La Manga del Mar Menor

The advance of rocks and sand from two headlands into the Mediterranean Sea transformed what was once a bay into the Mar Menor (Smaller Sea), a famously calm expanse of water about 20 feet deep. The Mar Menor is Europe’s largest saltwater lake (170 square km [105 square miles]), and, because of its high salt and iodine content, it’s used as a therapeutic health resort for rheumatism patients. The Manga ("sleeve") is the 21-km (13-mile) spit of sand averaging some 990 feet wide that separates it from the Mediterranean. Four canals, called golas, connect the Mar Menor with the Mediterranean. The Manga has 42 km (26 miles) of immense, sandy beaches on both the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor sides, allowing swimmers to choose more or less exposed locations and warmer or colder water according to season and weather.

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