Perhaps, like me, on first arriving at Alicante airport and driving towards Torrevieja, it was on the Costa Blanca that you first heard of and saw not just one but many salt lakes in a variety of colours from dark blue to bright pink.
Spain is fortunate enough to have many more such salt lakes from which it gains thousands of tons of salt yearly. This raw material ends up in all corners of the world to be added to all different types of food, as well as to be used industrially for endless purposes including lowering the freezing point of water in order to clear the roads of snow and ice in the cold winters many countries undergo.
In this article I’m going to write a little about five of these salt producing lakes, which, believe it or not, are actually fantastic places to visit due to the stunning surrounding natural scenery and their bright colours, which come out really well in photos.
These salt lakes are located in the south of Mallorca in the Natural Park Es Trenc-Salobrar, next to one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Around 10,000 tons of this tasty salt is produced every year and consumed almost solely on the island itself.
The Es Trenc lakes have been used to produce salt since the times of the Roman Empire and are considered the second oldest in the world after Hallstatt in Austria. Both the Romans and the Phoenicians travelled to this island to acquire the salt, regarded as highly precious in those days, as it not only served for additional flavour but also as a preservative.
A rare salt delicacy forms in these lakes: the ‘flower of salt’. A combination of special meteorological preconditions is required for these to form, and precisely now is the time of the year for them!
Very few inland salt lakes are still in operation in Spain. Some of these are those found in Álava, which are said to have been used for over 5,000 years. The salt gained from here is classed as the Rolls Royce of salts by 3-Michelin-star chef Martin Berasategui, famed for his self-named restaurant in Lasarte-Oria in Guipúzcoa in the Basque Country.
San Pedro del Pinatar
This wetland in the northern part of the Mar Menor is a hidden treasure, not just of salt but of hiking trails through forests and beaches with a rich ecosystem. You can even practise some water sports and, a little further down the coast, you can pamper yourself by covering your skin from head to toe in a fabulous healthy and curative mud.
Cristina Island Marshes, Huelva
On the Costa de la Luz along the western part of the Andalusian coastline facing the Atlantic, you can enjoy pleasant warm weather for much of the year.
The production of salt here has been further enhanced by creating great varieties of salts to cover a whole range of tastes for all kinds of dishes and personal palates from fine salt, through the exquisite flower of salt, curry, mint, rosemary, etc.
The whole process of its production is a manual process, similar to that practiced by the ancient Romans, totally natural and totally free of preservatives.
And, as if all this wasn’t enough already, you can turn this visit into an extra special occasion by dipping into the unique pool of magnesium oil and making time for total relaxation in this water, which is very beneficial to your general welfare This is what is contained in the famous Epsom Salts.
Trinidad Salt Lakes
The only remaining salt lakes in Catalonia, the Salinas de la Trinidad in Sant Carles de la Rapita (Tarragona), are located in the Natural Park of the Ebro Delta.
The sun and gentle wind here produce the renowned flower of salt, highly desirable due to its low level of sodium chloride. The local salt-producing company ‘Flor de Delta’ has worked in conjunction with well-known chef Joan Roca, of the famous 3-Michelin-star restaurant “El Celler de Can Roca”, to create a series of blends of gourmet sea salt worth trying: herbs, spices, pepper and others.
Visitors will not only delight in the splendid flavours and textures of the salt produced here, but also in the unquestionable natural beauty of the Ebro Delta. A visit to the Trinidad Salt lakes is an absolute must!