Free holiday accommodation in Spain

Chalet below the spectacular Castellets ridge, rent free in exchange for donkey sitting

Please read carefully: this is NOT a commercial advertisement but a genuine free offer of accommodation in a beautiful setting with access to mountain walks and beaches in exchange for twice a day animal care for the period of your stay. El Parral is situated in a majestic landscape of pine covered mountains – below the jagged Castellets ridge in the above photo – but it is also within 30 minutes of the sandy beaches of the Costa Blanca.

The nearest airport is Alicante where all the main car rental companies are based. A hire car is necessary but Spain is still a cheap country for rental. El Parral can be reached from Alicante airport in 50 minutes. Full guidance will be provided, including meeting you at the motorway exit which is just 10 minutes from the house: autovia AP-7 Junction 66 for La Vila Joiosa.

Holiday period availability:

I will fit in with your dates. Any time except July for a period of two or three weeks, and once agreed I will make my own arrangements for the corresponding time away from the house. This is a limited opportunity: I am not booking dates through the year but just one summer period and maybe one autumn period, so it’s first come, first served!

The accommodation is very basic and would suit two adults (there are two single bedrooms). The house is a single storey small chalet with comfortable living room, dining room, leading into a well-provided kitchen with all utensils and cooking facilities – eye level grill, wall mounted oven, good gas hob, large fridge freezer (plus paella ring and wide pan for outside cooking).

The two single bedrooms have double glazed windows and are fully fly-netted against insects during the summer months. Bed linen and towels are provided and there is a washing machine. The house is situated in a pine-forested area and shaded from the fierce summer sun. All windows have outer shutters. Photos of bedrooms 1 & 2:

There is a fully fly-netted pergola (shaded by solar panels and cane roof) overlooking the donkey field. This is a suitable area for relaxing and eating, with a view of the valley and the forest. Temperatures typically reach between 25 – 32 centigrade between the end of April and early September. The house is located within a trangle of three villages, each with its own municipal swimming pool, and within a 20 minute drive. The villages have bars and small shops. Supermarket shopping is available 30 minutes away. The beaches of Vilajoiosa or Cala Finestrat are also 30 minutes away.


The house is solar-powered so there are no charges for electricity consumption. Internet is provided by fixed 5G modem which is reasonably reliable and signal gives very good Whatsapp availability. Within the house, pergola and field outside, there is a clear phone signal, though it is patchy in the mountains if you go for walks nearby.

All cooking and water heating is gas-powered and there will be a sufficient supply of full gas bottles in storage for the period of your stay. A donation for the cost of that and replacing the water in the main freshwater storage tank is invited, but the important thing is to offer FREE accommodation in exchange for the donkey sitting!

The donkeys: (left to right) Morris, Matilde, Aitana and Rubí

For this free accommodation your task is simply to provide four donkeys with their daily needs, twice a day: morning feed and evening feed. Sweeping of the manure takes about 10 minutes, twice a day (manure buckets are collected at the end of the week by a neighbour in the village). There is no need for any experience of donkeys: they will teach you! At the beginning of your stay, I will explain the routine, walk you through the tasks and give you all the backup information (e.g. how and when to contact the vet in an emergency), but that is all you need to do for your free holiday accommodation. I rely on you to ensure the donkeys are fed and maintain the security of the house during your stay, including vigilance for local wildfires. All local contact numbers and people to help in any emergency will be given to you.


Additional general questions will be answered in the comment box below (please allow a delay for comment moderation) but if you wish to explore dates with me, please contact me by email: garethomas030(at) and I will provide a phone number from there.

23/03/2023 UPDATE: Thanks to all who have been in touch by email. One enquirer has decided to take up the offer and make a SUMMER booking, so don’t contact me with enquiries for summer 2023, but…

***If anyone is interested in taking up this free holiday accommodation in the AUTUMN – September or October 2023 – I may also take a short break then, so let me know what dates interest you.***
A view of the Xarquer valley and the Castellets ridge – walking Matilde donkey – just 300 metres up the road from El Parral.

2 thoughts on “Free holiday accommodation in Spain

  1. Thanks for that suggestion: it is a *very* good idea and I’ll explore it today. That would take care of any vetting issues too. I’m quite happy to wait for the right people, however, so I’m not rushing into this. So far, due to the social media link to this blog having a largely North American audience, I’ve had a huge number of hits but very few in UK and EU! So targeting is obviously important too. Hey ho! Once again, thanks for the suggestion: I can’t think why I didn’t ask you for advice first, as you are a leading pet transport agency and you know this blog well enough! If you could mention it to suitable contacts that would also be kind. Bye for now.


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