So I was sitting on the couch a week and a half ago Pinteresting a good weekend trip from Madrid. I searched “Alicante” and amongst the photos of beaches and castles, this beautiful [obviously photoshopped] PINK lake pops up. Salinas de Torrevieja.
I do a quick Instagram [places]-search and scroll through more photos of this allegedly pink lake. Still not convinced, I Google “pink lakes” (because let’s be honest, 98% of people Photoshop the shit out of everything they post online) and find out that this is an actual real phenomenon in actual real life (go HERE for a list of the 10 best pink lakes in the world!).
Salinas de Torrevieja is a natural salt lake that is famous for its salt production. Micro-organisms produce a red pigment that turn the algae pink. FUN FACT: You are what you eat. Shrimp live in the lake and eat these micro-organisms, which turn the shrimp pink. Flamingos flock to these types of salt lakes and eat the shrimp, which is why flamingos are pink! (Google “why are flamingos pink” if you don’t believe me :P)
So naturally, I’m determined to check all this out for myself. Because it’s a PINK lake.
So off to Alicante we went. After one last day of summer-beachside-basking at Playa del Postiguet, we drive to Salinas de Torrevieja, about an hour away. Approaching the lake, I can see that it is clearly not pink. I had also read that the temperature and salinity of the lake have to reach a certain point in order for the water to change colors, so we planned on sticking around this little town for however long it would take.
After following Google Maps directions to the salt lake, we end up at a locked gate (TIP: don’t just Google Maps to “Salinas de Torrevieja”. Siri will try to take you on a maintenance road to the center of the lake, which I’m almost certain isn’t allowed). We continue to drive around the lake, keeping a close eye on the water that now has a pinch of a pink hue. A few more Google searches brings me to a blog that gives a different location of the lake to enter.
Note: The Purple Pin denotes the start of the walking path, the Red Pin shows where the fence is open to walk to the lake.
We park across from some houses, enter the walking path that leads us to an opening in the fence and make our way down. And I’m happy to report that this shit was ACTUALLY pink. Like BRIGHT PINK.
All photoshopping-Instagram-filtering-and-saturating-aside, THIS is what it looks like completely, hundo-P UNEDITED:
(Is anyone else as excited as me? Guys. It’s PINK! While this photo is 100% unedited, the rest are a teensy bit edited.)
Walking in, you sink into the salt like slushy snow. After a couple meters, your feet disappear as the pink shade deepens. The salt is crystallized, forming miniature stalagmites underwater.
After doing the usual quick-photo-shoot (special thanks to the boyfriend!), we dive in. And when I say “dive in”, I mean we carefully trudge through the knee-deep, warm water and sharp salt-rocks to find a deep enough area to swim in. Water with high concentrations of salt (like the infamous Dead Sea) allow people to float and stay buoyant effortlessly. So float we did:)
The dense, rose-tinted water cradles you as you lay on your back. The silky water slides across your skin and leaves a trail of salt. You can close your eyes and bob on the water like a canoe or dexterously glide across the surface.
After a sufficient amount of floating (without another person in sight, might I add), we drive to another spot on the lake a little bit south (the Blue Pin on the map above). This is an area a lot of people (locals, mostly) apply mud to their bodies and faces. Apparently, the mud here (also like the Dead Sea), has a ton of minerals that have a lot of healing properties.
The water wasn’t as pink here, but that could be due to the cloud coverage or lower temperature closer to sunset.
Overall, it was a pretty fantastic day that left my skin super soft and a trail of fairy-dust-like-pink-salt on pretty much all of my possessions.
Tips & other info for visiting Salinas de Torrevieja:
• It’s absolutley free to go to this lake and use the mud!
• Wear shoes in the water (flip flops/sandals that can get wet are fine) – those salt crystals are mighty sharp
• Bring water to rinse yourself off with – at least 5 liters for 2 people. The salt will stick to you, which can make for an itchy situation. There aren’t any showers there but I did read about somebody using the nearby sprinklers to wash off, which could be fun (but probably frowned upon)
• Be careful not to get salt in your eyes or any cuts/scrapes. Getting it in your mouth is pretty terrible too.
• Explore different parts of the lake, some might be pinker than others:) Sometimes the deeper you go, the pinker it gets as well. Also, be patient and flexible. When we first arrived, this is how the lake looked:
• If you bring a [waterproof] camera into the water, the salt water will smudge the lens so either avoid getting it wet or bring water to rinse off the case.
• Wear a dark-colored swim suit because the mud isn’t the easiest to get out.
• After rinsing off, use your water jug to collect salt or mud to use later. We saw people doing this and wish we had done it as well! (Although we did gather enough salt crystals to last us a year at least)