Seven Natural Swimming Pools in Spain

We first realised the special pleasures of fresh-water swimming on Corsica, but here are seven natural pools (amongst many, many others) in Spain.

Charco Azul de Chulilla

In no particular order, the first on our list is the Charco Azul de Chulilla in the Los Calderones Natural Park, in the mountains behind Valencia. The River Turia has created impressive canyons and ravines, and between the rocky walls we find the Charco Azul, a pool of turquoise waters originally created by the Moors to feed the irrigation of the nearby orchards. Today the man-made origins are well hidden and the canyon and the cliffs make a spectacular backdrop to the deep pool itself. As well as taking a refreshing swim in the waters, it's fun to take a short walk on the precarious-looking suspended walkways that hang from the cliff sides just a metre or two above the water.

Suggested hotel: La Mozaira

Aniol d'Aguja Staying close to the Mediterranean coast, our next stop is Aniol d'Aguja, inland from the Costa Brava. The pools lie along the walking trail that follows the Sant Aniol d'Aguja Gorge. The route to get to the pools is an attraction in itself, a 10 mile walk through majestically wild country. It may not be the ideal for everyone of course but for those who persevere, it is something very special indeed. In winter (October to March) it becomes easier for visitors who don't want to tackle the full hike as cars are permitted to get much nearer to the pools.

Suggested hotels: Can Pico, Palau Lo Mirador, Castell d'Emporda, Aiguaclara

Unsurprisingly, the natural pools in the Canaries are generally fed by the sea rather than rivers, and that's the case with El Caletón de Garachico on Tenerife. El Caletón de GarachicoDifferent in every way from the remote river pools at Aniol d'Aguja, the pools in Garachico sit right alongside the town. Therefore they are super-easy to get to and are provided with lots of facilities like a lifeguard, parking, toilets, steps and handrails, and lots of nearby bars and restaurants. The main pool is a long narrow arm of the sea protected by a high wall of natural volcanic rock. Being connected to the sea, it is influenced by the sea state and the tides so may not be useable when the sea is rough. El Caletón is not just about the swimming or even the sunbathing though; floating gently on the water affords a spectacular view of La Culata cliffs and the rest of the northern coastline.

Suggested hotels: Gara Hotel, San Roque, La Quinta Roja

Garganta de Los Infiernos Garganta de Los Infiernos is a vast nature reserve extending to a total of 7226 hectares in the west of the country between Cáceres and Salamanca. The part of the reserve known as Los Pilones is the place where the river plunges down the valley is a series of pools and small waterfalls. The strangely smoothed appearance of the bedrock that forms the river sides is due to the erosion of the granite as the water and stones plunge their way down the gorge. As well as swimming in the pools, the nature reserve is an ideal place for walkers, bird watchers and photographers.

Suggested hotels: Posada de Amonaria, Casa de Pasaron, La Serena

FontcaldaFontcalda means "warm spring" and that perfectly describes this delightful little spa, high in the mountains near Tarragona. The water is a balmy 27°C. Nestled between mountains, next to the Canaletes river, Fontcalda is accessed via a tortuous series of hairpin bends rising through the forest. Remote it may be, but Fontcalda is not totally lacking in facilities. There is a picnic area, a bar and restaurant and once the swimming is over there is the opportunity to visit the 14th century shrine to the Virgin Mary and a museum remembering the civil war Battle of the Ebro.

Photo credit: callafellvallo
Suggested hotels: Casa Roja, Villa Retiro

Fuentes de AlgarOf all the wonderful places we have listed here, probably the easiest to get to and best endowed with services is Fuentes de Algar, just 15km from Altea in Alicante province. The well-made paths here to stroll along a 1.5km length of the Algar river, where visitors can discover the characteristic limestone landscape through the spectacular waterfalls and burbling springs where you can cool off in the pure, crystal clear waters. There is a small charge for entry, but the beauty combined with the facilities make it a very small price to pay. If there is any downside, the ease of access makes Fuentes de Algar very popular so if possible we suggest visiting a little out of season.

Suggested hotels: Finca El Tossal, Casa Leon, Cases Noves, La Serena

Just a little further inland from Fuentes de Algar, another popular river area of enormous beauty is El Pou Clar (you can probably guess the translation of the name). Right by the little town of Ontinyent, the River Clariano tumbles down a narrow ravine in a series of pools of crystal clear water. Some are small round pools formed when harder rocks were trapped and scoured out a deep hole in the bedrock while others like Pou de la Reixa and Pou dels Cavalls are long, deep and ideal for swimming.

El Pou Clar

Suggested hotels: Mas Fontanelles, La Puerta del Agua, Finca El Pao, Hotel Alahuar

11 Jul 2023, 16:52

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