8 Days Cooking and Walking Holidays in Spain

  • Casa Allué, Calle San Urbez SN, 22371, Albella, Fiscal, Spain

Exciting Culinary and Walking Holiday in Spain

This cooking and walking holiday strikes a balance between cooking, exploring the region, and walking in the spectacular Ordesa National Park. This journey will take you from the high mountains to the foothills of the Pyrenees. Here you will discover the produce of the region, and with this in hand you will create some delicious dishes in the kitchen. It will be a fascinating journey, from a state-of-the-art restaurant kitchen to a traditional Aragonese kitchen. Simon and Lucy, your hosts, will lead the week. Simon is a passionate cook and very creative, Lucy has a background in food science. Together they make a great team, always full of fun.

Highlights

  • Winery visit
  • 4 cooking workshops
  • Visit family-run liquor business
  • Cheese, honey, and olive oil tasting
  • Visit Ordesa National Park
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily meals
  • 6 days with instruction
  • English
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You will be staying at the renovated 17th century farmhouse, within the Pyrenees Geopark, a site recognized by UNESCO as of geological importance. Casa Allu is a luxurious 17th century farmhouse where Aragon Active offers bed and breakfast Spanish Pyrenees. Located in the small hamlet of Albella, it is also the base for all the activity holidays.

Over the past 4 years the farmhouse has been restored with great care and love, preserving the wooden beamed ceilings and stone archways, and always respecting the traditional architecture of the area. Aragon Active's attention to detail is evident throughout their home, from the antique light fittings and furniture to the pictures that are throughout, everything is in-keeping.

Casa Allu has 7 en-suite bedrooms, 4 with double beds, one with twin beds and 2 individual rooms. All rooms have mountain views and are named after the wildlife that abounds outside our door. They have made sure the bedrooms are spacious with luxury en-suite bathrooms and thermostatic rain showers, each maintain their carefully restored wood beams.

The antique cast iron beds are comfortable and the luxurious curtains and rugs give a rustic and homely feel. All seven rooms have plenty of natural light and four have stone balconies. The night skies here are breathtaking, star gazing is a must! Whilst the restoration is true to the traditions of the area and the age of the house we have also endeavored to include some modern amenities.

The geothermal hot water and underfloor heating system ensures they have sufficient hot water for everyone and we are cozy in the colder winter months. The balconies and windows are double glazed and each has an integral fly screen, ideal to enjoy a gentle breeze on warm evenings. There is a small gymnasium below a spectacular beamed roof, a place to stretch out as well as tone up.

On the floor below is a large class room where lectures and presentations take place. Breakfasts and evening meals are served in the spacious dining room with open views down the valley. Across the courtyard is the library and sitting room, where there are plenty of tourist information as well as a good choice in recreational reading.

The atmosphere is quite unique here, a huge slab of rock upon which the house is built forms the backdrop to a seating area by a wood burning stove. In both areas Wi-Fi is available. From the house you can enjoy wide open views of the Pyrenees; meadows, mountains and woods stretch out before you. Sometimes the silence is broken with the soothing bells of the village sheep.

At night, the only thing you will see from your bedroom is the amazing starlit sky as there is no light pollution. During the day you can explore the extensive private grounds of the house which include meadows, mature walnut and oak trees and woods. From here you can also go mushroom picking in spring and autumn.

Day 1, Saturday - Arrival. Welcome to Casa Allu!

Upon arrival, enjoy a welcome drink and a chance to meet Simon and Lucy, your hosts for the week, before your evening meal.

Day 2, Sunday - Cooking and walking

  • After breakfast you depart for the mountain village of Saravillo to visit a small farm where they produce various cheeses, and yogurt from goat's milk. You will see the production process and taste some of the delicious cheeses. With your taste buds tingling youe go to the magical lake of the Moorish Woman. A brief walk will bring you in sight of this lake, one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the central Pyrenees. But according to legend it hides a dark secret! You will have your picnic lunch here, surrounded by the amazing pre-summits of Cotiella.
  • After lunch you return to Albella for your first cookery workshop, using some of the produce you saw at the farm.
  • Evening meal and briefing over coffee.

Day 3, Monday - Cooking and walking

  • After breakfast you have your first visit to the Ordesa National Park. You walk gently up the valley of Ordesa to visit stunning waterfalls and beautiful cascades. The Ordesa canyon is very dramatic with cliffs towering 1000 meters above the valley floor. While you have your picnic lunch, you will be on the look out for the Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier), Griffin Vultures, and Chamois.
  • In the afternoon you visit a small family business where they make different liquors and herbal infusions.
  • Arrive back at Albella for refreshments and your second cookery workshop.
  • Evening meal and briefing over coffee.

