Finca Buenvino home swap
Large Italianate mountaintop home, floating above the forest. We have lived here for more than 30 years, and raised our children here.
Our beautiful saltwater pool is perfect for those hot summer days, and also in our October Indian summer. There is a large poolhouse with bedroom and bathroom, sitting room and bar area.
We usually run the place as a B&B as well as it being our home, so we are looking for a home exchange, in order to escape in our low season (Jan and February), but exchangers would be advised to come June through September to enjoy the summer weather this end.
The Pink Room has twin beds, amazing views and an en suite bathroom. The old fashioned tub has an arched window beside it which looks out over the treetops and down to the valley below. It’s sensational to lie back in the bath and watch as the evening light changes on the wooded hill across the valley, bathing it in a pinkish glow.
The Yellow Room has a queen sized bed and there is a small sitting/cum dressing room adjoining. The sitting room offers good selection of books and spectacular views north to Extremadura. The private bathroom is only a few feet away across the passage, with a steam hammam and massage shower for two people. The perfect way to relax after a country walk.
The pool room is available in summer. It’s a large, high ceiling bedroom, with an en-suite bathroom which has a steam hammam massage shower. Wonderfully warming if you have been out for a midnight dip! The views out from the infinity pool are staggeringly beautiful, especially at sunrise or sunset.
The Corner Room is a small suite, set apart on its own level just below the second floor. Here you’ll find a comfortable bedroom, with hanging space, bookshelves and dressing table. Next door is a small study with a desk, a sofa/daybed and a collection of books. The ensuite bathroom has a steam hammam and massage shower for two people. Totally relaxing.
The Blue room is a small suite, set apart on its own mezzanine floor. Here you’ll find a comfortable bedroom with a study cum dressing room, with hanging space, writing desk and sofabed. The sofabed converts into two twins if you are travelling with children. The en suite bathroom faces south and has an old fashioned tub. The window looks out over a rose covered pergola.
The Master suite, normally our own bedroom has a large terrace overlooking the valley below and the distant hills to the north. King sized bed. En suit bathroom with tub and overhead shower.
Charlie's room, an extra room on the top floor with a double bed. The occupant would need to use the extra bathroom in corridor on 1st floor.
On the ground floor there is a living room with fire place and a conservatory with a slightly battered boudoir grand piano. Also a bottle fridge to keep drinks cool. The kitchen has an electric fan oven and two gas hobs. There is also a wood-fired bread oven in the kitchen courtyard, but care should be taken in high summer not to light a fierce fire. The panelled dining room seats 12 max, but in summer you will eat out of doors. There is an ice machine in an out-room.
TV in the study and wifi internet around the house. Outside there is also a laundry room with industrial machine.
About the location
95 Kilometers to the North West of Seville, our home lies at the heart of a 100 acre property in the middle of the Sierra de Aracena nature reserve (El Parque Natural de la Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche).
The house is set amongst mixed forest, chiefly sweet Spanish chestnuts and cork oaks. We also have fruit orchards and olive groves. There is a small stream running through the valley, the "Arroyo Buenvino", which gives its name to the property. We run sheep on the land, and Iberian pigs from which which we make our own home-killed and cured Jamon Serrano, as well as salchichón and chorizo. Depending on the season, we grow most of our own organic vegetables.
Finca Buenvino is located just outside the beautiful town of Aracena in Andalucia (Huelva province) in south-west Spain, very close to Spain's border with Portugal. Due to its location in the mountains, the climate is cooler than in Seville.
The nature reserve was formed in 1989 by the Andalusian government in order to preserve the countryside, villages and way of life of this unique area.
Hills, thickly wooded with sweet chestnut and cork oak, give way to small groves of olives or walnuts and orchards of apples, plums, peaches and figs. Wild, rocky escarpments are covered in cistus and heather. Stone-walled mule tracks meander from village to hamlet and are perfect for walking or riding. In Spring, the wild flowers carpet the meadows and clumps of peonies grow in the shade of the chestnut trees. Whitewashed villages with cobbled streets hang from the side of a hill or nestle in a valley. In autumn, chestnut pickers fill their baskets in the woods, as mules stand patiently to be loaded with sacks for the return journey to the village.
Los Marines is not a major tourist destination, so you can expect a quiet and relaxing visit, and a taste of the 'real' Spain.
Our local market tow is only ten minutes away by car: Aracena (Pop:7500) is the capital of the region and gives its name to the mountain range in which it lies. The city centre, has many monuments of cultural interest. Crowning the hill are the ancient castle and the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, which preserves the Almohad tower, once the minaret of the mosque that preceded it.
