Do you have a sense of adventure? Love the great outdoors?
Welcome to Casa Azul, my quirky holiday cottage villa in northern Andalucía
Set within the Parque Natural de Sierra Castril, Casa Azul is a traditional Spanish cortijo (rural cottage) in a truly spectacular location overlooking Embalse Portillo and the surrounding mountains. If you’re looking for somewhere extraordinary, this is the place for you.
The cortijo itself offers quality, spacious, two-bedroom accommodation for a maximum of 7 guests. A former olive worker’s cottage, it has thick stone walls and antique furnishings. It’s simple yet stylish, with an open plan kitchen/diner/living room and traditional wood burning stove. Upstairs are two good sized bedrooms – one with a double bed and the other with a double and a single bed. In the lounge the sofa bed provides further sleeping for 2.
But the best bit? A 5-minute walk from the house takes you to a secluded lakeside bathing spot. The crystal clear waters with their amazing azure glow will provide you with the best bathing of your life: this really is a special location.
The charming town of Castril with its traditional whitewashed cottages and narrow cobbled streets is a 10-minute drive or lovely 30-minute walk through the olive groves. There are lakes, valleys, pretty mountain villages and historic towns all just waiting to be explored. This is rural Spain at its best. The pace of life is slow. English is rarely spoken, but you will always find a friendly welcome.
Walking opportunities are everywhere and can range from a pleasant stroll through the carefully tended olive terraces and “huertas” to a tough day in the high mountains. The Parque Natural is famous for wildlife, especially its birds and if you’re lucky you’ll enjoy great close-up views of golden eagles and griffon vultures.
Outside, the natural grassy terrace enables you to feel at one with, indeed part of the landscape. As one reviewer put it “It was remarkable. Extraordinary. We seemed to have an entire landscape and lake to ourselves”
Whatever you’re looking for, and whether you find it or not, you’re sure to return home relaxed and refreshed from Casa Azul
I look forward to welcoming you.
(By the way, you might be wondering, who am I and why do I own a house in this part of the world? Well I bought Casa Azul in January 2018… on a whim it must be said. I just LOVE old houses with their wonky walls and rustic simplicity. OK they have their challenges, but with its spectacular setting, I just couldn’t resist it. I can’t live here for now but I hope to one day. So, for the time being I let the house out for others to enjoy. I live and work in Mid Wales. It’s a bit like Spain, but with more rain. A lot more rain!!)
Bedrooms: Bedroom 1; Large double bedroom with lake view, Bedroom 2; large room, double bed, single bed, access to rear terrace;
Bathrooms: Ground Floor – large shower cubicle, WC and hand wash basin;
Lounge: Large open plan lounge/ kitchen/ diner with sofa bed and woodburning stove, books and games;
Facilities: Linen & towels included, log burner with logs provided November to April, gas heaters, electric cooling fans, fully equipped kitchen with granite worktops, fridge freezer, microwave, gas hob and oven, kettle, toaster, dining table for 4, dining table for 2, iron and ironing board, clothes airer, hairdryer.
Outside: dining table, lounge chairs, large parasol and base,
2 snorkels and masks, beach chair and beach parasol
Sleeps: 5 – 7 (with sofa bed)
Pets: Yes, up to 2 (20E supplement)
Travel Cot: Yes
Bed Linen: Provided
Towels: Bath and hand towels provided.
Kitchen consumables: tea towels, pan scrubber, kitchen cloth, refuse sacks, washing up liquid, hand soap, olive oil, salt/pepper provided,
Parking: parking for 2 cars
Access: Via an unsurfaced road but passable with a small car – Fiat 500, VW Polo etc.
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Things To Do
For thrill seekers, test your skills and bravery to the max by canyoning down the Barranco el Rio Guadaletin at nearby Embalse de Bolera (20 minutes). Climb, scramble, slide and swim your way through this spectacular gorge with nothing but nature (and your instructor) to guide you down the twists and turns of the cascading river. Various companies arrange this. See here for just one example.
The area has fantastic hiking opportunities. You can take a short stroll around the village or head down the 6km waymarked trail to the village of Hinojares. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, Parque Natural Sierra de Castril see here and see here and Parque Natural Sierra de Cazorlas, Seguras y Las Villas see here have endless hiking routes to follow. Details are on their web sites.
Obviously the best swimming is to be found in the lake just below the house, but if you fancy a change of scenery head to Lake Negratin where there is a great beach with excellent bar/restaurant at Freila. See here for Trip Advisor reviews.
An alternative during the summer holidays is to head to one of the excellent open air Municipal Pools. The one at Castril is excellent and has grassy areas, shade and a bar/restaurant. Families take a picnic and make a day of it. Other good ones are Pozo Alcon, Huescar, Orce
Places To Go
The attractive & historic town of Cazorla an hour away is the main gateway to the Parque Natural from the west. With winding, steep and narrow cobbled streets, it’s a great place for a meander. Overlooking the town is the famous “Five Cornered Castle. Near Cazorla lies the pretty village of La Iruela with its impressive castle, amphitheatre and “El Chorro”, a huge rock circle with walls of over 100 metres drop.
The whole area is made for nature lovers. See here for more information
The UNESCO World Heritage listed twin towns of Baeza and Úbeda in the Jaen region scupper any notion that there is little other than Moorish influences to the architectural interests of Andalucía.
These fabulous two towns guard a treasure trove of superb Christian Renaissance architecture and are a great place to get a bit of art and culture. See More Here
Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the beautiful city of Granada is known for its wonderful examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation.
The Alhambra Palace is the most famous of all. This sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses royal palaces, serene patios and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty. See here for details. 1hr 40 minutes from the house, it’s worth the extra effort to get there for a day.
The Altiplano de Granada region consists of a high plateau surrounded by spectacular mountains and dotted with historic villages and market towns.
A characteristic feature are the many cave houses – visitors are often amused and intrigued by the sight of chimneys protruding from grassy hillsides.
The villages of Galera, Castillejar, Cortes de Baza, Orce, Benamaurel are all great places to see cave houses. See More.
What better way to immerse yourself in real Spain than to visit a local market?
There is one to be had every day of the week in the locality. Castril’s is on a Friday, Huescar’s on a Thursday and Pozo Alcon a Monday.
Markets are the very best place to buy your fruit and vegetables, or maybe try the Spanish speciality of Churros, a sugary sausage shaped doughnut delicacy…..dipped in chocolate!