If you’re staying at Spain’s luxury La Manga Club, as I did with my family this summer, you could spend all of your time at the resort and never venture beyond its 1,400 acres. The resort has its own beach, pools, spa, restaurants, shops and sports facilities and there’s even a free bus service to help you to get around. You can read my blog post about it here: What’s it like to stay at La Manga Club?
If you’d like to explore beyond the resort, here are my tips for interesting things to do in the area.
The ancient port city of Cartagena is around a 20-minute drive from La Manga Club. We visited Cartagena a couple of times during our stay, and enjoyed exploring the Roman amphitheatre and medieval castle, as well as pottering around the maze of streets in the city centre.
Cabo de Palos
Cabo de Palos is on the coast, just before the start of La Manga peninsula. Its marina is a pleasant place for a stroll and there are some good local bars and restaurants there. You can walk up to Cabo de Palos lighthouse to enjoy views along the Mediterranean coast and across the Mar Menor. On Sundays the town hosts a large street market selling everything from vegetables to hand-painted fans.
Parque Regional de Calblanque
Parque Regional de Calblanque is a protected nature reserve on the coast and includes hills, sand dunes and several beaches. No vehicles are allowed on the reserve, so you have to explore it on foot, by bike or by using the park buses. When we went there in August there were just a few other people on the huge, sandy beach. There’s a car park at the entrance to the park and there are no cafes or shops within the reserve, so you have to take everything with you that you need while you’re there.
Mar Menor boat trip
La Manga strip separates a body of water from the Mediterranean. This lagoon is known as the Mar Menor, and is home to a few small islands. You can take a boat trip from one side of the Mar Menor to the other, passing the islands on your way. We took a boat from Los Alcazares on the mainland to Tomas Maestre on the peninsula and back again. There’s not much to see in Tomas Maestre, but we found a decent local chiringuito (beach bar)for a drink and a snack.
The regional capital is Murcia, and several people recommended the city to us as an interesting place to visit, but we didn’t get time go there. Murcia was founded in 825 and is renowned for its gastronomy, culture and festivals – we really should have gone to see it! Murcia is about an hour’s drive from La Manga Club.
The unprepossessing town of Los Belones is a few minutes’ drive from La Manga Club and is home to a fantastic tapas restaurant: El Toro. The restaurant has a large covered terrace at the front and a room at the back which has white walls adorned with colourful ceramics. The service is very good and there are vegan and vegetarian options.
La Manga Go Kart
La Manga Go Kart is a great place for go-karters of all ages and abilities. There are separate tracks for young children, teenagers and adults and there are various games and things to do while you wait for your turn, or even if you’re not go-karting.
La Manga peninsula
If you’re thinking of exploring La Manga peninsula itself, my advice is not to bother. La Manga (which means ‘the sleeve’) is a narrow peninsula which is around 12 miles long and is one of the least attractive places that I’ve seen in Spain. I did talk to locals to try to discover any redeeming features or hidden pockets of interest on La Manga peninsula, but failed to find any, except for its go-kart track. (Please do tell me if you have any La Manga recommendations though – I’m happy to be corrected!)
Over to you
Do you have any tips to add for interesting things to see and do in the area? Is there anything that you’d like to know about our trip?