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Cabezo de la Fuente, Los Belones, and Sierra Minera

From Cabo de Palos, the road to Cartagena heads east through Los Belones.

From here, take the road to Los Corralones and make a short detour to visit Cabezo de la Fuente, an exceptional observation point 342 meters (1,120 feet) high to admire the best panoramic view of the Mar Menor.

The climb takes approximately 45 minutes and is not very difficult, but comfortable shoes are recommended and mid-day heat should be avoided.

From this privileged observation point, visitors can see the five islands of the Mar Menor: Barón, Redondela, Sujeto, Ciervo and Perdiguera; the latter is a destination for travelers wishing to enjoy a relaxing swim, delicious sardines and an unforgettable "caldero" rice.

Boats make the crossing to Perdiguera from various points on the coast. Descending in the direction of Atamaría, you can visit La Manga Golf Club, a modern complex beneath palm trees with three golf courses, tennis courts, a gym, and a wide range of accommodations, including a five-star hotel.

At the exit of this plush resort, a road amidst pine trees and landscapes of great beauty takes you to Portman, the Roman Portus Magnus. From Portman it is possible to make a side trip north to La Unión, a town developed as a result of intensive mining activities where Carthaginians and Romans once mined tons of iron and other ores and shipped them all over the empire from Portman.

Symbol of an era, today the Sierra Minera of La Unión is only a distant memory with its old abandoned mines and scarred landscapes. In the 19th century, silver fever produced and attracted new-found wealth to La Unión, the same as the California gold rush.

The prosperity during this period is reflected in a number of handsome Modernist (Art Nouveau) buildings in the center of the town, such as the Casa del Piñón on the Calle Mayor, and a public market, an authentic treasure. Memories of mining days are also vivid at the museum with its interesting collection of old tools, and the Song Festival in August, featuring the best singers in the country for more than thirty years.

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