HAVE YOU BEEN TO TORREVIEJA?
The first thing that draws your attention in Torrevieja is its setting.
There are two salt lagoons, one pink and the other green, which make up the La Mata and Torrevieja Lagoons Nature Reserve. Together, they cover a total of 3,700 Hectares, which represents 52% of the local terrain, and contain enormous biological wealth. They are well renown both at national and international levels. It therefore becomes clear right from the beginning that this is truly a unique tourist municipality, whose natural surroundings represent a wonderful tourist asset.
Torrevieja´s origins are also very interesting. It all began with the fishing activity, around the 18th century, when fishermen and sailors began to use the Torrevieja coastline for shelter during the “bad sea” days. Since then, the newly established town began to welcome sailors from other regions, particularly Napolitan and Genoese emigrants. The abundance of Italian surnames, including Parodi, Zechini, Boracino, Fortepiani, etc in Torrevieja today confirm this. By the way, do you know why Torrevieja is called Torrevieja?.
When we talk about this city we essentially refer to two things: salt and sea. Firstly salt, because it is the real origin of this town. For centuries, the Torrevieja area has been a wonderful spot for mining the salt generated in the Torrevieja Lagoon. This encouraged the Reales Salinas management body (set in the nearby district of La Mata) to move to Torrevieja in 1803. This was the real origin of the city and lead to the foundation of the town. The inhabitants of Torrevieja (lit. Old Tower) then began to develop a town, whose name comes from the old Torre Vigía (Watchtower), or Vieja (Old), set in the Eras de la Sal (salt beds), the old salt pier. It was at this time that different activities began to develop, among them the salt sea trade bound for the ports of the Caribbean. This highly valued mineral was exchanged for exotic products such as sugar cane, mahogany wood, etc. As a result of these journeys, the habanera was born. This was a classic Torrevieja song which the sailors adapted as a way of expressing their experiences on the long crossings.
SUN, SEA, BEACHES AND COVES
The Torrevieja coast is very long, covering a total of 14 km of coastline, along which there are numerous beaches and coves where you can cool down and relax. The La Mata Beach, which runs from North to South, stands out from the rest. It is the longest spreading across almost two kilometres, and the dunes are characterised by the abundance of fossilised dunes. If you like spacious and quiet beaches, La Mata is a great choice. A little further South, where some historians discovered the spot that today is Torrevieja, we find Cabo Cervera and the beach with the same name: Playa de Cabo Cervera. Here they found an old Watchtower, the so-called Torre del Moro (Moorish Tower), which offers a spectacular viewpoint which allows to see the area from the Mar Menor (Lower Sea) -in the South- to the Cabo de Santa Pola (Santa Pola Cape) - in the North.
Continuing Southwards along the coast, we discover “Las calas” (“The coves”), an area with quiet coves where you can go diving or simply enjoy a good swim. South of “Las Calas” is the Punta del Salaret, which shelters the Playa de Los Locos (Madmen Beach), a striking spot reminiscent of the old sanatorium which used to be there. This beach now forms part of the built-up part of Torrevieja and offers visitors numerous services.
As you will have noticed, Torrevieja has an exceptional climate; a Mediterranean climate highly influenced by the proximity of the sea and set in the Iberian Peninsula, leeward of the cloudy Western fronts. This creates a very pleasant annual average temperature and many hours of sunlight each year; a climate which, among other factors, has made Torrevieja a perfect place to live and to enjoy the sea.
If you are lucky, you will be able to sample the “famous” Torrevieja dry octopus in one of its kiosks, which must be accompanied by a fresh “paloma”. If you continue South, towards the centre of Torrevieja, you will pass by the Cala or Curva del Palangre and Punta Margalla, home to the Monumento a las Culturas del Mediterráneo (Monument to Mediterranean Cultures), an area commonly known as “Las Columnas” (The Columns). From this landmark, you will be able to see the city’s most famous beach, Playa del Cura. We must point out the great quantity of services provided for tourists here, with numerous restaurants, refreshment stalls, kiosks, etc., where you can cool down and enjoy yourself in between swims. A perfect beach to enjoy a different day out with the family.
A spectacular pedestrian route begins here, near the seashore, in which you will find rocks among which you will be able to plunge and snorkel. Pay attention to the posidonian meadows: they form a rich marine ecosystem. If you like diving, don’t doubt it. Just take your flippers and your glasses and jump into the water. Today is your day. Nevertheless, remember that may you wish to do underwater fishing, you will need a special permission.
All the Torrevieja beaches are certified with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 regulations for quality and environmental management. This reaffirms Torrevieja as a symbol of prestige and quality.
Adjacent to the Western dock in the Torrevieja harbour, is the Playa de los Náufragos (Shipwreck Beach), an extensive beach where you can complement a beach day with a fun snorkelling trip. Also, just a few metres deep, towards the North, - the port- or the South -La Veleta town-, there are posidonia meadows with fascinating ecosystems that we recommend you take a look at whilst respecting the environment. If you go snorkelling in the “La Veleta” area, notice how there are sections of tiles at the bottom. Curious? You should know that the Playa de los Náufragos owes its name to the shipwrecks which took place nearby. In the 19th C and the beginning of the 20th C, Torrevieja was a true shipping dream, with many ships which traded with the Caribbean ports, such as La Habana. On many of these crossings, the Torrevieja ships departed with tiles. After a shipwreck these often settled on the sea beds: that is why there are tile remains in some areas.
In the far South of the City, we can find Punta Prima, where Torrevieja borders the municipal district of Orihuela. At this peripheral point of the city, we find an emblematic cove, an inlet which looks more like the Caribbean Sea than the Mediterranean: Cala Ferris (Ferris Cove). Covered with palm trees and small dunes, with crystalline waters, this cove offers you the chance to enjoy a quiet swim surrounded by the sound of the birds -including parrots- and the sea. We recommend that you take your goggles and flippers and that you sharpen your senses in the posidonia meadows. You will be astounded by the quantity of fish living in this ecosystem.