Anything But Paella

Embalse de Negratin and Jalbalcon Mountain

Andalusia is full of dramatic landscapes and just inland from Baza is a great example – two in fact! The waters of the reservoir seem to glow a surreal shade of turquoise whilst the views from the top of the mountain will take your breath away both physically and metaphorically. You will need a car though.

The Embalsa de Negratín is 20km long and stretches as far as 1.5km across in places, making it the third largest reservoir in Andalusia. It was created in 1984 resulting in the loss of several villages. Reservoirs are, though, and important part of Spain’s water system and need protecting which is why there are projects underway to prevent the invasion of species like the Zebra Mussel which is damaging the delicate ecosystem. During the summer it is possible to rent kayaks to venture out onto the water but there was no information available during our visit. We found the western dam to be a great place for a picnic on our travels but there are few small towns around where you would find refreshments. On the south eastern shores there is a thermal spa, Balneario Zújar, although details are a little sketchy about how it has come through the Covid crisis. It looks fabulous so hopefully its doors will be open to the public again soon. If you are looking for something a little different, there is also an ecampment of teepees where you can spend the night.

Jabalcon rises like a mighty fortress above the altiplano. Driving up was an adventure in itself, and not for the faint of heart as the road is narrow in places and the drops are quite scary! It is well worth it though as the views are absolutely amazing. There are a few launch sites for paragliders but again there was no information about this so if anyone knows how I can do a death-defying tandem ride then please get in touch.

Stunning is a word that is often overused, but it is perfectly suited to both the Embalsa de Negratín and Jabalcon. Why not go there and see for yourself?!

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