San Pedro del Pinatar — the complete resort overview and useful information for living and vacation

Overview of the beautiful ancient city of Spain located by the sea and the Mar Menor Bay. The city is known by excellent beaches, spa treatments and popularity among European tourists.

1. General information

San Pedro del Pinatar, the municipality of comarca Mar Menor, is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the lagoon of Mar Menor. It belongs to the province of Murcia on the border on of Alicante province. The city is situated 37 km from Cartagena, 58 km from the city of Murcia, and 22 km from Torrevieja. Municipalities of San Javier and Pilar de la Horadada are place nearby.

To the north of San Pedro lies the Salinas y Arenales Natural Park (Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar).

As of 2018, in San Pedro officially lived 25,167 people. It is one of the smallest municipalities in the Murcia region – its area is only 22 square kilometres. Currently, the population of San Pedro is distributed across the municipality. But the more significant number of residents are concentrated in San Pedro del Pinatar itself and its surrounding areas: Lo Pagan, Los Saez and El Mojon.

The city got its name in the 17th century, before that it was known as El Pinatar, since the settlement was located in the middle of a vast forest, with many pine trees. In winter, they hunted wild boar, as evidenced by the "Book of Hunting with Hounds" by Alfonso XI The Avenger.

In the 17th century the Franciscans erected a chapel in honour of St. Peter the Apostle, and since most of the inhabitants were fishermen, the locals began to call him San Pedro del Pinatar.

Although the municipality is relatively small, its strategic position on the coast, environmental and tourist attractiveness have led to very rapid population growth and increased commercial and economic activity. Active residential development in the region has led to a reduction in land for agricultural activities. Nevertheless, fishing is quite well developed here, both in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Mar Menor. Other branches related to fisheries are also well-grown. The most traditional industry since the Romans stayed here is salt mining in Salinas de Coterillo; this activity is ongoing now.

A significant shares in the economy are tourism, banking and other sectors of the providing services. San Pedro is a very attractive place for tourists; it has a wonderful climate and well-developed infrastructure for outdoor activities. There are several beautiful beaches and marinas, equipment for thalassotherapy, and ecological routes have been developed for nature protection places.
View on the port in San Pedro del Pinatar
In Lo Pagan is one of the branches of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Centro Oceanográfico de Murcia).

San Pedro can be reached via the AP-7 Mediterranean Motorway (exit 775) or via N-332.

"Dos Mares" shopping centre with Carrefour Hypermarket is 2,5 km from the city centre towards San Javier.

The municipality has a small port (146,800 sq. m) on the Mediterranean coast, whose activities are mainly focused on fishing and transporting salt. There are two marinas in the harbour (Villa de San Pedro and Marina de Salinas), the third marina (Lo Pagan) is located next to the fish market and the fisherman's marina.

2. Climate

The climate in San Pedro is the semi-dry Mediterranean, with approximately 2.5 thousand hours of sunshine per year. It is known by mild winters and rather hot summers. The average annual temperature is 17 degrees C; the average maximum temperature is 15 degrees C in winter and 28 degrees C in summer. Minimum values range from 6 to 19 degrees C, respectively.

The average water temperature in the hottest month — August - reaches 26,8 degrees C, in July and September – 25,5 degrees C. In June and October, the water warms up to 22-23 degrees C.
Coastline view

3. History

At the time of the Paleolithic, in the area of present San Pedro, there was an Iberian settlement, and in the Bronze Age, the area belonged to the Contestania region. Archaeological finds testify to the Phoenician merchants going here from 2600 BC.

It is assumed that there was one of the bases used by Scipio Africanus to conquer New Carthage (Cartagena) during the Punic Wars (around 203 BC).

Under the Romans, El Pinatar became a place for the extraction of salt, which was of great importance at that time. Therefore, it is likely that the Via Augusta passed through El Pinatar – this road connected Cartagena with Rome through eastern cities and the south of modern France. The discovery of many wrecks shows that there was heavy sea traffic in this area.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent conquest of the territory by the Visigoths and Arabs, El Pinatar turned into a fishing village. The technique of Arabic handicraft fisheries, known as encañizadas, has been preserved and is still used only in San Pedro del Pinatar in Mar Menor. Encañizadas consists in the formation of circular labyrinths from rods and nets into which the fish swims, but cannot swim away.

After the Christian conquest in 1243, King Alfonso X of Castile annexed this territory to the Crown of Castile per the Treaty of Alcaraz. Subsequently, this area became one of the disputed areas between the crowns of Castile and Aragon. The Treaty of Torrellas of 1304 leaves El Pinatar on the border with the territories of the Aragon crown until the unification of the kingdoms into a single Spain by the Catholic Monarchs.

