The property was built in the 17th century in a lovely corner of Andalucia, sunny, green and glorious, where pathways lead to traditional, whitewashed villages through an area home to wildlife, including rare otters.
Thanks to its mature gardens, it's naturally secluded, so you are pretty much on your own here.
It's just right for a well-priced holiday. Not luxurious –the house is more rustic on the inside than its stately appearance might suggest–, simply very pleasant, and with gorgeous, landscaped and lawned gardens, a gated pool and semi-wild grounds to explore.
But maybe we understate it a little: previous guests' reviews (see Reviews tab above) indicate that this is one much appreciated villa and location.
From the road that links the Sierra de Aracena with Portugal, a short drive through intimate woodland tells you that you are about to arrive somewhere special. Although nearby is the country road, and another house hidden away in the forest, the property is very quiet, with acres of grounds, woods and fields.
The holiday accommodation comprises the generously spacious first floor of this historic house. The ground floor is another apartment that remains permanently closed and unoccupied during holiday rentals, used only by the owner at other times.
Generally speaking, in terms of space and seating, we think that the property is ideal for six people, although eight people can be accommodated here.
The main living area is a vast, sun-filled space (one wall is all windows), and we found this a very relaxing place to be.
The four colourfully and cheerfully decorated bedrooms are all double-bedded. Our staff member found one of the mattresses too springy for his liking, although the photographer thought it was fine: a question of preference.
There are two large shower rooms, where skylights allow sunlight to grow houseplants.The owner is a keen gardener and his instinctive, country style is carried over into the house, too.
The kitchen is perfectly adequately equipped for cooking needs, but utensils are a mixed match. A terrace beyond the dining area suggests itself as a place to sit out, but it's not furnished so you have to take your own chairs out.
There is a furnished, vine-shaded terrace by the swimming pool. The pool area runs alongside the house and is tastefully integrated into the gardens. For little ones, a splash pool is available. To protect sensitive eyes, the water for this pool is not chlorinated; instead, the water is changed regularly.
You'll find a long greenhouse, which may one day be adapted to make a playhouse or conservatory. Currently it is dedicated to an extraordinary 800 species of cacti!
The gardens are extensive and a real joy. It takes a lot of care to keep them at their best and the manager may come early morning or in the evening to tend them and make sure that the pool is in tip-top condition.
The villa is located in an area around Aracena town that is famed for its spring flowers. It's different from more rugged regions of Andalusia: although hilly and wooded, it is gentle and open, inviting even the less fit to stretch their legs and ramble its slopes.
Temperatures are not extreme and the climate usually very kind, even in winter.
Although the property itself is large enough to explore on its own, its almost endless grounds being planted with organically cultivated chestnuts and walnuts, the location makes it a perfect base for some of the very best walks in the Aracena area. It’s a place where nature brims with health. Streams and tree cover provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife such as otters and badgers. When you emerge from the woods, sun and a high water table in the locality combine to create a natural profusion that will impress any botanist and delight anyone taking the stroll along the path, to charming villages such as Fuenteheridos or Galaroza, through lush vegetation and wild flowers.
The terrain is relatively gentle with some forested hills, suitable for quality treks of moderate strength, or biking. One of the closest villages is Jabugo, a name synonymous in Spain for the very best cured ham in the country. It comes from the semi-wild black pigs which roam among cork oaks, feeding on acorns. These days, pata negra ham is exported as a delicacy to the USA and Japan, but here you can go into a bar and get a sample as a tapa with your glass of beer or wine.
For those who consider gastronomy a significant element of any holiday, Aracena market town, less than 10 miles away, has some excellent restaurants. In autumn, this region is one of the best places in Spain to pick wild mushrooms, of which there are an abundance of tasty, edible varieties. If you’re unsure about collecting them yourself, you can always order a sample at a local hostelry.
Before you travel, we'll send you a Local information file for Aracena, with our recommendations on activities and restaurants, bicycle hire or horse riding offering alternative, leisurely ways to appreciate the outstanding beauty of this locality.
The local sierras of de Aracena and Picos de Aroche plenty enough in themselves for walks and exploring, but an excursion to glamorous Seville (just 50 mins) is always recommended. It's a longer drive to a beach, 90 mins to the Costa de la Luz, but if you feel like making the effort the Atlantic beaches are terrific.