Outstanding self-catering holiday accommodation is what we found at this private estate in rural Catalonia.
Here is quality, spaciousness and intelligent design for a large group of friends of family. Children will love what it has to offer.
The villa is easy of access along good roads leading to a deep seclusion within Barcelona province, where views, walks and motoring are through spectacular mountain scenery, decked out by the pine and oak forests of the rising Pyrenees.
The only downside we pinpointed was slow or indifferent mobile signal. Not that the owners are unhelpful in this respect, but simply that the nature of the remote high mountain terrain and its sparse population mean that phone companies make little effort to reach out to here.
Ten minutes along a winding but easy-to-follow road from Berga, your local town for shopping, restaurants and other facilities, the villa occupies a considerable private estate.
When you draw up at gravel parking for several cars, a vast green lawn rolls out to a football pitch (complete with goals), volleyball, swings with a view, and a fenced Wendy house/playhut. It is all beautifully green outside thanks to an impressive daily irrigation of 15,000 litres.
The wooden perimeter barrier skirting the garden has hurricane fencing so that little ones cannot squeeze through.
Look across the way and you’ll see the two horses and donkey that are your nearest neighbours.
The swimming pool is also fenced and the gate is lockable. The water is salt-filtered: kinder on the eyes than chlorine. Illuminated night swims are also possible.
There are no other houses overlooking the property, just a chapel, a sleepy cemetery, and the rockface rising above Scots pine and oaks.
Sporty guests will be pleased to find, directly behind the roofed barbecue patio (where firewood is supplied), a large independent room set up with a pool table, table tennis and table football. There’s also a badminton and pétanque. Racquets and balls are provided, as is a fridge-freezer to keep cold drinks and barbecue foods.
Other activities in the area are horseriding and paragliding, and a simple local municipal sports facility is often open for tennis and basketball.
It’s a lovely location outside summer months, too. The entire property has rapid central heating and never falls below 15⁰C.When we first visited in late October (enjoying an unusual 25⁰C, even if the pool water was too chilly), leaves in the forests were turning autumnal russet and yellow, and we were sorry we hadn't time to put walking boots on, because there are walks up the mountains from the doorstep.
Now we’ve had a good look around outside, let’s go inside the very impressive CA31:
On the ground floor, a glass-doored lobby branches off to a games room for small children (mini-furniture and a blackboard), or to a complete self-contained flat with a comfy lounge, immaculate stone walls and two bedrooms.
There’s a kitchen, so even if you’re getting together upstairs at main meal times, you can still make breakfasts here. It leads out to a small patio, which doubles as a clothes-drying space.
The staircases between floors have banisters and gates at the top. It’s very much a children-friendly place, this!
On the first floor, a large, fully equipped kitchen with a black marble prepping surface combines with two dining areas. It may not be the most important feature of a rural holiday villa, but we do murmur approval when doors and drawers open and close smoothly, as they do here.
Overall, the villa is well-deserving of its luxury label: a splendid example of complete renovation and refurbishment in great taste and style.The indoor dining table is massive: solid oak and stretching most of the length of the beamed room. At the far end, anyone not involved in the kitchen in chilly months can sit and toast their feet at a log fire in the great stone hearth.
The covered outdoor dining terrace also seats 16 people comfortably. It’s invariably the preferred spot for meals, accompanied by views far and wide. Across the plains you can make out the famed mountainous Natural Parks of Montserrat and Montseny, beckoning you to visit at some point during your stay. Two bedrooms lead off. Both bedrooms look out to the football pitch and gardens.
Deep sofas are ranged around the lounge on the second floor, under an arched wood ceiling set with recessed lights. If the WiFi is on go-slow, treat yourselves to a cinematic evening, watching your favourite movie or series on the pull-down wall screen. Four more bedrooms complete the sleeping arrangements.
The villa and its lounge culminate very pleasingly at an intimate furnished terrace, from where the best views are to be had.
The oceans of green lawns and safe play areas make the property a fabulous choice for children whose parents want to relax on holiday, while adults will appreciate the quality and comfort on offer.
The estate lies within a rugged landscape carved into the mountains, bounded by forests and a broad plain. It’s a healthy environment and a secluded one, but you’re not cut off from “civilization.” Berga is a fairly straightforward 10 km drive and at the entrance to the town are large supermarkets. For specific restaurant recommendations we can advise you before you travel.
In the locality are two very simple country restaurants, which we wouldn’t get too excited about. The cheap set lunches serve fare that locals but not everyone is used to, such as soused pig’s face. One of them sells fresh eggs, honey and salami if you’re low on supplies one day.
The options for exploring on foot and by car, scenic views and activities are simply fantastic. This is Berguedà: go hiking here and you’ll come home with a zip in your step, cleaner lungs and some extraordinary photos.
A drive north brings you to the Pyrenees. Continue (1 hr 30 mins from CA31) and you’ll find yourselves in Andorra. A slightly shorter drive takes you to the stimulating culture and architecture of Barcelona.
Holidays at this destination generally start out with arrival from Barcelona or Girona Airport, both no more than 1 hr 30 mins away by car, or the interesting drive down from France.