From almost any part of Periana and the surrounding hills you look down on the spectacular scene of Lake Viñuela a man-made reservoir containing 170 million cubic meters of water and covering 700 hectares of land. Obviously the content varies with rainfall and since the very low levels of 2009 the reservoir has built up much better reserves. An interesting graph of current and past levels can be seen here.
The reservoir was originally muted in the 19th century but only became a viable scheme in the 1980's and was achieved by damming the River Guaro. This river and its many tributaries fill the reservoir and it provides potable water and irrigation for many hectares of arable land around the lake. Fortunately before the flooding of the valley, excavations of various Neolithic and old Roman sites were undertaken and many of the artefacts found can be seen in Málaga museum.
The lake takes its name from the nearby village of La Viñuela which overlooks the valley. It was originally a sleepy hamlet on one of the many routes up from the coast heading towards Granada, and provided a watering stop for the thirsty muleteers. The old bar is still open and nowadays serves local workers and tourists.
A very pleasant trip can be made driving around the lake, noting as you go the eagles that soar above the lake and the many small birds along the shore. There are many interesting detours and refreshment stops to be made at the villages en route. These include: Canillas de Aceituno, Alcaucin, Periana, Riogordo, Comares, and Benamorgosa. At the Southern end of the lake there is a very attractive picnic spot with tables and barbecues for public use. A similar picnic area is also to be found below Periana where the River Guaro enters the lake.
The lake is well stocked with fish (Carp, Trout and Bass) and sailing is allowed but only with non-motorised craft. Fishing licences are required and need to be obtained in Málaga with lots of bureaucratic hoops to jump through and not really practical for short visits. Some people say you need to take an examination before being granted a licence but the Costa del Sol tourist office says otherwise.
The department for more information is:
Provincial Delegation of Agriculture and Fishing in Málaga.
Avenida Aurora, 47
Tlf: +34 951 038 200
The following site gives more details on fishing in the lake but you are advised to check the latest situation with the office above.
For further information regarding the villages that surround Cantueso please see the “Things to do” section of our website. You can also check the current view on the live webcam at Restaurante Cantueso.