A Fascinating Holiday in the Old Moorish Town of
El Chorro National Park and Ardales Lakes
El Chorro is famous for lakes, dramatic limestone cliffs (one of the most famous climbing areas in Europe, if you are so inclined) and the spectacular narrow river gorge "Garganta del Chorro" (above). The lakes were created by the damming of the gorge, which is also spanned by a small bridge accessed by the "Camino del Rey" - the King's path, a boardwalk precariously built 200m above the water for King Alfonso XIII when he opened the dam in 1921. Unfortunately, the path is now closed because it is too dangerous but campaigners are raising funds to repair it - hopefully soon to succeed. You can get close by walking along a path by the railway line, if it seems familiar - Von Ryan's Express were filmed here.
The village of El Chorro is 12 km north of Įlora (signposted from the main crossroads). As you get close you will see "La Garganta", a large hotel across the dam bridge. The hotel has been converted from an old flour mill and an excellent place to start or end your visit to the area. From here you can walk, drive or cycle round this spectacular natural reserve - there are itineraries for each at the house - don't forget to look for vultures, it will be a rare day that you don't see them. Opposite to La Garganta (literally, as well as in every other sense of the word) is El Kiosko, the station cafe. I prefer here for my post walk beer, it's more informal and feels more the part really - Frank Sinatra was famously banned from here when filming Von Ryan's Express.
Alternatively, drive along the main road for a further 4 km to the shores of the lakes where you can sunbathe, swim or picnic - there are peddle cars and kayaks for hire in the summer. You will find more lakeside restaurants here, particularly "El Mirador" with spectacular views over the Ardales Lakes.
Walking - there are itineraries for several walks in and around El Chorro at the house, from simple strolls to the distinctly arduous.