Where to Go Wild Swimming in Spain
Spain's Mediterranean beaches enjoy worldwide fame. But you don't need to be on the coast to go swimming in this Iberian country.
While tourists crowd the sand, locals look inland to waterfalls, lakes, lagoons and other natural spots that are perfect for a refreshing dip.
Follow this map of Spain to find the best places to go wild swimming.
Spain's Best Swimming Spots
Experts at Spain Holiday looked at the data to determine the spots locals love the most.
Ordered from north to south and scattered around the country, these destinations are great for enjoying the water, even if you're deep inland.
Salto de Bierge
Nearest city: Huesca
The Sierra de Guara attracts locals with forested hiking trails and canyoning routes. Most people end the day at the beautiful Salto de Bierge. A 33-feet waterfall provides two natural pools — one on top and one at the bottom. Both are perfect for swimming, sunbathing and getting perfect pictures that'll make your friends jealous.
Lagunas de Neila
Nearest city: Burgos
A series of emerald lagoons set against the backdrop of the Demanda Range make up the landscape of the Lagunas de Neila. This fluvial scenery also hides small natural rock pools and waterfalls, so you'll have a pick of numerous swimming holes. Just be prepared because the water is cold. Hey, that's supposed to be great for your health.
Nearest city: Barcelona
Barcelona may be one of the most visited places in Spain, but you can escape the crowds by visiting this secret spot. To get here, you'll have to drive an hour and a half from the city to Cantonigros. A 20-minute hike through the Collsacabra Valley eventually reveals La Foradada waterfall. Spend the day splashing in the shallow parts and bathing under the falls.
Pantano de San Juan
Nearest city: Madrid
When people in Madrid get tired of the city and want some fun in the water, they head to the Pantano de San Juan. Nicknamed "Madrid Beach," this spot has sandy beaches, swimming areas and plenty of room for water sports. Hiking and rock climbing are also popular pastimes, so make this a plan for an entire day.
Garganta de los Infiernos
Nearest city: Caceres
A place named "Hell's Throat" doesn't sound very enticing for a swim, but what's in a name? This national park has countless spots where people can enjoy the water. But the most popular is Los Pinoles, which has a series of natural pools flanked by large stones on each side. The water is cold no matter the time of the year. Come in the summer, where a plunge helps to cool off from the hike required to get here.
Lagunas de Ruidera
Nearest city: Albacete
Fifteen lagoons and lakes are protected in this area, which is home to numerous species of birds. Hiking trails bring you closer to nature, but it's the water that really brings people here. Waterfalls feed into the lakes, embellishing the clear blue waters. Soft grass, rather than rocks, surrounds many of the lagoons, making them inviting and almost impossible to resist.
Fuentes del Algar
Nearest city: Alicante
Fuentes del Algar is one of the few wild swimming places that provides facilities to the public. Sure, you have to pay a small entrance fee, but this helps to preserve the pristine natural landscape. Underground springs bubble up to the surface to create natural pools and waterfalls. While you're not swimming, you can rest on the moss-covered rocks that add to the charm of the park.
Nearest city: Murcia
Some places are so secretive that even locals are unaware of them. This is the case of Fuente Caputa, a magical collection of natural pools. Don't be surprised to find that there is no one else around, as this is very often the case, especially in the smaller pools. Come here to disconnect and recharge away from civilization.
Pantano del Chorro
Nearest city: Malaga
A large reservoir just outside of Malaga, the Pantano del Chorro is not the place for a quiet day near the water. Prepare for some thrills as you go kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding. Outside of the water, biking is as popular as hiking. Of course, if adventure sports aren't your thing, you can relax at one of the beaches, where families often go swimming.
Cueva del Gato
Nearest city: Malaga
Another swimming place close to Malaga, la Cueva del Gato is a large cave system whose underground river flows out to form a shallow pool. The spot is a popular half-day trip from the astonishing town of Ronda, whose center hangs from steep limestone cliffs. Bring a picnic, and enjoy what nature gave you.