Cantera de Alcántara


For one of Spain's more unusual swimming experiences, it's hard to go past the Cantera de Alcántara. It was here that the stones were quarried by the Romans to build the Puente Romano, but in the two millennia since it has filled with water and is a wonderful place to swim, surrounded by the towering rock walls cut in steps above the water, and complete with its own little sand beach.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Extremadura attractions

1. Mirador

1.32 MILES

Northwest of Alcántara, there's a lookout that takes in both the town and Puente Romano in one sweep. To get there, drive across the Puente Romano along…

2. Puente Romano

1.66 MILES

On the northwest side of Alcántara, a magnificent 2nd-century Roman bridge – 204m long, 61m high, with six arches and much reinforced over the centuries –…

3. Mirador

1.74 MILES

For a partial view of the Puente Romano from above, walk 100m west from the Iglesia de Santa María de Almocóvar down Calle de Carnicería, then continue…

4. Iglesia de Santa María de Almocóvar

1.81 MILES

Built atop a long-disappeared mosque (of which no traces remain), this fine sandstone church crowns the old town. Its early days as a church are barely…

5. Conventual de San Benito

1.84 MILES

What a surprise this is out in the Extremadura backblocks! Built in the 16th century to house the Orden de Alcántara, an order of Reconquista knights –…

6. Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional

9.31 MILES

Still one of Portugal’s wildest landscapes, this 264-sq-km natural park shadows the Rio Tejo and the watersheds of three of its tributaries. While not…

7. Ruins

21.78 MILES

The only remaining vestige of the defences the Knights Templar built in the 13th century is the Torre de Menagem. Also known as the Torre dos Templários,…

8. Lagar de Varas

21.82 MILES

This a 19th-century stone barn near the cathedral houses an impressive olive-oil press made in the traditional way with huge tree trunks providing the…