We had a false start this year. In February everything looked normal and we already had received many bookings for our house for the coming year 2020. And then everything changed. Not only for us, of course, the entire world is suffering from this pandemic.

Spain went into lock down. The consequences for us were abrupt, all bookings up to June were understandably cancelled. Everyone got their money back, not only from us, but also all costs paid to the larger booking sites, such as Home Away and Airbnb, were refunded. 

Although we are still uncertain when the state of emergency will be lifted here in Spain, we have opened our booking calendar again from the beginning of June. The number of bookings that were already accepted from then on will stand for the time being. And we will also start to accept new bookings. For this exceptional situation, we will not ask for a first deposit to finalize a reservation, until more clarity arises and free and safe travel is possible again. Our standard rules regarding cancellations will also lapse this year, which means that all (down) payments that are made directly to us will be fully refunded upon cancellation. There is no time limit, but we do ask that this will be done within reason.

We hope that in the early summer tourism will slowly pick up again. These are exceptional times, but who knows, maybe for a change you could walk quietly through the Alhambra, and not be surrounded by millions of other tourists? Or you can see Ronda in a different way.

To be on the safe side, we would advise you to travel with the necessary protective equipment, such as mouth masks and gloves. You will get used to it and only time will tell how and when we will get back to (a sort of) normal again! 

We also offer the option of ‘contactless’ accommodation. If you appreciate that, we will make sure that the key is in the door when you arrive and we will not greet you personally. Communication will then be entirely via WhatsApp / telephone or email.

Stay safe!

Francis, Lies and Santiago

Historic Ronda

Ronda, just 8 km away, is one of the most beautiful cities of Andalusia, steeped in history. It stands on a towering plateau in the mountains of the province of Malaga. This mighty promontory ensured that Ronda was an impregnable fortress for the Christian armies until the end of the Reconquista. The plateau is split in two by the gap, ‘El Tajo’, caused by the river Guadelevín, and is the natural separation between the old and the new Ronda. This gap is spanned by a stone bridge, Puente Nuevo, and once housed a prison underneath. All visitors to Ronda are staring with disbelief down into the deep gorge, and then often, unconsciously shivering, step back a little! The shopping area of Ronda, where some of the traditional shops still maintain, is located in the new part of town. Read more here. However, the most enchanting walks can be found in the old town where the Moorish and Roman atmosphere can be inhaled in every street corner. Click here for a street map and the monuments of Ronda Nearby village of Arriate provides with banks, small supermarkets and other stores that you need on a daily basis. This charming village is also known for its cheap & cheerful tapas bars. Since 2012 we now also have a very good and affordable restaurant located in the old depot house from the train station. Ronda lies very central to all the cities which are worth visiting and can easily be travelled in one day, such as Cordoba (Mezquita), Granada (Alhambra-book well in advance!), Seville (Giralda and Reales Alcazares), Málaga (Picasso Museum) and Gibraltar and Marbella/Costa del Sol..

Perception, or how we want to see our surroundings

We started in 2002 with the rental of our house, which is now nearly 15 years ago. Over the years we have always tried to make improvements, both inside and outside. And although we know we will never reach perfection, we are very happy to say that most guests that have stayed here were excited about what we offer. There are a few exceptions to the rule, of course and this blog is an attempt to avoid misunderstandings and thus disappointments.
First of all, we have always tried to show ‘the real thing’ in our descriptions and photographs. Embellishment in advertising a holiday home is counter-productive and very often leads to disappointment. It is also not necessary, because we believe we offer a very attractive spot for people to relax and enjoy their well earned holidays! However, I am a keen photographer and see my surroundings my way. A camera only captures what you want to see and shoot. I see millions of details, I foremost see the beauty of our valley and the near surroundings. But I also know it lies all in the eye of the beholder. We live in the countryside, where recycling is necessary. We also share our space with insects, crawling or flying, but we believe there is room for everyone). And we run a little organic (vegetable) farm and we hope that everyone appreciates the peace and quiet we offer in our little ‘paradise’.

I’ll give you some examples of how and what we wish to perceive.

Do we see an electricity pole 'polluting' the horizon?
Do we see an electricity pole ‘polluting’ the horizon?

Or so we see a colourful composition of fields?
Or do we see a colourful composition of fields?

Do we see a farm and roads?
Do we see a farm and dead trees?

Or do we see colourful fields and a photographic composition?
Or do we see colourful fields, the whimsical shapes of the trees and a photographic composition?