Day 4, Tuesday - Walking tour

  • A very different day! You visit an area that supports the highest population in Europe of the magnificent Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture). In the morning you all walk to a number of viewing balconies. Here everyone hopes to spot these birds, as well as Griffon vultures.
  • Lunch at a mountain restaurant where you enjoy their home-grown produce and cooking. The restaurant is perched on the hillside, so you may just glimpse more raptors over lunch.
  • In the afternoon you do a short circular walk to photograph an 11th century chapel, with a dramatic setting.
  • On the way home you call at the medieval town of Ainsa.
  • Return to Albella for your evening meal and briefing over coffee.

Day 5, Wednesday - Walking and cooking

  • Today you are in and around the little hamlet of Albella. You start with the short walk to the chapel of San Urbez, where you will have the opportunity to look inside and learn a little of the history of the chapel.
  • You are privileged to visit a private house in the village, Casa Cebollero. The house has changed little over the centuries, it still has the traditional Aragonese kitchen with central fire for cooking, of which few exist now, and the intricate stone floors.
  • Lunch in Albella.
  • After lunch you have our third cookery workshop where you reveal the secrets of Spanish tapas.
  • Light supper and briefing over coffee.

Day 6, Thursday - Walking tour

  • After breakfast you leave for Somontano our closest wine region in Aragon. The name Somontano means "under the mountains", an apt description as the region sits in the foothills of the central Pyrenees mountains less than 35 miles from France. This morning, en route, you will have the opportunity to walk up to a breathtaking viewpoint, before visiting one of the many bodegas. After your picnic lunch you will call at a family run ecological olive oil business.
  • On the way home you stop at Ainsa to sample some local tapas.

Day 7, Friday - Cooking and walking tour

  • After breakfast you have your final cookery class.
  • Lunch in Albella.
  • In the afternoon you depart for a 4x4 excursion to the Ordesa National Park. This is the climax to your visits to the National Park. The trip will give a stunning overview to one of the true wonders of the world. You will go to five dramatic view points each giving a different perspective of the Canyon of Ordesa. There are panoramic views across to Monte Perdido, Brecha de Roland and the Massif. We will learn a little of the history of the valley, the wildlife and the flowers with your guide and driver.
  • Return to Albella for a light supper.

Day 8, Saturday - Departure

  • A flexible timetable depending on departure times. A light lunch or a picnic is available. For those departing from Zaragoza airport you have the option to visit the impressive Castillo de Loarre on route.

Please note that this is strictly a non-smoking holiday.

  • 2 visits to Ordesa National Park
  • Trip to Saravillo to visit a farm producing goats cheeses, yogurt and milk
  • Trip to Somontano
  • Visit a honey farm
  • Visit a private house in Albella
  • Visit Ainsa, a medieval town
  • Visit Albella
  • Visit Basa de la Mora or lake of the Moorish woman
  • Visit Castillo de Loarre (depending on departure timings)
  • Visit to a local liquor producer

Our bed and breakfast Spanish Pyrenees is in the historic part of the sleepy farming hamlet of Albella, situated in the unspoiled valley of the river Ara. Albella is known locally for the 16th century chapel of Saint Urbez and the miracles that were performed here. A footpath from our door follows the pilgrim trail of San Urbez towards the mountains of the Sierra de Guara, a beautiful walk that can be adapted to a circular route back to our house. The valley is remarkably green due to its central position in the Pyrenees where we benefit from the perfect balance between the hot Mediterranean and cooler Atlantic climate.

Nearby places

  • Ordesa national park - 40 minute-drive
Activities
  • Cooking classes
  • Gym
  • Hiking trail nearby
  • Mountain walking/trekking nearby
  • Scuba diving nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Stargazing
General
  • Balcony
  • Bar nearby
  • Caf nearby
  • Dining area
  • Honesty bar
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge
  • Picnic area nearby
  • Restaurant nearby
  • Smoke-free property
  • Special menu request
Services
  • Car rental nearby
  • Convenience / grocery store nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Library
  • Meeting room
  • Tour assistance

We prepare all the meals here in our spacious kitchen. The focus is on well balanced meals, whether outdoors enjoying a picnic or dining in. The menus will vary according to the season. All meals and refreshments are included. Breakfast is a nutritious continental buffet style with plenty of cereals, fruit, and home baked bread. Picnic lunches will be followed by our main three course meal in the evening.

