We are driving towards Fonts De L’Algar following our 8:45am coach pick up. Travelling with David’s Coaches we are now collecting passengers from Quesada, Rojales and Gran Alicant. The rep is educating us about the stunning pink salt lakes on our left as we pass mountains of white granules stacked on our right. Exported for gritting roads, the salt process has considerably shrunk since some of the land is now a protected nature reserve.
Torrevieja Lagoons Nature Reserve is approx 3700 Hectares. 2100 hectares correspond to water surfaces and the remainder is the land around the lagoons. This consists of salt marshes, plant formations, reed beds, and Mediterranean scrubland. Marsh land originally and gifted by the King to the locals. Channels were cut to drain the marsh land back into the sea to dry it out, however the land is below sea level and they flooded it by accident. That is how the salt lakes of today originated. A fabulous disaster!
There are museums dedicated to the salt works if you would like more information
“Be a Flamingo in a flock of Pigeons.” Savannah Larsen
We spot tall birds standing in the strawberry angel delight coloured lakes. A slight pink tint to their feathers, a large flock scattered over the watery fields. Flamingos! They come here in their droves to feed off of the crustaceans. There is an usual bacteria in the water here called halobacteria. It is the pigments from these that colour the shrimp, that the flamingos eat and it turns their feathers pink. I remember seeing these as a teenager when I last visited the area on a family holiday. I have some very good memories from that trip!
Grapes and Roses
Sitting on the coach gazing out of the windows at the Spanish region we are now driving through, with mountains in the distance we are soon to drive up, we are educated about the vineyards flashing past us. There are odd flashes of colour at the end of every 4th row, Roses! They are susceptible to the same diseases as the vines and the farmer will inspect the roses. If they are being attacked then the farmer will know which rows to treat and which rows are OK.
Our rep tells us that when the grapes are starting to grow, the farmers attach paper bags to the stems. This is so that at harvest they are pre bagged. A process that protects them from the damage of the sun, insects and birds and is easier to harvest. Farmers just snip the stems which is quicker and means less bacteria is being passed to the fruit. It’s information like this that really help you to understand the intricacies of the area you are holidaying in. It helps you to understand their traditions and customs but also gives information you wouldn’t be told if you just hired a car and drove yourself. We hadn’t thought of doing coach trips before but we really enjoyed the experience and would do it again.
Arriving at Fonts De L’Algar
After a long but educational drive we twist and turn through the mountains. Soon we pull into a large car park by a restaurant at 11am. We get given our tickets and are told we get a free drink here with one half of the stub. The other half gets us into the attraction.
A gentleman just behind us whispers that the drinks are still free after a swim and don’t feel pressured to drink it first! He had been here before and said it gets very busy. His advice is to go for a swim and get your photos first, then come and relax with your drink.
Never dismiss a free drink!
We take his advice! Continuing on foot up hill for another 100 meters and see the entrance on our left. We pass some little shops on the way up with all the provisions you may have forgotten. For example, suitable shoes for wearing in the water, sun cream and clothing. There is also a fresh local/traditional Spanish fruit and veg stall.
Famous for the early Timotei adverts and then for its inclusion on an episode of the TV Series Benidorm, Fonts de L’Algar is really worth a visit if you are visiting the Costa Blanca. Crystal blue waters and mountain views, you can’t help but feel in one of the most exotic locations in Spain. Ever wanted to tick ‘swimming in a waterfall’ off of your bucket list? Now you can!
You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a ticket to Spain, that’s pretty close!
Just under half an hour from Benidorm (15 km) and an hour and a half from Torrieveija, Fonts De L’Algar is the complete opposite to the busy tourist resorts Spain is more commonly associated with. It is also very popular with the local inhabitants given its proximity to them and ability to keep cool. According to the Valencian government this area has a high degree of ecological richness, tourist services and environmental education. It has now been declared a wetland and is protected.
Entering the waterfall area you’re greeted by stunning pools of crystal blue water, known as ‘tolls’ or “source of health”. The water stays a constant 18 degrees all year round. It is a refreshing, but startling, way to cool down on a hot day. Bridges and paths have been added at Fonts De Algar to enable access to parts of the site. The site has a 1.5km circuit path where you can walk through the bed of the river. Do be warned there are a fair amount of steps given the location. If you want to have a drink or a bite to eat there is a restaurant by the entrance but the main attraction is definitely the water!
Expectation Vs Reality
Sadly the sun was not in the right spot during the limited time we had there so the expectation shot and the reality shot were slightly different than I had hoped as you can see below! Still, undeterred I got my picture! The water was freezing and the closer you got to the waterfall, the less air their seemed to be. Once out of the swell of the falls, the water drops down to the pools where the light was better. The water was so clear it was incredible. Once you have your shoulders under the water you quickly get used to it. It was very refreshing given that the temperature was around 40 degrees when we visited!
We managed to spend around 2 hours here which was enough to cool off. There were not any areas by the water for lounging, as it is a natural formation, so we were glad we hadn’t opted for the full day excursion here. The crowds were really stacking up now and the queues were getting long. We decided to let the other guests have their time and head down to the restaurant for our free drink.
No rest for the wicked!
Glad to be drying out we sipped our Fanta lemon (it tastes so much better in Spain!) and sat astonished at the fact we had just swam in a waterfall. The restaurant had a shallow pool just deep enough to paddle your feet in. The umbrellas were giving a little bit of shade and we relaxed while the other guests gathered together. We had a set time to depart as after this we were going to a very special location… A town that looks as though it is photo shopped!
Join us in the next instalment to find out where we went!
Read about our journey to Torrievieja if you missed our last post!