Do we see a dead tree and another electricity pole?
Do we see a dead tree and another electricity pole?

Or do we see a swirling country road with shades (and a dog in this case!)?
Or do we see a swirling country road with shades (and some dogs in this case!)?

Do we see a rusty fence and lots of dry grass?
Do we see a rusty fence and lots of dry grass?

Or do we see an old oak tree..?
Or do we see some ancient oak trees..?

Do we see three tanks for our water supplies?
Do we only see the three tanks for our water supplies (yes, one can hardly nòt see them!)?

Or do we zoom in and see the beautiful view from above our country road?
Or do we zoom in and see the beautiful view from above our country road?

Do we focus on the 'chatarra' (scrap piles) of our neighbours, who work in construction and recycle whatever they can?
Do we focus on the ‘chatarra’ (scrap piles) of our neighbours, who work in construction and recycle whatever they can?

Or do we just see another country road (in the wrong direction and our dog again!)
Or do we just see another country road (and a happy dog..)

Do we see piles and piles or dry grass untidy on the sides of the roads?
Do we see all the dry grass, untidy and chaotic on the sides of the roads?

Or do we see the wild flowers in between?
Or do we see the wild flowers in between?

Do we see a hen-house, made out of scrap and a gate made out of a spring box mattress?
Do we see the hen-house, made out of scrap and a gate made out of a spring box?

Or do we focus on the fig tree behind the gate?
Or do we focus on the fig tree behind the gate and see it it bears fruit?

What I am trying to say is this. The photographs on our website are all ‘true’, but sometimes one needs to relax and open up to see the beauty of the rustic setting of our holiday home. We hope your stay in our home will help you to relax and make you not (yet) want to go home again after your holidays!

Ronda, November 2016

Lies, Francis and Santiago

casa Vallecillo

Eco-friendly holiday home close to Ronda

Just imagine this: a setting of greenery and blue skies, chirping birds all around, a babbling brook, your private terrace and pool laying before you…
In this sunny cottage in a small, fertile valley nearby Ronda, you are the sole master of your holiday. You have no obligations, and anything goes. The only requirement is that you love your peace and quiet. And the beauty of the real Andalucia!

Casa Vallecillo is a lovely house with lots of light, where right away it feels good. The bright colors, the homey decor, modern amenities and private location. The house has three bedrooms, two spacious bathrooms and a living room with an open-plan kitchen. There is also free Wi-Fi, an HD television, a well-stocked library, a fireplace for cooler evenings and all kinds of facilities for children such as toys, a cot and high chair. The swimming pool of 8 x 4 meters is large enough to swim back and forth, and also securely fenced. Because the owners live nearby and are reasonably self-supporting, is will be sometimes possible to obtain some seasonal vegetables from the garden. The main electricity supply is through solar energy with a backup electricity network.

Casa Vallecillo is located in a small valley between Ronda and Arriate. It is far enough from the daily hustle and bustle but within walking distance of the village. There you will find banks, ATMs, small supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, tapas bars and everything else that one needs on a vacation. The stunning historical town of Ronda is only 8 kilometers away. And other Andalusian top cities like Cordoba, Granada, Seville, Malaga and Marbella are within driving distance. From Malaga airport is about 90 minutes drive.

Read more

Private pool

A lovely swimming pool of 8 x 4 meters, large enough to attract some laps and deep enough to dive (going down from 1.40 m to 2.00 m). The pool is tiled and has a convenient wide staircase to get in and out steps or to sit and splashing with smaller children or babies.

At the outer edges of the pool are fences with a vegetation of bamboo. A big plus for families with small children is that the pool is securely fenced on all sides, making sure the children cannot just run towards the water.

The green surroundings of holiday home casa Vallecillo

This holiday home is located in a small valley, ‘vallecillo’ and is surrounded by nature. Although it is physically closer to the neighbouring village of Arriate, it is within the limits of the township of Ronda. And it lies in a remote corner the, both by the residents and tourists highly acclaimed, valley ‘Llano de la Cruz’. Directly from home you can make wonderful walks.

There are several surrounding gardens at the house. There is a small lawn next to the pool, where the relaxing loungers are ready for you to work on your sun tan. A few steps below the pool is a larger garden surrounded by fruit trees, where kids can play, as long as they don’t run into the adjacent vegetable garden.

