Located in the Murcia region of Spain, on the southern shores of the Mar Menor, Mar de Cristal translates as ‘Sea of Glass’ or ‘Crystal Sea’, and it’s easy to see why it lives up to its name.
Positioned at the entrance to La Manga Strip and close to Cabo de Palos, Mar de Cristal boasts fine sandy beaches, warm waters, stunning views, and over 320 days of sunshine a year. These are just some of the reasons why this beautiful part of Spain attracts so many people to buy a home or second property on the Costa Cálida.
It has it all, and you won’t have far to go to enjoy a selection of great bars and restaurants, local markets, and all the other first-class amenities required for daily living.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at why Mar de Cristal is an ideal location for those looking to buy a home or rental property in a quieter part of southern Spain in 2023.
The population of Mar de Cristal
Around 650 year-round residents enjoy the sought-after lifestyle that Mar de Cristal offers, although numbers rise significantly in the summer months (July–August) due to tourists.
Whether you’re looking to start a stress-free life overseas with your family, retire to the sun, enjoy an enviable lifestyle as a digital nomad, or invest in a rental property – the tranquil area of Mar de Cristal is a Mediterranean paradise that few can resist.
Amenities in Mar de Cristal
The small town centre of this peaceful, beachside resort has a selection of shops, bars and restaurants, and a supermarket, all within walking distance.
A well-stocked Spar Supermarket provides all basic necessities meaning you don’t miss out on cold refreshments and snacks for the beach! However, if you’re after a more varied shopping experience, Cartagena and the Dos Mares shopping centre are both less than a 30-minute drive away.
For those that love to browse a local street market, Mar de Cristal has an outdoor market on Fridays (in the summer months) – while nearby Cabo de Palos has a not-to-be-missed Sunday market with over 200 stalls (outside Las Dunas shopping centre).
There is a small medical centre situated in Islas Menores that serves Mar de Cristal. It’s located on the corner of Islas Columbretes and Calle Isla Ízaro. Tel: 968133055.
There is a well-stocked chemist next door to the medical centre: Farmacia Burrueco Sánchez Ana María.
Alternative health centres, just a short drive away, include Centro Médico Los Nietos and Centro de Salud La Manga Costa Cálida.
The nearest hospitals are Santa Lucía on the eastern outskirts of Cartagena and Hospital Los Arcos in San Javier. Both are open 24 hours a day and are approximately 15–20 minutes away by car.
- Banks and cashpoints
The nearest banks are Cajamar Caja Rural, close to Islas Menores, and CaixaBank Holabank in Los Belones – both just a 30-minute walk (or a 5-minute drive) from Mar de Cristal.
The food scene – dining out
We have the pleasure of living and working close to this charming coastal resort, and because we know it’s sometimes hard to decide where to eat and drink, here are some of our favourite restaurants and coffee shops.
Set on the seafront with a view to die for; this is one of our ‘go-to’ places for coffee or lunch. They also serve breakfast, brunch and evening meals – catering for all tastes, including vegetarians.
The location is stunning but don’t just take our word for it, head along to enjoy some tapas, a generous gin and tonic, or a magnificent breakfast.
If we had to choose a place to go to for the ultimate cocktail, it would be here! But we love this beautiful place on the beach for so much more.
It offers breathtaking views, a very warm welcome, live music, and time to relax in elegant surroundings while feasting on incredible dishes.
And if you like sushi, check out their Fusion Sushi Night every Tuesday.
This is one of our favourite Italian restaurants that also offers exquisite tasting Indian food along with a range of Mediterranean options.
They have a great selection of fabulous salads and tasty pizzas.
If you’re looking for a great family atmosphere with good food at reasonable prices – this is as good a place as any to start!
The last point at the end of the beach, this chiringuito is perfect for a quiet beer and local seafood tapas at the end of a busy day. It’s a fabulous place to kick off your shoes and relax whilst taking in the spectacular views of the lagoon at sunset.
We love the chilled atmosphere and gazing out over the Mar Menor at any time of the day.
If you’re looking for a place to stay while on holiday or browsing for properties to buy in the area, we can highly recommend El Secreto del Agua. It’s beachfront with incredible views and a private rooftop terrace.
Sports and leisure facilities
Mar de Cristal has a Tennis and Padel Centre with a gym.
Ten minutes away by car is the world-famous La Manga Club, an exclusive sport and leisure complex offering an incredible range of services, including golf, tennis, cycling, football, cricket and a fitness centre and spa at the Grand Hyatt La Manga Club Golf and Spa Hotel.
The calm waters of the Mar Menor make Mar de Cristal one of the best places in Spain to indulge in water sports. There is a vast selection to choose from, whether you want to go sailing, canoeing, kitesurfing, windsurfing or go out on a boat or fishing trip – it’s a perfect place to relax on or in the water.
Golf courses close to Mar de Cristal
This area is a favourite with golfers from all over the world who get to enjoy their passion in the glorious sunshine whilst taking in stunning views of the Mediterranean and surrounding countryside.
