We did the water mills of Lucena route, a 13km route with fabulous swimming spots. Located in the interior of Castelleon province, the route provides plenty of opportunities for refreshing dips whilst avoiding the crowds of some of the more famous natural bathing pools.
We started in the pretty village of Lucena del Cid. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with incredibly loud church bells! After we could finally hear again, despite a ringing in our ears and a bartender who needed reminding that we had ordered, we were ready to begin.
It was an easy walk from the village, we followed a road and soon came across Toll de Carlos, our first natural pool. As tempting as it was to stop for swim, we continued on the stony path. A bit further on we left the road and went down a steeper, single trail track to the river. This was also not our first swimming spot, but a wrong turn. We walked back up and this time got on to the correct path.
The route was mainly wide roads and trails along the river. The reeds and areas of trees provided welcome shade on the hot day. We were also amused by the stepping stones across the river. That said, what with it being the middle of summer and the low water levels, the flood warning signs were a little redundant.
After about 6km of walking we arrived at Toll de Salt a beautiful, crystal clear pool with a waterfall. A simple scramble over some rocks and we were ready to swim. The water was cold but super refreshing after the heat. We had fun under the waterfall and relaxing. There were murmurs of the word paradise from some of the group and from the photos you can see why.
Reluctantly we left the pool, the sun quickly drying out our swimsuits. We tried to go another way, but soon had to turn back the via the route we came. Along the route as well as the natural beauty of the flowers, reeds and trees, there are the remains of the watermills of Lucena. Most of these are now converted houses but there are plenty of information signs about the history of the mills and the area in general.
We came back to Toll de Carlos, which we had passed earlier. Here we had a second swim in the pool. Dmitry promised us that it would be significantly warmer than the first pool. Though we quickly discovered that was not the case and any supposed increase in water temperature was insignificant. We had lunch here and were entertained by a small dog trying to pick up a rock that was the size of his head. I’m pleased to say the dog managed to get the rock. Good dog.
From here, we could have gone straight back to Lucena, but why would we do that when there was yet another opportunity for swimming. A short walk later, and we arrived at the wonderful valley Badía de Lucena. There is a suspension bridge across the canyon and further down a man-made weir. The weir forms yet another excellent swimming pool. Whilst we were swimming, Dmitry kindly went back to Lucena to get the car and afterwards we drove back to Lucena for a drink.
The Water Mills of Lucena route is a great summer route. The wide and mostly flat paths mean that you can appreciate nature and the pretty butterflies without it being too taxing in the heat. The swimming pools are phenomenal and with good company it’s the perfect way to spend a summer’s day.