The sun drenched beauty of Andalucía's beaches entice many visitors to the region each year, but inland from these sandy beauties lies a meatier, more colourful Spain, of bullfights, flamenco, good food and fiestas at every opportunity. The majority of accommodation in Andalucía is along the coast, to accommodate the sun and sand visitors, but there's plenty to choose from amongst Andalucía's best rural hotels.
From olive grove set fincas specialising in cooking classes, to grand country house hotels stilling on their own expansive tracts of beautiful land, to retreats in the middle of National Parks to converted palaces hidden amongst the cobbled lanes cascading down the picturesque hillsides. They're apples and oranges, so there's no way of listing them in order. But here, categorised by the kind of Andalucían experience you're looking for, are Andalucía's best rural hotels as recommended by our gurus.
From former olive estates to family-run B&Bs or sophisticated country house hotels, these hideaways are Andalucía's best rural hotels for walkers, hikers and horse riders. Or just to come to relax by the pool under sweeping skies.
The Hacienda de San Rafael comes from the former olive estate category, and has elegant Anglo-Spanish interiors, with all the mod. cons. If you're looking for the last word in rustic chic you'll find it behind this brilliant white facade, in romantic gardens, or floating in one of the hacienda's three pools…
La Fuente de la Higuera is a peaceful converted olive mill, and one of Andalucía's best rural hotels to be busy doing nothing in. There's gardens around a lovely pool, a restaurant on the terrace, a library and spectacular views.
There's nothing quite like looking out over a field of sunflowers, and that's one of Cortijo Las Piletas offerings. They also cater for lunchtime picnics, you're close to the fantastic walking opportunities of the Grazalema Park, and you're only 50kms from the beaches of the Costa del Sol. Comfortable and charming, and on expansive grounds, this is also a good option for families.
For eco-conscious travellers, La Posada de San Marcos is one of Andalucía's best rural hotels. Cleverly designed to take advantage of the beauty of the Sierra de Aracena, but do no damage to it, this lodge has cork and lamb's wool insulation and all the water comes from the sky or from a well.
Remote as well as rural
Andalucía is scattered with pretty villages and, of course, its famous hilltop towns, so some of Andalucía's best rural hotels aren't far from a pretty centre. But if you want to be away from everything these these recommendations are for you!
Have a look at the map and you'll see that there's nothing for miles around the 500 year old whitewashed farmhouse which has been converted into Cortijo el Guarda. And the views are of uninterrupted loveliness. Away from everything yes, but also a great spot for day trips to the main cities in the region.
With just six rooms the Casa Olea B&B is a wonderful place to escape almost everyone! Charming and rustic, this is a great base for mountain biking the Vis Verde or just taking country strolls. You're also within a day trip of the Heritage Listed Renaissance towns of Ubeda and Baeza.
If you want the beach, but also to be away from everything the Cortijo Los Malenos istthe one to book. Only 4kms from the Med, and within the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, this Cortijo has a welcoming, homely feel.
Fountainhead is perfect for couples looking for a romantic spot away from everything. There are just four suites, decorated with understated style.
Wonderful white villages
For creature comforts, like a handful of local cafes, a farmer's market, a beautiful church and a choice of restaurants, Andalucía'a best rural hotels are in, or around, the tiny whitewashed hilltop villages.
Enfrente Arte is in Ronda, oldest, and most famous, of the pueblo blancos, and is surrounded by the village's historic buildings. Enfrente Arte's friendly help-yourself policy makes this more of a home than a hotel and great for families.
Finca Naranja is a great small B&B option in Ronda, with self catering options also good for families.
Los Castanos is right in the heart of the white village region, and within hiking distance of seven villages. With airy interiors, an extensive library, breathtaking views from the terraces, and plenty of charm, this is one of Andalucía's best rural hotels priced below £100 per night.
19th Century hunting lodge, Casa Vina de Alcantara is another great base for exploring the white villages. Set amid its own vineyards, this stylish boutique property is one of Andalucía's best rural hotels for sherry aficionados, or those who'd like to learn more about sherry.
Rural Andalucía: Food & Wine Heaven
Well known for olive oil, wine and ham, Andalucía's cuisine is wonderfully varied but always packed with flavour. And many of Andalucía's best rural hotels offer opportunities to experience some of the region's delicacies, and in some cases the opportunity to learn how they're made.
Finca Buenvino is a great place to stay if you like to feel like you're spending your holiday as a guest amongst friends. It's got just five rooms and the dining is communal, and takes place on the wonderful terrace. Owned by a family, one of whom is a cordon bleu cook who's very happy to share her knowledge, or just her food.
Barcelo La Bobadilla is a fairytale looking five star estate, built more like a small village and surrounded by a thousand acres of private land. As well as the palatial rooms packed with Moorish art, there are also wonderful secluded courtyards to discover, and very fine dining.
Capital of the region, many people arrive in Andalucía via Seville, a city which concentrates all that's best about Andalucía. Home of bullfighting and flamenco, this is also a great town to come to to enjoy yourself! The tapas and bar scenes are lively and once the fiestas start there's really no stopping people. Some of Andalucía's best rural hotels offer an affordable and peaceful way to taste Seville.
