La Manga Strip, correctly named La Manga del Mar Menor, is a strip of land located 35 km northeast of Cartagena on the Costa Cálida in southeast Spain.
This small but incredibly popular strip of land – just 21 km long and no more than 100 m wide at some points – separates the Mediterranean sea from the Mar Menor (minor sea) lagoon.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, with warm summers and dry winters, boasting over 320 days of sunshine a year.
Interestingly, it’s where many Spanish families choose to come for their holidays, and the locals don’t like it being called ‘the strip’!
The population of La Manga del Mar Menor
During the off-season months, there is a population of just over 2250 people (in 2020) in La Manga del Mar Menor, with all the usual services for healthcare, police, library, schools, etc., remaining accessible.
Fast forward to the summer, and the population rises dramatically due to the resort attracting many tourists from all over the world. Numbers can increase to as many as 250,000 in peak summer months.
There is something for everyone at La Manga Strip, and just as you might expect, typically tasty Mediterranean food features on most menus.
Fresh fish and shellfish are brought in daily by the fishermen from Cabo de Palos and play a starring role on most restaurant menus, along with grilled meats and healthy, delicious salads.
If you haven’t experienced the typical Spanish rice dish of paella, give it a try and savour the deliciousness of saffron rice with succulent chicken or juicy prawns and fresh vegetables.
If you want to indulge in beachside eating, head for a chiringuito. Many will serve just drinks and tapas, whilst others offer a wide variety of meals to suit all tastes. Of particular note is Chiringuito La Cangreja, which was featured by Forbes in its list of top chiringuitos to visit in Spain, for 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Another great place, offering a lively atmosphere with reasonably priced restaurants and bars, is Puerto Tomás Maestre – the most significant marina in La Manga del Mar Menor – where you can indulge in a spot of ‘people watching’ or ‘yacht envy’ whilst taking in the stunning views and sunsets.
You can choose from a wide variety of glorious sandy beaches for chilled beach vibes, cool beers, and stunning sunsets.
On the Mar Menor side, white sandy beaches with the gently sloping shorelines and crystal clear waters of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon offer perfect bathing conditions for families with children.
Sometimes, it’s possible to wade out to as far as 50 m whilst the water remains waist-deep. Another bonus is the water temperature, which rarely drops below 15 degrees Celsius. In peak season, these beaches can be bustling with holidaymakers so you’ll need to get there early to claim your spot!
If you prefer a more dramatic beach scene with rolling waves, you can cross the road to the Mediterranean side and get lost in the vast expanse of coastal beaches – typically with lower occupancy due to their vastness!
Beach services on this side vary depending on the size and potential occupancy. Services may include lifeguards, toilets, showers, disabled access, wooden walkways, footbaths, parasol and sunbed hire, hammock rental, wifi, and children’s play areas.
Some beaches are designated no-smoking beaches, such as Playa Mistral.
Your quick guide to the Mar Menor and Mediterranean beaches.
The calm waters of the Mar Menor make for a water sports heaven, especially for those who are less confident and prefer to avoid the crashing waves of the Mediterranean.
Both sides of the strip offer opportunities for all kinds of watersports, from gentle snorkeling, SUP, and kayaking, to kite surfing, water skiing, and scuba diving. If you decide to take a boat tour or hire a jet ski, you can visit some of the smaller islands and coves surrounding the strip.
Whatever your level or grade, you will find specialised schools and places to hire equipment for a gentle sail or an adrenalin kick!
We say long, hot days are perfect for fun in the water.
Various supermarkets are situated along La Manga Strip, catering to all your essential needs. These include two Spar shops and several Dia supermarkets.
In addition, in the southern part of the Mar Menor, in the Cabo de Palos area, is the larger Spanish supermarket, Mercadona.
Zoco La Manga is a lively shopping and leisure complex with shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and eateries.
If you’re looking for a wider choice of stores with international brands, Centro Comercial Dos Mares is approximately a 30-minute drive to nearby San Javier at the northern end of the strip, and La Zenia Boulevard, the largest shopping and leisure complex in Alicante, is only a 45-minute drive.
Murcia and Cartagena are less than an hour away for a full-day’s shopping expedition if you fancy a change from beach life to take in a little culture.
Banks on La Manga Strip
There are several banks and cash points along the strip, including CaixaBank, BBVA, and Banco Sabadell.
Whether you’re on holiday in the area or thinking of purchasing a property here, you’ll want to make sure your health needs will be met.
There are three surgeries, although two of them only open seasonally.
Costa Calida Health Centre is available full-time and located in the Urbanization Castillo de Mar. This centre provides general medicine, 24-hour A&E, and a paediatrician on-site.
North Manga Health Centre and Cavanna Health Centre are only open in the summer months.
Five best golf courses close to La Manga del Mar Menor
If golf is your game, there’s a wide range of courses to choose from. Our top five, close to La Manga del Mar Menor, are:
Roda Golf & Beach Resort boasts one of the best golf courses on the Mar Menor.
