My last post was about hidden gems in Andalucia and since we have discovered another one! Credit goes to our friend Charlotte who found this place last summer and has been begging us to go ever since. We have waited until now to see if she was exaggerating and it turns out she wasn’t one bit. I will never doubt you again Charlie! 🙂 The lake at Bermejales really is a little slice of heaven.
The Embalse de Los Bermejales is a massive man-made reservoir. The cobbled bridge you drive over as you approach acts as the dam. It is worth stopping to look over: on one side the impossibly blue waters of the artificial lake stretch lazily away; on the other, you are looking in to a huge gaping gorge with the river gushing far below.
For me the two best things about Bermejales are:
1. The lake itself. The colour of the water is amazing – a deep turquoise blue – like you see on postcards of tropical islands. It’s also really warm, it’s like stepping into a tepid bath. And judging by the amount of huge fish I saw in it it must be pretty clean.
And 2. It’s so godamn relaxing. I absolutely love the beach and the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore and all that, but there’s something to be said for the stillness and silence you get at a lakeside.
And there’s plenty to keep the little ones amused with while you’re chillaxing to the max.
Our gang went straight for the peddle boats with water slides parked on the shore. No need for us adult folk to rouse ourselves, they mucked around happily for hours.
But by Day 2 they were ready to set sail
There are kayaks for rent also but nothing motorised, nothing that could break the spell.
Bermejales would make an excellent day trip, but if you have the time I really recommend staying overnight. We went for a weekend as a big group – a few of us camped, others stayed in a chalet, all at the Camping Los Bermejales. Everyone was more than happy with their set up.
We’ve only scratched the surface in Spain with camping, but so far we’ve found the two big downsides are hard ground and being sandwiched in between SUVs and caravans (thus blocking your light and view). Not an issue in Bermejales. All the tents are pitched together on soft grass under shady trees. Lots of space, nice view to the lake, no smelly engines under your nose.
Also at this time of year – July and August are peak season – many campsites impose a minimum 5 night booking. Not so here, no need to even book and there was lots of space.
Our friends in the chalet were very happy with their living space, though I have to say I’ve never seen a wonkier stairs in my life! However booking with chalets IS a 5 night minimum but if you are willing to take the chance, you can call a few days before the weekend and usually get lucky.
Food, entertainment, supplies…
There’s a restaurant and small basic shop at the campsite. If you’re planning on doing your own cooking you need to stock up on the way – there are two supermarkets in nearby Alhama de Granada.
We visited the restaurant only once, for dinner on the Saturday night. There’s no menu – we were told “pizza or hamburgers”. We went with pizza and prepared ourselves for a soggy disappointment. But despite the packed house that night, within a quarter of an hour they were whisking out first massive plates of fresh salad, then trays of crunchy chips and a load of very tasty pizzas, all different flavours.
The damage: We were 12 people. We got 6 pizzas, 4 family sized salads, 4 plates of chips, a few bottles of wine, some beers, drinks for the kids and a birthday cake (which they had whipped up with only 2 hour’s notice) for €110. Can’t argue with that!
General facilities were good, maybe a little shabby but clean and functional. And the staff were really very nice and helpful. There was a swimming pool with life guard, open 11am-8pm (closed for the siesta), a small play ground, a kids club and a kids movie shown on the Saturday night on a big screen outside the bar (while their parents cursed and whooped at the TV watching the World Cup quarter finals)
How to get there
From Malaga (approx. 1 hour 35 minutes) take the A-7 to Torre del Mar; turn inland on the A-356 in the direction of Vinuela; continue on the A-402 through the Zafaraya gap and Alhama de Granada. A few kilometres outside Alhama take a right onto the A-338 for Bermejales. This will take you directly to the lake.