan was to have a lakeside village, but the project did not take off. It's now just a quiet area with some top end villas with nice gardens. There is a small par-3 golf course nearby, but it looks a little run down. The adjacent high rise apartment development are classy looking if not a little impersonal. There is not much sign of life, perhaps everyone is reclusive. La manga humpback bridge near Veneciola  

SUNSET OVER LA MAR MENOR - Taken from Hotel Las Gaviotas

 


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