Rivers in northern Extremadura offer many wild swimming opportunities to confident swimmers and casual dip lovers alike. In Las Hurdes, the region’s northernmost area, you’ll find remote little villages, fantastic mountain scenery and plenty of natural pools. In this article, I’m sharing suggestions of places for wild swimming in Las Hurdes based on my personal experience.

Wild swimming in Las Hurdes: El Gasco natural pool.

El Gasco is a tiny village set deep in the mountains. It belongs to the municipality of Nuñomoral and lies at the end of the only road in and out of the village. While not a passing place, the local swimming pool on the river Malvellido and the beautiful surroundings make El Gasco well worth a little detour on your itinerary.

The natural swimming pool is very easy to find. Leave your car in the parking area (at the end of the road, you cannot miss it), take the steep path on the left down to the riverside and follow the path for a few more minutes. The swimming pool is fairly large and quite shallow, making it quite child-friendly. There are some trees on both sides of the pool, stone benches and quite a lot of space for towels and bags.

We arrived just after noon and had the pool all to ourselves for a couple of hours before several local families joined us. The nearby snack bar opened at about 6pm and we had some ice-cream before heading off.

El Gasco natural pool

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.39692, long. -6.31955
Facilities: stone benches, pool access ramp, snack bar
Visited in mid-July

The path continues beyond the pool and is used by visitors walking to a nearby waterfall (nearly dried when we visited) and by local herders. You may suddenly see a flock of goats walking along the pool while you swim!

Piscina natural La Huetre

Huetre is another tiny village set deep in the mountains. It also belongs to another village (Casares de Las Hurdes) and it also lies at the end of the only road (CC-156.3) in and out of the village. To reach the natural swimming pool on the river Hurdano, walk to the far end of the village and follow the paved road and the signs along the way.

The swimming pool is rectangular and good-size. From my experience I gather that it’s about 1.5m deep in places. The pool is surrounded by a wide path and a grass area to the right offers a nice comfortable space to relax under fruit trees. The area to the left behind a small stonewall is occupied by someone’s vegetable garden.

I arrived at the pool at about 9am and I only encountered a local man and his donkey. I found the water cold at that time of the day and I only managed a quick swim, but I loved the place and the views.

Huetre natural pool, Las Hurdes

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.44024, long. -6.3087
Facilities: grass area
Visited in mid-July

Tip: leave your flip-flops at home. The road down to the pool becomes very steep, so wear comfortable trainers.

Piscina natural de Cabezo

The tiny village of Cabezo belongs to the municipality of Ladrillar, the northernmost point in Extremadura. The natural pool is located to the southeast of the village, on the river Ladrillar. The paved road leading to the pool from Calle Llano is very steep and there’s zero shade along the way; keep your bag light, your water bottle full, and a hat on.

We arrived at the pool shortly after noon and found the place empty, which was fantastic, bearing in mind that we visited it in high season (July). The pool is large and there are access steps. The water is very clear and you can see the bottom of the pool everywhere, except in the deepest area, which is at the far end of the pool. There are trees and shade on both sides of the pool and several picnic tables.

Cabezo natural pool

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.224007, long. -6.886710
Facilities: pool access ladders, parking area, restaurant
Visited in mid-July

Tip: don’t try to cross the village and reach the pool by car. Leave your car at the free parking area off the main road (CC-158) situated near the northern end of Cabezo (you’ll see it on your left, if driving from Ladrillar).

Piscina natural de Riomalo de Abajo

​Riomalo de Abajo is a tiny village belonging to the municipality of Caminomorisco and the starting point to visit the popular Melero meander on the river Alagón. The local natural swimming pool on the river Ladrillar is located on the eastern end of the village, the river acting as the natural ‘border’ between the provinces of Cáceres (Extremadura) and Salamanca (Castilla y León).

If you’re planning to spend a bit of time by the pool, you may want to leave the car on the eastern side and find a spot in a large tree-covered area, which is most people’s preferred option. If, like us, you plan is to have a quick swim en route to visiting the meander or to your next destination, leave the car in the parking area in Calle Escuelas (western side) and take the steps down to the water. There’s only a narrow path against the wall but it’s big enough for leaving a small bag while you swim.

The pool is large and the water isn’t particularly cold, so it’s a good easy swim. However, as the pool is so close to the village and the main road, it’s not the quietest.

Wild swimming in Las Hurdes: Riomalo de Abajo

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.40381, long. -6.084
Facilities: parking area, pool access ladders, nearby restaurants and accommodation
Visited in mid-July

Map of places for wild swimming in Las Hurdes

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Irene Corchado Resmella

Irene Corchado Resmella

Hi! I’m Irene (/ee-REH-neh/). Long since settled in the UK, I explore my Spanish home region of Extremadura with an inquisitive mind, a sharp eye, and the duality that comes with being both a local and a visitor. Then I write about it here to help you discover this beautiful yet overlooked part of Spain. If you have any questions after reading this article, submit a comment below! Read more about me.

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