When most people think of Spain they picture sandy beaches and sunny coastal resorts, very few people realize that Spain has some of the most stunning landscape you could find only 40 minutes from Malaga airport.
The areas of Ardales and El Chorro are known as Malaga’s Lake District; here you find some of the most stunning natural scenery that you could imagine and you will certainly be surprised at the sheer beauty of Spain’s inland regions. This region has become more and more popular over the years with nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and from rock climbers to ramblers all enjoying what this region has to offer.
Rock climbing at EL Chorro Climbers guide
Ardales and El Chorro form three different man made lakes called; Embalse de Gaitanejo, Embalse Del Conde de Guadalhorce and the biggest of them all Embalse Del Gualdalteba-Guadalhorce. Construction of a Dam between 1914 and 1921 and built across the Guadalhorce river gorge led to the formation of these lakes. The natural gorge that runs for 3 kilometres and at a height of 400 metres connects the lakes and due to the high rainfall to this region in the last couple of years the three lakes have become one vast expanse of open water. On its official opening in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain, a walkway was constructed. Known as El Camino del Rey (The Kings Path) this walkway is now closed due to severe erosion but planning for reconstruction has been given.
This area has become renowned for rock climbing, camping, lake swimming, cycling and is a backpacker’s paradise. Pine forests with mountainous back drops surround the area and once here you will totally forget the typical Spain that we all know. Various hotels, bed and breakfast, hostels and camping facilities can be found locally and with traditional restaurants some situated overlooking the lakes, you will find all you could have hoped for and more in this stunning location.
If living in Spain or just visiting. We strongly suggest a trip to this truly amazing area
and whether it’s a one day or a one week stay you will not be disappointed, but we
are sure you will want to visit again.
How to get there
This has some extraordinary areas of natural interest with spectacular reservoirs and turquoise lakes surrounded by pine forests, the settings for photographic or hiking excursions, non motorised water sports, climbing and fishing. Organised excursions are available locally for those who do not wish to go it alone. It is a haven for many species of flora and fauna with a variety of birdlife, chough, kingfisher, swift, tawny owl, eagle and vulture.
These caves contain labyrinths of columns, underground lakes and beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites. One of the caves major attractions are the paintings and carvings dating back 20,000 years to the Upper Paleolithic Age. Burial and living areas dating back to Neolithic and Chalcolithic ages have also been found there. Visiting these caves is restricted and must be accompanied by a guide, to enable the local council to promote rural tourism whilst at the same time allowing them to preserve this natural phenomenon.
This natural lagoon covers an area of approximately 18 sq/km. It provides the ideal breeding ground for one of the most elegant and exquisite birds in the world, the pink flamingo. This lagoon is one of only two places in the Eastern Mediterranean where these birds typically breed is therefore deemed as a protected zone, as its loss would cause a serious setback to the flamingo population. There is also a visitors centre there.
El Torcal Nature Reserve
El Torcal boasts some of the most spectacular limestone rock formations in Europe, covering an area of 17 sq/km. There is also a wide variety of flora and fauna in the area, including over 30 varieties of orchid. There are three mapped out walks, ranging from 30 minutes on an easy route to around 3 hours for the serious walker, arriving at a viewing point at 1.339m above sea level, giving a view of the complete park and the Africa coastline.