There are four prestigious courses close to Mar de Cristal worth particular mention:
- La Manga Club (10 minutes) is defined by its three 18-hole championship courses suitable for all levels of players. Palm trees, lakes and ravines are all characteristic of these world-class courses.
- La Serena Golf (15 minutes) is right next to the Mar Menor and is a mainly flat 18-hole course. The main challenges lie in the many water hazards and the prevailing Levante wind. There is a large Club House providing all facilities and services, including a bar-cafeteria with terrace and ‘La Serena’ restaurant.
- Mar Menor Golf Resort (25 minutes) near Torre Pacheco is an excellent resort with fabulous practice facilities and putting greens. Also, watch out for a spectacular lake that can prove challenging!
- Roda Golf and Beach Resort (25 minutes) enjoys stunning views of the Mediterranean sea and is one of the best courses on the Mar Menor – suitable for any level of player.
Mar De Cristal Blue Flag beach – one of the best on the Mar Menor
We’ve already briefly mentioned ‘the beach’, but it really is spectacular, with a beautiful promenade to wander along and enjoy a relaxing walk.
With views out towards La Manga, it’s a great place for families to relax on the sand and swim in the warm, safe waters.
It flies the ‘Q’ for Quality banner for its superb facilities, which include:
- Wooden walkways
- Sunbed and shade hire
- Public toilets
- Foot showers
- Children’s play area
- Rubbish collection and recycling
- Auxiliary medical services
- A beach bar (in the summer)
- Disabled facilities
There are plenty of other beaches to explore on either side of La Manga Strip, offering different bathing conditions. On one side, you can enjoy the balmy waters of the Mar Menor, and on the other, the more rugged Mediterranean coastline.
At a glance guide to the local beaches of La Manga Strip.
Mar de Cristal marina
One of nine marinas inside the Mar Menor, the marina at Mar de Cristal is an excellent spot for a wander or to sit and watch the world go by whilst sipping a refreshing beer and looking at the variety of boats in port.
The marina offers 162 mooring berths and a variety of amenities, such as a restaurant and bar, a supermarket, a laundry service, and a free Wi-Fi connection.
Take a trip – other places to explore in the area
If beach life gets too much, you can always step away from the sand and immerse yourself in the countryside or some local culture.
With a combination of historical monuments, outstanding art deco buildings, a port and a thriving and lively inner city, it’s a far cry from a day on a sunbed, but it might be just what you need for a change of scenery.
Alternatively, why not explore Murcia in a day – and enjoy its spectacular cultural and historical heritage, gastronomy, and wide range of leisure activities?
If you’re looking for peace and quiet and to hide away in nature, the Sierra de Carrascoy National Park can be reached in 25 minutes, and the Calblanque and Salinas bird sanctuary is only 10 minutes from Mar de Cristal. Both are superb areas for walking and enjoying a picnic lunch in stunning surroundings.
Getting to Mar de Cristal
By Air: The nearest airport to Mar de Cristal is the Región de Murcia International Airport (locally known as Murcia-Corvera). Although closer, it takes the same time as travelling from Alicante-Elche Airport, which is easier to travel from.
BusbamSL operates a bus to nearby El Algar twice daily. Tickets cost €7–€13, and the journey takes 2h 30m.
By Train: From the central station in Cartagena, there are regular connecting trains to Los Nietos Pescadería and then a short car journey or taxi service to Mar de Cristal.
By Car/Taxi: Hiring a car or booking a taxi is the quickest option to get from Región de Murcia International Airport to Mar de Cristal, taking just over half an hour.
Are you thinking of buying a property in Mar de Cristal?
Here’s a quick summary of our top ten reasons to choose Mar de Cristal.
- You can enjoy a peaceful village atmosphere and be within walking distance of all essential services and amenities.
- The food scene is fabulous, with excellent dining experiences (and views to die for), at reasonable prices.
- Essential healthcare facilities are readily available.
- The area is a paradise for sports and leisure activities.
- One of the best beaches on the Mar Menor.
- Outstanding golf facilities within less than a 40-minute drive, including the world-famous La Manga Club courses only a 10-minute drive away.
- A wealth of Spanish history and culture to explore on your doorstep.
- Easy travel to and from airports by car and public transport.
- A wide range of properties is available in the area, including luxury villas close to the beach with private pools and modern new-build apartments.
- The weather!
How the Micasamo team can help
Our team is highly experienced in real estate and knows southeast Spain like the back of our hands. Between us, we have incredible knowledge of the local area and developers and know all the pitfalls of moving abroad.
We provide an end-to-end service, including; free consultation with legal advisors, financial advisors, residency advisors, relocation advice, property consultancy to establish your right-fit property, exclusive property viewing trips to show you the area and suitable properties, ongoing first-class after-sales service, and more.
Mar de Cristal on the Costa Cálida truly is something special, and the team at Micasamo would love to show you all it has to offer, in addition to our stunning properties.
Get in touch today so we can help you start your exciting adventure to property ownership in beautiful Spain.