The City of Murcia
The City of Murcia, near La Manga Del Mar Menor, is described as one of the most beautiful and historic in the country. The city stands on the banks of the river and enjoys all year round sunshine. It has the highest temperatures in the region. There is a great deal of Moorish influence in the city, not least of all the impressive city walls. After the reconquest, the 20 mosques in the city were turned into churches.
The Cathedral is the most highly prized building in the city. The first foundation stone was laid in 1388 by Bishop Pedrosa . It took four centuries to complete. There are many different styles and cultures within, including 23 different chapels. Murcia is a welcoming and friendly city, pleasantly modern while maintaining its traditions.
Its most important monument is the cathedral, which is characterised by the variety of architectural styles that overlapped during its construction (1394-1462). The Bishop's Palace, the Casino and several churches are also well worth a visit, as are its museums and art galleries. In the town centre, you can stroll down Traperia and Plateria streets, named after the cloth merchants or silversmiths who plied their trades in each. Don't miss the Romea theatre and City Hall, built in the 19th century, with pastel-coloured facades and unusual decorative features.
An easy 25 minute drive from La Manga Del Mar Menor, the ancient city of Cartagena revolves around its port, which is one of the most important in Spain . At every turn, you will find evidence of its 2200 years of history, marked by the imprint of different civilisations, battles, ruins, ancient walls, castles and churches.
Cartagena sits on the Costa Calida within Murcia not far from La Manga Del Mar Menor. Despite the scruffy views as you enter the city, you will find within, a wealth of history and beautiful architecture. If you explore the port area you will find a mixture of old and new. The large naval base occupies a large area and throughout the city, the importance of the port will become evident with numerous buildings belonging to the navy, as well as a good naval museum. You must see the Naval Headquarters, Artillery Headquarters, Dockyard Gate and the Midshipman School.
Cartagena has always been a major port, due to its unique position on the Mediterranean coast and you will see high on the hilltops, several forts and castles.
Much of Cartagenas Roman history has long gone, however there are sites, such as that under the current bullring that have been excavated. The bullring was erected in 1854, over the Roman amphitheatre.
Over recent years many of the important buildings in the city have been restored. Indeed, to this day the work continues. There are numerous churches, palaces and government buildings. You will also find several good museums worthy of a visit.
There are plenty of parks and squares to rest in, surrounded by good restaurants and bars and you will almost certainly find life here very slow and easy going.
You will find the very helpful tourist office close to the bus station at the end of Calle San Diego. They will supply you with a good street map to make your visit easier. Most of the sights can be found in one central area, all within easy walking distance.
The seashore offers a wide range of activities from sailing to windsurfing and good diving. The local countryside is perfect for hiking, horseriding and cycling. From Cartagena you can easily explore the ancient city of Murcia, the coastal resorts of Mazarron, Cala Cortina and Cabo de Palos or a little further north, the world famous resort of Mar Menor.
San Pedro Del Pinatar
San Pedro, a short drive from La Manga Del Mar Menor has as one of the town's architectural symbols, the Quintin mill, the surrounding area contains the Salinas de San Pedro del Pinatar Regional Park, a space where a great many species of migratory birds come to nest. You can also benefit from the therapeutic properties of its mud, especially suitable for treating bone and skin ailments.
San Pedro del Pinatar saltworks are the most significant marshland area of Murcia 's Region. They were stated Nature Reserve Regional Park on 1985. Flamingos and other migratory bird flocks nest here every year, using this Nature Reserve as a stopping place in their migrations between Europe and Africa .
San Pedro del Pinatar Saltworks Nature Reserve is a unique Mediterranean coastal spot. Within a relatively small space you can see terrain formations such as saltworks, dunes, salt marshes, reedbeds, large and wild sand beaches, pinetrees growing in the sands and "encanizadas" (Traditional fishing system in Mar Menor. It lies in capturing the fishes that swim through small natural channels from Mediterranean Sea to Mar Menor lake. The fishes are forced to pass across a complex labyrinth built with reeds and wood pieces and they are captured)
The bird's fauna is specially important. Flamingos are the kings of the area, because of their spectacular nature. Flamingo flocks arrive to the Nature Reserve at the end of the Summer to hibernate in the place.
There are two bird watching areas from which you can observe, also, many other birds, such as herons, eaglets, owls, storks, storklets (himantopus himpantopus) seagulls, charranes (sterna hirundo) chorlitos patinegros (charadrius alexandrinus) and avocetas (avosetta recurvirostra) among other species.
The existence of saltworks in this Nature Reserve near La Manga Del Mar Menor is so old as the human being's presence. Fourteen Century documents mention these saltworks already. The two windmills that stay nowadays were used to pump up the salty Mar Menor's water to the saltwork ponds. Now they use electrical pumps, but the windmills outline is still part of the landscape.Visit to the Saltworks and Sandy Spots Nature Reserve.