The Mar Menor is a huge (135 square kilometres) salt-water lagoon, separated from the Mediterranean by the 24 kilometre long La Manga del Mar Menor (The Strip).

The average depth of the Mar Menor is four metres and at its maximum it is seven metres which means that the seabed slopes very gradually and you have to get several hundred metres in before the water is of any depth.

Mar Menor Strip

The Mar Menor’s salinity provides buoyancy so it is, supposedly, one of the safest places to swim in the world. The mineral-rich waters are said to have therapeutic effects and because of this the area has a significant spa tourism industry.

Mar Menor sunset

The sludge in the salt pans is also credited with beneficial effects on the health, so there are often dozens of mud people wallowing in it at any one time.

Mar Menor Playa Paraiso
Playa Paraiso beach on a summer weekend.

The beach at Playa Paraiso is very popular, partly because it has road access right onto the beach. On summer weekends it will be packed with Spanish families, who move most of their house onto the beach.

The sea is very shallow, with netted off areas to exclude watersports, fishing and jellyfish. The jellyfish are mainly harmless and much reduced in numbers from previous years, apart from the summer of 2006 when they were back with a vengeance. Playa Honda beach During the week the beach is quiet.

Mar Menor Playa Honda