Restaurant meals and three course lunches at Albella will be followed by a lighter supper (two or three-course). Wine and coffee is included with the evening meals and we have an honesty bar for pre-dinner drinks. The water here is drinkable and comes from the mountain spring. We have a font in the entrance hall where you can fill up whenever you want. We also have a range of herbal infusions, normal tea and coffee, all of which are included.

Abandoned village of Janova is within walking distance from the house. Here, in the late 60s all the inhabitants were forced to leave their homes as part of the expropriation for a dam which was never actually built. It makes for a fascinating day out, walking down tracks through forest, visiting the beautiful River Ara and emerging at Jnovas for a picnic, before returning to the house on a more elevated route with views across to Monte Perdido. Today restoration is going on in the village as very slowly life returns.

Gentle walks on forest track. One of the great appeals of Casa Allu is the fact that you can walk out of the door and just explore. There are a number of tracks in the countryside, some like high Devon lanes others quite open, but all with marvelous views. You may come across an old stone bridge or a small borda (barn) or see old terrace walls which nature has reclaimed. All are worthy of a few minutes pause, if only to wonder at the human effort involved in the making.

  • 4 cooking classes
  • 6 guided excursions
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • All refreshments
  • Coffee, tea
  • Picnic lunches
  • Wine
  • Flights
  • Pre-dinner drinks (honesty bar)

Driving from France

You need to allow about 15 hours driving from the northern ports.

Arrival by airplane

Arrive at Zaragoza airport (ZAZ). This is the nearest airport located two hours away. From the UK it is the simplest way to arrive. Ryan Air offer flights all year round from London Stansted. Flights start from under GBP 100, including taxes, and are generally cheaper the earlier you book.

Arrive at Barcelona - El Prat airport (BCN). Barcelona is a hub for international flights from outside Europe so if you are arriving from the USA, Canada, Australia or another international destination, this is the best airport to fly to. There are also flights from many UK airports to Barcelona. As well as scheduled flights all the low cost airlines fly to Barcelona: Ryan Air, Easy Jet, Vueling, Monarch as well as Jet2.

Arrival by ferry

Brittany Ferries have three routes from the UK direct to Spain: Portsmouth-Bilbao, Portsmouth-Santander and Plymouth-Santander. The ferries are a great way to travel and have private cabins, restaurants, bars and viewing decks. All of the routes allow you to take your own car and crossings take around 24 hours.

Arrival by train

Arrive from Barcelona or Madrid at Zaragoza train station - Zaragoa Delicias. Aragon Active can pick you up from the train station.

Distances

  • Barcelona El Prat airport - 3 hours driving
  • Bilbao - 4.5 hours driving
  • Lourdes Tarbes airport - 3.5 hours driving
  • Pamplona airport - 2.5 hours driving
  • Pau airport - 3 hours driving
  • Reus airport - 4 hours driving
  • Toulouse airport - 4 hours driving
  • Zaragoza airport - 2 hours driving

Testimonials

  • Review by a traveler from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "I spent a lovely week in July staying at the very comfortable Casa Allue with wonderful hosts Lucy and Simon and their charming two children. I was there to see the local wildlife of which there was plenty. The week was carefully planned with several different areas covered which concentrated on different aspects of natural history. Nothing was too much trouble with wonderful local food and wines. The weather was warm and sunny which meant I was able to see lots of species of butterfly and birds. It was amazing to walk in the snow one day while walking in the mountains! I also saw local wild pigs in the garden. It was an amazing area, I would love to go back one day."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from France
    10 out of 10

    "We recently spent a photographic week at Casa Allue and cannot rate our experience highly enough. The location of Casa Allue is stunning and the restored farmhouse warm, comfortable, and welcoming. Our hosts Simon and Lucy were kindness itself. Nothing was too much trouble and their attention to detail was remarkable. The food - all based on local produce and much of it from Simon and Lucy's garden - was outstanding."

    "Our photographic tutor for the week, Inaki Relanzon, knows this area of the Spanish Pyrenees intimately and along with Simon he got us to all the best places for photographing the beautiful autumn colors which abound in October. We were also taken to the mountains for a 4x4 trip to try to spot. It was a privilege to share Inaki's knowledge and enthusiasm for the protection of this once threatened species."

