Embalse de Los Bermejales, Andalusia, Spain

Lake Locations:

Spain - Andalusia -

Also known as:  Bermejales Reservoir, Lake Bermejales, Bermejales Lake

Little-noticed among most tourists to the Andalusia area of southern Spain, Embalse de Los Bermejales hides a wide array of charming sights and activities that will soon invariably catch the eye of European visitors. Little more than an hour-and-a-half north of the more famous Costa del Sol, Embalse de Los Bermejales embodies a different climate and a different lifestyle. Pleasant and laid-back is an understatement of the friendly ambiance among the locals and semi-permanent residents along the reservoir.

Embalse de Los Bermejales sprawls across almost 1,400 acres of sun-warmed, turquoise water rimmed by pines. Broad, sandy beaches invite a swim or lazy paddling. Water sports are welcome here as long as they don’t require high-speed boats with motors. Sailing, wind-surfing, rowing, paddles and splashing rule the day. Canoes, paddleboats and occasionally catamarans can be rented for use. The clear waters hold trout, carp, barbel and a number of other fish, and all that is required is a regional fishing license. The fish are so numerous that they eagerly come to gobble pieces of bread thrown by delighted children. Picnics in the shade of the pines is as popular as sun bathing. And the views across the wide expanse of water to the nearby mountains is soul-soothing. It’s a major change from the hectic and glitzy Costa del Sol beach atmosphere-and not nearly as hot! An open-air bar and cafe offers refreshments and snacks to visitors.

Several small villages grace the banks of the sprawling reservoir. Bermejales, the lake’s namesake, is only one. Arenas del Rey is located near one of the western arms of the reservoir. Near the dam, at Pantano de Los Bermejales, a small village has grown up that caters mostly to visitors to the lake and nearby beach areas. An area just south of the town along the shore is reserved for holiday cottages and caravans. Near the village, an important archeological site protects megalithic dolmens, the graves of a prehistoric people. Small tourist hotels and cottages are thinly spread along areas of the shoreline, while the ever-present olive, eucalyptus, almond, cherry and pine trees offer welcome shade and delightful scents. Farther away from the shore, the area is quilted with farm fields irrigated by the lake’s waters. Nearly all of the villages in the area have a small restaurant or two, a small grocery store and usually local venders selling fresh fish and produce.

Only seven miles from Embalse de Los Bermejales, the spa town of Alhama de Granada holds the promise of hot mineral baths in use since the Roman era. The historic baths show the more recent architecture of the Moors who enjoyed these baths during their reign into the 1200s. Alhama de Grenada still receives European visitors to enjoy the hot sulfur baths. Other visitors come to take part in the Lake Bermejales Half-Marathon, a 15 km course around Embalse de Los Bermejales. Trail running in the area has become quite popular, with organized guided trail runs into the countryside and the Natural Park Sierras Tejada, Almijara and Alhama. Alhama de Grenada holds an annual calendar of festivals and fairs that delight visitors such as the Youth Music Festival, Wine Pilgrimage, Carnival, Candlemas Day and various fairs.

Because Embalse de Los Bermejales is surrounded by national parks, a wide variety of outdoor activities are possible. The countryside is awash with wildflowers and native birds and animals for those who take the time to stop and look. Natural Park Sierras Tejada, Almijara and Alhama to the south is the perfect place to see raptors such as several species of eagles, hawks, goshawks, kestrals and peregrine falcons. Mountain goats, nearly extinct in the last century, have staged a comeback of epic proportions and can often be seen. Winter sports can be engaged in at various Sierra Nevada locations, with the famed ski villages of Grenada less than 30 miles from Embalse de Los Bermejales.

Embalse de Los Bermejales was created when the dam was completed in 1958. Seven streams feed the reservoir. Planning for the reservoir began as far back as 1902, when surveys were completed as to how to best develop the water resources of the arid areas of southern Spain. When the dam was competed across the Rio Cacin basin, twin goals of flood control and irrigation water storage became a reality. By that time hydroelectric power generation had been added to the hydraulic planning. The reservoir is owned by the Spanish government, under the control of the Guadalquivir River Basin Agency. The reservoir has made dramatic changes to the dry landscape, enabling productive farming for food crops a viable and growing agribusiness.

Also growing in the area are holiday lodgings. Along with a number of small hotels, hostels, tourist apartments and guest cottages, more permanent residential lodgings have taken hold. At least one ‘camp’ along the shoreline holds owned cottages on lots within a gated community. Most are quite small but already some have found these to be the ideal retirement arrangement as opposed to the traditional pension accommodations of the past. These are regularly found for sale, along with other real estate in the area. None of these are located directly on Embalse de Los Bermejales, but many have water access rights and often include lakeside dry storage for boats. Tucked between the Grenada sports attractions and the many national parks in the area, it won’t be long before this location is discovered and popularized. So, come and enjoy the serenity of the lake soon.

Things to do at Embalse de Los Bermejales

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Wind Surfing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Embalse de Los Bermejales

  • Barbel
  • Carp
  • Trout

Embalse de Los Bermejales Photo Gallery

Embalse de Los Bermejales Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Guadalquivir River Basin Agency

Surface Area: 1,389 acres

Shoreline Length: 24 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,710 feet

Completion Year: 1958

Drainage Area: 120 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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