The Beauty of Andalucia

From where we live in Spain, we can see the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, of course. But we like mountains too and hubby Rick and I are both from Chicagoland. This is not a place with mountains or even big hills of any kind. When we go out for a drive in the countryside in Illinois, we see wheat fields waving, never snow-capped mountains.

Being flatlanders, we get really excited by the beauty of mountain ranges. So it was when we travelled to Andalucia last weekend to stay in a cave dwelling. Most of the way on our 2.5 hour drive to our lodging, we just kept saying “wow” around every corner. All kinds of mountain views were there to be seen.

Here’s one Andalucia mountain range

We stayed in a two- bedroom cave with a lovely American couple from Austin, Texas. This cave was delightful, with a fully-stocked kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Walls were painted white and the ceiling was high enough not to have to hunch over. There were many electrical outlets for charging our phones too. Plus even though it was cold outside, the temperature within was quite comfortable.

The property is called Cave Houses Andalucia. Here is a link to it. http://www.caveholidaysandalucia.com. It can also be found on booking.com. It is located in a town called Los Carriones. Property owners Viv and Ian are very kind and helpful.

Outside of our cave house, one of two dwellings on the property
Here is view from cave property

After settling into our cave and depositing our bags in our respective bedrooms, we bought fixings to make vegetarian spaghetti for dinner and eggs and coffee for breakfast at a small grocery store in the nearby town of Castillejar. It’s was about 5 minutes drive.

While out for a walk after dinner, we admired the many stars in the sky. We could see so much more there without competition from the ambient light that surrounds most communities. We could even see the Milky Way, the hazy band of light in the sky said to be formed from stars one cannot distinguish by the naked eye. 

The next morning, we went for a hike on a 1.5 hour circular path in the lovely small town of Castril. It was about 30 minutes northwest of where we staying. Here are some photos from our walk in the woods.

The walk was full of delights, including walking through a beautiful gorge, over a cabled bridge above the river and walking through a cave. There was even a cafe along the way where we stopped for coffee.

Here we are at the cafe. The waiter kindly agreed to take our picture.

At the end of the walk, we explored the pretty hillside village of Castril. Lots of opportunities for photos capturing the simple beauty of Spain.

View from the Catholic Church yard in Castril
Water fountain in the churchyard

About five minutes drive northwest of Castril is Portillo’s Lake. In Spanish, this is called Embalse del Portillo. It’s on the edge of a big national park called Parque Natural Sierra de Castral. This park is right next to the much bigger natural park called Sierras de Cazorla, Spain’s largest protected natural area. So lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in the area.

Portillo’s Lake was spectacularly beautiful. Unbelievably, no one else was there when we went to visit. It was almost like we had all died and went to heaven together!

After our outing, we returned to the cave house and relaxed before dinner. Around 8 pm, we strolled over to a nice Spanish restaurant about 5 minutes walk from the property. It’s called Emilio’s. I recommend the gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic). They also have a good selection of red wines from the stellar Ribera del Duero region of Spain.

On Sunday, we drove back home completely satisfied after spending a wonderful weekend in a cave house in Andalucia. I would recommend this property and the area to anyone looking for a wonderful weekend away from home.