During that period, the population increases due to the migration of Castilian families here.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the settlement continued to live off fishing, farming, and salt mining in Las Salinas. At this time, a watchtowers and fortifications were being erected along the entire coast to repel the raids of the Berber pirates that had infiltrated Murcia. El Pinatar Tower was built in 1602 and later appeared on the shield of San Pedro del Pinatar. Unfortunately, to this day the tower has not been preserved. Torre del Estacio is an example of typical towers on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, which formed a defensive chain from Torre de la Horadada to Aguilas.

In the 17th century, the Franciscans founded St. Peter's Chapel, and the settlement was renamed San Pedro del Pinatar.

In the last quarter of the 18th century, the population of San Pedro doubles due to the relative prosperity of the municipality and greater security in the region, the migration of inhabitants from the devastated lands, and the development of new cereal crops.

In 1836, the first city council was created in San Pedro, independent of the Council of Murcia, and the first mayor, Jose Imbernon Ruiz, was elected.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city gradually gained a tourist attraction, especially in summer.

In the 20th century, the municipality experienced two serious floods — in 1919 and 1987. The latter served as an impetus for the improvement of the sewage system.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the population of San Pedro has grown significantly as a result of a touristic boom.

4. How to get there

40 km from San Pedro is the new Corvera Murcia International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional de la Región de Murcia), from where the InterBus bus runs to Mar Menor. His final stop is San Pedro del Pinatar. The fare is 10 euros; travel time is 1,5 hours. You can check the bus schedule and purchase a ticket on the carrier's website: https://comprasweb.interbus.es/venta/.

Alicante Airport is 74 km away, from where you can take the Globalia Autocares bus (https://globaliaautocares.com/). Travel time is about 2 hours; the ticket price is about 5 euros.

More convenient, but less budgetary options – take a taxi, rent a car or use the transfer service.

5. Beaches

Part of San Pedro is located on a small peninsula, which is washed by the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Mar Menor lagoon on the other. Between the two seas, there are 14 km of coastline with beautiful beaches. Playa de La Mota, Playa de Villananitos, Playa de La Puntica are placed in the lagoon of Mar Menor. Playa El Mojón, Playa de La Torre Derribada, Playa de Las Salinas, Playa Punta de Algas, Playa de La Barraca Quemada are situated at the Mediterranean Sea.

The beaches of Las Salinas, Barraca Kemada and Punta de Algas are part of the 3-km beach coast of La Llana with the self-named dunes, which is part of the protected natural park Las Salinas and Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar. At the beginning of La Llana is a port and several existing salt marshes. In the summer, these beaches are quite crowded.
Sand dunes
Playa de Las Salinas is the closest to the port, so it is very popular due to its good accessibility and the availability of parking. Playa de La Barraca Quemada can be reached by going to Las Salinas Beach. This beach of golden sand is easily recognizable by a group of picturesque palm trees. Playa Punta de Algas - the farthest from the port, there are waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the lagoon of Mar Menor. The sunken island of San Ferreol, inhabited in the 1st century, was discovered on this beach in October 1976. Here archaeologists found vessels, amphorae, ceramics and other ancient remains and artefacts that are now stored in the city archaeological and ethnographic museum.

On the other side of the port are Playa de la Torre Derribada and Playa de El Mojón.
Promenade and nameplate of the beach
Playa de la Torre Derribada ("Beach of the Demolished Tower") is one of the most modern beaches in San Pedro del Pinatar. This beach, stretching for more than 2 kilometres, is covered with fine golden sand, which is very pleasant to walk along. Next to it is Mojon beach with golden sand and the adjacent promenade. Its length is 500 m.

On the coast of the lagoon of Mar Menor are three well-equipped beaches for relaxation.

Near the salt lakes, there is a kilometre-long beach of dark sand La Mota with the picturesque "Quintín" and "Calcetera" salt mills. Here sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, canoeing are held.

On the other side of the lagoon, next to the yacht club, is the 700-meter-high beach of Villananitos with crystal clear water and a well-developed tourist infrastructure. It offers vacationers beach bars, showers, showers, walkways and restaurants. Here you can do all kinds of water sports, such as scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing and kayaking.

Near a small park is located Playa de La Puntica, the oldest beach on Mar Menor. Since the end of the 19th century, it has been used as a place for swimming, and not just for anchoring fishing vessels. You can also engage in various water sports. On a 500-meter beach with calm water, there are open-air bars, showers and restaurants.

