Nestled in the hills just a short drive from Marbella, Lake Istan is a beautiful man-made reservoir that offers a stunning setting for outdoor activities. Whether you're looking to go hiking in the hills, paddleboarding on the water, or simply relax and enjoy the scenery, Lake Istan is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
Lake Istan, also known as Embalse de Istan, was created in the early 20th century as part of a hydroelectric power generation and irrigation project. The reservoir covers an area of approximately 7.8 square kilometers and has a maximum depth of around 45 meters. Today, Lake Istan is a popular spot for water sports and outdoor activities, and it attracts visitors from around the world.
Surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves, Lake Istan offers breathtaking views of the natural beauty of the Andalusian countryside. The landscape is dotted with pine and oak trees, and you'll also see a variety of wildlife, including birds, rabbits, and squirrels. The surrounding hills provide excellent hiking trails, where you can explore the countryside and get a closer look at the flora and fauna.
The hills surrounding Lake Istan are ideal for hiking, with a range of trails that cater to all levels of experience. Whether you're looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, you'll find a trail that suits you. Here are some of the best hikes to do around Lake Istan:
The La Concha Peak trail is a challenging 7-kilometer hike that takes you to the summit of La Concha, the highest peak in the Sierra de las Nieves. The trail starts at Refugio de Juanar and takes around three to four hours to complete. The hike is moderately challenging, with some steep and rocky sections, but the views from the top are breathtaking. On a clear day, you can see as far as the African coast and the Rock of Gibraltar.
The Sierra Blanca trail is a challenging 7-kilometer hike that starts at Refugio de Juanar and takes you to the summit of Pico del Lastonar. The trail is rocky and steep in places and takes around four hours to complete. The highlight of the hike is the incredible views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. From the top of Pico del Lastonar, you can see as far as the coast and the town of Marbella.
The El Pinar de las Chapas trail is a relatively easy 10-kilometer hike that takes you through the pine forest of Elviria and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The trail is well-maintained and takes around three hours to complete. The hike is relatively easy, with only a few steep sections, and it's a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
The Istan to the Olive Mill trail is an easy 6-kilometer hike that takes you from the village of Istan to an ancient olive mill. The trail is well-marked and takes around two hours to complete. The highlight of the hike is the glimpse into the local history and culture, as you pass by ancient olive trees and learn about the traditional process of olive oil production.
The Istan-Alozaina Trail is a moderately challenging 17-kilometer hike that takes you from the village of Istan to the town of Alozaina. The hike takes you through the hills, and you'll get to see some beautiful countryside along the way. The trail is well-marked, and it takes about six hours to complete. The highlight of the hike is the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the chance to explore the charming town of Alozaina.
If you're looking to cool off on a hot summer day, Lake Istan offers a range of water sports. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming are all popular activities on the lake. You can rent equipment from one of the local companies and explore the lake at your own pace. The calm waters of the lake make it an ideal spot for beginners and experts alike.
Lake Istan is a hidden gem that's just waiting to be discovered. With its stunning natural beauty and a range of outdoor activities, it's the perfect destination for anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors. So whether you're looking to go hiking in the hills, paddleboarding on the water, or simply relax and enjoy the scenery, Lake Istan has something for everyone.