An abundance of water is the predominant feature of the quaint little village of Viñuela, which lies at the bottom end of the reservoir of the same name. Two tributaries of the River Vélez run through Viñuela municipality, and the village really is something of an enchanting oasis.
Viñuela is just 19 kilometres inland from Torre del Mar on the Route of Olive Oil and Mountains, and accessed by a little meandering road from the main highway, which crosses over streams and passes through orange and lemon groves.
The village first became began to become established as a settlement in the 18th century due to its position at a crossroads on the road between Vélez-Málaga and Granada. The travellers’ inn, which was the first house in the village - La Venta de Viña - still stands and today is a small bar popular with the old men of the village.
Viñuela was officially made a village in 1764, taking its name from the small vineyards in the area, which are still much in evidence today, as well as olive and citrus groves.
Viñuela is yet another treat of highly photogenic white washed houses lining winding little streets and alleyways, and terraces decked with brightly coloured flowers, with indications of a fair amount of renovation work going on.
Other than the Venta, the main historical building of interest in the village is the tiny 16th century parish church of San José, fronted by a tiny little square, crammed with terracotta pots of plants and flowers.
The great local attraction is the nearby reservoir, known as Lake Viñuela. The reservoir was constructed on the Rio Guaro, created by building a damn across one of the tributaries and filling a natural valley, and is fed by the rivers Salia, Benamargosa, Bermuza, Rubite and the Madre del Llano de Zafarraya stream.
Lake Viñuela is surrounded by beaches and scenic sierras with clear views up to the village of Periana. Not surprisingly the area is attracting sizeable numbers of northern European expatriates, and there are gorgeous villas with pools on large plots of land scattered around the hillsides, with more under construction.
Lake Viñuela attracts daytrippers and tourists too, searching for an alternative to the offer of sun, sand and sea in the busy coastal resorts, and there are various hotels, campsites and restaurants to cater for the market. At the southern end of the lake there are areas with picnic tables and barbecues, from where there are superb views of the reservoir and the sierras behind.
Since the lake is a reservoir providing drinking water to thousands of homes in La Axarquúa region, motorised craft are forbidden, but sailing boats and canoes are permitted.