If you are one of those who think that Extremadura is a dry country, make an escapade this summer and be amazed by any one of its 65 bathing areas on river beaches. More that 1500 kilometers of fresh water beaches have been accounted and most of them are concentrated in the north of Extremadura. A region in Spain that is right next to Madrid, on the west, and borders with neighboring Portugal. This is a unique destination, in the interior of the country, it is slow and in perfect harmony with nature.
THE “VALLE DEL JERTE” (VALLEY OF RIVER JERTE)
The place is popularly known as the “Pilones” and is right in the middle of a natural reserve called “Garganta de los Infiernos” (Gorge of Hell). There you will find one of the most spectacular of the 44 natural pools of Extremadura. It allows you to immerse yourself in a natural Jacuzzi. It was formed as large rocks were carved by water erosion, leaving water pools that will be etched forever in your memory.
The “Pilones” is probably the most photographed site, although the “Valle del Jerte” (Valley of River Jerte) offers endless natural pools for all tastes. On the banks of “Navaconejo”, “Cabezuela” and Jerte there are a number of well -appointed pools easily accessible from road N-110 that have all kinds of services for visitors. Some of the places are: Benidorm at Navaconejo; or authentic as Pesquerona at Cabezuela; or as descriptive as the Nogalon at Jerte.
The county where King Charles V of Spain chose to retire and die is endowed with a number of dreamlike natural pools and puddles. To get to know them we recommend an “App” for mobile phones and tablets called “Extremadura es agua” that was designed by the “Junta de Extremadura” which is the governing body of this region. Its proximity to Madrid makes it a preferred destination for visitors. Parking has been regulated at places such as the Gorge of Alardos and the Madrigal de la Vera to help avoid the bothersome crowds. “La Vera” treasures natural pools that are emerald green, such as the pools at the gorge of “Cuartos” in “Losar, or “Michones” at “Villanueva”, “Jaranda” at “Jarandilla” or “Garganta Mayor” at “Garganta la Olla” (the Olla Gorge). Also, you might want to visit the beautiful pond named Las Pilas at Collado.
Many beautiful river pools are located at the iconic region of las Hurdes. Wherever you choose to bathe you will be surrounded by lush vegetation making you feel like in paradise. Some of the most comfortable natural pools are “Ladrillar” at “Las Mestas” or “Azabal” or “Casar de Palomero”. You might also want to travel the special bathing areas of small villages such as Ovejuela or Riomalo. Where you should not miss a chance to visit the “Meadro Melero” or the farmstead of Castillo.
SIERRA DE GATA
Surely, it is one of the least known regions of Extremadura, because of its geographic location, close to Portugal. However, it is comparable to “Las Hurdes” in regard to the natural beauty and the extensive and surprising choices of pools. Among them are the banks of “Acebo”, which have been restored to visitors after the fire, during the summer of 2015 and is now a popular meeting point.
Also, the pools of Gata, San Martin, Valverde del Fresno, Cadalso, Eljas and Moraleja are popular places. All these spots are well pointed out in the catalog of bathing places but there are even more interesting places such as the vanguard-like Descargamaria and alternatives like “Villabuenas de Gata” or the cozy-welcoming “Torre de don Miguel”.
AMBROZ – GRANADILLA
Popular destinations, when visiting the north of Extremadura, are the regions of Ambroz and “Tierras de Grandilla”. There you will find the famous spa of “Baños de Monte Mayor” where waters have an immensely soothing power. Fresh and comfortable waters at the natural pools of Casas del Monte must be noted after the recent works of remodeling. Also, “Segura de Toro”, where you have to visit the stone bull that stands in the middle of town; the “Abadia” a step from the major highway, thus it surprises visitors which recognize this treasure of nature, considering its large dimensions; and most recently, the “Gargantilla”, the name of this place in Spanish is translated as a small necklace or choker, and it is beautiful for its charm of simplicity.
Original article by Merche R. Rey
Translated by Susana Windt
Published in july, 2016