San Pedro del Pinatar & Lo Pagan
Situated on the N332 coast road, just north of the Mar Menor is the town of San Pedro del Pinatar, whose saltworks are the most significant marshland area of Murcia’s Region, declared a Nature Reserve Regional Park in 1985. Flamingos and other migratory bird flocks nest here every year, using this Nature Reserve as a stopping place in their migrations between Europe and Africa.
Within a relatively small space (about 1.800 acres-) you can see terrain formations such as saltworks, dunes, salt marshes, reedbeds, large and wild sand beaches, pinetrees growing in the sands and “encañizadas” (a traditional fishing system of the Mar Menor).
The bird fauna is specially important. Flamingos are the kings of the area, because of their spectacular nature, arriving at the end of the Summer to hibernate on the salt lakes.
There are two bird watching areas from which you can observe the flamingos and many other birds, such as herons, eaglets, owls, storks, storklets, seagulls, and avocetas among other species.
The two windmills that remain were used to pump the salty Mar Menor’s water to the saltwork ponds. Nowadays electrical pumps are used, but the windmills outline is still an important part of the landscape.
Walks around the salt lakes
The area of the salt lakes has seen much regeneration in recent years, what was a dirt path has been transformed into a tree lined promenade, which runs between the salt lakes and the Mar Menor.
Our walk starts at the Quentin windmill, past the second windmill, “Molino de La Ezequiela”. and along the South side of the saltworks and the Mar Menor “encañizadas”
The track borders on the saltwork ponds until it reaches the Mediterranean “Punta de Algas” sandy beach. If you bear to your right once you’ve reached the mediterranean shore, and follow the beach for a few hundred metres, you can actually see La Manga Strip’s infamous hump-back bridge across the reserve, near Veneziola.
Follow the coastline back past where you first entered the beach for approximately 3-4kms and you will find yourself at the port (Puerto Villa de San Pedro).
Inside the port complex, as well as the Chandlery and a yacht broker, there is a good selection of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a cold drink, an ‘all day breakfast’ or a menú del día to refresh you ready for the rest of the walk.
Leave the port area through the main gate, turn right, then left at the t-junction, and you will be on the marked walk again. This road leads you up through the salinas, within 300metres you will see a large car parking area on the right, with ample spaces, a picnic area, route map boards, and an ‘information entre’.
The information building is only open from 15th June to the 15th September, but as it is all part of the Regional Park, there are numerous signs, maps of the walks and information boards about the wildlife and plants peculiar to the area.
Lo Pagán, Spain