Molino Rio Alajar, Seville

A sylvan, sybaritic, self-catering retreat close to one of Andalucia’s most beautiful mountain villages

Wrapped round by forests of oak and chestnut, reached by the narrowest of lanes flanked by ancient dry-stone walls, there can be few settings as bucolic as this.

When I arrived, two dogs were lazing in the sun, a gardener was turning soil in the vegetable garden, and a dozen birdsongs punctuated the afternoon stillness. Río Alájar is a true retreat, but without a hint of horsehair shirt.

Your home-from-home will be one of six seductively intimate guest cottages which horseshoe round the upper reaches of a broad sweep of garden, looking out to the verdant Alájar valley.

The guiding ethos of the Molino is to respect your privacy even though, if the mood takes you, there’s a really gemütlich sitting room and library in the old mill house across the way.

The network of footpaths which lead out from here is as beautiful as any in southern Spain, and for stay-at-homes there’s a shared pool, tennis court, table football, even guitar lessons. You’ll be pushed to find a better base for a week of rural ramblings or indulgent family R&R.

Molino Rio Alajar in the Aracena and Aroche Natural Park, Andalucia is made up of 6 self catering cottages for 2-6, with cottages starting from €630 per week.

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