We recommend this cottage for being both rustically enchanting and also very well situated in La Garrotxa. If you want to get to know this exceptional area of northern Catalonia near the Pyrenees, and like genuine country décor, this might well be the place for you.
It also comes with an independent casita, more or less an extra little studio cottage in itself, that gives you a third bedroom at no additional cost.
We liked this old house, full of character (complete with the occasional creaky floorboard), presented in traditional local style. It's ideal for enjoying the many-splendoured options of La Garrotxa from a home base of perfect peace and quiet.
You really feel secluded here by the forest, surrounded by gardens that blend into profuse natural woods of beech and oak. Secluded but not isolated: you have (pretty reliable) WiFi Internet for investigating the area and keeping in touch with home. And the owners' house is in the same estate, although well distanced.
The owners, who are extremely charming and helpful hosts, will leave you to your own complete intimacy or can assist in directing you to La Garrotxa’s attractions. They also invite you to help yourselves to vegetables from the garden for meals in, although there are excellent restaurants nearby if you prefer to eat out (much cheaper than their coastal equivalents, a previous holidaymaker here told us).
Although visitors to this rich, once volcanic region of Girona will invariably want to get out and about and walk the hills, explore down the lanes, or immerse themselves in history, driving around to the medieval villages, heading to Dali’s castle museum in Figueres, or beautiful coastal Cadaqués and the first class beaches at Emporda, the cottage’s location represents a delightful opportunity to relax on lazy days off.
The property is reached down a slightly idyllic driveway which opens to plenty of privacy within large gardens. A wooden bridge crosses a stream. There's a pool of mountain water (for natural swims) and deeply serene hillside all around.
The cottage is built on three floors with two entrances from ground and lower ground levels. There are two spacious double bedrooms and all the facilities you need for rural holiday comfort.
The main entrance leads directly into a lovely rustic kitchen and living quarters: a stone-walled, wood-beamed living and dining room. It accommodates four people very comfortably and extra chairs can be provided to allow everyone to eat together if one or more of you is staying in the casita bedroom.
The living area feels very cosy, the thick original wood floor, decorative prints and soft illumination all elements of the vintage character of the accommodation.
The lower ground floor can be accessed from an internal staircase or its own garden entrance. It comprises a double bedroom converted from a mill room and a state-of-the-art shower room: the stone and wood of one century are juxtaposed with the chrome and electronics of another. The shower wall is one large window onto the forest (totally private, we assure you!). The bedroom floor is of smooth terracotta and there’s a two-seater sofa.
Up a steepish staircase from the living room is another double bedroom, also wood-floored.
The casita – a detached annexe constructed from the same local stone – provides the option of an additional double bedroom and bathroom, at no additional charge. It has a furnished porch looking out onto the garden and its own simple kitchenette.
While the accommodation is very satisfactory, it’s the impressive natural surroundings that dominate here and time spent outdoors. Although it’s difficult to convey in the photographs, this is no leafy suburbia but a terrific area of forest and hills and streams, one of which feeds the alberca pool outside: this is well looked after and has proven to be very popular with guests, although you also have the option to enjoy swims in the filtered, chlorinated swimming pool at the other end of the gardens.
The filtered swimming pool, shared with the owners’ family, won an award for its design. It’s very large, slopes from shallow to deep, and is tastefully integrated into the garden. Bear in mind that it’s situated by the owners' house, 3 mins walk away.
What else is of interest here?
• For eating in, local shops including a top notch butcher’s and there is seasonal garden produce you can pick at the property.
• For meals out, there are restaurants ranging from the highest quality to very good set meal establishments (with children’s meals also).
• The fabulous old villages of Santa Pau (hot air balloon rides available), Sant Joan de les Abadesses; Besalu (town with a medieval centre).
• Olot town (for museums and bicycle hire).
• Hike up to St Michael's Mount.
• Tour and hike the extinct volcanoes of La Garrotxa, now furred with forest.
• Visit the unique beech forest here of Fageda Jorda and follow signposted walks.
• Discover waterfalls and opportunities for wild swimming and the beautiful scenery of the high Pyrenees mountains.
• Excursions further afield will take you to Salvador Dali’s home town of Figueres and the castle museum dedicated to him, or to the splendid beaches of Emporda.