With plenty of cold water rivers running from the mountains, Extremadura’s northern valleys should be on any wild swimming lover’s bucket list. La Vera, the northeastern area where I grew up, is full of pools of all shapes and sizes ready for you to dive in.

In this article, I suggest places for wild swimming in La Vera based on my personal experience.

Wild swimming in La Vera_featured

Charco Puente Romano is a natural swimming pool in Madrigal de la Vera, on the garganta de Alardos, the river acting as a border between the regions of Extremadura and Castille-León. The swimming pool barriers weren’t in place when I last visited (in late May), but at least two areas near the bridge are deep enough for swimming outside the summer season. The pool is easy to access via steps or a ramp and the sitting area on the stone steps is fully in the shade in the afternoon. The mountain views through the (actually medieval) bridge are second to none.

Charco Puente Romano, Madrigal de la Vera
Charco Puente Romano, Madrigal de la Vera
Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.15093, long.-5.35621
Facilities: pool access ladder, sitting area, on-site restaurant (and a second restaurant nearby), two parking areas.
Visited in late May

The parking areas are not free – a rarity in La Vera and an indication that the pools on this river get busy during the summer. Not applicable outside the summer months.

Charco Las Brujas

Charco Las Brujas is a small pool on the garganta Gualtaminos, to the east of Villanueva de la Vera. Getting there is a bit of an adventure involving driving, walking down steps, crossing the river, and walking upstream past another pool, but it’s 100% worth it. Not big enough for a proper swim, this pool is perfect for a relaxing dip with the sound of a fast-flowing little waterfall as a soundtrack. The area is surrounded by trees and it feels very private, although there is not a lot of shade.

Charco Las Brujas, Villanueva de la Vera
Charco Las Brujas, Villanueva de la Vera
Type of swim: pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.13764, long. -5.45156
Facilities: n/a
Visited in late May

Getting there: follow the signs for garganta Gualtaminos on the EX-203 road. Drive past the natural swimming pool (Piscina Gualtaminos) and through the arch all the way up to Las Solanas residential area and find somewhere to park. From here, walk the steps to down to the first pool and cross the river. Walk along the river past a second little pool and through the ‘arch’ created by a big boulder leaning on another one. You’ll see the waterfall and Charco Las Brujas in front of you.

Puente de Cuartos

Garganta de Cuartos is a popular river for wild swimming in La Vera. You’ll find good spots for a swim or a dip on both sides of its iconic namesake bridge (Puente de Cuartos), situated off the EX-203 road outside Losar de la Vera. The main pool is accessed via two stairs – one located by the stone bridge and the other one by the road bridge. There are several designated free parking areas and an on-site restaurant. This place can get very busy in summer, particularly on weekends.

Puente de Cuartos, Losar de la Vera
Puente de Cuartos, Losar de la Vera

Type of swim: pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.11117, long. -5.5818
Facilities: access ramps and stairs, free parking areas, on-site restaurant.
Visited in late May

Don’t jump from the bridge. You’ll see some people confidently jumping from the bridge to the deepest areas of the pool. The water may be crystal clear, but shady spots prevent you from correctly assessing the position and size of the boulders underneath. Please don’t do that. It’s extremely dangerous.

Puente de Parral

This natural swimming pool on garganta de Jaranda is located by a pretty stone bridge outside Jarandilla de la Vera. This decent-size pool is accessed via steps from a fairly large tree-covered picnic area. There’s also a convenient free (shaded) parking area and an independent (quite highly-rated) restaurant nearby which I haven’t had the chance to try yet. While the swimming pool barriers aren’t in place outside the summer season, you can find several shallow little pools under the bridge which provide an enjoyable private jacuzzi-like experience.

Puente de Parral, Jarandilla de la Vera
Puente de Parral, Jarandilla de la Vera
Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.12657, long. -5.6674
Facilities: picnic area, free parking, nearby restaurant
Visited in late May

The unassuming dead-end unpaved road along the right bank of the river offers some great views of the town of Jarandilla and the surrounding mountains.  

Charco Los Guachos

Charco Los Guachos is a small pool on the namesake river, located to the west of Aldeanueva de la Vera, just off the main EX-203 road. It is accessed from the main road via steps and a random scaffolding board placed above some stones. Despite the size of the pool, there is a spot near the trees as deep as 1.40-1.50m.The area on the left side of the pool is the most likely to be shaded in the afternoon. However, since there’s not a huge amount of room to rest on the boulder, this pool is perhaps best suited for a quick stop on your route. There’s a picnic and parking area right across the road.