It’s just two minutes from the beachfront and vibrant coastal town of Los Narejos, five minutes from Region de Murcia International Airport (RMU), and 45 minutes from Alicante airport.
La Manga Club has always been famous for its spectacular golf courses. This luxury resort is just 35 minutes from Region de Murcia International Airport (RMU) and 75 minutes from Alicante.
The prestigious North, South, and West courses offer a good range of different styles to challenge golfers of all levels.
Lo Romero Golf (Pilar de la Horadada – Alicante) opened in 2008 and is set in a stunning geographical location. With an annual average temperature of 18 degrees, the course is next to the Mar Menor, close to numerous beaches along the Costa Blanca, and just a few kilometres from the cities of Alicante and Murcia.
This beautiful 18-hole, par 72 golf course runs through a natural setting with hills, lakes, valleys, and woodland – and boasts an abundance of carob trees, Aleppo pines, low shrubs, and palm trees – and lots and lots of rosemary (‘romero’ in Spanish)!
This championship golf course, awarded “Best Golf Course in Spain” (five times!) at the World Golf Awards, is one of the 100 best golf courses in Europe (Golf World magazine). Meandering through a lush valley with views of the Mediterranean sea, this 18-hole, par 71 course is complemented by a driving range, putting green, and a golf academy.
In addition to golf, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club offers a range of sports and leisure activities, including tennis and paddle, a well-equipped gym, a swimming pool, and wellness treatments at the Las Colinas Sports & Health Club. The area also boasts three restaurants, a Beach Club: WOW Beach, and a range of luxury villas and apartments.
Mar Menor golf course is located 30 minutes from the Region de Murcia International Airport (RMU) and approximately 65 minutes from Alicante airport.
Originally the first course in the Polaris World group, the Mar Menor course near Torre Pacheco is a good resort course. The first nine holes were designed by Dave Thomas, par 37, 3,275 m. The last nine holes were designed by Nicklaus Design, par 35, 2,878 m, with wide fairways.
If you decide to play in this field designed by two of the best golf designers, you will enjoy two very different experiences on the same course.
Exploring further afield
If you find yourself wanting to get away from all the sun, sea, and sand for a day, you can choose from world-famous tourist attractions such as Cartagena, the beauty and nature of the Sierra de la Pila Regional Park in the Murcia region, or Alicante or Murcia where you can experience thousands of years of history and culture, whilst eating your way around tapas routes in fun bars tucked away in back streets.
How to get to La Manga del Mar Menor
The nearest airport is Region de Murcia International Airport (RMU), which is a 45-minute drive away. There’s a regular bus service and taxis are available for those who prefer not to drive themselves.
Alicante (ALC) airport is approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes by car.
Travelling by train from Alicante airport takes approximately 4 hours 45 minutes and does require a bus to the train station from the airport, and a short taxi ride to La Manga del Mar Menor from the train station.
Considering buying a property in La Manga del Mar Menor?
Have you ever gone on holiday and enjoyed it so much that you found yourself gazing longingly in the estate agent’s windows?
Maybe you keep coming back, and then, after another trip to this vibrant and popular part of Costa Cálida, you’ve decided it’s time to own a home or a second property here in the sun.
Here’s a quick round-up of why we believe La Manga del Mar Menor is a great choice to live or own a second home.
- The magnificent Mediterranean climate. What more can we say?
- There’s always plenty to do – from enjoying a laid-back lifestyle in the sunshine, eating out on the beach, people-watching at the marina, or simply walking on a blue flag beach in the early morning. You get to choose a beach and an activity to suit your mood.
- Incredible range of watersports – whether you want to enjoy a gentle snorkel or SUP, or prefer the adrenaline rush of a jet ski, it’s all on your doorstep in the space of 21 km.
- Some of the best golf courses in Spain – whatever your level of expertise or budget. From the world-famous La Manga Club championship courses to more modest courses where you can start, practice and grow in confidence.
- Hundreds of places to visit around this stunning part of southern Spain, to soak up the Spanish culture and learn its fascinating history.
- Accessibility – La Manga del Mar Menor is close to two main airports with excellent road and rail connections, making travel around this area of Spain simple and easy.
- It’s an excellent time to invest in a property in Spain. Spain is the fourth most attractive European country for investment in 2023, having risen by three places compared to last year, when it was ranked in seventh position (according to the European Investor Intentions Survey 2023 report, prepared by CBRE).
And, if you’re considering living permanently in Spain, you may find our recent article regarding visa advice helpful.
How Micasamo can help
Our combined years of experience, professionalism, and expertise ensure you get the property you want to fit your lifestyle and budget while helping you navigate the Spanish property market.
We offer an end-to-end service that includes free consultation with legal and financial advisers, relocation advice, property consultancy to establish your right-fit property, and exclusive property viewing trips.
For additional peace of mind, and to help you settle into your new property, we also provide an ongoing first-class after-sales service.
In the words of our clients, “(Micasamo) don’t do pushy selling” and are “a professional company with a personal touch.”
Talk to us today, and we’ll make looking for your perfect home in beautiful Spain an exciting adventure that is safe, secure, and hassle-free.