Costa Calida was seen by many as an untouched coastline. Today it is a popular travel destination for many European citizens whether for holidays or permanent residence. This has injected a cosmopolitan feel to the region, while still retaining much of its tradition and culture. Positively affected by the rise in visitors is the commercial sector. A wide array of sporting pursuits are now on offer (especially for golfers), as well as more cultured choices; such as a mix of established and recently regenerated museums, galleries, and sites of great historical importance. Costa Calida is unusual in that its northern section not only offers a choice of beaches, but a choice of Sea. Featuring are the popular Mediterranean Sea, and the lesser known Mar Menor (little sea). The Mar Menor is an inland sea/salt water lake separated from the Mediterranean by La Manga (the sleeve) del Mar Menor; otherwise known as the La Manga strip. It is favoured amongst families with small children due to its warm, shallow and salty waters (salt makes you float more easily). Costa Calida means the warm coast and it forms the coastline of the Murcia Region stretching from El Mojon in the north to Aguilas in the south. El Mojon just north of San Pedro del Pinatar is a former fishing village and the gateway to the one of the most important nature reserves in the Murcia Region. Las Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar is a wetland area that is temporary home to a host of wading birds including Pink Flamingos. As we travel south we take in the famous Lo Pagan a town renowned for its medicinal mud baths. Mar Menor or 'Small Sea' is a shallow lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a thin spit of land called La Manga del Mar Menor where most of the development has taken place. It is a favourite with people learning water-sports because of its sheltered environment. La Manga has most recently become famous for its golf complexes much frequented by premier league football players. The main golf resorts that have seen the highest number of buyers are Hacienda del Alamo and Novo Carthago where you can purchase very reasonably priced golf properties. Not far away is the traditional coastal village of Cabo de Palos featuring a lighthouse built in 1800's. As well its superb coastline, the Murcia Region has many interesting towns and cities including Aledo, Cartegena, Calasparra, Caravaca de la Cruz, Lorca, Mula, Murcia and Totana. Aledo is famous for its connection with the 'El Cid' legend, as portrayed in the movie starring Charlton Heston. Mula, dominated by the castle of 'Marques de Los Velez' is the site of a thermal spring where you can bathe in the medicinal waters. One of the oldest cities in the area is Cartegena, dating from around 200 BC, a combination of ancient and modern architecture it became an important naval base in the 1700's; Second World War gun emplacements built in the style of a medieval fort once guarded the base from their positions on the other side of the bay. Murcia provides excellent shopping opportunities including the English style department store 'El Corte de Ingles'. The Murcia Region is served by three airports, San Javier, Alicante Airport and Almeria with a number of low cost providers; the coming improvements to the A-7 motorway mean that the area will have excellent transport links.
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