Lakes in Spain

Spanish Lakes

  • Lake of Banyoles
  • El Atazar Dam
  • Estanys de Baiau
  • Lakes of Covadonga
  • Embalse de Navacerrada
  • Sanabria Lake Natural Park

Lake of Banyoles

Estany de Banyoles

Lake of Banyoles, is a natural lake located in the comarca “Pla de l’Estany”, Province of Girona, in northeastern Catalonia, Spain. It is named after the nearby town of Banyoles, to which it belongs entirely. On the western shore it borders with the town of Porqueres. The lake is approximately 2,100 m by 750 m with an average depth of 15 m that in several points gets down to 46.4 Meters. It is located in a natural tectonic depression. Presently Lake Banyoles is the largest natural lake in Catalonia. Lake Sils, located 33 kn further south, was formerly the largest lake in the area until it was drained in 1851.

Flora and fauna

There are both native and introduced fish species in the lake, like carp, gardí, bavosa de riu, sunfish, tench, black bass and eel. It is known that other fishes like the pike, the peix gat and the goldfish were introduced in the 19th century, but no specimens of those species have been found in recent surveys in the lake. This lake became famous as the rowing location for the Barcelona Olympics 1992 and the World Rowing Championships in 2004. It is also a popular training location for many foreign rowers, particularly English rowers.

El Atazar Dam

El Atazar Dam is an arch dam built near Madrid, Spain on the Lozoya River, very close to where the Lozoya joins the Jarama. It is the oldest dome dam in the world. The curved design of the dam is optimum for the narrow gorge in which it was built to retain water in the reservoir. Arch dams are thin and require less material to construct than other dam types. When the dam was built, the decision was made to use the dam to store and regulate water only and not to provide energy. Construction started on the dam in 1968 and finished in 1972

The dam is 440 feet (134 m) high and 171.6 feet (52.3 m) wide at the foundation. The reservoir capacity is 344,000 acre-feet (424,000,000 m³). It is a double curvature concrete arch buttress design.

Monitoring of the dam revealed abnormal movement. Although dams normally move, the left side of the El Atazar Dam was moving more than the right because a support built on the dam’s right made that side less flexible. In 1977 a crack was noticed in the dam. By 1979 the crack had grown to 150 feet (46 m) and was repaired. Inspection in 1983 revealed that the settling in the foundations and the movements of the dam had caused fracturing in the rock, resulting in significantly increasing the foundation’s permeability. The crack has been treated and since then the problems have abated.

Lakes of Baiau

The Estanys de Baiau is a pair of lakes in Catalonia, Spain approximately 1 kilometre from the border with Andorra. The lakes are surrounded by several notable Pyrenean mountains, including Pic de Baiau and Coma Pedrosa—the highest mountain in Andorra—to the east, and Pic de Sanfonts to the south. They are both drained by Riu de Baiau, a tributary of the Barranc d’Arcalís.

Lakes of Covadonga

The Lakes of Covadonga (el. 1134 m.) are of two glacial lakes located on the region of Asturias, Spain. These lakes, usually also called Lakes of Enol, are Lake Enol and Lake Ercina located in the Picos de Europa range and they are the original center of the Picos de Europa National Park, created in 1918.

Vuelta a España

The road ascending from Covadonga to the lakes is a popular climb in professional road bicycle racing, having been used by Vuelta a España many times in the last 25 years.

Lagos de Covadonga is the most important climb in the modern history of the Vuelta. The road that leads to the lakes starts at Covadonga and is 12.6 kilometres long at an average gradient of 7.3% (height gain: 1056 m). The most demanding section is La Huesera, 7 kilometres from the top of the climb, with an average gradient of 15% during 800 meters. It was featured for the first time in 1983 with the victory of Marino Lejarreta.

Embalse de Navacerrada

Embalse de Navacerrada is a reservoir at Navacerrada in the Community of Madrid, Spain. At an elevation of 1200 m, its maximum surface area is 93 hectares (230 acres).

Sanabria Lake Natural Park

Parque Natural del Lago de Sanabria

The Sanabria Lake Natural Park is a natural park located around Lake Sanabria in the Sanabria comarca, northwest part of the Zamora province, in the mountainous area of Sierra Segundera and Sierra de la Cabrera. It occupies a surface area of 22,365 ha, with heights ranging from 997 meters in the lake banks to the 2,124 meters of the peak of Peña Trevinca.

With its 318.7 ha, the lake that gives the name to the park is the largest glacial lake of Iberian Peninsula. Its maximum depth is 51 meters. There are a number of lagoons scattered in the mountains and its canyons that show the action of the glacier activity of the Quaternary and make it a great place to study the action of glaciers over the terrain. Along with in-numerous streams and the luxuriant and varied vegetation in every level, the park possesses high aesthetic and landscape value.

Flora and fauna

The great biodiversity is one of the main features of the ecosystem of the park. Woods of oaks coexist with birches, willows, hollies and yews along with large extensions of scrubland. The abundance of lagoons, sources and streams allows the existence of peat bogs, a rarity in these latitudes. The fauna is varied: roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), wolf (Canis lupus), partridge (Perdix perdix), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), otter (Lutrinae) and trout are some of the numerous species found in the park which are protected by law since 1978. When i visited the lake in July 2011, it smelled like a broken sewer pipe. As if the local sewer system is ending in the lake.

Visiting the Park

The Park Interpretation Center is located in the restored monastery of San Martín de Castañeda, a medieval building that belonged to Cistercian monks. The center has a permanent exhibition that shows the natural, social and cultural aspects of the park using scale models, explanation panels and audiovisual presentations, etc., which present the geological history of the place, the human activities and the conservation strategies. The center offers a privileged view over the lake. In summer it is open to the general public every day in summer. In winter, from Monday to Friday it is only available to organised groups, who may have a guide to show the park, opening to the general public in Saturdays and Sundays.

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