This simple, traditional stone cottage offers an experience of the genuine Alpujarras in a pretty location, from where footpaths branch off to lead you through some exhilarating yet intimate mountain countryside. The paths lead through ancient chestnut trees and open to vast views across to the southern mountain ranges and even the Mediterranean Sea beyond.
It’s ideal for couples, especially keen walkers, or small families who want a properly rustical holiday experience with the emphasis on outdoor living and healthy country air.
The cottage's position on the hillside, not far from little white villages, below mountain pine forest and open to the views, makes it attractive to people who want to feel ensconced in placid, unspoilt nature.
The area is protected Natural Parkland these days, belonging to Sierra Nevada.
You’re very quiet and hidden away here. The only neighbouring buildings are the owner’s cottage (a Spanish lady who is away most of the day at her artisan ceramic workshop) and, further away, a small pen for a half dozen sheep, whose gently clonking bells are about the only sound you will hear, apart from birdsong.
The cottage and its own private garden area are independent of the owner, who lives quietly and discreetly apart alongside, and is simply on hand if needed.
The house is an authentic Alpujarra cortijo, constructed from local materials in the informal rustic style that typifies mountain living here. Its thick stone walls are proof against extremes of sun and cold and the atmosphere is most relaxing.
Walls are painted in an earthy ochre and a clean light blue.
The smooth stone-floored main room gives you a small living area with a sofa and daybed that doubles as extra seating. In cold months, a glass-doored fireplace packs out heat; during the rest of the year fly-screened windows can be left open to allow the country air to keep the interior fresh.
A simple but adequate kitchenette and dining area allows you to self-cater. there’s a good supermarket in Pitres village 1 km away and you can pick up cheap fruit & veg on market days.
You have two bedrooms. One of them has a large picture window that looks out onto the garden and a door that leads directly out to a completely private garden corner, where you can lie back on loungers in the shade of trees, or sit out to enjoy a drink or a meal.
It’s a place you can take toddlers, too. The house is all on one floor (there are just two steps: those up to the bathroom) and there’s plenty of natural garden space with no drops.
Beds have cotton sheets and warm feather duvets in cold months.
The cottage’s bathroom stands out, like the kitchen, for the quality of its handmade Granada tiling, the handiwork of the owner in her well-known local craftshop.
People tend to find the Alpujarra architecture both curious and interesting. Ceilings are put together from slate laid across battened chestnut beams, and from the flat roof protrudes a toadstool-like chimney that completes the impression of a story-book cottage.
For us though, for all the house’s winsome rusticity, it’s the location that makes this place special: the views and walking opportunities are just so exciting.
The cottage is high up in La Taha area of the La Alpujarra (at 1,400 metres) and reached by a short track from a road crowned by old chestnut trees. The little hamlet of Capilerilla is just 5 minutes walk away and a path from here goes over a ridge to the spectacular Poqueira Gorge. Time it right and you can get a bus back to Pitres from any one of the three villages there.
Other pathways join up more high, whitewashed villages, winding through the old mountain past well-tended market gardens, apple and cherry orchards, isolated farmhouses and the all-important system of acequias (irrigation channels) developed centuries ago by the Moors, that keep everything watered and alive.
In the hot summer months, the local campsite lets non-campers use its large, lawned swimming pool for a reasonable entrance fee. There’s also a mountain river with a small waterfall higher up, where you can cool off.
Pitres (population 600) is the main village in La Taha for all your normal shopping needs, bank and health services. There are simple bar-cafés and a couple of restaurants, one with a superb terrace view. It’s only 1 km below the cottage but the last part of the drive is steep: you need first gear to come back up. There’s also a path which takes 10 minutes to go down (and 20 minutes back up…)
If you fancy a day out somewhere, Granada and the Alhambra are understandably top of most people’s list. The other popular choice is the Costa Tropical and the Mediterranean.