6. Sights and museums

In the centre of the city is located the main attraction – Church of the Holy Apostle Peter (Iglesia de San Pedro Apóstol), built by the Franciscans in the 17th century. It is a simple but expressive white temple, the main facade of which is facing south. A cross is installed above the triangular pediment of the facade of the church. The tower is divided by mouldings into four levels; in the upper part there is a bell tower, under it there is a clock.

The temple consists of a central nave and two lateral, lower, three chapels on the right and four on the left. The central nave and the crossing are crowned with semicircular vault with arches supported by square pylons.

After the construction was completed, the interior of the church was decorated with paintings by the school of Nicolás de Villacis, typical of the Murcia region in the 17th century. The remains of paintings imitating the Renaissance style were also found.

The church was decorated with sculptures by Francisco Salzillo, one of the best icon painters of the Baroque era, among which the most important was the image of Saint Peter the Apostle. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. Three other less significant works by Salsillo depicting the Virgin Mary Rosario, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua were also lost.
Church and palms
Church of the Holy Apostle Peter
In the northern part of the city is one of the most remarkable monuments of urban architecture – the House of clocks (Casa del reloj), or the villa of St. Sebastian (Quinta de San Sebastián). It is a modernist building, built between 1888 and 1895. The house got its name because of the clock on the main facade. Also over the large balcony is the inscription San Sebastián – in honour of the chapel dedicated to this saint. The building is also known as the residence in which the president of the first Spanish republic, Emilio Castelar y Ripoll, died in 1899.

The Murcia architect Pedro Cerdan completed a house project combining several different styles. The upper part of the building can be considered pseudo-alpine due to the steep slope of the roof with dormers. References to the Gothic style are observed in the inner part of the pediment, decorated with wooden rafters with wrought iron. Brick decoration of the corners of the building and ceramic frieze under the eaves are among the Mudejar style techniques. The house has a garden with palm trees and eucalyptus trees.

The staircase inside the building is supported by two wooden columns under the coffered ceiling. One of the rooms is a billiard room, painted green and decorated with the motives of this game; the second is a small chapel of St. Sebastian with the image of a martyr.

In 1995, the house was declared an object of cultural interest in the region of Murcia. Currently, after restoration at the end of the 20th century, the House of clocks is used as a restaurant.

The second building of San Pedro, which is of particular cultural value, is called the palace of Barón de Benifayó (El palacio del Barón de Benifayó). It is also known as the palace of the Earls Villar de Felises, or the House of the Russian. The construction of this Neo-Mudejar-style brick palace with two toothed towers, commissioned by Barón de Benifayó, was completed in 1892. On the same time he erected another similar palace on the Big Island in the lagoon of Mar Menor, with only one tower.

The Baron lived in the house until he died in 1899. Later, for several years, a certain Russian woman lived here, which is connected with one of his names – casa de la Rusa ("House of Russian"). The last owners of the palace were the Earls Villar de Felises.

The palace was designed by architect Lorenzo Álvarez Capra in 1878 as a copy of his Spanish pavilion at the 1873 World's Fair in Vienna. Two square toothed towers connected by a long room. The brick walls of this castle-like palace are decorated with patterns and geometric ornaments from the same brick.

Currently, the building is the headquarters of the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum of San Pedro del Pinatar, which tells about the historical and cultural evolution of the municipality and the region. In addition to the oldest fossils and paleontological objects, the museum contains exhibits related to various civilizations – Roman, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Arab. Many objects were raised from the depths of the sea, which is devoted to a whole section – underwater archaeology.

In the museum you can learn about the history of the palace itself, one of the central rooms of which was recreated and restored.

The ethnographic section of the museum is keeping various items of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. They are illustrating the daily life of the inhabitants of the city of San Pedro del Pinatar: food cards of the Civil War, letters, photographs and much more.

The Museum of the Sea (Museo del Mar), created by the Association of Fishers, is dedicated to the seafood and traditional maritime activities of this region. The museum's collection includes numerous marvellous seashells, large fish fangs, mollusc shells, miniatures of fishing tools typical of Mar Menor (for example, encañizadas), various sea knots, cartographic maps and other interesting exhibits.

7. Active and healthy relaxation

In addition to a variety of water activities, San Pedro has a unique opportunity to explore the protected area of the Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar natural park, located on the sea coast. It is a wetland with sandy areas spread over an area of almost 900 hectares. In 1985, Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar became a protected nature reserve, in 1992 a regional park. Since 1998 it received the status of the Special Protection Zone for Birds (ZEPA). Of particular value is flora and fauna of the reserve. The park combines various ecosystems: salt ponds, pine forests, reed beds, salt marshes, dunes and encañizadas (old Moorish fishing systems).
The map of Salinas de San Pedro natural park
Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar natural park
In flooded areas, marine plants such as houseleek and sarcocornia are found. Near the beach you can find cakile maritima (searocket) and a sea holly, and in the area of dunes, there is an ammophila arenaria, lotus creticus and sea daffodil. In the most stable dunes, esparto, lygeum , mastic tree, black hawthorn, Aleppo pine, juncus, as well as coastal juniperus turbinata grow.

