La Manga is a sand spit 21 kilometres long and 100 metres wide that separates the Mediterranean Sea from the Mar Menor. Fresh water from the Mediterranean enters the lagoon through natural channels called “golas”.
Until the 1960s it was just a natural sandbar with dunes and some rock formations, but then it was developed as a tourist resort.
Nowadays described as “a paradise between two seas”, La Manga offers a network of modern tourist installations highlighted by apartment complexes, hotels (including a five-star beach establishment), water sports schools, a marina, golf resorts, supermarkets, bars, restaurants and 44 kilometres of sandy beaches. That is… everything you need for all-year-round holidays.
La Manga is home to nearly 20 beaches and coves, some with fine golden sand and others with heavy sand and pebbles. Most beaches have toilet facilities, ramps for disabled access, sun beds and parasol rentals. Parking along the coastal road is free.
Thanks to its location between two seas, the area is a hotspot for water sports enthusiasts, offering boat trips, boat hire, surfing, sailing, diving schools and much more. Covering an area of 170 square kilometres, the Mar Menor lagoon is the largest area of water of its kind in Europe. It is only seven metres deep and therefore warmer than the Mediterranean. Its salty water and clay is reputably hugely beneficial for people with rheumatism and skin complaints.
The Murcia region’s mild climate makes this area an ideal destination for golf-lovers, who can enjoy playing at any one of 22 golf courses virtually throughout the year, with facilities to accommodate golfers of every level.
Ten kilometres inland from the La Manga strip, the renowned Royal Golf La Manga Resort comprises three 18-hole courses where top tournaments such as the Spanish Open and Spanish PGA championships have been held.
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The fertile inland plains produce an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood is caught daily by the local fishing fleet, and farmed meat and game are brought down from the mountains, ensuring a rich culinary selection to suit every taste – with rice being prominent.
La Manga has a wide range of bars, beach huts and restaurants, specialising in fish dishes and paellas, barbecued steaks and international cuisine, and offering spectacular sunsets over the sea.
The best town near La Manga for local and traditional fiestas is San Javier.
The patron saint of the sea and fishermen, and adopted patron of San Javier, is the Virgen del Carmen. Each July the locals escort the Virgen during a procession out to the sea. Annual carnival celebrations provide a splash of colour in February, as does the San Blas “romería”. San Javier also takes special pride in the Christmas tradition of constructing a huge nativity scene (“belén”), which is one of the largest in Spain. During this time The Three Kings arrive in San Javier by boat.