Los Alcazares is a spa town, located next to the shores of the Mar Menor, boasting seven kilometres of coastline from Los Narejos to Punta Brava.
The Mar Menor is a salt-water lagoon of 128km sq with a sea temperature of 5 degrees above the Mediterranean. It is quite unknown to a lot of people and one of Spain’s best-kept secrets. The mineral-rich water of the Mar Menor is revered for its health-giving properties and is listed by the World Health Organisation as one of the healthiest places on earth.
The area dedicates a large part of its economic activity to the industry of services and tourism.
The name Los Alcazares derives from the Arabic word ´Al Kazar´, meaning ‘palace’ or ´house of nobles’. These were buildings that were constructed by the Moors for their holidays and relaxation.
Furthermore, it was the Moors who discovered the excellent properties of the water of the Mar Menor, which they enjoyed in the ancient Roman Baths. With the Christian re-conquest, Los Alcázares became an important port for fishing and trade, given its excellent strategic position.
Thermal baths, which have existed since Roman times in the town, are still there today. The bay is especially well known for visitors with rheumatic, arthritic and skin problems, as there is an area of the beach where you find a natural mud bath, which supposedly gives therapeutic results, which compare to those of the Black Sea.
It also offers countless possibilities for wind-surfers and every kind of sailor. There is very little movement and hardly any waves. There are several diving, sailing and canoe training schools where one can learn the technique of the sports and lots of opportunity to practice newly acquired skills.
All the local beaches are connected by means of a magnificent promenade. These are fully equipped with showers, fountains, access for the handicapped, and also a host of activities such as water sports and beach games.
In fact the Mar Menor, aside from being the biggest open-air health spas in the world, is also considered as one of the best areas for regatta and certain water sports, which can be practiced all year round. The shallow sea stays warm well into early autumn, making it a perfect late summer or autumn holiday destination.
Places to visit
Take a boat trip to the tiny island of Perdiguera, where you can swim in the crystal clear seas, and lunch on sardines and sangria.
The Arab Fortress Tori de Rami is an interesting visit, it was later used as a pirate look out post. On the beach at Espejo, there is a bronze monument paying tribute to all of the local fisherman, who have helped the local economy through the dedication.
The Carnival of Mar Menor, which is celebrated together with the local towns of San Javier and San Pedro del Pinatar, takes place at the end of the winter months. The local fiesta in honour of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen, takes place around the last two weeks of July.
The plains of Murcia are incredibly fertile, and produce a vast array of fresh fruit and vegetables, which make up the base ingredients of the regions cuisine. Rice is also staple here, and finds it's way into many dishes.
The abundant and varied seafood from the Mar Menor and the Mediterranean, along with game and farmed meat from the mountains complete the picture.
Some typical dishes include: Arroz y Conejo (rice with rabbit), Arroz de Verduras (Rice and Vegetables), Arroz y Costillejas (rice and ribs), Arroz Marinero (seafood rice) and Paella Huertana, a vegetable paella.
Non-rice dishes specialities include Potaje, a rich stew dish; Menestra, a dish of sautéed vegetables; Habas con jamón" (ham and broad beans and Caldo Murciano, a local soup dish. The king prawns fished in the area are also particularly fine, and the Huevas de Mújol, a type of caviar, is also a high delicacy of the region.
Los Alcazares enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with cool sea breezes in summer and protection from the surrounding mountains against the cold North winds in winter. The area averages nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and the average temperature easily exceeds 20 degrees.
In 1986 the World Health Organisation recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world - neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. On average it can boast 325 sunny days each year making it an ideal all year round destination.