San Javier is one of the four municipalities in the local area, whose popularity has grown due to its privileged position on the edge of Europe´s most extensive inland salt-water lakes, the Mar Menor.
It offers the visitor the choice of bathing in two types of sea, with very different temperatures and conditions; The calm warm waters of the shallow salt-water lake or the more dynamic Mediterranean Sea.
The salt-water lake has 73 km of waterfronts and 40 km of beaches, protected buy a sandbank of some 21 km, which makes it popular with tourists with young families.
San Javier Town has a much more modern feel than other villages in the area and has only existed in its current form for just over 175 years, but retains the atmosphere of a fishing village whilst catering for the demands of modern tourism.
The Berbers were the first of many to invade the area, attracted by the safe moorings in the salt-water lagoon, but it was the Romans that developed salt extraction from the mineral-rich lake. During the time of the Moorish occupation the area was hardly used, as salt extractions were carried out in other municipalities, little evidence of them remain.
At the beginning of the 17th century a shrine, in honour to the Apostle San Francisco Javier, was built in the locality and the town slowly formed around the shrine. In 1888 a further shrine was constructed nearby, dedicated to Santiago de la Ribera, the Apostle St James. This nucleus of the municipality has developed to a spectacular tourist resort.
Visitors to San Javier will find themselves spoilt for choice as the area boasts 40 km of beaches, some within the shallow protected lagoon and others facing the open sea. The sand is fine and the waters clean, attracting the European Blue Flag award. Beaches of note include La Manga and Santiago de la Ribera.
Water-sports enthusiasts will find sailing, windsurfing, kite-surfing and diving in many dedicated centres including the popular Mar Menor Marine Resort.
The mild climate in the Murcia region makes the area a perfect destination for golf lovers, who can enjoy the 22 golf courses virtually all year round, with facilities to accommodate golfers of every level. Nearby you will find the Roda Golf Course which was designed by Dave Thomas, it has 18 holes and a par of 72 and covers 6,177 meters.
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The fertile inland plains produces an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood is landed daily by the local fishing fleet and farmed meat and game are brought down from the mountains, ensuring a rich selection of foods to suit every taste in which rice is 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 – a Rich Stew Dish
- Menestra – a dish of Sautéed Vegetables
- Habas con jamón – Broad Beans and Serrano Ham
- Caldo Murciano – a local Soup Dish
- Huevas de Mújol – a type of Caviar
The Patron saint of the sea and of fishermen is the ‘Virgen del Carmen’ and is the adopted patron of San Javier. Each July the locals escort the ‘Virgen’ on a procession of the sea. The annual carnival provides a splash of colour in February, as does the ‘Romeria of San Blas. San Javier takes pride in the Christmas tradition of constructing a huge Nativity or ‘Belén’ which is one of the largest in Spain. During this time The Three Kings arrive in San Javier by boat.