The, always according to the seasons changing, organic vegetable gardens are an important part of our existence. When we came to live here in 1999 it was our dream to become as self sufficient as possible. Francis is a passionate nature lover with ‘green hands’ and his techniques have, over the years and with growing experience, constantly improved. He uses the old traditional way of irrigation, which is based on an ingenious system of small channels, the infrastructure been built by the Moors (Arabs), many centuries ago. These irrigation canals are called ‘acequias’, and run alongside the vegetable gardens and are still maintained by the neigbouring plot owners today Each of whom knows and respects its strict working hours, as water for farmers is often more valuable than gold.

Read more

More than just sun

Holidays is resting, looking for some private space, distance from day to day concerns, sleeping in, seeing new things, recharging your batteries.  Some people think ony of beaches and palm trees when they think of of Andalusia.
Inland Andalucia however is a completely different story. Ronda lies high on a plateau in the interior of the province of Málaga, at about 700 meters altitude, which gives it a different climate.

So the best reason to choose for a holiday in Ronda is, that something can always be seen or done from here, in whatever season.
October to May is the best time to go for long walks or bike rides in the Ronda Mountains, without running the risk of suffering sunstroke. (Hats or caps and lots of water however are best prevention!)
The period from March to May is particularly overwhelming when the wildflowers bloom in abundance and the nightingales incessantly perform their seductive songs. July and August are more suitable for daytime lounging and hanging around the pool, and in the evenings sit outside untill the wee hours enjoying the freshness of the night. June and September are the most pleasant months with lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures that are still not too hot. These months are very good to go for an early morning walk, to read books, have a long siesta or visit the surrounding cities or villages for day trips.

Browse through some more pages of our website and we hope we convince you that life is good here ! Read more

Walking in the surroundings of Ronda

Ronda is surrounded by the most versatile and stunning landscapes with three protected National Nature Reserves. The Sierra de las Nieves (with peak ‘La Torrecilla’ at 1919 meters altitude), Sierra de Grazalema (in which 13 ‘white villages’ lie) and Los Alcornocales (cork oak forests).
In addition, there are vast areas that may not be protected natural parks, but know many walks including in the Genal Valley or Guadiaro Valley, where you can often walk from village to village. These trails range from easy to hard.

In the house you will find several hiking guides in different languages and maps of the area. The trails in the official Nature Reserves normally remain unchanged, but in other areas they can sometimes be subject to change, for example, because part of the route is suddenly fenced (usually that’s private property then). Sometimes, however, some of these fences are only placed to keep animals within the boundaries and not always to keep hikers out. Try to judge for yourself, do not take unnecessary risks and be respectful to your surroundings.
Here are some trails in Spanish, posted by the Buro of Tourism in Ronda. Routes in English can be found here

Interesting links to walking with an experienced guide:

Or contact the activity centers Pangea or Al-Andalus Activa for one of their guided tours


Walks straight from Home:  

‘El Tajo’ of Ronda

Tajo de Abaníco

Nature Park Sierra de las Nieves

The Walk of the Hidden Valley: 

Walking along the River Gaduarés

Read more

Landscapes of Ronda

The surroundings of Ronda are of the most varied of Andalusia. One moment you’re driving through barren rocky mountain ranges where nothing seems to grow, and suddenly green and fertile valleys fold out before your eyes, with evergreen Mediterranean forests and landscapes that are always changing color with the seasons.

In the almost 25 years that I have lived here, a walk or a drive has never bored me. On the contrary, I still feel surprised when I see the surrounding beauty of the Serrania de Ronda. My eyes are always taking the photographs that I hardly ever capture in reality, even though I often try.
But I hope that some of my pictures can inspire others to come here and try for themselves!

The valley ‘el Tajo’ of Ronda

Walking along the Rio Gaduarés

Nature Reserve Sierra de las Nieves

Tajo de Abaníco

The seasons; landscapes between Ronda and Campillos:

Read more

A brief history of Ronda

The history of Ronda in a nutshell

The old town of Ronda ‘la ciudad “is the perfect place to walk around and get lost in the Roman and Moorish history. A clear legacy of the Arab time is the “Muralla”, the city wall, still very well preserved in many places. The first Roman settlement is much older.  ‘Acinipo’ also called ‘Ronda la Vieja (Old Ronda). This more than 2000 year old Roman amphitheater is 20 km away from the present town of Ronda and can be visited. But the oldest signs of human life can be found in the “Pileta Caves”, close to Benaoján. It has been discovered in 1905 and declared a national monument in 1924. In these caves murals were found of horses, goats and fish, dating from the Paleolithic Age. The caves are maintained by a private family (whose grandfather discovered them) and visits are almost all year round. Read more about Ronda’s history here)