When the Moors invaded Murcia they saw the many castles and palaces in this area and named the village Los Alcazares, which comes from the Arabic word Al Kazar, meaning castle or palace. Situated beside the tranquil Mar Menor at only 6 metres above sea level, the town centre is very close to the beach which extends for nearly 7 kilometres.
No wonder the Moors chose Los Alcazares as a place to rest and relax in the temperate climate (the average annual temperature here is a balmy 18 degrees). The Romans were here before them and built the spas, which the Moors reopened when they arrived in order to take advantage of the therapeutic properties of the waters.
Over time it became a custom to take the “Novenarios” or nine baths here, and at the beginning of the 20th Century, when the people of Murcia began to use the Mar Menor as a resort area the practice started to assume more importance. The Hotel Balneario was built in 1904 and houses the updated and embellished spa.
Los Alcazares is half way along the inland coast of the Mar Menor, so easily
reached from many of the surrounding villages and partly because of this it
became a busy little fishing port centuries ago. And busy it certainly is during the summer months, the locals number 3,000 but this is increased to as many as 100,000 people in the tourist season. They come, of course, to enjoy the warm sea and the water sports and relax in the sun as the Moors obviously did seven centuries ago. However, the shallow sea remains warm long into the autumn and to enjoy Los Alcazares it is more than feasible to do so out of the busy period.
There is a wide range of facilities available nowadays in Los Alcazares; apart from water sports you can enjoy the waters at the ancient spa, which, like the marina has been restored. A boat trip to the tiny island of Perdiguera is great fun, and once there, a swim in the clear sea followed by sardines “a la plancha” and a glass or two of sangria are a must.
The land around is flat, so ideal for horse riding or hiring a bicycle and exploring the landscape which is punctuated by palm trees that define the horizon, and if a less demanding walk is more your style, then take a stroll along the promenade and indulge in some people-watching.
There are some places and monuments to see and they include; the Torre del Rami which was an Arab fortress that was later used by the Spanish to keep a look out for any pirates that came into the Mar Menor. There is a bronze monument on the Espejo beach which is dedicated to the fishermen, whose labours have provided the main economy for the area over many centuries.
Carnival celebrates the end of the winter and jointly with San Javier and San Pedro del Pinatar is know as the Carnival of the Mar Menor.
Easter Week is rounded off here with a medieval market and a mock pirate invasion.
A Fiesta is held in honour of the Virgin of Carmen during the second half of July and if you are in the area, the procession which takes place both on land
and sea, on the 15th August for the Patron Saint of the town - the Virgin of the Ascension is well worth seeing.