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Ten incredible natural swimming spots in Spain

The Local has rounded up ten amazing natural pools in Spain where you can take a dip without having to risk the crowds at the pool or secure a socially distanced spot on the beach.

natural swimming pools spain
Chorreras del Cabriel in Cuenca province (central-eastern Spain) isn't in the list below but is just as impressive as some of the other natural swimming pools in the country. Photo: Antonio López/Pixabay
Spain has a vast array of beautiful piscinas naturales and charcas spread over its territory and islands, some tucked away in mountain ranges, others just a stone’s throw away from the jam-packed playas

Here’s our top ten favourites swimming spots in Spain.

Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park, Castilla–La Mancha.

A collection of fifteen lakes set within a natural park in the plains of La Mancha. Natural waterfalls, crisp, clear turquoise waters in an area rich in flora and fauna. 

Cool down in Spain’s inland Castilla-La Manca region by having a dip in the Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park. Photo: Marcos Molina/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Charco Azul. El Hierro, Canary Islands

Created naturally by flowing lava, these fresh water turquoise pools offer protection from the crashing waves of the open sea just beyond the rocks. Charco Azul is one of dozens if not hundreds of natural pools dotted along the volcanic coastline of the eight Canary Islands.

natural swimming pools spain

Want to know what it feels like to swim inside a cave? Photo: Sreuland/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

La Pedriza, Madrid

Just one hour’s drive from Madrid near the town of Manzanares El Real, this is where madrileños in the know go to escape the heat and cool off with a dip in the cool fresh waters of Madrid’s river.  A series of natural rock pools just perfect for jumping into. 
 
Photo: Nicolas Vigier/Flickr
 
 
 
 
Less than an hour’s drive north-west of Malaga and a world away from the bustling Costa del Sol is this reservoir. With it’s soft sandy banks this is a great place for swimming, kayaking and enjoying nature.
 
Embalse del Conde de Guadalhorce

You don’t have to go to the coast to find turquoise waters in Spain. Photo: Malopez21/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Garganta de los Infiernos, Extremadura

These rock pools are at the far western end of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range in Spain’s Cáceres province. Just the right spot to cool down after a hike. 

natural swimming pools spain

Garganta de los Infiernos is the perfect place to cool down in during summer in Extremadura. Photo: Jesusccastillo/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Vía Verde de la Terra Alta, Catalonia 

A 24 km stretch of cycling track south of Tarragona in Catalonia, this forms part of Spain’s network of Vias Verdes (green ways), disused railway lines which have been revamped as natural trails. 

On the Vía Verde de la Terra Alta you can take a break from cycling for a refreshing dip in the Canaleta River, which runs alongside the route.

Photo: Calafellvalo/Flickr

Fuentes del Algar, Alicante

When you get fed up of fighting for a space on the beach in Benidorm, head inland for the tranquility of these natural springs. Undoubtedly one of the jewels of the Alicante province.

natural swimming pool spain

Do go chasing waterfalls at this beautiful spot in Alicante province. Photo: MarthaReLi/Pixabay

Termas A Chavasqueira, Galicia

These free thermal baths are in the city of Ourense. A series of natural hot pools on the banks of the River Miño. 

natural swimming pools galicia

Ourense may not be on the Galician coastline but you can still enjoy a relaxing warm dip in the city. Photo: Zarateman/Wikipedia (public domain)

Zahara de la Sierra, Cádiz province, Andalusia

A reservoir beneath the beautiful Andalusian town of Zahara de la Sierra. Swimming in its cool waters while staring up at the white washed houses clinging to the hilltop crowned by a Moorish castle would be unforgettable.

Incredible views of the Zahara de la Sierra lake. Photo: laurentgraphiste/Pixabay

Pantano de San Juan, Madrid

The Madrid region was awarded a blue flag for its stunning Virgen de la Nueva beach on the San Juan reservoir.

Whether it’s sailing or swimming, the Pantano de San Juan is a fantastic summer getaway for people in the Spanish capital. Photo: Lematraductores/Pixabay

Member comments

  1. I’m confused….aren’t some of these places closed or “prohibited” because of Covid restrictions on freshwater swimming?

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TRAVEL

TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

In welcome news for tourists and travellers in Spain, holidaymakers will be eligible to take advantage of Spain's 100% discounts on train travel later in the year.

TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

Tourists will be eligible for Spain’s free train ticket scheme that will be phased in later on this year, as confirmed to the Spanish press by sources in Spain’s Ministry of Transport this week.

“If a foreign tourist is a frequent user of the [train] network, he can make use of this subscription. If they want to complete the trips, they will not be asked for any type of card,” the source said.

Additionally, in further news of particular interest for British and American travellers, no differentiation will be made between tourists nor between EU and non-EU nationals for the discounts. Free train travel will be available to all tourists, regardless of where they’re from.

It is hoped that the free train travel will entice more visitors to Spain and continue the sector’s post-pandemic recovery, which for the first six months of the year exceeded pre-pandemic (2019) levels by 1.1 percent, according to figures from the association of Spanish tourism companies, Exceltur.

Tourism experts expect Spain to surpass the number of foreign visitors in the last four months of 2019 – over 20 million tourists – despite upwards inflationary pressures on the cost of flights and accommodation.

But like everything in life, there are terms and conditions. You won’t be able to waltz on any train in Spain for free, and it isn’t year-round.

When?

This eye-catching travel discount will be available from September 1st to December 31st 2022, during which multi-journey train tickets on the trains outlined below will be free.

Free train travel

The 100 percent discount scheme, which will cost public coffers a reported €200 million, will only be valid on certain lines and comes amid a series of measures put in place by the government to try and ease the pain of rising inflation and prices, but also to lower pressures on fuel following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing energy crisis. 

READ ALSO: How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

“The government will subsidise 100 percent of the public service of commuter trains operated by Renfe. We hope that the autonomous communities can complement this enormous effort made by the Spanish government,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said when announcing the scheme in the Spanish Congress.

But which trains will be free, when, and how can you take advantage of them?

Which trains are free?

Unfortunately, the Spanish government has not given everyone in Spain free train travel on every route and on every type of train.

There are rules.

Simply put, local and commuter trains will be free. Cercanías, Rodalies (Catalonia), and Media Distance (local and medium-distance journeys) will be 100 percent free of charge.

The policy is aimed at encouraging the use of trains as opposed to other fossil fuel intensive forms of transport, and it’s valid for journeys up to 300km.

That in mind, trips on long-distance or high-speed trains, such as AVE and Alvia, are not included in the plan.

Neither will the routes in Avlo, the low-cost AVE option established in 2021, nor the medium and high-speed Avants.

Avlo and Avants will instead have a 50 percent discount on the original price, as outlined by the government in June.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer free train trips: when, where and how?

The Spanish government are yet to announce in detail how exactly the discounts will work, or how to apply for them.

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