But it's summer when it comes into its own - there's a lovely swimming pool hidden amongst the trees which will be all yours most of the time, shady gardens and a hammock to relax in, or you can lace up your boots and explore Los Alcornocales. Paths lead from the house through cork and oak forests to tumbling streams and flowery meadows; the sky above is a flight path for migrating birds, so bring your binoculars. It's a short drive to buzzy Tarifa, Andalucia's kite- and windsurfing capital, and to Algeciras (your nearest shops and restaurants); Gibraltar, Vejer, Jimena and the beach dunes of Bolonia are also within striking distance.
- The spectacular setting: the views of Morocco from the casita's terrace truly took our breath away
- It's a great base from which to explore the Costa de La Luz and its beaches, returning to your little bolthole away from the crowds
- Perfect for birdwatchers: you're right beneath the flight path of the spring and autumn migrations
- Keen hikers will find miles of trails starting from the doorstep and leading up into Los Alcornocales park
- In summer, it's several degrees cooler up here than on the coast
- This is a simple, rustic cottage (as befits the price): there's no sitting room and don’t expect high-tech kitchen equipment, mosquito nets or air-conditioning
- The pool is shared with the owners (and their family) - though they try to ensure you have it to yourselves when you want it
- The path to the casita is uneven, with cobbles and grass
- It can be cold in winter (there's no central heating)
- Dogs bark in the valley (bring earplugs if sensitive)
Best time to go
Bird lovers should try and coincide with one of the migrations. Northern migrations are from mid-February to June, while southerly-heading birds set off between August and early November, with peak activity generally taking place in early September.
Tarifa's feria (fiesta) takes place in September. Easter is an extraordinary spectacle, too.
Our top tips
If you do come without a car, you can walk from the cottage to a pretty wild-swimming spot at Rio (or Arroyo) da la Miel, below the cottage and above Algeciras.
- Rustic Hideaway
- 1-bedroom cottage
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car essential
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
The casita is a lovely old stone cottage at the higher edge of the main house's garden. It has a small covered terrace at the front, giving long views over to Morocco, along with a newly built gazebo where a brightly-coloured hammock beckons at siesta time. You can star gaze at night or watch ships of all shapes and sizes sail past by day: the views across the straits are utterly mesmeric.
The interior is simple - whitewashed walls, quarry-tiled floors, the odd beam, an exposed stone wall. The double (or twin) bedroom has a ceiling fan, and a plug-in radiator in case it gets chillly, but no central heating.
Beyond the kitchen is a red-tiled bathroom with small bathtub and a detachable showerhead. There’s no sitting room, but you do get a sofa out on the covered terrace, which almost feels like an extension of the inside. You’ll also find tables and chairs, sunloungers, orange trees and a barbeque.
All in all, it's very cosy and secluded - but also quite small. If the rain sets in, you might feel a little claustrophobic, but in good weather it's charming.
- In room treatments available
The casita's small kitchen has an electric oven, a gas hob, a fridge/freezer and a dining bar. There's a good range of cooking equipment and utensils - grater, juicer, steamer, coffee makers (both hob-top and plunger variety) - so you can easily cater for yourselves all week. In summer, you'll probably want to use the barbeque rather than the oven.
In terms of eating out, there are a couple of restaurants at the bottom of the hill, but they’re pretty basic, and you might prefer to head off to Tarifa for supper. It’s about 10km away, but the night life is good and you’ll find lots of places to eat, from Spanish tapas and Moroccan tagines to Chinese, Japanese and even Mexican.
And don't forget that Algeciras has a few great restaurants even if it does see far fewer foreign visitors than über-trendy Tarifa. La Casita, next to the market, is famous for its montaditos, whilst at La Carbonera you should try the pisto (it's a kind of thick gazpacho) that comes topped with a quail's egg. And for a really tasty pincho moruno, Lizarán is the place.
For shopping, Algeciras (8km) has one of Andalucia's best daily markets offering a wide variety of freshly caught fish and a range of hypermarkets to keep the larder stocked. The Tarifa market, secreted away by the walls of the old town, is equally buzzy, though further away and smaller in scale. There's also a local shop in Pelayo (walking distance) for basics. If you need to have something specific for when you get there (e.g. if you are coming with a baby) then the owners will happily get it.
- Coffee / tea making
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Los Alcornocales National Park is on your doorstep: follow trails up into the hills, looking out for griffon and Egyptian vultures perched on rocky outcrops
- Head off to the unspoilt beaches of Zahara and the ancient Roman ruins in Bolonia
- Cosmopolitan Tarifa is renowned for its windsurfing and kite-surfing. If you want to learn, Tarifa’s the place to do it
- If horse riding is your thing, saddle up and go for a gallop on the windswept beaches
- You can climb rock faces or hit the mountain bike tracks in the hills
- Seville is a 2-hour drive, but worth the journey
- The sherry town of Jerez, ancient Cadiz and the hilltop town of Vejer de La Frontera are all about a 1-hour drive - the latter is one of our favourites
- Day trips to Morocco are easy to arrange. Ferries leave from Tarifa several times a day and take you over to Tangier in under an hour
- Gibraltar is close by, less than half an hour by car: leave your car in La Linea and walk over. You’ll find a slice of England circa 1972
- Algeciras' covered market is a great place to shop for provisions, or just to soak in the exotic north African flavours
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Well being
Children are welcome; the owners have 2 of their own. The casita can take 1 baby cot or an extra bed (but not both), a high chair can be provided and there are boxes of toys, games and books that are all yours.
The sloping grounds and uneven path leading up to the casita weren't built with toddlers in mind, although the vast, flat lawns back down the hill are ideal for kids taking their first steps or for any kind of ball game. Parents should bear in mind that the pool has no shallow end, so your offspring need to be watched over at all times.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
The casita is situated near the village of Pelayo, off the N340. It's near Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain (20 minutes from Gibraltar and 1.5 hours from Malaga).
Gibraltar (29km) is the closest airport, or you could fly into Jerez (116km), Malaga (138km) or Seville (193km), Click on the links below for a list of airlines.
To get the most out of a stay here you'll need a car. The cottage is half a kilometre above the main Cadiz/Malaga road. For car hire see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions are given when you confirm your booking through i-escape.
More on getting to Andalucia and getting around
- Gibraltar North Front 29.0 km GIL
- Malaga Pablo Ruiz Picasso 138.0 km AGP
- Beach 10.0 km
- Shops 10.0 km
- Restaurant 0.5 km