Walking the fountain route in Berja, Almería

Water is a respected commodity in Spain, especially in the driest of all provinces, Almeria. Walking at this time of year is a pleasant experience, and towns are for long walks too, Ramble around the fountain route in Berja, and learn a little of the watery past.

Where is it?

Berja is a busy little town, financed by the giant swathes of ugly plastic that surround it, which in turn fill up the UK bound refrigerated trucks with tomatoes and salad ingredients. But the town itself sits on the south eastern side of the mountain of Gador and the Sierra of the same name. Once a prosperous area, not for it's salad days, but for intensive lead mining. In fact, the marked paths of the mines are also great spot for walking. They cover the area known as the Castala Natural Park, but that's another story for another day, we're in town instead to wander the famous fountain route.

View across Berja

Where to start? 

The tourist office. That might sound obvious, but the tiny and historical tower location of the tourism office of Berja is a great start. It's centrally located, quite close to the main square, and you can park on the opposite side of that plaza for free. A visit to the tourist office is also a good idea because they have a ton of up to date information, in both English and other languages as well as Spanish, and they're really helpful. In fact, probably the most helpful staff in Spain, and that's an understatement. We went in just to pick up information on the water route, and came out laden down with maps and leaflets, and plans to walk another day on the mountain.

Once armed with your map and information, you can begin...


What's to see?

The Romans and Arabs were there before you, and the evidence is in Berja with more than 30 natural springs and fountains to see. It's an ideal route on a warm day, with refreshment at every stop. Choose to do as much of the route as you wish, some of it lies around town and also slightly off track, out of town, which you might be happier driving to. Whether you're interested in the architectural quality of the fountains, or just want to make a nice walk of it, the subject is interesting and you can get some nice photographs too, as we did. I thought it was funny that this one was located on Calle Seca! (Seca means Dry)



Choose your route

There are 4 routes with 3/4 fountains set close to each other, we found 12. Some of them still have the old washing areas closeby where the village ladies would have washed the laundry and socialised in the open air once a week. Start at Placeta dela Saliva and you can walk about 5 kilometres in total over a pleasant hour or so.



After your stroll

Wind back to Placeta de la Saliva, and find Bar Mallorquines, where an extensive tapas menu and friendly locals await your weary legs. We ordered the Pastor - only because we didn't know what it was (but were quite sure it wasn't an old shepherd) and were surprised by plates of fried eggs, thick Jamón and soft rolls, with homemade chips. This times two, plus a cold beer each set us back a princely sum of less than €4...(February 2014)


Top tips

Go now, while the weather is perfect, or in Autumn - but avoid the heat of high Summer - Almería really is on fire during those months. Bring an empty container and fill your own water as you go - it'll be far nicer than any you can buy!

Do visit that tourist office, and pick up the paraphenalia first.

Make time to see the Ayuntamiento, the main plaza and church and other 18th century architectural sights around town, thanks to the rich mining families of days gone by. Outside town there's the castle ruins of Villavieja and Roman amphitheatre to explore, the kids will love that.

Mother the fountains of Berja

sing in the clear night

when the moon falls asleep

on the landscape of silver...

Miguel Salmerón Pellón