Updated: February 14, 2023Published: December 12, 2022
Looking to do something different in your next holiday? Or want to personalize your next trip to Spain to a more natural theme?
Scientists have just proved that being close to the water and seeing water improves a person’s mental health. Facts. Message? Go on an adventure to find to meet water.
After reading this article, you will have a list of seven lakes (including one dam and one artificial reservoir) that will give you a weekend of inner peace.
Again, this si the sign you were waiting for. The city won’t move; nature can change!
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1. Lake Caicedo Yuso - Basque Country
Depth: 25 meters
Area: 6,5 ha
Do you remember any adventure movie where the protagonist has to fight something from nature? I know, you know what I am talking about; those typical movies where a team of people enters a jungle or a forest, and suddenly a plant attacks them. Man against nature. Well, this Lake hides something similar, but I will talk more about it.
Lake Caicedo Yuso, or “Lago Arreo,” is the most essential natural body of water in the Basque Country. It isn’t the biggest, but the most relevant to scientists. The Lake is between Caicedo de Yuso and Arreo in the province of Álava. If you are ever around this area, you can visit two bodies of water at once, as Lake Arreo is a few kilometers away from the Ebro River.
So, why do scientists care about it? First of all, today, the Lake contributes to plenty of aquifers, which are essential for potable water and irrigation. In addition, many international and national organizations have studied the Lake to understand the evolution of the weather and vegetation throughout history. Remember when I talked about dangerous plants? Well, this Lake hides a Utricularia, a carnivorous plant, at the bottom of the Lake. This body of water is home to protected flora and fauna, such as birds, plants, and invertebrates.
What can you do in Lake Arreo-Caicedo Ayuso? First of all, you can’t swim! This is a space of research and protected nature. However, there is a Beautiful route to either hike or do by bike. The route starts by the Ermita of Our Lady of the Lake and continues towards the GR-1. The latter is a land route that will give a fantastic panoramic view of the Lake.
2. Ibón de Bachimaña Bajo - Aragon
Area: 3,2 ha
Altitude: 2,190 meters
Do you know what an “ibón” is? Neither did I until recently. An “ibón” means small lakes from the mountains of glacial origin in Aragonese. The Ibón de Bachimaña Bajo is located in the city of Huesca in the autonomous region of Aragon. People can find this gorgeous Lake between the mountains of the Tena Valley, and it is only one of many other mini lakes which are the main features of the Panticosa Balneary.
So, how do you get here, and what can you do? First, you must get to the city of Penticosa on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. From there, you have to drive to the balneary where you’ll find plenty of hostels to stay in. After that, you just need to get ready to do some hiking. So, to get to the Ibón de Bachimaña, you must locate the Casa Piedra Refugee from where the GR 11 Pirenaica Trail begins. The route is very tough but rewarding. There are approximately three stops that allow for catching your breath!
And if this is not enough for you, you have two ski stations very close. The resorts of Formigal and Panticosa welcome any level of skier, so check that out before your trip!
3. Lagos de Covadonga - Asturias
Depth: 25 meters
Length: 750 meters
Width: 400 meters
Altitude: 1,134 meters
In the Lake is submerged an image of the virgin of Covadonga. Every September, the 8 is taken out for a procession.
Depth: 3 meters
Altitude: 1,108 meters
The Covadonga Lakes are located in the National Park “Picos de Europa” and is the name given to three glacial lakes, one next to the other; Enol, Ercina, and Bricial. The three small glacial lakes catch many tourists’ attention throughout the year. Especially Birical, which is only visible once the ice has melted!
The “Picos de Europa” goes through Asturias, Cantabria, and Castile Leon and is part of the Cantabrian Mountain Range. The sections of the mountains where the lakes are located correspond to Asturias, and people can get there from the town of Cangas de Onís.
Ready for the good part? From the Virgin of Covadonga Sanctuary, the hike is 14 kilometers with an average slope of 6.87 %. You better train those legs before visiting! The first Lake you will encounter is the Enol, then Ercina, and finally Bricial if you go closer to summer. You must know that these lakes are highly visited, so you should expect company. In addition, getting to the lakes has a fee of 3.50 euros for kids and 9 euros for adults.
The routes around these lakes are also famous for bikers! Especially of the Union Cyclistes Internationale. Actually, in 1983 the Covadonga Lakes was the protagonist of the “Vuelta de España” (cyclist competition) for the first time.
