La Manga The Sleeve
The strip of land that runs from the start at Cabo de Palos to the end at Veneziola is said to be 21km long and has an average width of 300m.
One side is the calm Mar Menor and on the other the colder but none less beautiful Mediterranean. Only the British call it ‘The Strip’ – to the Spanish it is simply La Manga (which means the sleeve in Spanish) and it is where they come on holiday. In July and August it is almost impossible to get up ‘The Strip’ on the only 2 lanes in and back again on the 2 lanes out and delays often occur of up to over an hour. However, if you time it right (usually afternoon while the Spanish have their siesta) it is well worth a visit and there is plenty to do, especially driving with water either side of you and sampling some of the best Tapas in Spain. Blue Flag beaches, with white sand on both sides, are ideal for family holidays, along with a large variety of restaurants and bars.
Cabo de Palos
Lying at the base of the La Manga Strip, Cabo de Palos is best known for its lighthouse which can be seen from many points around the Mar Menor. However, most tourists and visitors will probably remember its popular Sunday market. The main village is based around the port and small marina. Restaurants and bars are open all year round and offer the best seafood in the area. The Sunday market starts around 8.30am and begins to close down about 1pm. You will find stalls ranging from fruit and vegetables to clothes, sunglasses and toys. In the centre of the market there are a couple of bars offering a welcome stop and occasionally you will find musicians playing their piped music.
Tomas Maeste Marina
Close to the end of La Manga is the village of Veneziola and the other lighthouse at Punta del Cocedo. Just before this, you will discover the Tomas Maeste Marina which has recently enjoyed a hug injection of investment in the area. In 2003 the bridge at Estation del Puerte opened costing 6,000,000€ of EC money. The bridge replaced the rickety old single lane bridge and now allows sailing yachts into the marina. Continuing the development of Tomas Maeste, 40 shops were opened in 2004 including cycle hire, hair dressers and Burger King. A par 3 golf course at Veniciola and development of a deep water marina on the Mediterranean side of Tomas Maeste helped to make this an exciting area to visit especially at night when the place comes alive.
With all this water you can imagine that activities available in the area included sailing, Jet Skis, kite surfing, wind surfing, fishing, scuba diving and boat hire. To complement these there is cycle hire, quad bikes, go karts and therapeutic sands. In fact there is something for the whole family in La Manga making it the prefect place to visit especially during the summer.