Sitting in my brand new home office in Oxford after a long day of work, I look out the window and notice it’s dark already. Days are getting shorter and it reminds me autumn is just round the corner. I even switched on the heating a few times!
But that’s here. Back home in Extremadura people are still wearing short-sleeve T-shirts, drinking cañas in terraces and enjoying 26-30 degrees in the sun. Some might even go to lakes, rivers and water streams for a swim. Lucky them.
If you happen to be in Extremadura this month and want to find a place to have the last swim of the summer I have the perfect place for you—Lago Alonso Vega (popularly known as “lago de Jaraíz”).
This lake is located in the northeast of the region, just 3 km from Jaraíz de la Vera and it’s ideal for a day out with friends of family. I can say that after living in Jaraíz de la Vera for 12 years spending our summers swimming and playing here. There is a wide “beach” area, showers and changing rooms, a bar-restaurant and plenty of room for you or your kids to play volleyball, football or anything you want.
The waters run down from the mountains and are absolutely freezing. If you go from Jaraíz you will notice temperatures at the lake are a few degrees lower than in town, as the lake is located in a sort of valley, surrounded by loads of trees in a beautiful environment. You won’t have to worry about parking, as there are quite a few parking spaces in two different areas on both sides of the lake.
Swimming is allowed in all areas of the lake, although I would not recommend allowing your kids to use the deepest area the end (close to the dam). There is quite a big and shallow area near the restaurant and the stone bridge they can enjoy safely.
Last time I visited it was too cold to swim, but I remember from previous experiences the bottom of the lake being full of rocks, big and small. If you have sensitive feet it might be wise to take some water shoes in your bag so you can enjoy the swimming more comfortably.
A picnic is always a good option but, as I previously mentioned in the article there is a bar-restaurant overlooking the lake, so you won’t have to worry about eating if you didn’t bring anything with you. Go to the bar for lunch, an ice cream or a drink during the day. Further down the river you will also find Mesón Restaurante Los Molinos, a restaurant located in a former flour mill overlooking a wee natural pool (Charco Las Tablas) where you can also swim. It’s not too far from the lake, so you don’t need to use the car. In fact, I strongly suggest you go by foot. It’s a nice short (5-10 min) walk along the river. There are lots of trees and plenty of shade (no risk of getting sunburnt here) and hearing the sound of water coming down is very enjoyable.
The restaurant accepts booking only via email or phone, so here are the details:
Mesón Restaurante Los Molinos
Phone: (+34) 927 17 05 04
Mobile: (+34) 626 44 48 43
What to do in the area
You may want to spend a full day at the lake. Or you may want to do some sightseeing first and then head to the lake for a relaxed afternoon. If you choose the latter:
- Visit the Yuste Monastery, near Cuacos de Yuste, where Emperor Charles V spent his last days.
- Wander around Garganta la Olla’s narrow streets, enjoy its traditional architecture and visit the Inquisition museum.
Because summer is not over yet in Extremadura… Make the most of it!
|How to get there
From Jaraíz de la Vera: take the road EX203 heading towards Cuacos de Yuste. After 2 km you will see a sign for the lake on the left. Take this turn and simply follow the road.
Distance: 225 km from Madrid, 110 km from Cáceres and 35 km from Plasencia.
Are you a fan of swimming in nature? Have you visited La Vera area? Share your experience and comments below!