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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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HEALTH

Reader question: Are there limits on bringing medicines into Spain?

Vitamins as well as cold and flu medication can be more expensive in Spain, and some brands of medicine that visitors use back home aren't available in Spanish pharmacies. So what are the rules on bringing medicines in from outside the country?

Reader question: Are there limits on bringing medicines into Spain?

Many people have their particular preferred brands of medications they use when they feel unwell or vitamins to keep up their immunity.

Whether you’re just travelling to Spain or you’re living here and want to keep your stocks of pharmaceuticals up, ‘just in case’, you’ll want to know what you’re allowed to bring in. 

What medicines can you bring into Spain from abroad?

Some pharmaceuticals can cost considerably more in Spain than in countries like the US or the UK. While over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are relatively cheap in Spain, bottles of vitamins and cold and flu medications can set you back significantly.

For example, 10 sachets of cold and flu medicine in Spain will cost you around €9.68, while in the UK it costs £3.49 or €4.05.

The main difference is that in Spain you cannot buy medicines or even just painkillers from a supermarket or other shop specialising in health and beauty products. There’s no equivalent of Boots in the UK or Walgreens in the US.

Here, you have to go to a pharmacy or farmàcia, where you’ll have to ask for the medications you want. You won’t simply be able to browse and choose like you can in some other countries. 

If you get a prescription (receta) from a public health doctor here, then you’ll find that the medications are much cheaper than if you simply buy them without, as they’re subsidised by the state. 

Sometimes you may just want to bring medicines from your home country because you know the brand, you know those pills work for you and how they affect you.

So what are the rules on bringing pharmaceuticals into Spain?

The rules on bringing medicines into Spain from abroad are set out in Artículo 74 of the Royal Legislative Decree or BOE. 

The Spanish government states that “Spanish law allows you to carry your own personal medication for treatments of up to three months, as long as it is accompanied by a medical prescription”.

“If you are transporting narcotics and/or psychotropic medication into the country you must get a permit issued by the Spanish health authorities. In this case, you must request e-mail permission from your local Spanish consulate, providing the medical prescription and the following information:

  • Doctor’s information and collegiate number
  • Telephone and e-mail contact
  • Plus all your personal details such as name, address, passport number, date of birth etc.

For example, the UK government website advises those travelling from Britain that “You need a letter to prove your medicine is prescribed to you if it contains a ‘controlled drug’. You may need to show this at the border when you’re entering or leaving the UK and Spain.

Medicines that don’t require a prescription and are not ‘controlled’ can be brought either in your suitcase or hand luggage. Be aware though, some drugs that don’t require a prescription back in your home country may require a prescription in Spain.

It’s best to check beforehand, depending on what you plan to bring in.

Even if the pharmaceuticals you’re bringing in don’t require a prescription, it’s advisable not to bring more than a three month’s supply.

If you’re coming from outside the EU, there may be certain medicines that you won’t be allowed to bring in from the UK. The UK government website states: “You cannot take some products prescribed for health conditions with you into the EU. These include special food required for medical reasons containing meat or dairy”. This could include certain brands of probiotics. 

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