In the north of Malaga province, 45km from El Chorro is the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra, a famous beautiful lagoon. The largest natural lake in the Iberian Peninsula at 2.5km wide and 6.5km long, it is a haven for birds, with over 170 different species recorded here.
Apart from its abundant aquatic birds, it is well known for its flamingo population, the second largest colony of these birds in Europe after the French Camargue region, and the only inland site on the continent where they breed. In spring, flamingos flock here in their thousands to reproduce, attracted by the water's high salt content and the fact that it is shallow.
Although in winter the lake fills up and covers around 15km², the water levels are seasonal, so it virtually dries out in summer. During times of scarcity, the flamingos may go as far as the Doñana National Park to find food.
In 1988 the lake was a declared a zone of special interest for birds (Zepa). The protected area covers 8,543ha.
The best places to see the lake include the viewpoint by the visitors' centre, the Mirador de Cerro del Palo, and anywhere along the footpath Sendero de la Vicaría. The lakeside visitors' centre is at the Cerro del Palo, just off the Sierra de Yeguas road out of the Fuente de Piedra village. Here, there is plenty of information on the lake, much of it audiovisual. There are also guided tours available, for observing the birds and other wildlife, but these only run when the lake has water.