This 200-year-old farmhouse lies in the southern hills of Andalucia, on the edge of the Sierra Subbetica National Park. The white-washed building is surrounded by Mediterranean scrub and gentle hills while olive, fig, and pomegranate trees grow in its grounds, and the scent of jasmine and geranium follows you to the swimming pool: the real world seems light years away.
     Welsh-Japanese couple Clive and Maki moved to Finca las Encinas (the 'encinas' are the protected, evergreen oaks that fill the grounds) in 2004. Three years of careful renovations transformed the abandoned building into a welcoming, four-room farmhouse, which they made their home with their son Cei. Inside, it is decorated in rustic but refreshing style: think exposed beams, terracotta tiles and simple white, blue and beige colour schemes. There is a wood-burning stove to keep the sitting room cosy during winter.
     The four bedrooms are well equipped and airy, decorated with painted furniture, tapestry, wooden cupboards and fresh flowers. Old doors have been turned into headboards: a quirky touch. Two rooms have balconies with views over the wooded hills or the olive groves.
     After breakfast (homemade bread and fresh crushed tomatoes, the Spanish way) on the terrace with uninterrupted views, relax in the swimming pool or head out to explore the Sierra Subbetica with many activities available. You can go hiking, cycling, horse riding or swimming in lakes, although you will need a car to explore the area. Finca Las Encinas is located in the hills between Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and Sevilla, which are all interesting day trips. But if lazing in a hammock with your favourite book is your idea of holiday, you won’t be disappointed.
     Dinner is a treat with plenty of home-grown and local food, including clams, sea bass and Andalusian black pudding. Clive, a professional chef for over 20 years, also organises cooking courses with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and Spanish cuisine with an innovative twist.