When moving to Madrid in 1990 from Amsterdam (and before that, the USA and Argentina), we expected to find a town of white houses, surrounded by endless dry plains. We soon found out, however, that Madrid is indeed located on the La Mancha plains, but that there is a mountain range, the Sierra de Guadarrama, within a 45 minute drive from the city center, that offers wonderful hikes in empty alpine landscapes all year round, and pretty decent downhill skiing during the winter. We are sure you will be as surprised as we were to hear that Spain is the second most mountainous country of Europe, only after Switzerland, and that it is hard to find a place in Spain where there is no mountain range looming on the horizon.
From the landscapes of northern Spain, where it looks like the Swiss alps with their electric green pastures fall into the ocean, forming idyllic bays with virgin white beaches, to the merciless desert of Almería, one can find almost any landscape in Spain: canyons with crystal clear rivers, lush forests on mountain slopes, oceans of olive trees on endless glowing hills, skiing slopes with a view of palm trees on the Mediterranean coast… And many endless, open views of hills, with hardly a sign of human life in sight and mountains on the horizon.
Since we moved to Madrid, exploring the country side became a regular occupation during our time off from our work in (….) the art business. During our frequent excursions, there were two recurrent thoughts on our minds. The first, that we would like to one day own a piece of that stunning land and build the house of my dreams on it. The second, that it’s a shame that this incredible natural and cultural wealth is unknown to most Europeans, who are aware that they can find sun in Spain, but believe they need to travel to another continent for open and empty landscapes or intense nature experiences.
The first dream was turned into reality when in 2000 we bought a plot of land on the southern slopes of the Sierra de Gredos, on the northern edge of the region of Extremadura and 2 hours from Madrid. We had fallen in love with these lush slopes, where palm trees grow under 2400m. high, snow-capped mountains, and mountain rivers form idyllic rock pools where one hardly ever encounters another human. Before long, we built the house of our dreams on the land, and spent as much time there as possible. Until our children reached adolescence.
With the house standing empty most of the time, we decided to rent it out for short periods. The experience was a great success. Visitors loved the house and the surroundings, and it gave us great pleasure to be able to share our little paradise with others. The income was invested into the maintenance of the house. Several Spanish friends with beautiful country houses and similar circumstances were interested in our experience, and as we speak several languages, asked us to help them rent out their homes. All these ventures were very successful as well.
So here is the birth of CasasMágicas, the realization of our second dream, to bring those searching for beauty and nature into contact with Spain’s great landscapes and sceneries. We hope that you will love them as much as we do.