Overlooking the Andalucian mountain village of Gor in Granada province, Cortijo Gázquez is as far from the madding crowd as it is possible to get. This converted almond farm and attached Cortijo has been renovated to provide luxurious self-catering accommodation. Although 'off the grid', solar panels and biomass provide the underfloor and water heating and electrical power. Top of the range double glazing and insulated, natural stone walls, ensure the apartments are warm in winter and cool in summer. Each apartment has a log fire in case it is really cold.
The three apartments surround a courtyard, excellent for pre-dinner drinks in an evening. The barbeque area set up on the old, stone-flagged, threshing area behind the Cortijo is perfect for al fresco dining. Alongside the property is a pool with sombreros and loungers. All the apartments have internet, satellite / terrestrial tv, spacious kitchen with oven, bathroom and a lounge with a dining area.
At over 1000 metres above sea level, in the foothills of the Sierra Baza, with a backdrop of the Sierra Nevadas, Cortijo Gázquez is a walker's paradise with paths leading off into the mountains from the doorstep. The village of Gor is a 20-minute walk away and well worth exploring. Notice the communal village laundry and fountain. Both were in use until very recently. Gor is remote from the normal tourist trail. It's people still live a traditional life based on agriculture and herding, little affected by the outside world. Cortijo Gázquez is a place from which to discover the real Andalucia.
It is during the night that the peacefulness of the area is most pronounced. With little ambient light, the milky way is spread above in all its glory. Orion, the Plough, Leo, Scorpius and many other constellations are all visible with the naked eye. The Andromeda galaxy is a spiral blur viewed through the thickness of our own galaxy. The piercing call of an owl, a kilometre away down the river valley, or a rustle in the wild thyme as some nocturnal animal passes by, provides the only background noise to the perfect silence.
On a broader scale, Gor is part of the Geoparque Granada project due to the concentration of megalithic dolmens in the river Gor valley and the number of archaeological and palaeontological sites in the area. There are dozens of geosites to visit within the Geoparque ranging from Orce, site of the earliest humans in Europe, to the Argar culture fortified settlement of Castellón Alto; all within a one hour drive. Geoparque Granada is applying for UNESCO World Heritage status.