The lakes at El Chorro, close to the village of Ardales, are made up of three reservoirs or ‘Embalses’. They’re only around 40 minutes’ drive from Finca Gran Cerros – and if you are planning a visit, be sure to go via Alora town (to avoid the road with the missing bridge!).
Surrounded by pine forests and known for their spectacular turquoise waters, the lakes make for a popular day trip.
As well as relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery, there’s plenty to do. Throughout the Summer, La Isla recreation centre offers mountain bikes for hire, as well as paddle boards, kayaks, and peddle boats. It’s the main area for the lake’s water-sports activity and it’s the pin in the location map, below.
If that all sounds far too strenuous, don’t worry, there are plenty of quiet corners in which to relax too. So if you want to enjoy a secluded swim or prefer to relax on the lakeshore, taking in the the views and tranquility of the breathtaking surroundings, a visit to the lakes won’t disappoint.
There’s also an excellent traditional Andalusian restaurant, Restaurante El Mirador Ardales, which has stunning views from the rustic outdoor dining area, overlooking Embalse del Conde de Guadalhorce below – well worth a visit. There’s a stepped path down from the restaurant’s terrace to the lake for anyone wanting to exercise away their lunch.
There are also a handful of other restaurants and kiosks dotted along the Eastern shores of the lake. At the northern most tip of the lake, La Cantina and Restaurante El Kiosk are great spots for a leisurely coffee and from which to enjoy the view. Restaurante El Kiosk is also next to the entrance of the spectacular Caminito del Rey walking route, which is one of the most popular tourist activities in Andalusia; be sure to book tickets for this in advance.
The station at El Chorro is the southern most end point of the spectacular Caminito del Rey walking route, through the nearby gorges.
El Chorro is well known as one of Spain’s largest climbing areas, with more than 1,000 bolted, described routes catering for a wide range of abilities.
The Guadalhorce River runs through the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge at El Chorro and is a haven for wildlife and a great spot for seeing all manner of birds, including kestrels and eagles. The gorge is almost 4 km long, up to 400 meters deep and in places no more than 10m wide.
Through the gorge runs the railway track to Málaga and the Caminito del Ray, “The King’s Path”, so called because history has it that in 1921, King Alfonso XIII walked this route when he opened the reservoirs above the gorge.
Today, the Caminito del Ray is one of Andalusia’s most popular walking routes.