We all dream of blue, crystal clear seas next to white sand beaches, but some of the most incredible places I have ever swum were hidden spots buried in the mountains and hills of southern Spain, in Extremadura. These streams and rivers are fed by teeth chatteringly cold water, but in return a trip to these natural swimming pools give you privacy, a unique experience and a chance to venture into wild and natural surroundings away from the beach crowds.
One of my absolute favourites is the Los Pilones pools in the Jerte Valley in Extremadura, Spain. From my city (Caceres) in Spain it's a two hour drive, and probably about the same from cities like Salamanca, Badajoz and even further from Madrid. After the drive, visitors will have to trek an hour up into the hills, through beautiful shady woods and dusty tracks. People come to the area to experience true Spanish living, and to taste the Jamon Iberico that is produced in the forests and woods of the region. Adding in an exploration of the natural swimming pools in the valley is a fantastic and unusual addition to any trip here. Very close by is the Feria de Zafra - I visited this region (where I now live) in late September, which happened to be when this huge country fair takes place. It's vast, packed with Spanish food and well worth a visit.
Spending hours playing in the water and climbing the steep, slippy rock formations without seeing another person
As well as seeing these naturally created swimming pools, where you can spend hours playing in the water and climbing the steep, slippy rock formations without seeing another person, there are also expansive reservoirs in many of the small villages and towns in the region. The picture above shows a great example of these peaceful and picturesque locations in Fuente Del Maestre!
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