Anyone who knows me is well aware that when given the choice I’d pick a nature escape over city exploring any day. There’s something about being surrounded by nature – breathing in the fresh crisp air, smelling the perfumes of the native flora or a salty sea breeze and taking time out to slow down and be more present. It makes me incredibly calm and happy. Although fond of all kinds of natural environments I must say waterfalls are my absolute favourite!
And as it turns out Spain has no shortage of waterfalls or beautiful national parks. Here’s some of my favourites (in no particular order) that we were lucky enough to visit whilst travelling Europe.
RUIDERA NATIONAL PARK.
Description: The National Park consists of 16 fresh water lakes with the majority connecting via cascading waterfalls.
Best for: Relaxing or picnicking by the lake, swimming and jumping off the rocky cliff edges into the lake.
Tips: Laguna San Pedro is our favourite spot for swimming and relaxing.
PICOS DE EUROPA NATIONAL PARK.
Description: A nature lovers paradise! A place so grand it’s hard to describe in words without feeling like you’ve sold it short. The mountain range extends for 20 km and is filled with beautiful sights with impressive alpine karst, glistening glacial rivers and waterfalls that appear out of nowhere. You can swim in many parts of the glacial rivers but be warned, the water is freezing cold and even a quick dip will require plenty of sunshine to defrost afterwards.
Best for: Hiking, scenic drives and camping whilst being surrounded by nature.
Tips: See the blog post on Picos de Europa (https://foreignerfaz.com/2018/08/24/picos-de-europa/) for more details on where to camp and hike.
Description: Architectural beauty mixed with Mother Nature. A place like no other and the best of both worlds. The Puente Nuevo stone bridge dates back to the 1700’s and is set 120 meters above a deep gorge and waterfall that divide the city.
Best for: Architecture and history lovers and swimming and exploring fresh water rock pools.
Tips: Make the effort to hike down to the bottom of the waterfall where there are many different rock pools for swimming in. We didn’t see another soul at the rock pools despite the hoards of tourists in the town above. In my opinion this was the best view of The Puente Nuevo bridge. I loved having the ability to gawk up and appreciate man kinds efforts of The Puente Nuevo Bridge which was a striking contrast to the natural environment I was surrounded in.
MARO BEACH WATERFALL, NERJA.
Description: Several rivers join together at the cliff edges to produce a 20 meter waterfall into the ocean. A truly spectacular sight.
Best for: Beach lovers and adventure seekers.
Tips: Best experienced from seeing the waterfall below in the ocean. Don’t waste your time in line to rent a kayak! My sister has provided more details about our experience on her blog (https://www.adventuresfirst.com.au/overseas/previous/2). If you’re a competent swimmer it’s an easy 250 meters (around the rocks on the right hand side) from the shore to the waterfall. Don’t forget to bring goggles or a snorkel as there are plenty of fish to see.