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Swimming wild: Spain’s best natural pools

Ten of the country’s most beautiful spots for a dip, all carved by nature’s hand

Gulpiyuri.  Llanes,  Asturias Ampliar foto
Gulpiyuri. Llanes, Asturias

1. Gulpiyuri. Llanes, Asturias

The waters of the Cantabrian Sea filter through the limestone to create a saltwater lagoon surrounded by meadows. The sea is nearby, but cannot be seen from this unique, magical spot.

El Caletón. Garachico, Tenerife. ampliar foto
El Caletón. Garachico, Tenerife.

2. El Caletón. Garachico, Tenerife

The natural pools of El Caletón have adapted to the shapes made by the lava that solidified after the eruption of the Trevejo. This volcano, also known as Arenas Negras (Black Sands), ravaged the port of Garachico in 1706.

La Fajana. La Palma, Canarias. ampliar foto
La Fajana. La Palma, Canarias.

3. La Fajana. La Palma, Canarias

A good ending to a day trek in the area is a dip in La Fajana, a network of pools at the foot of the cliffs of Barlovento, on La Palma, as the sun sets into the sea beyond Punta de la Gaviota.

Garganta de los Infiernos. Valle del Jerte, Cáceres. ampliar foto
Garganta de los Infiernos. Valle del Jerte, Cáceres.

4. Garganta de los Infiernos. Jerte Valley, Cáceres

“Hell’s Gorge” is made up of 13 holes carved into the granite by the action of water on the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos.

Charco Azul. El Hierro, Canarias. ampliar foto
Charco Azul. El Hierro, Canarias.

5. Charco Azul. El Hierro, Canarias

In the Gulf of La Frontera, a depression of rock has created a spacious natural pool that is fed by the tides and reached via a steep stone staircase. 

La Charca Verde. La Pedriza, Madrid.
La Charca Verde. La Pedriza, Madrid.

6. La Charca Verde. La Pedriza, Madrid

A haven of turquoise waters inside the rocky labyrinth of La Pedriza, on the Madrid side of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Getting there takes some walking.

Cala Bramant. Llançà, Girona. ampliar foto
Cala Bramant. Llançà, Girona.

7. Cala Bramant. Llançà, Girona

One of the inlets at Cap de Ras conceals Lovers’ Cove, a small beach shaped like a nest where couples come to snuggle up or swim by the light of the moon.

Las Chorreras. Enguídanos, Cuenca. ampliar foto
Las Chorreras. Enguídanos, Cuenca.

8. Las Chorreras. Enguídanos, Cuenca

Near the Cretaceous site of Las Hoyas (Cuenca), in a natural area known as Las Chorreras, the Cabriel River drops 120 meters as it winds its way in and out of a giant maze of gorges, waterfalls, sinkholes and caves that hark back to ancient times. 

Termas de Ourense. ampliar foto
Termas de Ourense.

9. Hot springs of Ourense

On the banks of the Miño, downriver from the Ponte do Milenio bridgeare four kilometers of pools and hot springs at A Chavasqueira, Muiño das Veigas, Outariz and Burgas de Canedo. This water, with a temperature of over 60ºC, has been used by humans since Roman times. There are private Japanese-style spas in A Chavasqueira and Outariz, and rustic granite pools where visitors can soak for free for as long as they like.

Fuentes del Algar. Callosa d’en Sarrià, Alicante. ampliar foto
Fuentes del Algar. Callosa d’en Sarrià, Alicante.

10. Fuentes del Algar. Callosa d’en Sarrià, Alicante

Just 15 kilometers from Benidorm, in Callosa d’en Sarrià, the springs of the Algar River is a natural spot filled with waterfalls, blue pools and freshwater beaches that afford cool swims in karstic surroundings.