Surrounded by green, the renovated 16th Century mill, Las Navezuelas is where many of those who live in Seville come to escape the heat in July and August. It's also a great spot for birdwatching, riding and fishing. So it's a proper country escape.
Trasierra is a traditional, family-run hotel set in the undulating mountains of the Sierra Morena, and is another perfect country retreat with pools, tennis courts, secluded gardens and oodles of personality.
Another favourite place for the people of Seville to escape to, Molino Rio Alajar is a group of six self catering cottages within the national park. Even though its self catering, you're welcome to pick fruit and vegetables from the expansive gardens.
If you love the region's Moorish influences, some of Andalucía's best rural hotels will be in the hills around Granada.
Surrounded by olive groves and almond trees, the Cortijo La Fe has panoramic views of the hills over Granada, and is decorated in the Moorish style, with silk rugs and tapestries and an authentic hammam.
Cortijo del Marques is just 18kms from Granada, but in such a peaceful spot, with such uninterrupted views that it feels much further. A country house hotel in traditional Spanish style, this is Andalucía's best rural hotel if you prefer a unique boutique hotel.
As one of Europe's most southerly ski regions, the Sierra Nevada is famous for being one of the best places in the world to visit if you want cap off your morning's skiing with an afternoon floating in the ocean. This is also a wonderful, if dramatic, place to explore on foot, and a well known spot for birding.
Simple and rustic, the Hotel Rural Cortijo La Alberca has been comfortably converted from an old Andalucían farmhouse and is well located for both the towns and restaurants of the Sierra Nevada, and the outdoor pursuits that will fuel your hunger!
There isn't a lot of contemporary style on this list of Andalucía's best rural hotels, but La Almunia del valle offers just that. The building is traditional, but inside the fusion of the original and the modern is clever, comfortable and appealing.
A charming hideaway country hotel on a former olive estate. Rustic charm mixed with modern sophistication. The hotel sits on 35 hectares of romantic gardens, with three picturesque pools and a variety of outdoor dining options. A slice of heaven.
14 rooms from $278
Restaurant - Excellent romantic dining.
Swimming Pool - Three gorgeous pools.
Birdwatching - Doñana National Park is one of Europe´s most important wetland reserves and thus one of the best birdwatching spots around.
Cooking classes - The hotel can organise a half day Cooking class in a Seville Restaurant.
Converted olive mill with beautiful gardens. Chic white washed bedrooms boast balconies with stunning views, some have enormous copper baths. Terrace restaurant serves food using local produce. Ideal for completely unwinding.
11 rooms from $221
Romantic Break - Muslin draped beds, private terraces, copper baths and utterly delicious cuisine served under a canopy of stars.
Total relaxation - Spend your days lounging by the pool, wandering the gardens or being massaged in the privacy of your room!
Birdwatching - Head out hiking and try to spot the eagles, vultures and other birds that inhabit the mountains
Sights nearby - Visit the bridge, the Arab baths and the Mondragón Place in nearby Ronda.
A lovely white farmhouse surrounded by sunflower fields in a nature park. Charmingly sunny bedrooms and one family suite, swimming pool, an excellent table d'hote and lunch time picnics. A great choice for an active family holiday and lots to explore in the natural park.
Gorgeous white washed Andalusian farmhouse B&B. Bedrooms have stone floors, wooden beams, attractive furnishings and splashes of modern art. Lovely breakfast room and stunning views from the pool over the valley around. A peaceful choice with plenty to do in the surrounds.
5 rooms from $117
Views - Outstanding and far reaching views over the surrounding countryside
Sights nearby - Ronda, Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Jerez and Cadiz.
A lovely rustic farmhouse B&B surrounded by olive groves and rolling countryside. A white washed building with charming rustic interiors - stone floors, wooden beams, fireplaces. Lovely pool and garden, lots do to in the countryside around. Excellent value.
6 rooms from $120
Views - Stunning panoramic views over the surrounding countryside
Sights nearby - Alhambra in Granada, Renaissance towns of Ubeda and Baeza, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
A lovely Cortijo set in a Natural Park. Blissful green surroundings, sitting rooms with fireplaces, sunny patios and a pool, massages, and authentic cuisine. Rooms and one villa sleeping 4 are all in white with traditional furnishings. A great choice for outdoor activities and relaxation.
8 rooms from $123
Great walks - Your hosts can lend you tour books and maps
A uniquely laid back hotel surrounded by historic buildings in Ronda. Bohemian vibes and contemporary decoration. A home rather than a hotel with its help-yourself philosophy. Great for families and local exploring.
A remote B&B with peaceful views of the surrounding hills. Bali inspired rooms and suites in splashes of orange and turquoise. Self-catering kitchenettes are great for families. Lovely pool and lots to explore in the region. Suited to honeymooners and families.
2 rooms from $156
Sights nearby - Roman theatre of Acinipo. Just 15 mins drive from Ronda
Views - Great views over the Valley of Ronda la Vieja
Great walks - Stunning trails of the Grazalema Park.
