5 Incredible wild swims in Spain
If you’re dreaming of wild swimming under a warm and golden sun then perhaps this will tempt you to plan a holiday in Spain this summer.
Wild Things authors John Weller and Lola Culsán have spent the last three summers travelling the length and breadth of the country swimming, splashing and diving into Spain’s most incredible freshwater landscapes. Here’s a little taster from their new book Wild Swimming Spain: Discover the most beautiful rivers, lakes and waterfalls, publishing April 11th. Pre-order the book here.
Happy Easter amigos!
Embalse de Yesa, Around the Basque country
Yesa reservoir is also called the Sea of the Pyrenees. This huge lake is an ideal place for fishing, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing, and there are thermal pools for bathing. Beech and pine woods rich in wildlife surround the reservoir, and you may spot ospreys. We saw pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela: the sacred route passes close to a nearby resting place, the ruined hilltop village of Ruesta, which also hosts a tiny bar.
From Pamplona head SE on the A-21 then the N-240. Just past the thermal baths and the bridge, on your R you will see a long gravel space beside the road. Park here. Scramble down the steep bank to reach the rocky beach.
Easy, 2 mins 42.6135, -1.1074
Gorg de Santa Margarida, Northern Cataluña
A pretty village with an abundance of wild swimming spots. A magnificent waterfall and huge, round, green pool. Swim and marvel at your surroundings. A magical place to bring the kids. There is a great 15km hike from here up to other pools.
Take the C-63 SE from Les Planes d’Hostoles. After 2km you will see a large sausage factory; park on the side of the road just before the factory. Walk down the road to the factory entrance and follow the wall on the wide path round the back of factory. When you reach the wood take the path going uphill for 5mins until you reach the waterfall.
Easy, 5 mins, 42.0445, 2.5528
Embalse de los Bermejales, Andalucia
A huge jewel of a lake surrounded by pine and cypress trees with superb views of the mountains. Less than an hour’s drive from Spain’s Costa Tropical. We sat on a lakeside beach in the early evening watching children jumping endlessly from the T-shaped pontoon into the gorgeous turquoise water. The road goes all around the lake if you want to find a secluded spot or wild camp.
From Alhama de Granada take the A-402 NE and turn off for the A-338 to Pantano de los Bermejales. Take the GR-4302 which passes a beach by the reservoir. Great campsite Camping Los Bermejales www.campinglosbermejales.com
Easy, 5 mins, 36.9945, -3.8825
Peralejos de las Truchas, Guadalajara
The Río Tajo was spring green, fresh and zingy with the vibrancy of new life. A benevolent sun warmed us as we lay on the banks. We were far, far from the madding crowd, immersed in the wild. The river snaked through huge red cliffs and enormous pine forests. We found a spot where it opened out and slipped into the pure, clear water. The current barely interrupted our glide. It was deeper than it looked: we tried to stand on ancient boulders below us, only to find they were much further away than they seemed.
Drive 2km W of Peralejos de las Truchas on CM-2106. Park after Camping La Serradora on L and walk down path to river. See a swinging rope hanging from a tree. Swim here or walk upstream along the woodland track for 10 mins to find good swimming spots: best is by small waterfall where river widens. Village shop in Peralejos de las Truchas (trucha means trout) is a great source of information in many languages about local hiking and trout fishing. Highly recommended.
Easy, 5 mins, 40.5907, -1.9243
Poza Charca Verde, near Madrid
Breathtaking views over huge pine forests, boulders worn so smooth that you can slide down into the deep, cool water and rock formations that look like dribbles of wet sand. This wonderful green river pool (literally ‘puddle’) is a great place to show off your diving skills to the assembled Madrileños. Located in the Sierra de Guadarrama, where Hemingway set his famous Spanish Civil War novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls. Atmospheric.
From Soto del Real head W on the M-608. After 9.5km take the R turn signposted La Pedriza. Follow the road round, passing through the gates into the park. Drive another 5km until you come to the final car park (40.7521, -3.9021). From here continue walking N along the path and when it divides, fork R and cross a bridge. Continue up the valley to your L, finally scrambling over some rocks to reach the pool. Arrive early just as the sun also rises to have this beautiful wild swimming spot to yourself.
Moderate, 20 mins, 40.7634 -3.9038
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