Swimming is one of the best ways to fight off the summer heat in Extremadura. The region’s northern valleys and sierras offer plenty of outdoor swimming opportunities in cool river waters. Sierra de Gata, in northwestern Extremadura, is an area worth exploring, if you’re looking for quick dip spots en route to fit in your road trip itinerary. Check out some suggested places for wild swimming in Sierra de Gata based on my personal experience.

Wild swimming in Sierra de Gata (Jevero pool, Acebo)

U Chafaril is a natural swimming pool in San Martín de Trevejo, on the river Arrevises. This good-size pool (20m x 6m x 2m) pool surrounded by trees is located to the east of the village centre. The whole area is pretty much in the shade all day, making it a good place to escape to during a hot summer afternoon. We arrived at the pool at around 11am and there was nobody else there.

U Chafaril natural swimming pool, San Martín de Trevejo

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.211906, long. -6.792328
Facilities: pool access ladders, benches, snack bar
Visited in early September

Tip: don’t try to get there by car. At least three or four of what I would consider different streets are called ‘Avenida del Chafaril’ – some of them steep, no entry or one-way only. Find a parking spot on a residential street such as Calle la Era instead and walk to the pool (2 minutes away).

Pozo de las Monjas

Pozo de las Monjas is the smallest (12m x 6m) of three natural pools situated north of the village of Eljas on the namesake river. The other two – Piscina de Arriba (25m × 5m) and Piscina del Medio (30m × 6m) are natural swimming pools with ladders but were already closed (empty) when we visited, so I could only have a swim in Pozo de las Monjas. The area around the pool isn’t too big, but there’s enough room to extend your towel and leave a bag on a rock. We arrived at the pool after 1pm and had Pozo de las Monjas all to ourselves for over an hour before another couple joined.

A paved road goes all the way from the village to a parking area near the pools, so you can go by car. Directions are not particularly helpful, so use Calle Currieira as your reference point until you reach the outskirts and then follow the paved road (Camino de Valverde) to the parking area.

Pozo de las Monjas natural pool, Eljas

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.228270, long. -6.837448
Facilities: parking area
Visited in early September

Tip: leave the car in the village, somewhere outside the centre (there’s free on-street parking in Calli as Parras, for example) and go to the pool on foot. You’ll enjoy some amazing views of the mountains and nearby villages during the 30-minute walk.

U Petril

U Petril is located on the western edge of Valverde del Fresno, on del Sabugal brook. It’s quite a big (40m x 8m) pool, as deep as 2.5m in places. It’s also enclosed and there’s not much room around it; you need to find a spot for your towel and bags a bit further out, just outside the nearby pool restaurant.

The pool can’t be spotted from anywhere in town or from the road but is easy enough to find. It’s well signposted from the main road (Avenida Don Santos Robledo). Follow the ‘U Petril’ signs, leave your car in the designated (free) parking area and walk a bit further and across the small bridge. We arrived at the pool after 4pm and there were in total less than 10 people there.

U Petril natual pool, Valverde del Fresno

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

Piscina natural Jevero

​Jevero is one of Acebo’s two natural swimming pools, located on the namesake brook about 2km north of the village. The Jevero pool is actually made of two separate pools divided by a bridge. I only swam in the lower pool.

This is, without a doubt, one of the best natural swimming pools in Sierra de Gata and a personal favourite. The pool is huge and easily accessible by a ramp, the water is crystal clear and refreshing, the grass area is big and shady enough, and the mountain views from the pool are spectacular. There’s also a fairly large parking area and a restaurant close by.

Jevero natural pool, Acebo
Jevero natural pool, Acebo

Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.217605, long. -6.714889
Facilities: parking area, restaurant, grass area, pool access ramp, umbrellas
Visited in early September

Tip: while not packed, Jevero has become a popular pool where you may find full families and the odd busload of retirees. For a quiet swim, you might want to go there in the morning.

Map of places for wild swimming in Sierra de Gata

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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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