Los Alcázares is a spa town set on the shores of the Mar Menor, the largest salt water lagoon in Europe. The lagoon’s waters are warmed by thermal breezes that raise the temperature up to five degrees higher than in the surrounding Mediterranean Sea.
The high mineral content of the water is so renowned for its health-enhancing properties – coupled with the area’s mild climate – that the World Health Organisation has listed the Mar Menor as one of the healthiest places in the world.
The name Los Alcázares is derived from the Moorish term “Al Kazar”, which is given to a fortified palace for Arab royals or high-ranking nobility.
The Romans built spa baths that have been enjoyed by all the different military forces and communities who conquered the area over the centuries.
With the Catholic Monarchs’ Reconquista (Reconquest), Los Alcázares became a strategically important port for trade and fishing due to its privileged position.
The area offers seven kilometres of fine sandy beaches connected by an impressive promenade, ideal for an early evening stroll.
All beaches provide showers and water fountains, and are equipped for convenient disabled access.
Watersports enthusiasts will find an abundance of activities in the safe, shallow waters of the enclosed lagoon, with sailing, wind surfing and kite surfing suitable for the novice as well as the experienced.
The more adventurous can head out to the Mediterranean Sea or charter a yacht to discover the magnificent coastline – or enjoy a trip by boat to the small island of Perdiguera.
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.
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Roman thermal baths are still available for a therapeutic spa day, and the mineral waters of the bay are renowned for their beneficial effects for those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism or skin disorders.
One area of the beach has a natural mud deposit that has been compared to those found on the Black Sea.
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.
Traditional dishes include:
- Arroz y Conejo – Rice with Rabbit
- Paella Huertana – Vegetable Paella
- Arroz de Verduras – Rice and Vegetables
- Arroz Marinero – Seafood Rice
- Arroz y Costillejas – Rice and Ribs
- Potaje – Rich Stew Dish
- Menestra – Dish of Sautéed Vegetables
- Habas con Jamón – Broad Beans with Serrano Ham
- Caldo Murciano – Local Soup Dish
- Huevas de Mújol – Type of Caviar
King prawns are also caught locally and are highly recommended.
The patron saint of Los Alcázares, like most fishing villages in Spain, is the Virgen del Carmen, and the local fiesta in her honour is held in mid-July. In February the town joins with neighbouring San Javier and San Pedro del Pinatar to host a spectacular street carnival.
With over 325 day of sun a year, cool breezes in summer and mountains providing protection from the winter winds, Los Alcázares enjoys a mild year-round climate.