Recommended by The Guardian newspaper as one of the Top 10 Special Places to Stay in Spain, La Casa del Arriero is a romantic and secluded cottage, set in magnificent walking country. Once the old muleteer´s house where he and his wife raised their 10 children, the cottage has been extensively restored yet still retains much of its original charm and character.
Upstairs is a huge and beautiful bedroom with a big double bed where you can lie in the mornings with the sun streaming through the French windows and look out over the church spire and terracota rooftops. There is a large en-suite bathroom with a tub, and leading off the bedroom is a fabulous sun terrace with sweeping views up and down the valley.
Downstairs is an open plan kitchen/ dining room with a washing machine and a good sized fridge. This leads into a very comfortable sitting room with 2 sofas, lots of books and games, and a wood burner for those chilly winter evenings.
Beyond the living room there is a downstairs bedroom for children (used to be the mule stable!) and beyond that a bathroom (used to be the pig shed!) with a shower. You can also enjoy secluded "al fresco" dining in the plant-filled back patio.
We lived in the Cortes valley for 12 years and did a lot of traveling around Andalucia during this time, so we can honestly say we never found another area with more dramatic or varied scenery as what you find around Cortes. Every valley is so different from the next and within an hour´s drive of the village you see landscapes reminiscent of Africa, the Middle East, Scotland and South America. Sounds crazy but really has to be seen to be believed. You are surrounded by protected land so there is no agriculture or development, and the Cortes valley is all just woodland and pasture. The village is on the border of two huge nature parks so the hiking is sublime. There are numerous excellent restaurants in the area (all written up in the cottage notes) as well as some really interesting vineyards that have opened around Ronda (more information on request.).
We are also real foodies and as a result we like to ensure that our clients have the best "gastro" experience that the highlands of Ronda can offer. Before you depart we send you a beautiful folder of information packed with top tips on how to eat like Kings (and Queens!) during your stay. We tell you what produce is in season at which time of the year, best meat cuts to buy, which fish is farmed, food you can pick from the wild, what to order from the bar and how etc etc. In the cottage you will find an extensive list of best local eateries, all tried and tested by ourselves of course, as well as our favourite restaurants in Ronda. In addition to all this we give you some great advice and trying and buying some of the best wines from the area.
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Sabinillas 30 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Malaga 140 km, Nearest railway: Estacion de Cortes 4 km|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 En suites|
|Furniture||Single beds (2), Double beds (1), Cots (1), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 4|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ|
We lived in this area of Southern Spain for 12 years and during this time did a lot of traveling around Andalucia. Tristram worked as a freelance guide so took many groups to other parts of this region. Over all these years we never found an area with such a dramatic and varied landscape as the one we were living in. Every valley is so different from the next, and if you drive 1 hour in any direction you see countryside reminiscent of Africa, South America, Scotland and the Middle East. Sounds crazy but it really has to be seen to be believed.
Being on the edge of two of Andalucia's largest and most famous nature reserves, there is no cultivation so all the land is set aside for pasture and forest. It goes without saying that the possibilities for hiking, cycling and horse riding are endless, and the wild flowers in the spring time are sensational. This is also a very historical area with vestiges of civilisations dating from prehistoric man through to the Romans and the Moors.
Cortes de la Frontera is an attractive town set into a powerful range of limestone hills, which look out over a gently sloping valley of olive groves, pasture and oak trees. It is an affluent town, with much of the wealth originating from large tracts of cork forest owned by the local municipal government.
Cortes makes an ideal base from which to explore the Ronda mountains, as well as Grazalema and Los Alcornocales national parks. The area is a haven for walkers, cyclers and riders because of these vast areas of protected land, where building is heavily restricted and most of the land is left for grazing - as a result there are an astonishing variety of wild flowers and birds.
Nearby Ronda is a fascinating and beautiful town to visit. Spend a day wandering around the old part, marvelling at the architecture of the old casas señoriales or the feat of engineering of the famous bridge that spans the El Tajo Gorge. It's also a fun place to browse through the shops along the pedestrianised high street, buying presents or treating yourself.
30 minutes by car is the village of Ubrique where there is more shopping potential but this time for suede and leather goods - Ubrique is famed throughout the whole of Andalucia for this industry and the town is packed with shops selling top class leather and suede clothes and accessories. Because the factories are nearby the retailing costs are very reasonable, so ladies be sure to bring your credit card!