Want to visit more natural parks? Here yuo have the ultimate list for your next trip:
The Gallocanta Lagoon is a natural reserve recognized as such in 2006 and is the most considerable salty body of water in the Iberian Peninsula. How did it happen? Before the lagoon existed, a karstification process, in which the dissolution of the limestone substrate formed different basins that today house the Gallocanta Lagoon and others in the surrounding area.
This lagoon is located in the autónomos region of Aragon and is part of the Iberian Mountain range. The Gallocanta lagoon is home to many fauna and flora, especially birds. It has been calculated that around two hundred twenty birds migrate to this area. Is a special sanctuary for cranes! The unique conditions of this area give space to a catalogue of endangered species such as catalog puccinellia, lytrium or scorzonera, and the orchis palustris orchid, typical of wet and swampy environments.
What else can you do? If you visit the lagoon, you can enjoy hiking and cycling around it!
5. Saliencia Lakes - Asturias
The Saliencia Lakes is a group of four lakes in the National Park of Somiedo, which was the first natural reserve of the autonomous region of Asturias. The lakes you can’t miss when you visit the Park are: Calabazosa or Black Lake, Cerveriz, Almagrera Lagoon or La Mina, and the Lake of the Cave. The four of them come from glaciers, just like most the other north of Spain lakes we have talked about.
Besides the stunning views of these lakes, any visitor can identify a unique offer of fauna with Cantabrian brown bears, otters, Egyptian vultures, and golden eagles in the lake valley.
Like in most national parks in Spain, visitors can follow the established route to better get to know the landmarks. In this case, the trail begins at “Alto de la Farrapona” between Somiedon (Aragon) and Babia (Castile-Leon). Then it takes approximately three hours to see all the lakes.
So, if you were looking for a different weekend retreat, this could be your chance to empty your mind and relax.
6. Meirama Lake - Galicia
Depth: 300 meters
Area: 171 ha
I am about to say something that will probably surprise you after seeing that picture; Meirama Lake is not natural. Yes! You read right; this stunning-looking body of water used to be a lignite mine but is now converted into a reservoir.
So, where is this Lake located? The Lake is in the valley of “Las Encobras” and belongs to the municipality of Cerceda in Galicia. The story behind this lake ends with a happy ending. Unlike other mining activities, the company decided to rehabilitate after the public company of Naturgy realized that they had consumed all the lignite from the Meirama Mine. The mine went out of our resources in 2007 and went through twelve years of environmental rehabilitation. In 2021, Naturgy announced that the Lake was ready to receive people, and now it has become a beautiful Park for people around it.
The Meirama Lake is surrounded by more than eight hundred thousand trees planted during the rehabilitation. Besides restoring a piece of nature that was explored for a while, Naturgy wanted to encourage the purpose of tourism, so if you are close to Cerceda, you are welcome to hike around the Lake and enjoy nature for a while.
7. Eugi Dam - Navarra
Area: 227 square kilometers
I know this is not a lake, but it is beautiful, isn’t it? Eugi Dam, or Eugiko Urtegia in Basque, was built between the sixties and seventies in the headwaters of the Arga River. This dam is located in the Esteríbar Valley in the Northern part of the autónomos region of Navarra. The first purpose of this reservoir was and still is to supply water to Pamplona.
The dam and downtown only have a few activities but a nice trail around the water. The walk is pretty short as it only has 2,18 kilometers. But it is worthwhile visiting. The downtown’s architecture is very traditional from the province, so visitors can experience the charm of small Spanish towns.
If you decide to stay in Eugi, I recommend taking the car, driving for less than forty minutes, and visiting Pamplona. The city has a beautiful old town center, full of bars and small stores. I highly recommend staying on Thursday when the people from there go out on Juevintxos, a custom from the city when bars lower the prices of their pintxos (tapas or appetizers), and the narrow streets are filled with life.
And that is it! Your complete list of lakes in Northern Spain, now you know where to go if you need a weekend retreat next to nature. Most of them are deep between mountains, others closers to the towns, but none has big city noise and smog. I hope you get to visit soon!
Inigo Navarro is a seasoned travel writer with a deep understanding of Spain's cities, culture, people and language. Born and raised in Spain, he has spent years exploring the country and is currently one of the most-read Travel Bloggers about Spain. Inigo is also an experienced digital marketer, a father to 4 beautiful children and a huge Real Madrid Fan. ¡Hala Madrid!