Hacienda de San Rafael is situated in the South Western part of Andalucia with the historic city of Seville to the north and Jerez with its sherry bodegas and dancing horses to the south. Eastwards is the Sierra de Cadiz where the famous white villages lie.
The rugged hills of the sierra are densely wooded with pine trees and cork oaks. Here, clinging precariously to the edges of deep river gorges or perched on rocky cliffs, are a series of fascinating fortified towns known simply as "los pueblos blancos" the white villages. Every year the villagers white wash their houses creating an amazing contrast with the flower filled streets. They still bear the imprint of their defensive function in the 13th to 15th centuries, with ruined fortifications and walls, demarcating the former frontier (frontera) of the Christian and Muslim kingdoms. The parkland surrounding many of the villages is home to mountain goat, red deer and wild boar and in the skies above one can often see griffon vultures as well as golden, booted and short-toed eagles. It´s a great area for touring or hiking and there are plenty of great places we can recommend for lunch stops.
Going South East from the Hacienda you will reach the dramatic coastline of the Atlantic and the Costa de la Luz with miles of sandy, wild beaches. From Tarifa you can take a boat trip to see dolphins and pilot whales and at certain times of the year, the migrating killer, sperm and fin whales.
As you will see, the Hacienda itself is in the middle of the countryside surrounded by charming, well tended gardens with cool shady areas and pools, you may choose to relax and unwind with a good book and a cool glass of wine or take some days to explore and enjoy the wealth of natural beauty and culture that can be found in this corner of Andalucia. The choice is yours.
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