1. Recreation Area El Mogote, Algodonales

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The pantano was dammed less than 20 years ago to create the glorious lake below Zahara de la Sierra (Embalse Zahara-El Gastor). Slowly, slowly, people are beginning to take advantage of it. A new walkway covers a section of the 30km shoreline, kayaks are available to rent from a handful of local companies, and out of season, you can occasionally see triathlon swimmers, and groups of rowers here for training. Close to the southeast corner, there’s a mini-lake recreation area, La Playita, open 11am-8pm (except for cleaning days) and hugely popular with families.
El Mogote sits on the Algodonales side of the bridge, and triumphantly combines bar-restaurant and nautical centre in a spectacularly beautiful location. Hire kayaks or use the slipway for easy access into the water and swim (minding the sunken trees). Afterwards sit on the flowery terrace and eat good fresh food and drink good wine. The chillout terrace right on the water’s edge is perfect for the live music events hosted here on an ad hoc basis on balmy summer nights. And the views of Zahara are picture-perfect. If there is a fault, it’s that it’s not open every day, and not open as late as it could be, so check opening times before going.
DETAILS: Área Recreativa La Puente. Ctra. A-2300, Km. 5,1, Algodonales.  El Mogote online; T: 610 04 96 50