Cartagena and Calblanque

We are so keen to go on a trip with the caravan again, that we decide to spend the weekend in the area of Cartagena.

Our first destination is Cabo de Palos and it’s beautiful light house. We can stay at the parking below the light house over night. (37°38’02.6″N 0°41’30.6″W)

We arrive late in the afternoon and go for a stroll up to the light house and along the coast until we reach the harbour with nice restaurants. After a drink we head back to the caravan where we prepare our dinner and make plans for the next day.

Before sunrise we head out to take pictures of the light house in the early light, we are lucky as the sunrise is beautiful with a clear horizon and just some clouds which make a spectacular sky.

After breakfast we drive into the Calblanque National Park on gravel roads until we reach the western beaches. (37°35’57.9″N 0°45’34.7″W)

We are quite surprised to find this unspoilt area of coastline with beautiful beaches and only a few people going for a walk there. The weather is perfect and we walk along the sea before we sit in front our caravan reading and enjoying the sun.
After a short walk to another beach we decide to head to the eastern beaches aswell to see if they are as spectacular.

We have to drive back and take another road through the mountains to get there. Before we reach the beach we pass Salinas where you can watch birds. The beaches here are shorter but also beautiful sand beaches. I wonder how crowded it gets here in summer. Maybe the number of cars is restricted as there are gates at the entrance. (37°36’19.7″N 0°43’42.5″W)

We haven’t heard anything good about La Manga – the narrow stretch between the Mar Menor and the sea, but as you shouldn’t speak badly about things you don’t know, we decide to drive up and see for ourselves. The land is so narrow that mostly you have one street with a hotel on one or sometimes both sides and thats it. The lagoon side has no beaches, only on the sea side there is a little beach with high rising hotels. Everthing is closed and empty in winter but I can’t imagine whats going on here in summer, when all the apartments are in use.

There are some places where we see caravans parked, but this area is not attractive at all so we turn around and head back to Cabo de Palos. Tonight we park directly at the coast next to the harbour, with a spectacular view along the coast.  (37°37’51.0″N 0°41’51.5″W)

The restaurants at the harbour only serve lunch at this time of the year, and we are definitively to late. But a drink and pan y allioli while we watch the boats coming back are a nice way to end the day.

The next day we drive into Cartagena to get an impression of this historic town. We find a perfect parking close to the harbour next to the technical university. (37°35’59.4″N 0°58’39.3″W – go there in the morning and when the university is closed 😉 
We are close to the lift up to the castle, from where we get a good overview over the harbour and the town.

The natural harbour bay made Cartagena to a prefered port early on in it’s history. You can see the military harbour with its vessels and the different forts for protection at the surounding mountains. From up here we also got a good view at the roman theater, whicht was not discovered until 1988.

We walk down again and along the harbour to the centre and along the main street into town. I love the houses with their beautiful balconys and the modernismo style you find quite often in Cartagena. Also with its many interesting museums Cartagena for sure is a town where we need to spend more time to discover everything.

After a coffee we walk back to our parking and leave town to find a place for lunch before we head home. At the end we decide to drive back to Cabo de Palos to the restaurant Bocana de Palos at the harbour to finally also eat there. The location is perfect and the food is also nice. We sit in the sun, watching everything which happens at the harbour entrance. Late in the afternoon we finally leave the area and head home.

We got a short climpse of this region and found out, we have to spend much more time here to explore the historic town of Cartagena and the beautiful coastline.

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