If you have had enough of the crowded beaches and the noisy hotel swimming pools, drive an hour inland to the three Reservoirs known as Guadalhorce near the village of El Chorro.
Located in an area of natural beauty, close to the famous Camino del Rey a perilous path built on the side of an almost sheer cliff 100 metres above the river below, the Camino del Rey is often touted as being the “world’s most dangerous walkway.”
The first of the three reservoirs was built between 1914 and 1921 and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII. It was also at this time that the narrow catwalk high above the Guadalhorce River got its name after the king traversed the pathway linking the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro and Gaitanejo Falls.
Often referred to as Andalucia’s Lake District for its beauty and serenity these three man-made lakes differ in that the crystal clear turquoise-coloured water is perfect for a summer dip unlike the glacially-cold waters of Windermere and Coniston.
At the Embalse del Guadalhorce you will also find plenty of sandy beaches to plant your umbrella and relax without the noisy chiringuitos (beach bars) and kids kicking sand all over you, plus you won’t have to worry about getting stung by a jellyfish as the only creatures in these lakes are harmless barbell and carp.
If you have had enough of the water, there are several well-marked trails in the area for you to hike amongst the forest scenery of Mediterranean Pines interspersed with thyme, rosemary and eucalyptus. Along the trail make sure to look out for Kingfishers, red-billed chough’s and the griffon vultures that seem to be constantly circling overhead. If you are really lucky you might spot a European eagle owl, the largest and most ferocious owl in the world who, despite being rare appears to be making a comeback over the past few decades.
Offering lakeside camping sites the area is perfect for those looking outdoor types looking for a weekend break or just the chance to escape the crowds on the beach. It’s also perfect for families as well with plenty of things to do for the kids such as jumping off rocks jutting out over the lakes, renting a kayak or even having a go at some rock climbing and abseiling.
This is another side to most tourist conceptions of what life is like in Spain and well worth the drive even if it is just to stop for lunch and marvel at the scenery.