The reserve has a large number of endemic species, including rock rose, frankenia, senecio glaucus, which is very rare in Western Europe, and especially unique endemic – the asparagus of Mar Menors.

The main representative of the marine flora of the reserve is Posidonia (Posidonia oceanica), which forms entire meadows at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

Among the birds inhabiting the park, it is worth highlighting such rare and important species as pied avocet, black-winged stilt, Kentish plover, little tern, gull-billed tern, common curlew, bar-tailed godwit, tringa, gray heron, common shelduck, great cormorant, Eurasian stone-curlew, ruff, great crested grebe, black-necked grebe, black-crowned night heron, common wood pigeon, Mediterranean gull, flamingo.
Flamingos
Of reptiles and mammals, Bedriaga's skinks, spiny-footed lizards, Mediterranean chameleons, various shrews, weasels, as well as several species of bats are of particular interest.

Inside the protected area there is a port and several active salt lakes. In summer, the park's beaches are quite crowded, mud treatments are traditionally very popular (a mud pond is located next to La Mota beach). On the territory of the park and in its vicinity there are six beaches with sports and entertainment infrastructure, 7-km shifting dunes, several restaurants.

8. Gastronomy and restaurants

Fish and seafood are definitely at the heart of the cuisine of San Pedro del Pinatar, a former fishing village. They are fried, stewed, baked, salted and marinated, added to a variety of dishes.

Perhaps the region's most typical dish is caldero. It is a traditional fishing dish made from rice and fish (dorado or mullet), with local peppers "ñora" and paprika.

Salty dorado (los pescados preparados a la sal) or "dorado on the back", opened along the ridge and baked (pescado a la espalda), langoustines, barbuli, sand steenbras and small fried fish (chirrete) are also very popular.

Locals of San Pedro with great pleasure eat all kinds of pickles, as separate snacks or tapas ingredients. Caviar of mullet and sea pike, traditional dried in salt tuna (mojama), thin-sliced and served with fried almonds will not leave anyone indifferent. And don't miss tapas with salads, olives, nuts, mackerel, sardines, smoked herring and tomatoes, canapes with cod or shark and green beans and much more.

Of the main dishes in the Murcia region, zarangollo (scrambled eggs with zucchini, onions and sometimes potatoes), tortilla with beans, michirones (stew from beans, bacon, ham, sausages and paprika), broth with meatballs (caldo con pelotas) are common.

In San Pedro, all kinds of sausages are adored, including morcones (a sort of chorizo) and morcillas (black pudding).

As for sweets, in San Pedro are very popular cordiales de almendra (almond cookies), el tocino de cielo (dessert based on egg yolks), pan de calatrava (pudding from leftover bread, milk, eggs and sugar) and rollos de jerez (cookies in the form of rings with the addition of sherry).

It is no exaggeration to say that there are no bad restaurants and bars in San Pedro, all institutions have high ratings and a lot of rave reviews from visitors. Perhaps the most popular are restaurants that specialize in local, traditional Mediterranean cuisine.

The "MardeSal" restaurant is located near the city port, offering excellent dishes and wines, among which there are many fish dishes and culinary masterpieces of seafood.

Nearby, the "Porto Chico" restaurant is located in the port with excellent service and great food at reasonable prices. Very popular with residents and tourists is the small restaurant "Juan Mari", recommended by the Michelin guide.

We also recommend visiting the authentic "Hogar del Pescador El Parras" and "El Castillo" restaurants with a large selection of great dishes and snacks.

The "Venezuela" restaurant, located by the yacht club, offers excellent fish dishes with a nice serving, as well as a varied tapas menu. Nearby is the remarkable "Triskel" bar with a large selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and a pleasant atmosphere. Locals love to sit here.

Among the cuisines of other countries, the Italian restaurant "El Rincon Italiano", the "Portuguese Domingos El Portugués", and the Indian restaurants "Red Rose Indian Restaurant" and "Max Beach Indian Restaurant" with outstanding service, delicious authentic dishes and large portions stand out.

