Lo Pagan - La Llana Playa PR MU-65
Windmills, salt lakes, exotic birds, Mar Menor lagoon, beach, sand dunes, Mediterranean, marinas, Natural Park, peace and tranquillity this circular walk has it all.
Exit the N332 south of Pilar de Horadada at the roundabout with the rowing boat down to Lo Pagan beach going past the Thalasia Spa Hotel. Park near the windmill and start the walk by the large route map displayed on a signboard along the wide paved path. This circular route of 12 kms heads out towards the beach along a recently paved promenade with views over the salt flats on either side. Keep your eyes open for rare birds in the shallow water hoping to catch their next meal.
The route is officially the PR-MU 65, meaning Pequena Ruta (literally small route, but really meaning short) number 65 in the Murcia province. It is very peaceful as you are soon away from the road and free of cars with the shallow waters lapping in either side of you. The tall buildings in the distance are La Manga, on the other side of the Mar Menor lagoon.
At the end of the paved section the path turns to shale and gravel as it dog legs to the right. Then it bears left as you approach the sand dunes area and beach which you follow down to the sea. By this point you might have noticed the first way mark sign but if not - do not worry. The way mark signs are in fact a little on the short side and so are rather difficult to spot. Walk down to the sea and along the beach heading north (sea on your right hand side) towards the Puerto de San Pedro.
The Playas de Llana beach was a treasure seekers paradise with all sorts of interesting flotsam and jetsam scattered along the beach the day we were there. It is also a ‘Playa Naturista’ but this was not in evidence on our visit, despite the warm sun.
Keep going and you will be rewarded with a coffee stop in a small beach bar. The coffee is excellent but the owner was reluctant to offer table service and keen to take the money. He also bans dogs from entering and Misty Blue was swiftly ejected, probably because she does not read.
Another large map board, sited behind the bar, shows you how far you have reached and clearly indicates the next stages of the route. There is a large inviting restaurant nearby (but it is only open in the high season) beyond which is the salt works.
Opposite there is a brand new marina with plenty of boats but the commercials are still, in the main, vacant. This is a shame because there is a nice shady decked terrace overlooking the boats but limited opportunities for refreshment. Walking further along to the opposite end of the marina, which has more life, you will see a British breakfast, on offer for around 3 Euros which by this stage can be fully justified. As by this point you will have put in a few hunger-inducing kilometres.
The path then heads inland, as indicated by another low level way mark sign, with the main natural park area and a large free car park over on your right. This route could also start from here and be walked in reverse.
This path is shared with cyclists as it wends its way along with the salt flats on your left, which might produce some better bird watching opportunities. Alternatively, you can cross over the road and spend some time in the Natural Park where you will find wooden bird watching hides.
We saw flamingos, yellow wagtails, variety of ducks, cormorants and of course a range of gulls on the salt flats. The Spanish air force, from San Javier airport, provided a free aerobatic show but their antics broke the walks tranquillity.
The path then arrives at the main road down into Lo Pagan and you turn south, make your way along with the water canal on your left, and back towards the windmill start point.
The route is mainly flat and so is easy walking for all. Take binoculars, water and sun hats, as there is not much shade. Plenty to see and places to stop and relax, maybe with a picnic lunch. There is lots of free parking around the start point with a good choice of bars and cafeterias along the Lo Pagan promenade.
Leave the N332 south of Pilar de Horadada at the roundabout with the rowing boat down to Lo Pagan beach going past the Thalasia Spa Hotel. Park near the windmill and start the walk by the map board sign along the wide paved path.
For more photos visit https://picasaweb.google.com/Robi1305