Cosy and intimate boutique hotel in centre of traditional white washed village. Charming interiors, airy rooms, great attention to detail. Log fires in the winter, extensive library. Perfect for a relaxed break.
7 rooms from $146
Country Escape - A small secluded white village, nestled in the mountains and Chestnut forests, wonderful walking and laid back atmosphere.
Birdwatching - A great spot for birdwatching simply from the hotel rooftop or out in the valley.
Sights nearby - Check out nearby Ronda, with Arab Baths, great bars and Spains oldest bullring.
Restrictions on children - Allows children over 12
19th-century hunting lodge on the edge of family vineyards, converted into a stylish boutique hotel for enjoying fine sherries and relaxing. Large rooms, high beamed roofs, great bathrooms. Shady garden, swimming pool, and lake. Butler service and honesty bar. Indulgent country retreat.
9 rooms from $197
Country Escape - A tranquil country hotel surrounded by rolling vineyards and charming gardens, only a short drive from the town of Jerez.
Great walks - Wander through the vineyards from the hotel, bring a picnic and explore this stunning landscape.
A remote country house B&B set in the hills of Aracena. A striking pink building with five charming rooms and suites in pastels with watercolours, rugs, and lovely views. Sunny terraces, infinity pool, sitting room, excellent table d'hote and plenty to explore. A great choice for families.
4 rooms from $135
Views - Great views from hotel
Sights nearby - Rio Tinto mining area, which includes Roman works, a cemetery, a steam engine and mining museums.
Cooking classes - Learn Catalan and Andalucian cookery
Birdwatching - Special birdwatching weeks available
Fairytale five star Andalusian ‘village’ set in a 1,000 acre private country estate. Olive groves, oak trees, rolling countryside. Courtyards, gardens and fountains, plus palatial rooms full of Moorish furniture and art. Fine dining restaurants, spa and pool, ideal for families.
70 rooms from $194
Other Activities - Table tennis, quad bikes, petanque, kids playground
Renovated 16th-century mill. Simple hotel in rural setting, surrounded by olive groves. White-washed walls, tiled floors, wooden beams, with a pool and extensive gardens. Plenty of local activities, from hiking to birdwatching. Ideal for families.
7 rooms from $79
Families - Self contained family suites with boundless space and activities for children, plus kiddies menu and babysitters are available.
Value chic - Excellent bang for your buck at this charming guest house surrounded by leafy gardens, olive groves and orchards.
Birdwatching - There are a great wealth of birds and animals in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla, head out with some binoculars and spot them.
Great walks - Set in the Sierra del Norte Mountains, surrounded by meadows and olive groves, plus the hotel will pack you a lunch.
This statuesque family-run hotel is set in the undulating mountains of Sierra Morena. Surrounded by olive and orange groves stands a country retreat with swimming pools, tennis courts, and beautiful courtyards that make for a perfect country retreat - and with oodles of personality.
Charming and deeply rural self-catering cottages, surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery. Organic garden, orchard, local restaurant a walk away. Grass tennis courts and tennis lessons. A great base for walking in the national park and to get away from it all.
Relaxing retreat up in the hills surrounded by olive groves and almond trees. The rustic rooms have panoramic views, bathrooms and Moorish features. The silk rugs, tapestries, kitchen garden, swimming pool and authentic Arabic baths make up this beautiful find only a drive away from Granada
7 rooms from $96
Total relaxation - Lounge by the pool with views to the sierra, wander the fragrant gardens or soak in the spectacular Hammam- utter bliss!
Value chic - Great value for an enchanting stay, colourful tiled archways and engraved wooden doors transport you to another time.
Sights nearby - Check out Montefrio, an ancient town with multitude of restaurtants, a castle and a Roman bridge.
Great walks - Wonderful walking all around the Sierra Nevada, just ask your hosts to point out the best route.
A stunning country house hotel with sweeping countryside views. Atmospheric rooms, family suites with some four poster beds, with fireplaces, wooden beams and stone floors. Small swimming pool, gardens, good restaurant. Close to Granada, lots to do around too.
A typically Andalucian farmhouse with stunning mountain views. A cluster of white washed cottages have rustic rooms with stone floors and private terraces. Lovely pool and breakfast patio. Walking distance to excellent restaurants and lots to do in the Sierra Nevada. Family friendly, very peaceful.
8 rooms from $90
Views - Fantastic views of the Andalucian mountains.
A fantastic little eco lodge on the edge of the Sierra de Aracena Natural Park. Simple rooms have iron beds and pretty fabrics. Lovely sitting room bar and fireplace, sunny pool, and lots to do in the forest around. Excellent value for families, nature lovers, sports enthusiasts.
6 rooms from $95
Eco - Ground source energy, natural cork and lambs wool insulation plus rain & well water harvesting.
Fantastic guesthouse in the hills of Sierra Nevada National Park. A traditional stone building with charming rooms that blend contemporary elements with stone floors, fireplaces, wooden beams and creamy furnishings. Fantastic views from terraces, pool, excellent food, and lots of activities around.
11 rooms from $123
Views - Great views from hotel
Sights nearby - The Alhambra in Granada is just 5 miles away