Charco Los Guachos, Aldeanueva de la Vera
Charco Los Guachos, Aldeanueva de la Vera
Type of swim: pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.12394, long. -5.70918
Facilities: nearby picnic area, free parking
Visited in late May

Location and getting there: this pool is located off a 180-degree curve on the main EX-203 road. Using the designated free parking area means you’ll have to cross the main road on foot, which I found not only stressful but extremely dangerous. There’s zero visibility from the crossing point and I found myself having to cross trusting my ears rather than my eyes. I’d personally avoid it. There’s pavement on the road side to the village; if you park on the main road near the western end of Aldeanueva, you’ll be barely 10 minutes away on foot from the pool.

El Bañaero

El Bañaero is a small tranquil pool outside Cuacos de Yuste. It’s not deep enough for swimming, but I found a little spot between boulders which was good for a quick dip. I visited this pool before noon and the area was quite exposed to the sun, but the water was absolutely freezing, to the point where I really struggled to submerge my arms. It is accessed via a metal footbridge from this free parking area.

El Bañaero, Cuacos de Yuste
El Bañaero, Cuacos de Yuste
Type of swim: pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.1047, long. -5.71779
Facilities: nearby free parking area
Visited in late May

Getting there: El Bañaero is not particularly well-signposted from the centre of Cuacos. Get off the EX-203 road at the ‘Piscina Natural’ sign onto Calle Concordia and turn left to Avenida del Ceralejo. When you reach the local swimming pool (piscina municipal), turn left and after a few metres you’ll see the sign for ‘Paraje El Bañaero’.

El Lago

El Lago wasn’t open during my last visit, so my thoughts here are based on my many previous experiences. This was my go-to pool for twelve years when I lived in Jaraíz.

El Lago is a natural swimming pool on garganta de Pedro Chate, situated to the north of Jaraíz de la Vera. This is the largest pool in La Vera, with two clearly distinct areas – a shallow child-friendly area to the left, and a larger deeper area to the right. Both areas are accessed via several ramps. The closer to the dam you go, the deeper it gets. Despite what you may see others do, refrain from jumping from the footbridge; you can’t really see the bottom of the pool and you never know where and how big boulders are underneath.

There is a fairly large ‘beach’ area on the other side of the river. You can cross the river on foot along the concrete wall separating the two pool areas, along the metal footbridge at the end of the larger pool area, or on the flat stones placed in the shallowest area. The beach area gets really busy during the summer months. You’ll see umbrellas, loungers and people playing beach volley.

El Lago, Jaraíz de la Vera
El Lago, Jaraíz de la Vera
Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.07988, long. -5.74848
Facilities: on-site restaurant, two parking areas
Visited in late May

From all the roads leading to natural swimming pools in La Vera, the little road off the EX-203 down to El Lago de Jaraíz, surrounded by an oak forest, is my favourite.

Las Pilas

Las Pilas is a natural swimming pool on garganta de Pedro Chate, located to the north of Collado de la Vera. The shallowest half of this fairly large, square pool has a sandy bottom, making it quite accessible and suitable for families. The other end of the pool is the deepest spot and the best place for swimming. There’s an on-site bar (only open during the summer months) and a free parking area. As a piscina natural, Las Pilas can get busy in summer, particularly on weekends.

Las Pilas, Collado de la Vera
Type of swim: natural swimming pool (river)
Exact location: lat. 40.06883, -5.71089
Facilities: on-site bar, free parking area
Visited in late May

Getting there: the easiest way to get to Las Pilas is from Collado de la Vera. You’ll see the yellow ‘piscina natural Las Pilas’ sign in Plaza El Llano. The pool is only four minutes away by car or twenty-four minutes away on foot.

You can also get to Las Pilas from Cuacos de Yuste via a narrow country road (camino rural), but I wouldn’t recommend choosing this route. The first part of the journey is on a decent, paved single-track road, but the last stretch is on a bumpy track full of lose stones. In theory, this is the shortest journey from Cuacos to Las Pilas, but don’t trust your GPS when it tells you this is the quickest option.

Map of places for wild swimming in La Vera

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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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