Cortijo la Pedriza is a rustic farmhouse, lovingly restored and with all its original features. Reached by an ancient olive growers' track, lined with almond trees and olive groves with spectacular views across a range of distant mountains. Cortijo la Pedriza is a great place to unwind, with sounds of birdsong, goat bells, cicadas, bullfrogs from the nearby river and views of villagers harvesting their latest crop of olives. The cortijo has thick stone white washed walls, exposed beams and open fireplaces. This tranquil setting is 10 minutes from the local village of Fuente del Conde which has a restaurant/bar and supermarket. Cortijo la Pedriza is within easy access of the historic towns of Iznájar, Antequerra and Archidona. Moorish cities, such as Granada and Córdoba, are within an hour's drive. Malaga airport is just 45 minutes away.
We are a married couple who live busy lives in London. We have both worked for many years in the public and charity sectors. We love travel, walking, cooking, gardening and reading. Cortijo La Pedriza satisfies all these interests!
We have travelled throughout the world, but have always been drawn to this quiet corner of Spain. We first came across Cortijo La Pedriza on a searingly hot June day in 2001. It was a ruin then but was still beautifully cool inside where we rested and ate the fruit from an old fig tree. We knew right away, that we were meant to be there, to restore it and to share it with others.
Cortijo La Pedriza is ideal for walking holidays. A variety of short and long walks can be taken from the house, following old drovers' tracks, along the valleys and hilltops of the surrounding countryside. Many of these tracks take you to small outlying villages where you can sample the local tapas and beers.
A 30 minute walk from the Cortijo through olive groves and a riverside track leads you to the lake. Along the way you will see many local birds such as kingfishers, hoopoes, bee-eaters and azure-winged magpies.
Half an hour's drive will take you into the mountains of the Sierra Subbética Natural Park. So if you tire of the pool side mountain view, you can take a drive and walk up into those mountains.
A 50 minute drive takes you to the spectacular Sierra Nevada where in the winter you can ski.
Many guests prefer to see the local countryside by horse and there are some good riding stables nearby. Bikes are also available for hire.
There is also plenty to do for the more adventurous including quad biking and hang gliding.
If you are looking for a quiet, restful holiday, in a beautiful setting, then this is the place for you.
Our main love is cooking and that is the focus of the garden. We encourage guests to enjoy the garden produce. Mediterranean herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage and rocket thrive in this area and are wonderfully aromatic. Our gardener and friend Agustín also grows annual herbs and vegetables and looks after the grape vines and trees.
We have a number of fruit trees, including fig, apple, pear, cherry and pomegranate. No Andalucían farmhouse would be complete without almond, a staple of the local cuisine and we have about 10 trees.
We grow a couple of local varieties of grape. The fruit can be eaten from June through to September and is wonderfully sweet.
Good food is important in Spain. Fresh fish, free range meat and game is available in the smallest of towns. These ingredients, together with the produce of our garden have produced some memorable meals.
Most guests' first stop is Antonio's bar in the local village, Fuente del Conde. Order a cool drink and you will also be given some delicious tapas. You can take this inside with the local olive growers who will invariably be playing cards or dominoes. Alternatively you can sit outside on Antonio's terrace. It has great views.
Andalucía is renowned for its 'ventas', or roadside inns which serve good local food. Antonio's is one of them, but there are many others in the vicinity of the farmhouse. Our favourite venta, Las Viñas, which serves meat and game cooked in a wood oven, is a short drive away. Nearer still, is La Paloma, a restaurant run by a couple from Tuscany. It serves superb country Italian food.
The village has a small but well stocked supermarket, and large supermarkets can be found in the nearby local towns, such as Iznájar, Archidona and Rute. Every town has a fish market, but you may need to arrive early to compete with the locals for the best of the catch.
Iznájar is well worth a visit. It is a pueblo blanco perched on an outcrop overlooking a lake. At the top of the town there is a castle built by the moors in the 8th century around which wind narrow medieval streets of the old quarter.
Nearby towns include, Archidona, with its grand octagonal square and Antequera. Antequera has a bull ring and, on the outskirts of the town, some spectacular dolmens.
There is much to see within an hour's drive of the cortijo, including 2 world heritage sites, the Mezquita in Córdoba and the Alhambra palace in Granada. Both cities are easy to drive to and make a fabulous day trip.
Málaga is a much overlooked city. It has an elegant old city centre with many restaurants and bars. It is also a centre for modern art: CAC Málaga houses a contemporary collection while the Picasso museum celebrates the life and work of the city's most famous son. For the Spanish, Málaga is most cherished for its beach side fish restaurants. It is a wonderful place for lunch and far removed from most people's image of 'the costas'.
Priego de Córdoba is an impressive town 40 minutes drive from Iznájar. It has many baroque churches and an ancient Jewish quarter. Among its fine restaurants is El Aljibe built over a Moorish Bath house.
There are 2 impressive hilltop ermitas (hermitages). One near the town of Cabra has spectacular views of the Córdoban countryside and an interesting church.
The second ermita at Lucena has a striking church and a good tapas bar.
Alhama de Granada is a great day trip from Cortijo La Pedriza. It is a spa town scenically sited along a ledge overlooking a broad gorge with wonderful views, and a couple of striking churches in a well preserved old quarter. A visit to its open air hot springs is great fun.