by Michael Madsen, your guide to the authentic


Summer, without a doubt, is not the best time of the year to go hiking in southern Spain. However, if at the end of the walk the reward is a refreshing natural cold rock pool, then things are a little different!

The Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park is a perfect location to find these hidden rock pools, thanks to the winter snow and the abundance of rainfall in the area, rivers offer a perfect place to get away from the crowded beaches and enjoy Mother Nature in all its beauty.

The rivers Turón, Verde, Grande and Guadalevín make up some of the rivers in the area, springs and underground aquifers maintain their flow in summer.

Even though in August at the weekend many people head to this area, with the many rock pools to choose from, you can still find pools with few people. Stick to coming on a weekday to make sure you have it all to yourself.

One of these hidden gems – El Dique – is found just outside the small whitewashed village of El Burgo – not far from the coast of Marbella and Fuengirola – the dirt track “Carril del Dique” runs along the river Turón. A few kilometers up the gravel road, you will find the trail down to the dike – a little wall that has dammed up the river and created an incredibly beautiful natural rock pool in between the trees.

The hike of just over 2.5 kilometers can be done comfortably on foot. It can also be accessed by car if you are going with small children, there is an area where you can park. The lane guides us through poplars and olive groves following the river bed to El Dique. A few meters further, you can find another dam, smaller in size, and also very popular, El Largo.

The natural pool near El Burgo The natural pool – El Dique

The water is cold, so you cannot bathe for very long. It is, however, shallow enough for young children to stand and splash in, while you relax on the riverbank – this makes it a perfect spot for the entire family.

I´d recommend you to combine the visit to the rock pool with a hike starting at the nearby village of Tolox, where there are more incredible waterfalls to see.

You could drive up from the coast towards Coin, then stop off in Tolox and El Burgo for a hike, swim and or bite to eat. After experiencing Sierra de las Nieves, cross over to the incredible town of Ronda and then head back to the coast via the picturesque town of San Pedro de Alcántara.


Other splendid rock pools to choose from:

  • Charca De Las Mozas, Rio Guadalmina. Benahavís
  • Charco Del Potón Alto, Río Grande, Tolox
  • Poza De Los Huevos
  • El Barranco Blanco
  • El Charco De Las Viñas (not busy)
  • Pereilas River. Coin
  • Rio Grande Guaro
  • Charca De La Virgen, Río De Los Caballos. Tolox
  • El Charco De Las Nutrias


Three unique places to stay near the Sierra de las Nieves:

Castillo de Monda. Remember that you found it on Autentical! Book it on

B&B Cortijo La Pura. Remember that you found it on Autentical! Book it on

Finca El Arpa. Book it here on

Further unique accommodation


My Story:

Ever since childhood, I have experienced artificial tourist areas. But when I tried to create holidays with authentic experiences myself, I ran into big problems… It was deeply frustrating, I couldn’t make a living from it and I was afraid of losing everything.

I was weak and vulnerable – it was a painful time. But I succeeded in the end – and it is a fantastic feeling to know the secret to having authentic holidays. You can also ensure holidays without tourist crowds – fortunately, there is still hope!

Read my full story