Also known as the Laguna Salada de Torrevieja or Laguna Rosa de Torrevieja, the pink lake of Torrevieja is one of Spain’s best-kept secrets, a must-see destination for the growing number of overlanders crisscrossing the southern autonomous community of Andaclucía.
Located one hour east of Murcia and one hour south of Alicante, the pink lake attracts locals and tourists alike, drawn both to the unusual hue of the water and the therapeutic benefits of its black mud. Just outside of Torrevieja (population 83,337), a popular destination for British, Scandinavian, and German retirees and vacationing Spaniards wedged alongside the Mediterranean Sea, the pink lake offers an unforgettable experience for any overlander exploring the dramatic coastline of southern Spain.
Its distinctive hue the result of a unique combination of halobacterium (“salt bacterium”) and microalgae (Dunaliella salina), the lake is most dramatic at sunrise, when its soft pastel hues seamlessly meet a milky blue sky. Parking on a residential street and entering through an unmarked gate, we made our way to the lake via a winding dirt trail, with our only company a small flock of birds and a significantly larger swarm of mosquitos.
As the first rays of golden sunlight flood the area and heighten the pink tones of the lake, the area suddenly springs to life, with locals eagerly smearing bare arms and legs with the famed mineral-rich mud or engaging in a little al fresco yoga. After a golden-hour photo shoot, we took our cue to leave around 7:00 AM as the dog walkers and Instagrammers poured in — the perfect time to head over to La Churreria (C. Marco Antonio Marcos Frias, 1) for a breakfast of café con churros.
The pink lake is approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) from Torrevieja city center. We suggest streetside parking near the intersection of Calle Sol and Calle del Lago, which offers the easiest access to the lake via the nearby unmarked gate across from Calle Sol 72.
- Get there early: By mid-day the water is decidedly less of a bubblegum pink and more of a murky gray.
- Don’t forget the insect repellant: The marshlands surrounding the lake are home to hungry mosquitos and chiggers.
- Stick to clear days when possible to see the water at its most vivid.
- Resist the urge to jump in: Although you’ll see some visitors enjoying a soak, swimming is strictly prohibited in the protected waters, with fines of up to 6,000 euros ($6,013).