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Rachel´s Wanderings in Spain – Landlocked Jaén Province with a Sea of Green Olive Groves and Wild Swimming Galore



Beaches in Jaén? It may sound strange that the northern landlocked province of Jaén in Andalucia has beaches, it has more, there are many places where you can bathe be it wild swimming or waterfall dunking. If you´re no fan of sand in your sandwiches then head inland.

Throughout the sea of green olive groves. mountainous terrain and Spain´s largest Natural Park water surges from springs, falls over rocky cliffs  and flows across this varied terrain with high summer temperatures knowing where to escape to for a cooling off is vital. Even more so if you don´t have your own pool or hotel pool but even better is having fun in a natural environment and often very shady environment. I´m going to introduce you to several such spots but don´t tell everyone, I prefer them to myself or almost!

Wild Swimming Spots in Jaén Province

 La Cimbarra waterfall, Despeñaperros   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mjCnD0VX3o)

The rugged and worth the walk – Cimbarra waterfall near the village of  Aldeaquemada  which can be reached from the motorway towards Madrid from Jaén, taking exit 252.

In autumn, after the rains, it is quite a spectacle and is listed as the 4th most beautiful waterfall in Spain. It´s possible to see the cascade from the front where there is a viewpoint or take another route and go down a path  along the waterfall where you can get into the water, with care.




2. La Aliseda Recreation Area, Santa Elena

Located in Despeñaperros just 5 kilometres from Santa Elena and near Navas de Tolosa  is an ideal to spend the day next to the crystalline waters of Rio de la Campana. The grassy recreation area has a nice path for walking and cycling called
Sendero de la Campana.

3. Tamujoso Beach, Baños de la Encina

Following the A4 to Baños de la Encina, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain you will find the Tamujoso beach situated on the Rumblar reservoir. It is a reservoir suitable for bathing with a beach area of slate floor, not sand, as it is a mining area. Parking is available  quite close to the shore, no long, hot trek needed here. Kayak and canoes are allowed here too.

4. Encinarejo reservoir and River Jándula, Andújar

The recreational area of  El Encinarejo is just over 20 kilometres from Andújar, accessed via the Iron Bridge that crosses the River Jándula it is also the main entrance to the Sierra de Andújar Nature Reserve, a refuge for many wild animals especially Lynx.

Follow the river bank to picnic areas and barbecues (which can only be used at certain times of the year) carrying on you reach the Encinarejo reservoir and dam.

5. Los Cañones, Jaén

Continuing  southwards near the city of Jaén a wild and stunning bathing spot in the ´canyons.´ To get there you have to pass through the remains of an old bar next to an abandoned fish farm, and walk along several footbridges that literally hang from the rock wall. After passing through a tunnel you will reach an area of deep pools, it´s difficult to access but worth it for the stunning formations and the lack of people!


  1. The Source of the River Frío, in Los Villares

Río Frío, my nearest dunking spot, is just below the water bottling plant and many, as we used to, go with containers to fill up for free. It is located on the road between Los Villares and Valdepeñas de Jaén, an area with abundant natural shade, riverside vegetation and picnic tables. The numerous spouts gush crystal-clear, icy water, which gives its name to the spot – cold river.

  1. Viboras Reservoir, Las Casillas, Martos
    Lost in the sea of olive groves the small town of Las Casillas has been for more than a decade on the banks of Viboras Reservoir.  Surrounded by the slopes of the Sierra de la Caracolera this is a great picnic and fishing spot, it´s also in a Starlight Reserve that also attracts astronomy enthusiasts as well as those looking to relax by its shores.



A land of contrasts and beauty which I´m still exploring. Fancy joining me?

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