El Valle y Carrascoy Regional Park
This regional park is situated in the east of the Betic mountain range within the Segura river basin, it occupies an area of almost 11,000 hectares. Height above sea level ranges from 200 meters up to 1,000 meters at the top of the craggy escarpments, presenting diverse geological phenomenons at different levels.
Carrascoy has integrated wildlife corridors across the park, which have become home to a multitude of wildlife, including small mammals, birds and reptiles, eagles can often be seen soaring on the thermals above the rocky outcrops. The park has a variety of trails and treks that are signposted and graded for the degree of ease or difficulty, as are the rock climbs, so that the easier, less technical assents can be attempted by older children. Guided treks are available and can be booked at the visitors centre.
El Valle, the visitors centre, is a good place to start, this is located next to the town of La Alberca as you enter the park. El Valle has leaflets, maps and brochures to help you get the most from your visit. The visitor centre also has an informative exhibition of the geography, history and biodiversity of the park, to help understand the fauna, flora, geology and conservation work.
At the lower levels of the park, were the visitors centre is located, a number of installations have been added for the visitor’s enjoyment, these include:
- El Valle Recreational Area
- The Wild Fauna Recovery Centre
- The Nature School, where you can learn about conservation
- La Fuensanta Sanctuary, which has a pilgrimage in September
- Las Navetas and Relojero viewing points, with stunning 360º views
This nature park has been included in the European Natura 2000
network for biodiversity and has been declared a ‘Special Protection Bird Sanctuary’ mainly for the important population of the Eurasian Eagle Owl that is found here.
Entry to the park is free.
- Where: Fuente Álamo, 40 minutes south of Murcia city.
- When: All year round, dawn till dusk.
For more information telephone: 0034 968 22 89 37
or download the printable information leaflet here
Salinas de San Pedro Coastal Park
The Regional Park of Salinas de San Pedro is a wetland and salt marsh of great importance as a nesting and breeding grounds for many species of birds, including the emblematic flamingos.
It is located in the municipalities of San Pedro del Pinatar and San Javier and covers an area of 856 hectares, which includes 6 km of Mediterranean coast.
The diversity of flora and fauna species, together with traditional activities live in harmony with the environment. Good examples of this are the salt exploitation industry and the traditional method of coastal lagoon fishing, of which this is the only place in the Mediterranean where it is still practised. The coastal park has become a protected natural space and an example of sustainable development.
Take a tour of the salt flats at sunrise to enjoy the spectacular colours reflected in the salt ponds, followed by a visit to the Visitor Centre “Las Salinas”, where you can learn more about the natural treasures that this protected natural area holds.
A walk along the marked trails or by bike along the bike path, making stops at the information panels, allows you to discover the fauna, flora and the different natural environments that exist in the Regional Park.
It is almost mandatory to stop at the various viewing points to observe the different waterfowl that inhabit the park. You can also enjoy the spectacular landscape formed by the great salt mountains, swim in the natural beaches of the Regional Park, or in the therapeutic mud baths, a healthy experience in a quiet and privileged environment.
The Regional Park houses a great variety of different ecosystems: beach, coastal dunes, pine forest, salt marshes, salt ponds, and reed beds. The narrow dune strip extends throughout the Park, parallel to the Mediterranean Sea. These dunes are semi-fixed by vegetation.
El Pinar de Coterillo is a repopulation of Aleppo pines made in 1917 in order to prevent the advance of the dunes, which threatened to invade the salt ponds. Another of the ecosystems that we find in the park is the salt marsh; a complex natural system, with steppe vegetation, a soil loaded with salts, which also becomes flooded during part of the year. In summer, when the water evaporates from the ground, the salts are dragged to the surface, where they are deposited forming the typical white salt crust.
When: the coastal park is open all year, admission is free.
Where: Between El Mojón and La Manga.
Tel: 968 178 139
Web: Murcia Turistica
Parque Minero, La Union
The park is a picturesque area of the Sierra Minera where you can learn the complete process of the old underground mining industry of the 19th century, whilst travelling on the mine train, through over 4,000 m2 of galleries in the mine.
The visit takes approximately two hours, starting at the Interpretation Centre of the Park, where a video is shown that helps to better understand the history of La Union. The train will then take you on a tour where you can see all the attractions related to mining and culminates with the visit to the ‘Mina Agrupa Vicenta’, the principal mineshaft, the main attraction of the Park. Once you have visited the mine, you will return to the interpretation centre where you can buy souvenirs of the places visited.
The Sierra de Cartagena – La Unión contains important metallic mineral deposits, mainly of lead and zinc, and was an intense mining activity already in Carthaginian and Roman times. The boom of mining in the 19th century filled the Sierra with underground mining, and from 1950, open-pit mining caused a brutal impact on the landscape, until the definitive closure of mining in 1991.
The mining activity has left us a valuable industrial heritage scattered throughout the Sierra: machine houses, chimneys, furnaces, powder magazines, mineral laundries, tunnels and mining trains, in addition to the large excavations that have transformed the landscape, and an underground network of galleries and wells.
To this rich industrial heritage, we must also add a valuable cultural heritage: the flamenco ballads or ‘cantes’ that emerged from the hard working conditions of the miners, who worked in the bowels of this Sierra, these are remembered annually with the celebration of the International Festival of ‘Cante de las Minas’.
When: Winter; Tuesday – Sunday at 10.00 and 12.00. Summer; Tuesday – Sunday at 10.00 and 12.00 and Tuesday – Saturday at 18.00.
Where: Camino del 33, s/n, La Unión, San Javier, Murcia
Phone: 968 00 21 40