    "On a practical level we benefited hugely from Inaki's instruction. Always kind encouraging and patient he took our photographic skills to a whole new level. We would recommend this trip unreservedly."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "I stayed at Casa Allue recently for a trail running holiday and I can honestly say it was one of the best trips I have taken. The hosts Lucy and Simon were fantastic hosts and they though of everything. It far exceeded what I was expecting. The meals they provided were so fresh and awesome (I hope there is a blog or cookbook coming with the recipes soon!) "

    "The location is stunning and the farmhouse renovation has been done so well. The local guides they provided were so knowledgeable and ensured we got to see the best of the Pyrenees. We were so well looked after it was hard to leave! I am so grateful to the hosts for arranging trail running as one of their many different activity holidays and I am planning a return trip."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Neil E. from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "I went on a photography holiday week and had a lovely time. The location, organization, food, house, and people were all fantastic. Saw lots of interesting wildlife and beautiful landscapes. The walking in that area is great too."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Dan and Jan Sinclair from Canada

    "We spent a week in Aragon with Simon, Lucy, the girls, and more welcoming and attentive hosts it would not be possible to find. It was a real pleasure sharing their home.The setting of the house and land is stunning and the place itself a wonderful amalgam of traditional and very modern with all the comforts you could wish for. Aragon as a destination to explore and sample has a great deal to offer with incredible scenery, fascinating wildlife, and great food and drink, to name just a few of the delights.The program was billed as a mix of walking and cooking, to which you should add photography, eating, drinking, and travelling. Each individual item in the itinerary was well chosen and interesting in its own right. The highlights included: Cookery master class with a top chef, visiting local sources of produce (and sampling thereof), Meals at local restaurants with local specialties, cookery classes at home.The travel and walking in the different areas of the lovely countryside was spectacular and the photographic opportunities particularly special. Finally, a huge thank you to Simon, Lucy, and the girls for what has already become a trip to long remember and treasure. We wish them all the best for the future of this wonderful project."

    Aragon Active website, edited

  • Review by Jesper and Rikke from Denmark

    "We stayed at Casa Allu for three days and the stay exceeded our expectations in every way. Simon and Lucy were the perfect hosts. They provided thorough driving directions tailored for our plans. They made lovely breakfasts and a wonderful dinner (yes, Simon happens to be a great chef as well!). They shared their local knowledge and Lucy took her time to make the perfect hiking plans for us, considering our skill level, weather, and how to catch the best sunsets on the way.Their farmhouse, Casa Allu, is beyond what photographs and descriptions can capture. Beautifully and respectfully restored (by themselves) and sitting on a small hill overlooking the valleys green fields and grazing sheep and with mountains towering to all sides. The room was lovely and we lacked absolutely nothing. Simon, Lucy and their adorable daughters fill the place with love and make you feel right at home. When we return to the valley one day, there will be no doubt where we will be staying. The highest recommendations and best of wishes."

    Aragon Active website, edited

  • Review by Marie-Louise from United Kingdom

    "Lucy and Simon's house is gorgeous! Their knowledge on Albella and the area really shows how passionate they are about this place. I thought I might have a problem when I mentioned I was vegan, however, Lucy and Simon stretched that extra mile to cater for my needs, which was brilliant. The walks were quite tough at times, but with support for everyone and the view at the end, it was very much worth it. I would recommend anyone to come here!"

    Aragon Active website, edited

  • Review by Claudia Koch Ley from France
    10 out of 10

    "Fantastic place to stay with wonderful, easy, and friendly hosts including two gorgeous and entertaining daughters! We can't wait to return for an ideal mix of beautiful nature in ancient rural Spain, comfort, walking, and tasty dinners."

    Aragon Actives Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Audrey and Matt from United States

    "Lucy and Simon proved to be very gracious hosts. Lucy and I comunicated a number of times prior to our arrival. She was very timely and informative with her responses and our requests. She provided a great recommendation for a short hike on the way to the property. The property is beautiful. It is in a picturesque setting. An unforgettable escape from our reality. The home is a great eco friendly renovation with modern amenities. Simon provided a delicious dinner and a perfect packed lunch for our adventure. Simon and Lucy also assisted us with plans for our short stay and recommended stopping of places on our way to the next place. If you are looking to stay in the area, this should be high on your list!"

    Aragon Active website, edited

  • Review by Carolyn Jones from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "It's just such a surprise to find this whole area of Spain that not many people in the UK have ever been too - it is just fabulous! All credit to Lucy and Simon for finding it, sticking with it and making such a wonderful job of the planning, the building project and the business, now it is up and running. I can only say, don't put it off plan that holiday today. You won't regret it, whatever your interests may be, there will be something to surprise and delight you. In fact, they are such good hosts that you could stay in every day and still have a great time! But that would be a shame really, honest."

    Aragon Actives Facebook page, edited

Sobrarbe, Aragon, Spain

Aragon Active offers small group, special interest holidays, self-catering, and a bed and breakfast close to the Spanish Pyrenees.

from --

8 days / 7 nights

Departure:
Saturday September 16, 2017
(8 days / 7 nights)

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