Living in Mar Menor Spain: The Definitive Guide

Mar Menor Spain

Have you ever heard about Mar Menor Spain?

It is a saltwater lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a narrow 22km long spit of land known as La Manga.

The lake is also no deeper than 7 metres.

Mar Menor means ‘minor sea’ to distinguish it from the ‘major sea’ of the Mediterranean.

Ready to discover it? :-)

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Where is Mar Menor Spain?

The coastal saltwater lagoon of Mar Menor is located within the Costa Calida.

The cities of Murcia and the historical city of Cartagena are not too far away.

Mar Menor Spain Map

Along Mar Menor Spain, you will find three important resorts:

Murcia airport is very conveniently located at San Javier, while another international airport at Alicante is a little over an hour driving time from Mar Menor Spain.

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What is the History of Mar Menor?

In 210 BC, Mar Menor was a harbour in the Mediterranean Sea and over the next 1,000 years it started to close off from the Mediterranean as the spit slowly formed through the accumulation of sand and sediment.

Salt deposits begun by the Romans who built spas for their therapeutic qualities.

Ancient fishing techniques are still in use today, as well as irrigation systems so the land was suitable for agriculture.

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General Information about Mar Menor

Mar Menor is located on the Iberian Peninsula in the south-eastern province of Murcia.

Mar Menor Spain is one of the regions natural attractions and the largest saltwater lake to be found in Europe at 170 square kilometres in size.

If you drive north along the coast, in around 20-30 minutes, you will find Orihuela Costa, Torrevieja and Guardamar (in that order), which are part of the next province: Alicante.

The development of tourism in recent decades has led to several hotels and resorts being built in the area, while water-sports are enjoyed on the saltwater lagoon in a safe and controlled environment.

The waters of the lake are around 5C warmer than the temperature in the Mediterranean making it popular for swimming all year round.

When you drive inland Spain, around hour and a half, you will find the beautiful Yecla and the wine town Jumilla.

Are you from the United Kingdom? UK citizens have to apply for a visa to live in Spain long-term (more than 90 days), you may want to explore the non-lucrative visa Spain.

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What is the Weather like in Mar Menor?

The weather around Mar Menor Spain is a little cooler during the hot summer months than that recorded  on the Mediterranean coastline.

During the winter months the average temperature remains pleasant allowing for swimming even during those winter months.

Mar Menor has in excess of 300 sunny days every year, as the other two well-known coastal areas of Murcia Region: Mazarron and Aguilas.

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What Architecture can be seen in Mar Menor?

There is not much in the way of actual architecture to see in Mar Menor, although the region does contain the interesting wrecks of possibly four ships just off the coast.

The oldest is a Phoenician wreck, known as the Bajo de la Campana wreck.

When archaeologists discovered this wreck of around 2,700 years, and began uncovering evidence they found another wrecked ship dating from the Roman era, this second ship had hit the same rocks around 700 years later.

There are several watchtowers erected to warn of attacks from the period of the Moors controlling this area through to attacks by Berber pirates much later up to the 17th century.

In Los Alcazares there are remains of Roman baths, Moorish palaces and irrigation systems.

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Gastronomy

Mar Menor Caldero is a delicious and nutritious dish of rice originating  from this lagoon area.

The tasty dish contains dried peppers and rice, in addition to fish caught in the waters of Mar Menor Spain.

Caldero dates from the 19th century and was invented by local fishermen to use any leftover fish such as bream, mujoles or gallina.

It is now one of the most popular dishes in the region of Mar Menor.

It has been compared to paella, although Caldero when cooked contains more liquid than paella.

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How much does it cost to rent or buy property in Mar Menor?

In the Mar Menor Spain area there are some really affordable properties available with one bedroomed apartments on sale for as little as 54,000 Euros, while 2 bed apartments are around 75,000 and 3 bed 84,000.

Those wanting houses should expect to pay around 200,000 for a three bedroomed house, while for those wanting some luxury, an 8 bedroomed villa with pool will cost around 1,600,000 Euros.

Rental properties for those seeking not to buy are from 380 Euros a month for a 2 bed apartment, 3 bedroomed apartments are available from 425 Euros per month while 5 bedroomed houses cost around 5-600 Euros a month.

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What are the most Interesting Attractions I should visit in Mar Menor?

El Carmoli

El Carmoli is what remains of a volcano rising up to 113 metres in height close to Mar Menor Spain.

The area is largely undeveloped making for some good walking and a little climbing while surrounded by the wild growing thyme and rosemary.

There is lots of wildlife including stilts and curlews, and once you reach the top, there are fantastic views over the area.

El Carmoli is at the end of a 26km walking route that begins at Cabo de Palos and Cala Reona.

Golf in and around Mar Menor

Roda Golf Course is located close to Los Alcazares and is a par 72 18 hole course which offers challenging golf for all levels of golfer.

The Mar Menor Golf Resort is at Torre Pachero near to Los Alcazares and is described as a luxury golf resort with a 9 hole golf course, which is expected to be extended up to 18 holes some time in the future.

Golf Murcia Spain

The resort also has crazy golf which is suitable for all the family, along with pool croquet (a giant pool table, where the balls are hit with croquet mallets), outdoor skittles, table tennis and more.

San Pedro del Pinatar Mud Bathing

The Mar Menor is famed for its leisure sports, fishing and beach holidays.

It is also famed for its mud-bathing.

Using the high salinity healing qualities of the mud.

The mud in the Mar Menor has been known for centuries for its therapeutic quality together with the clay deposits combine to give high levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium and fluoride, these positive energies when added to the negative ions of chlorine and sulphate create a unique blend of healing mud.

There are several locations around the lake where mud bathing takes place and are recommended to have healing qualities for conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis and skin conditions, in addition to just being a skin beauty treatment.

Cabo de Palos

Located on a small peninsula extending out into the Mediterranean, Cabo de Palos has miles of unspoilt coastline stretching towards Cartagena in one direction and La Manga in the opposite direction.

The peninsula was formed millions of years ago during volcanic eruptions which today gives it a unique ecosystem as well as being a wonderful site for divers classed as one of Europe’s premier dive sites.

When seen from above the fine lines of rocks can be seen that link these offshore islands, but this makes it a very dangerous area for ships, as some captains have found to their cost over the centuries.

There are numerous gulleys, shelves and rock formations just 3 metres below the surface.

Cabo palos Murcia Spain

To warn ships of the danger there is a lighthouse at the top of the peninsula, this is a great place to visit, either walking or cycling.

The top of the peninsula also offers a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside in addition to the panorama across the sea.

Cabo de Palos itself has some wonderful beaches, is superb for snorkelling, has an attractive marina with several bars and restaurants in addition to its lighthouse.

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Are you ready to move to Mar Menor Spain?

You are either from an EU or non-EU country… and chances are you don’t know where to start.

But, good news, we are relocation specialists :-)

Here is the starting point.

Please click / tap on the image below:

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If you would like to read about other important points for living / moving to Spain, here are other useful articles we wrote: