The fuentes of Berja
by Robert Bovington
Quite often my wife and I travel from Roquetas to the beautiful Alpujarras and often we stop in or near the attractive town of Berja for a coffee break.
However, occasionally we visit Berja because we like the town and like strolling along its quaint historic streets.
One of the noticeable features of Berja is its fuentes (fountains) – there are more than thirty of them scattered around the town and its nearby environs! When you think that the province of Almería is the sunniest, driest part of Spain, you might wonder where the water is coming from! In the past, the Sierra de Gádor was heavily mined, mainly for lead and silver but now water is its biggest treasure. The mines were abandoned in the early nineteenth century but water, surprisingly, still appears to exist in sufficient quantities.
In villages like Berja there are numerous fuentes where water can be obtained – the meagre rainfall and the melted snow from the high sierra is efficiently stored and purified before being released as pure clean water.
So, a walk that takes in some of these fuentes is not a bad idea.
The place to start is the tourist office – the young lady there is most helpful and will provide leaflets in Spanish and English. One of the leaflets features the famous fountain routes – you don’t have to do them all in one day especially as some of them are rather off the beaten track.
Go in Spring or Autumn – it’s best to avoid going in the heat of summer – even winter can be pleasantly warm at times! Take a container to fill with water – it’s free and probably tastier than bought water!
Not far from the tourist office is the main plaza where the Town Hall and church (Iglesia de la Anunciación) are situated as well as one of the fountains – the fuente de los 16 caños.
Enjoy your walkl(s)!