The photogenic pink lake is part of the Natural Park of Lagunas de La Mata – Torrevieja, where about 750000 tons of salt are produced per year.
The amazing pink salt lake is located in the south of the Costa Blanca, next to the city of Torrevieja (Alicante, Spain), with an area of 1400 hectares. Besides with the green lagoon (700 ha) and the surrounding lands, it composes an important natural park of 3700 hectares that supplies salt to several countries abroad and where, in addition, there are vineyard crops, which are later processed and sold in the nearby wineries of La Mata.
Why is this lake of Torrevieja pink?
The pink color of this lake is due, in origin, to a small microscopic algae (Dunaliella salina) rich in carotenes, as well as to other microorganisms that develop this coloration in salt-saturated waters, which protects them from solar radiation. In turn, a small invertebrate crustacean, called Artemia salina, feeds on these algae and, consequently, acquires its pinkish coloration, which is later reflected in some areas of the flamingos plumage, because this tiny crustacean is part of their diet.
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Artemia salina es una especie de crustáceo branquiópodo del orden Anostraca propia de aguas salobres continentales, de distribución cosmopolita. Los huevos pueden permanecer metabólicamente inactivos durante largos períodos (incluso de 10 años) en condiciones de total ausencia de agua y oxígeno, y a temperaturas por debajo del punto de congelación, una vez el entorno es adecuado, la eclosión puede comenzar transcurridas las primeras ocho horas. #artemia #artemiasalina #salinas
How to get to the pink lake?
The pink lake is located immediately west of the city of Torrevieja, almost attached to it, and is part of the Natural Park of Lagunas de La Mata – Torrevieja. In addition, as already mentioned, it is used for the salt industry and, although some people bathe in the pink lake, neither bathing nor swimming are allowed. But it is possible to take a walk to carefully observe the landscape and the environment. We can reach different points near the lagoon, among which we highlight the access from Sol Street (calle Sol), as shown in the map of this link.
Tips for visiting the pink lake
The climate of the Mediterranean coast in this part of Spain, south of the Costa Blanca, allows us to visit this curious place in Torrevieja almost any day of the year, even in winter. And, as in any natural park, it is necessary to follow a series of good practices to keep the environment clean:
- Do not forget a backpack with some food, water, camera and sunscreen. Make themost of the day, do not settle for just seeing the pink lake, and visit the rest of the natural park, starting with the Interpretation Center (Centro de Interpretación), to also know the green lake of La Mata, the surroundings and, if possible, the city of Torrevieja, where we can visit some interesting spots.
- Domestic animals, such as dogs, should always be on a leash, in order not to disturb the native fauna or other visitors.
- Groups of more than 15 people must communicate, in advance, their intention to visit the natural park, making a phone call to the Interpretation Center (965 721 650).
- Bathing is not allowed and you should not walk along the shore of the lagoons, as they are very fragile areas where birds and plants reproduce.
- Do not release exotic or domestic animals in the natural park, as they can cause serious alterations in the ecosystem.
- Motor vehicles are totally prohibited inside the natural park. Use the marked trails for walking or cycling.
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The salt industry
The salt lakes of La Mata and Torrevieja have been used for centuries for the production and extraction of salt. After the Christian conquest of this region, in the 13th century, the city of Torrevieja had not yet been founded (it did not exist) and the salt flats were known as Salinas Mayores, whose property was of the Crown and the Council of Orihuela, intermittently . As a curious fact, at least twice they tried to create a fish lagoon in the lakes, although without success.
At first the salt was exported from the small jetty located in front of the Torre de La Mata. In the 19th century, a new one began to be built in front of the Old Tower, which would be the origin of the current port and city of Torrevieja, even having suffered the effects of the fatal earthquake that occurred in 1829, which damaged numerous buildings and the Torre Vieja (Old Tower) and whose ashlars can be seen, currently, at the base of the main facade of the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, in plaza de la Constitución.
At present, and since 1970, surprisingly enough, the salt produced in the Salinas de Torrevieja comes from the Cabezo de la Sal, located in the town of Pinoso (Alicante). A large conduit of about fifty kilometers was built to transport salt mixed with water to Torrevieja, because the salt concentration is higher than that of seawater, thus increasing salt production.