Andalucian hideaways: The Big six

Bucolic estates, soul-stirring scenery, stone cottages, and the former home of flamenco dancer Antonio Ruiz Sole

Trasierra, Cazalla de la Sierra

In 1978, Charlotte Scott upped sticks from London and moved to Andalucia in search of a project. Tucked away in the sweeping Sierra Morena, 80km north of Seville, she found abandoned olive mill and set about restoring it. Originally intended as a private home, Charlotte opened the country estate to paying guests in 1992. Today, daughter Amber is the resident yoga teacher and spa therapist, while sister Gioconda looks after the meals. Having started from nothing, there are now 18 rooms, each with its own en suite. But that's where the hotel-like facilities end: there are no televisions, minibars or in-house telephones here. This is a spot for quiet reflection, with days spent strolling around the bucolic estate or venturing out to the surrounding hillsides.

Trasierra, Cazalla de la Sierra, Seville (00 34 609 550 600; Doubles start at €180, including breakfast.

El Carligto, Canillas de Aceituno

This hilltop estate has views across to the Mediterranean and the Moroccan mainland. Set within 10 acres of sculpted gardens, with a cliffside pool that looks out to soul-stirring scenery, it has two separate self-catering villas. The Cortijo (farmhouse) sleeps eight, with hand-stitched Suzani tapestries and rustic Spanish antiques. Meanwhile, the new Refugio de Caza (Hunting Lodge) opens in May, with more modern interiors and space for six. Malaga and the coast are nearby.

El Carligto, Canillas de Aceituno, Malaga (00 34 951 167 180; Weekly rental from €3,000. Sleeps six.

Molino Río, Alájar

A peaceful valley outside the town of Alájar is the site for this collection of six stone cottages. Surrounded by the Sierra de Aracena – home to the largest park in Andalucia – it's the perfect base for walkers and wildlife lovers, who come to take in the area's verdant scenery and thriving bird life. Houses sleep between two and four people, with brick fireplaces for cooler months and barbecues or terraces for summer. Many feature colourful ceramic tiles and wire-frame beds that give the place a final rustic flourish.

Molino Río, Alájar, Huelva (00 34 959 501 282; Two nights from €248. Sleeps two-four.

La Almunia del Valle, Monachil

This rural retreat is staggered up a hillside in Monachil, just outside Granada. Bright white bedrooms feature terracotta-tiled terraces for taking in the views. Elsewhere, a range of outdoor dining spots – shaded with parasols and olive trees – aim to make the most of the undulating landscape. The food is unfussy and farm-sourced: think beans, artichokes and other vegetables, paired with meat from the mountains and fish from the Motril coast.

La Almunia del Valle, Monachil, Granada (00 34 958 30 80 10; Doubles start at €110, B&B.

Finca Naranja, Ronda

This immaculate B&B is set just outside the scenic city of Ronda – known for its dramatic bridges, one of which rises 120m above the perilous El Tajo canyon. Interiors suggest this is the work of a professional. And sure enough, designer and owner, Conchita Kien, is the lady behind the look. Four private cottages feature whitewashed walls, cowhide rugs and monochrome fabrics. Beyond, there are shady terraces for enjoying afternoon tapas and pueblos blancos (white towns) to explore further afield.

Finca Naranja, Ronda, Malaga (00 34 952870476; Doubles start at €139, B&B.

Casa Grande, Arcos de la Frontera

Built in 1729 by the wealthy Nuñez de Prado family, Casa Grande later became the home of Spanish flamenco dancer, Antonio Ruiz Sole. In the Nineties, its current owner, Elena Posa, converted it into a hotel. Today, a plant-strewn central courtyard hints at the region's Moorish past, with marble columns and North African lanterns. Rooms feel equally exotic, with dark-wood beams, glazed azulejo tiles and dusky, pastel walls. Jerez and Cádiz are both close by.

Casa Grande, Arcos de la Frontera, Cádiz (00 34 956 703 930; Doubles start at €65, room only.

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