Las Salinas de Torrevieja, Valencia, Spain

Lake Locations:

Spain - Valencia -

Also known as:  Laguna Saluda de Torrevieja, Laguna Saluda de la Mata

Las Salinas de Torrevieja offer a peaceful respite in a thriving resort community on the Mediterrean coastline of Spain’s Costa Blanca. The two natural lakes are saltier than sea water, and Laguna Salada de Torrevieja is even pink! Set within a natural park dedicated to their protection, Laguna Salada de Torrevieja and Laguna Salada de la Mata have long held an important place in early Spanish history. Records show salt extraction from around the shorelines was in full swing in the early 14th century. This industry still continues. Neither lake supports a fish population due to the high salt content, but both hold brine shrimp and micro-organisms especially suited to highly salty water. Laguna Salada de Torrevieja is pink because of the proliferation of a particular species of algae that thrives in the briny lake.

A nature reserve of over 9000 acres completely surrounds the two lakes. Within its borders live many kinds of native wildlife. Over 200 species of birds are counted as a part of the natural landscape, not the least of which is the flamingo. Over 2000 pairs of flamingos have been counted here during breeding season, outnumbered only by the 3000 pairs of black-necked grebe. Marsh harrier, stilts, shelduck, avocets, Kentish plover, curlew, common tern and little tern flock to the lakeshore. Although the lake itself supports almost no vegetation, salt marshes along the margins have developed wherever inflowing water enters. The small inflows provide the humidity missing in this arid climate for numerous wetland reeds and rushes to grow. Less saline areas support tamarisks and evergreens. Some marsh areas provide the conditions necessary to support wild orchids. The reserve is open in many areas for walking, and a road encompasses most of the reserve. A ridge separates the two lakes, and easternmost Laguna Salada de la Mata receives more run-off from surrounding hills during the short winter rainy season. Although there is no swimming or boating allowed on the lakes, walking, bicycling, bird watching, and nature observation are encouraged.

Salt is still excavated from Laguna Salada de Torrevieja. A short man-made channel connects the lake to the Mediterranean Sea where the salt is loaded on ships for transport. The ocean is only half a mile from the lakeshore, but the ecology of the two water bodies is very different. In the 1800s, an effort was made to dig a channel from Laguna Salada de la Mata to the sea to facilitate a possible fishery as well as to transport salt. The lake proved to be too salty to support fish, so the plan was abandoned and the main saltworks moved to Laguna Salada de Torrevieja. Salt production remains the main industry of the City of Torrevieja which lies between the lakes and the ocean. The climate provided by the two salt lakes and the ocean first drew tourists and expatriates from Europe to this former fishing and salt mining village. Now supporting a population of over 100,000, Torrevieja and the surrounding small towns offer visitors and residents a prime location along the Costa Blanca for beach activities and plenty of sun.

The Torrevieja area provides residential hotels, traditional lodgings, and restaurants serving family-dinner-type meals and local specialties. Regattas are held here involving sailors from all along the coast, and an annual event selects the year’s Queen of Salt and her court. The annual Carnival draws many visitors and has incorporated a tourist celebration into the mix. Add the May Fair and many locally celebrated feast days, and traditions infuse the area with a festive air of celebration to the delight of all. A festival of International Chamber Music provides classical recitals for the enjoyment of the public, and such cultural offerings as the Museum of Sea and Salt provide an ethnographic view of Torrevieja’s history. Two floating museums are located in the Torrevieja Harbor: the Daphne-class Submarine S-61 Dolphin on loan from the Spanish Armada, and the Patrolman Albatross III Floating Museum. Torrevieja holds a wealth of historic religious structures and their attendant religious ceremonies. Many parks, libraries, water parks and leisure activities keep residents and visitors occupied.

The villages of Los Montesinos and San Miguel de Salinas are a short distance from Las Salinas lakes. Both serve as home to many expatriates and seasonal residents who come here to enjoy the climate and the joys of the Mediterranean beaches. The area is about 30 miles south along the coast from the larger city of Alicante. Bigger beach resorts and more big-city entertainment are never far away. The two natural salt lakes provide a unique environment, and some apartments for lease overlook the reserve to the lakes beyond. There is no lakefront development along the shorelines, but any apartment above ground level will likely command a view of either the lakes or the ocean. Fishing charters can be arranged for ocean fishing, and the harbor holds several marinas with a large number of slips and yachting facilities.

There is no better place in Spain to enjoy small village atmosphere, a healthy salt-air environment, Mediterranean beaches, and a natural pink salt lake. Real estate in scenic locations and in a variety of price ranges is available. Come spend some time in this lovely, laid-back place, and you may never want to leave.

* Statistics listed are for the two lakes together. Laguna Salada Torrevieja is 3459 acres and Laguna Salada de la Mata is 1730 acres.

Things to do at Las Salinas de Torrevieja

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Las Salinas de Torrevieja Photo Gallery

Las Salinas de Torrevieja Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Saltwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 5,189 acres

Shoreline Length: 21 miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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