A natural swimming spot is a nature-made place where you can swim, and where the water has been filtered and purified biologically, free from the chemicals and interruptions of a man-made swimming pool. In Spain these swimming areas are known as ‘piscinas naturales’ or ‘charcas’ and it is the incredibly scenic backdrops they boast that really sets them apart.
There’s nothing to make you feel wild, free, and at one with nature like swimming in a natural swimming pool: but if you’re new to Spain or to natural swimming, you might not know where to start. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here is our comprehensive list of the best natural swimming spots in Spain:
La Pedriza, Madrid
Madrid is a notoriously hot city, particularly during the summer months. But for residents in the know, it is possible to drive away from the city for an hour and find the perfect location for a cool dip in the fresh waters of the natural ponds. This location is La Pedriza. Here Madrid’s River forms a series of rock pools set against an impactful rock backdrop. Crowd levels vary wildly here depending on the weather and on the time of year.
Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park, Castilla–La Mancha.
As the name suggests, the Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park boasts a series of lakes (15 in total) and it is possible to swim in each of these, with each boasting their own unique backdrop and experience. The natural park area is rich in fauna and flora, and some of the lakes are fed by waterfalls, creating an incredibly scenic environment in which to cool down on a hot day.
Zahara de la Sierra, Cádiz province, Andalusia
There is an abundance of wonderful places that you can swim in Andalusia, which boasts a series of beautiful coastal locales. But if you want to take a break from sea swimming, and instead enjoy a swimming pool with a view, then why not head to the Zahara de la Sierra reservoir. You can enjoy views of white washed houses, hilltop vistas, and the regions Moorish castle all whilst taking a dip.
Embalse del Guadalhorce, Málaga
When visiting the Costa del Sol, most people head straight to the beach, but if you’re looking to explore a different side of the region then less than an hour north-west of Malaga, you will find a beautiful reservoir where you can swim free from the crowds of the traditional beach resorts. This reservoir also offers kayaking, and is a great place to explore the flora and fauna indigenous to the region.
Charco Azul. El Hierro, Canary Islands
Charco Azul is one of a series of natural pools that have been naturally created by flowing lava on this series of volcanic islands. The pools are great places to swim, and popular with local residents, because they are calm swimming polls just beyond the rocks where the forceful waves of the open sea crash. You will find these kinds of pools all along the coastline of each of the Canary Islands, though Charco Azul is considered to be one of the prettiest, thanks to its turquoise waters and the unusual cave entrance at its mouth.
Garganta de los Infiernos, Extremadura
Extremadura is best known for being the home of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, and is an incredibly popular location for hikers, mountain bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. But at the western end of the mountain range you will find a series of rock pools which are a great place to relax and cool down if you get hot on a summer hike.
Termas A Chavasqueira, Galicia
Not all natural pools are in remote and hard to reach locations. In the heart of the city of Ourense you will find a series of natural hot pools. These pools create natural thermal baths which are available for all visitors to enjoy for free, giving you the perfect place to relax and unwind whilst also enjoying the view from the banks of the River Miño.
Fuentes del Algar, Alicante
Benidorm is well known for its beautiful, albeit crowded, beaches. But if you want a little more space than you’d find on these busy beaches during the summer months, why not head inland instead? Here you will find the Fuentes del Algar natural springs. Offering calm and tranquility, and a brilliant place to swim, these springs are often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the Alicante province.
Vía Verde de la Terra Alta, Catalonia
The Via Verde de la Terra Alta is famous amongst cyclists, as it provides a 24km expanse of cycling track. The track was created from a disused railway line, and now it is a natural trail that attracts visitors from all over the region. One of the best things about the Vía Verde de la Terra Alta is that you can take a break from cycling for a refreshing dip in the Canaleta River, which runs alongside the route. This is an incredibly popular natural swimming spot, but it never feels crowded.
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