Popular regions of Spain
Most people seeking to buy property in Spain naturally head for the Mediterranean coastline.
However, the Balearic Islands are also very popular, together with the lovely sub-tropical climate provided by the Canary Islands. Far fewer people tend to buy property in the interior of Spain or the big inland cities such as Madrid, Zaragoza, Seville or Granada.
Spain has some very remarkable cities with Valencia being notable as somewhere that, over the past five years, has made a terrific impression on foreign property buyers. Of course, one of the glories of Spain is the marked diff erences between the various regions. Spain is a vast country (the second most mountainous in Europe) that is blessed with variety both geographically and culturally. Th is makes travel through the country an endless delight fi lled with unexpected sights and experiences, as the very different cultures of Spain are encountered.
One way or another, Spain has everything you could wish for, including stunning medieval cities, wonderful museums, great golf courses, sophisticated shopping, tremendous beaches and large areas of completely un-spoilt countryside.
For the active, it is a terrifi c country for sightseeing, walking, cycling and riding and this is complemented by the vibrant nightlife available in many towns.
But in truth, for most people, Spain is 'about' sun and sea and it is these elements that attract most foreigners and are the principal reasons for the high population density of Spain along its coastline.
Indeed, foreigners are not alone in relishing the Mediterranean and many Spanish people dream of living or retiring on the coast.
Certainly, the Mediterranean Costas have remained popular since they opened up to foreigners in the 1960s. Over time, these have developed their own distinct dentities and are able to provide a wide range of lifestyles, whether for the very wealthy or those seeking a budget retirement.
There are ten Costas, two of which are on the Atlantic (the Costa Verde in north western Spain and the Costa De La Luz, west of gibraltar). Of the eight Costas along the Mediterranean coast the most famous are (from north to south): the Costa Brava, the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol
The Costa Brava is situated to the north of Spain's second largest city, Barcelona (pop. approx. 4.2 million), and is notable for its rugged and pretty coastline. Its proximity to France has meant that it has been an easy place to drive to from the UK; however although the summers are truly Mediterranean, the winters can be hard. The price for a two-bed apartment in the popular Born district typically varies between €300,000 – €500,000, whilst a three-bed villa in the fashionable resort of Sitges kicks off at €700,000.
The Costa Blanca, located in the Spanish province of Alicante, remains a fi rm favourite with British expats and second homeowners, thanks to its beaches, lifestyle and huge choice of coastal and inland property – there really is something to suit all tastes and budgets. It is split into two contrasting halves – north of Alicante as far as Dénia and south of Alicante as far as the neighbouring province of Murcia.
The coastline of the northern half of the Costa Blanca is characterised by pretty coves and a verdant mountainous backdrop. Popular resorts there include Jávea, Moraira, Calpe, Benissa and Altea. Th e Jalon Valley is a popular inland destination for buyers looking for a villa or fi nca tucked away on a hillside, surrounded by lush verdant scenery.
The coastline of the southern half is fl atter, more tropical and favoured for its long sandy beaches. The main buying areas here are on the southern side of Torrevieja, in the cheerful resorts of Punta Prima, Cabo Roig, Playa Flamenca and Villamartín, an area known as Orihuela Costa. It is also great for golfers – there is a triangle of excellent golf courses all within fi ve minutes of each other, namely Villamartín Golf, Las Ramblas de Orihuela Golf and Campoamor Golf. Plus, 10-15 minutes north of this golf triangle are two more golf courses, namely La Finca Golf in Algorfa and Vistabella Golf.
The Costa Blanca is one of the most accessible areas of Spain. Alicante airport is the main gateway to the region, but holidaymakers and homeowners travelling to the southern half, typically around Torrevieja and Cabo Roig, also have the option of fl ying to Murcia's San Javier airport, 25 minutes from Villamartín, while the northern half, for example around Moraira and Jávea, is also reachable via Valencia airport. English speaking estate agency Premium Spain Homes (www.premiumspainhomes.com), sponsor of this guide, has offi ces in both halves of the Costa Blanca.
The Costa del Sol is the best-known of all the Costas in Spain with towns such as Marbella, Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara and Estepona virtually household names in the UK. Malaga is the main city and has an international airport that services the coastline, which has seen massive development over the past twenty years.
Whilst front-line Marbella commands a premium, you can buy three-bed apartments in less prestigious positions for around €300,000, but in a more aff ordable area such as Benalmadena, you can acquire a two-bed apartment from €150,000, or a three-bed villa from around €400,000.
Meanwhile, becoming ever more popular are the Costa Calida around Murcia and the Costa de Almeria both of which are on the south-eastern coast of Spain, which is the hottest and driest part of the country.
A three-bed villa around San Javier starts at around €250,000 AND two-bed apartments in the Mar Menor area (where the La Manga resort is located) can be bought from €110,000.
Th e Balearic Islands of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera have long been known as fi ne places to holiday and have had a long history of Britons living there. Th e islands, although famous (particularly Ibiza) for their night life are all diff erent and, away from the tourist hubs, pretty and surprisingly tranquil. A two-bed apartment in Palma Old Town kicks off at €275,000 whilst a well-located three-bed villa in the resort of Porto Adriano starts at between €500,000 – €600,000. It is possible to buy a new-build apartment in Ibiza Town marina area kicks off at around €250,000 but quality villas in the vicinity typically cost around €1.5m plus.
Ever popular, are the Canary Islands, of which there are thirteen, including Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Amazingly, these islands attract some 12 million tourists a year, many drawn to the islands as much for their winter sun and warm temperatures as for the spectacular scenery.
Expect to pay €275,000 for a two-bed apartment in the popular resort of Playa de las Americas in Tenerife (prime for apartment rentals); or around €300,000 for a three-bed villa around the south-west coast resort of Callao Salvaje.
Meanwhile, in Lanzarote, a two-bed apartment starts at €90,000 and a three bed villa at €200,000.