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Casa Rurales: The Perfect Way to Explore Spain and Portugal in Affordable Comfort!

houseThere is a secret in Iberia, a tidbit of information so valuable that even a worldwide economic recession wouldn’t keep you from visiting the peninsula. It’s called a casa rural, or a rural house. Generally quaint and charming, as each one is a reflection of its owner, these houses dot the Iberian landscape in perfect camouflage. (Flickr photo by albertitoglez)

What is a Casa Rural (Spain) or Turism Rural (Portugal)?

A casa/turism rural is a house located in the sticks, far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s meant to be a getaway place, somewhere to hang up your hat for awhile and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.  This is where you’ll find an 16th century house nestled in a walled city of 200 people or a modern and newly renovated house overlooking the perfectly blue Mediterranean Sea. And depending on your needs, you can share your experience among other renters over a fully catered meal, or you can have a house to yourself ranging in size, style and service.

How to Find the Right Casa/Turism Rural for Me?

Finding the right space you is completely dependent on what you need. Therefore, I would begin this process by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What kind of experience am I looking for? This is a very important question because depending on whether you want a cultural, historical, gastronomical or vinicultural experience, just to name a few, the location of where you go in Iberia will alter greatly. Example, you won’t find a wide range of vinicultural options in Andalusia in the south of Spain, but you will find ample amounts of rich historical and cultural experiences.
  2. What Time of the Year is Ideal for My Chosen Location? Depending on where you are in Iberia, there are seasons filled to the gills with tourists and seasons when every store is bolted up with a sign on the door saying “gone fishing” (maybe more accurate “visiting family”). As logic would dictate, coastal towns are generally swimming with people during July and August, and mountain towns are generally packed in December and January. Be sure to ask the owner of the house when is the best time of the year is to visit, or when low season is if you want to avoid hoards of people, and do a bit of internet research to back up his/her response.
  3. Will I Rent a Car? Casa/Turism Rurales may be located in a very remote part of the region. Therefore, if you do not plan on renting a car, I would make sure that you are walking or biking distance away from restaurants, as well as a relatively large town, full of activities that appeal to you. Example: if you decide to visit Siurana in Montsant and despise rock climbing, hiking and wine, find somewhere else to go.
  4. What Type of House do I Want? There are several varieties of houses in Iberia. You can rent an entire house to yourself, rent a room in a house, or stay in a bed and breakfast. There are pluses and minuses to each of them depending on what you need. Example: You may have to share a bathroom in a casa rural where you rent a room, or if you rent the full house, you may not have all the cooking accouterments you’ll want if you’re a gourmand. The house you choose may also be dependent on the number of people you have. For 3+ people, it may be more economical for you to rent the entire house, but make sure there are enough bedrooms! Hint: If you rent a room in a casa rural, or visit a bed and breakfast, check dining hours, because they may be earlier than typical Spanish meals.
  5. Is this House Children or Pet Friendly? Many places in Iberia will let you bring your pet, but may have certain restrictions that apply. Additionally true, you may have a fabulous house but it doesn’t have any activities that meet your children’s interests. On both counts, it’s always good to get more information from the owner.
  6. What is your Budget? Prices can vary dramatically between high (generally July and August) and low season. Make sure that you are clear on how much you want to spend and what you’re willing to sacrifice to meet that price range, such as location or services.
  7. What Amenities are Important to Me? For us, free Wifi is important, but for you air conditioning or a pool may be the deciding factor. Make sure you are clear exactly what amenities you need to make your experience a worthwhile one.

How do I Find a Casa Rural/Turism?

There are several sites you can reference for both Spain and Portugal. Although you will find less information for Portugal, as this is a relatively new tourism trade, they do exist. Check out the sites below for more information:

Also check out our DO Montsant report for suggested Casa Rurales: https://catavino.net/montsant/places-to-stay/

Tell us Your Suggestions

For those of you who have taken advantage of these houses, let us know what you think! Are their questions we should consider when looking for a casa rural/turism that weren’t mentioned? Are their quality sites you suggest for searching out the ideal casa rural/turism in Spain and Portugal?

Cheers,

Gabriella Opaz

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