9. Holidays

All the main traditional holidays of Spain in San Pedro del Pinatar celebrate with great pleasure and wide scope. It is especially true for the Carnival, the celebration of Holy Week and other important Spanish holidays. But some events have their characteristics related to the history and culture of the city. For example, the Feast of the Virgin Mary Carmen. She is not only the protector of fishermen and sailors, but also the patroness of San Pedro. Here this feast celebrated every year on July 16th.
Virgin Mary statue
The Feast of the Virgin Mary Carmen
The holiday consists of a pilgrimage on foot and a water route along the lagoon of Mar Menor. The pilgrimage begins in the church of St. Peter the Apostle and moves to the Lo Pagan area, where the image of the Virgin Mary is located and where the sea route begins. After landing, a mass is performed in the open air, and then the image of the Virgin is transferred to the local church, where it remains for the whole day.

After the Mass, festive events begin, including the preparation of the traditional "caldero del Mar Menor" dish consisting of rice and fish.

Around midnight, after the fireworks, the reverse procession starts, which at dawn arrives at the Church of St. Peter the Apostle. They all sing Salve Marinera – the official anthem of the Spanish fleet.

On January 5, in San Pedro, as in all cities in Spain, the Cavalcade of the Magi celebrates (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos). In a costumed procession through the streets dedicated to the pilgrimage of the three biblical magi, adults and children participate.

10. Hotels

The popularity of San Pedro as a resort city explains the large number of comfortable hotels, apartments and villas. There are 2-, 3- and 4-star hotels offering cosy, modern rooms and excellent service. Due to the small size of San Pedro, almost all hotels are located near the centre and the beach.

The 4-star "Thalasia Costa de Murcia" and "Lodomar Spa & Talasoterapia" have wellness and spa facilities with saunas and massages, thalassotherapy, mud therapy and herbal medicine. The cost of accommodation in a double room in these hotels is from 50-67 euros to 105 euros per night in high season.

Double rooms in the 4-star hotel "Traíña" will cost 55-105 euros per night, depending on the season.

The 3-star aparthotel "Bahía", located 500 meters from the beach, offers rooms from 55 euros. In high season, the cost of double occupancy reaches 85 euros per night.

The 2-star "La Puntica" guesthouse is located almost by the beach of Villananitos and offers double rooms with breakfast from 36 euros to 60 euros, depending on the season.

Lovers of a more private and respectable holiday, as well as large companies in San Pedro are offered to rent a villa. For example, villa "Sky" has 3 bedrooms, a terrace, a garden and a pool and can accommodate up to 6 people. The cost of living here varies from 100 to 170 euros, depending on the season.

11. Property and Prices

San Pedro is primarily a seaside resort town, so the value of real estate depends mainly on this factor. In general, real estate here is worth more than the average in the province of Murcia — a little over 1700 euros per square meter (by May-2020). The greatest demand for housing — close to the sea and the Mar Menor Bay.

In San Pedro itself and the surrounding areas, you can find a lot of old built properties from the 60s of the 20th century and newer. Small resale studios cost from 60,000 euros, one-bedroom apartments from 70,000 euros, two-bedroom apartments from 80,000 euros. Duplexes and townhouses can be bought from 120 000 euros.
Skyline view
In San Pedro is an active development of new housing. These are detached villas or townhouses. The average price of a new villa — from 300 00 euros, duplexes and townhouses — from 170 000 euros, apartments — from 130 000 euros.

The average profitability of the business of renting housing — 5% per annum.

12. Various types of housing in San Pedro del Pinatar — prices overview

Studio, 50 meters, 1500 meters to the sea, resale — from 50 000 euros.

Apartment, 1 bedroom, 1000 meters to the sea, resale — from 70 0000 euros.

Townhouse, 500 meters to the sea, resale — from 120 000 euros.

Villa, 500 meters to the sea, new building — from 350 000 euros.

Apartments, 1 bedroom, 1000 meters to the sea, new building — from 130 0000 euros.

13. Who can live there — recommendations

San Pedro del Pinatar is one of the most popular resorts of Murcia province and the southern Costa Blanca. This ancient Spanish city on the spit of La Manga has long attracted both Spaniards and tourists from other countries. Live and rest here is recommended for people who want to improve their health with mud treatment and thalassotherapy.

The big advantage of the city is that it has access both to the beaches of the seacoast and the Mar Menor Bay. There is an opportunity for active recreation and yachting. The cities are located at the intersection of major traffic flows — so you can get equally fast and convenient to the major cities of Murcia, Cartagena, Alicante.
You can learn more about real estate prices in San Pedro del Pinatar from our catalogue.
Thank you for your attention! If you are interested in real estate in San Pedro del Pinatar contact our agents!
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