The Christian conquest which drove out the Moors, was carried out by the Portuguese King Sancho II at the beginning of the thirteenth century, who sought to annex the region as the High Sierra of the Algarve, but the intervention of the Castilian King Ferdinand III and his son Alfonso X made Aracena part of the kingdom of Seville in 1255.
The area remained sparsely populated until the end of the thirteenth century, when King Sancho IV began to bring in settlers from Leon, Asturias and Galicia, and reinstated the fortress on the hill, in order to defend the area from the neighbouring kingdom of Portugal. Its defence was entrusted to the order of Santiago. Repopulation was not an immediate success. It was not until the 15th century that a true settlement of the area was achieved, the demographic crisis having been caused by the epidemics of the previous century as well as frequent conflicts with Portugal.
During the Middle Ages, the town, which originally huddled around the castle for safety, continued its expansion down the hillside towards the valley. The grandiose project of the Parish Church started to be built in 1478, but was never completed in its entirety. Even so it remains impressive; although it was torched during the civil war, and many of the works of art were destroyed, a new roof was added a few years ago and the church has regained some of its former glory.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the town grew with renewed momentum and structures such as the Town Hall of Santa Catalina, the Casino de Arias Montano and the Market Square added to the wealth of interesting buildings.
The Caves of Wonders lie in the centre of town. They were discovered in 1886 and opened for visitors in 1914.
Coupled with the softness of the summer temperatures, the caves made the town the favourite holiday retreat of the Spanish royal family. Aracena gradually turned into a centre for country tourism, where the pace was slower than in the cities, and the air was pure.
They are well worth a visit. They are some of the biggest and the most beautiful in western Europe. Said to have been discovered by a swineherd, searching for a lost pig (or in some versions a shepherd searching for a lamb!), the cave complex was first opened for tourists in 1914, after the Marques de Aracena had installed the first simple electric lighting system.
Although you enter through what looks like the normal front door of a white-washed village house, the caves lie deep inside the hill on which the castle church is built and where the ruins of the old fortress are to be found. The beauty of its lakes, the spaciousness of its cathedral-like chambers and the marvelous colours of its wide variety of stalactites and stalagmites, form something altogether singular, which deserves the name “Las Grutas de las Maravillas”.
Apart from Aracena, there are many charming smaller villages to explore. Almonaster la Real has a 9th century mosque, the columns of which are recycled from Roman remains. The door to the church in this village is Manuelline in stylle, witness to the Portuguese occupation of this area. Both buildings tells us something of the history of our beatiful area.
Further afield ;
Two hours north, lies Mérida, the great Roman "limes'' city, and now home to the National Museum of Roman Art. There is a Roman theatre, a hippodrome and many remains of temples are dotted about the streets of the town.
Just over and hour away is Seville
It is the fourth largest city in Spain and one of the most romantic and lively metropolitan areas in the Iberian Peninsula.
Seville’s distinct personality is the result of the many cultures that have inhabited and ruled it for over 2000 years. Renaissance and Baroque styles are beautifully blended with the moorish influenced architecture, a memory of the time when the Caliphate of Cordoba and the later Abadi Kingdom of Sevilla ruled the city. Although very little of Roman Seville is left for us to see, it is worth visiting the nearby roman ruins of Italica, once one of the great limes cities of the Roman Empire.
Following the reconquest by the Christian army Seville’s growth continued unabated. King Fernando III, King of Castilla and León moved his court to the Alcázar of Seville, the former Moorish palace. A royal residence, the Alcázar was built in a Moorish lush style and the huge gothic cathedral was built during the 15th century, but maintains the original minaret of the moorish mosque.
The golden age of Seville was during the establishment of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. Seville to this day boasts the only inland port in Spain with the Guadalquivir being navigable for 80km inland from the sea. The city was awarded the monopoly of trade with the Spanish territories of the New World, and with it gold and silver poured in from the Spanish Americas. Seville minted silver and gold coins which became the first universally accepted European currency.
Type of home swap
- Home Exchange
- Non Simultaneous Exchange
Conditions of home exchange
- Non smokers only
- Children welcome
- Pet Care required
- Swimming pool
- Use of computer
- Washer / Drier
- Car exchange offered
- Use of bike
- Shopping facilities
- Rock climbing
- Local restaurants
- Horse Riding
- Car recommended
Closest airport: Sevilla (SVQ)
Nearest city: Sevilla
Property type: House
Location type: Rural