Torrevieja lies about 50 kilometres south of Alicante and has a population of around 80,000. It was originally a salt-mining and fishing village because of its location between the Mediterranean sea and two large salt lakes (Salinas in Spanish).
Until 1802, Torrevieja existed only as an ancient guard tower, which gave the town its name (Torre Vieja in Spanish means Old Tower) and some small cottages, however in 1803,King Charles IV moved the salt production offices from La Mata to Torrevieja city itself and allowed the construction of houses there.
The town was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1829 but was successfully rebuilt and life and, crucially, the salt business, resumed as normal.
During the 19th century, the salt was mainly shipped from the town by Swedish and Dutch ships; at that time, there was a limited demand from other regions of Spain, however by the start of the 20th century, 25% of all the salt harvested from the lagoon in Torrevieja was sold within Spain, and the rest was exported to foreign markets. These days, salt mining is still an important industry in Torrevieja and a major employer.
In more recent times, increased tourism has seen the local economy expand impressively. This effect has been brought about by large numbers of in British, Irish, Germans and Scandinavians, many of whom live there all the year round, and the many Spanish who have second homes in the city.
The city is served by the University Hospital of Torrevieja, officially ranked as one of the best hospitals in the world. There are many health centres and schools in the city and surrounding areas and depending on which area of the city one dictates which one can be used.
The Las Habaneras shopping centre is a popular destination for shoppers and it is home to many of the major Spanish and European chain stores. It also has a floor dedicated to eateries and coffee stands although these too are mainly chains and the quality is, at best, average.
There is a long established branch of the UK optician chain Specsavers which is open Monday til Saturday and can be found on Avenida Rosa Mazón Valero, directly opposite the Las Habaneras shopping centre.
The N-332 road which links Valencia and Cartagena passes through the city. There are close links to the AP- 7 motorway which runs the length of the mediterranean coast. The city is approximately a 50 minute to 1 hour drive from Alicante airport.
In addition to several beaches in the city, (Playa de los Naufragos, Playa de la Mata, Playa de Los Locos and Playa del Cura) there are natural swimming pools and and the Aquapolis Water Park.
There are, frankly, so many places of interest within Torrevieja that it would make this article too long. Therefore, we would reccommend a trip to one of the four Tourist Information offices in the city , the websites of which can be found here .