The Sanabria lake: a spell-binding natural area
Dusk at Sanabria Lake, Zamora.
View of Sanabria lake. Zamora.
Tico Luca. Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.
Beach at Sanabria lake. Zamora.
Visitor centre at the reserve. Sanabria Lake. Zamora.
There is a place in Spain with an impressive and haunting beauty, set in a landscape formed 100,000 years ago: the Sanabria Lake Nature Reserve. Here, shrouded in legend, lies the largest lake of glacial origin in Spain. You will be captivated by the irresistible magnetism of its crystal-clear waters, towering mountains, the shades of brilliant green, and its unrivalled environmental treasures.
About three and a half hours from Madrid in north of Spain you will find an exceptional place: the Sanabria Lake Nature Reserve. Located in the province of Zamora, it is in a spectacular setting of valleys, lakes and deep ravines. The most impressive feature of this landscape is the Sanabria lake, formed in the last glaciation period and the largest lake in Spain. The breathtaking contrast of the surrounding mountains, the natural beaches on its shores, the light reflecting off the surface and the lush vegetation of the area create an unforgettable image.
There is a legend surrounding this beautiful place which adds to the mystery and magic of its origins: they say that at the bottom of the lake lies a town which was flooded due to a divine curse, and on the night of San Juan you can still hear the tolling of the church bells. The spell-binding beauty of the scenery is not the only reason to visit. You can also discover its environmental treasures, explore its priceless cultural heritage in the towns inside the Reserve or immerse yourself in nature by taking part in a range of outdoor activities, among the host of attractive options on offer.
Something for everybody
Very near the lake is the San Martín de Castañeda Monastery, a 12th-century building which houses the Visitor Centre of the Nature Reserve. Here you can learn everything you want to know about the flora and fauna of this fabulous spot, where you can see up to 142 species of birds and more than 1,500 plant varieties, including some unique examples which are genuine throwbacks to Prehistoric times. You can also find out about the numerous hiking routes for exploring this wonderful landscape on foot.
If you prefer water sports, there is windsurfing and kayaking equipment available for rent at the lake itself, or you can take a trip in a sailboat or pedalo. You will even have the chance to attend international competitions such as the famous Kayak Regattas, usually held every summer at the end of July. As well as bathing or relaxing at the lake's freshwater beaches there is also a range of cultural activities available in this wonderful place. Visitors may discover the picturesque local architecture, or visit some of the priceless historic and artistic sights in nearby towns such as Puebla de Sanabria.
Come to Spain and discover this enchanting place, formed thousands of years ago. The Sanabria lake provides the perfect opportunity to indulge yourself in the magic of Nature.