Property in SPAINView Property
“The Spanish, of course, take food and drink very seriously and their
tapas, seafood and paella are every bit as famous as their sangria, cava and Rioja”
Property SPAIN – Introduction
Welcoming more than 60 million tourists a year, Spain is the second most visited country in the world, after France, and is a true powerhouse having played a key role in the explosion of package tourism, budget city breaks and, also, the overseas property phenomenon.
Ironically, much of this is, at least in part, due to the country’s turbulent history. Between 1936 and 1939, Spain was ravished by the Civil War which saw parts of the army overthrow the government and, ultimately, led to General Francisco Franco being installed as dictator. Franco ruled over Spain until his death in 1975, placing an emphasis on traditional values and nationalism. However, this led to poverty in many areas and, realising the potential of the Spanish Costas’ promise of sun, sea and sand, Spain began to actively encourage tourism.
Since Franco’s death, Spain has returned to being a parliamentary democracy and, under the leadership of King Juan Carlos, the country has made huge strides to become a major player in both European and global terms. Today, Spain consists of 17 autonomous communities (including the Balearics and Canaries), as well as Melilla and Ceuta, in northern Africa. Castellano is the main language, spoken throughout more than
70% of the country, but Basque, Catalan and Galician are also official languages in their
own right, rather than simply regional dialects.
For many visitors, Spain means miles of golden beaches, the warm Mediterranean waters and a delightful year-round climate that still make the Spanish Costas and islands the most popular destinations in the world for British overseas property buyers; whether it’s the golf and glamour of the Costa del Sol, the quiet Costa Blanca or the ever-popular Costa Brava, there’s somewhere to suit everyone. However, in addition to up-and-coming coastlines, such as the Costa Calida and Costa de la Luz, investors are also looking to cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville, to find amazing properties with huge potential.
most mountainous country in Europe, with Madrid the continent’s highest capital. The Spanish Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada climb almost 3,700 metres into the sky and are covered by a blanket of snow throughout winter, while Tenerife’s Mount Teide dwarves them both in size.
At the other end of the spectrum, Almeria is home to Europe’s only desert – where average summer temperatures can reach 30°C – while, sitting in a bowl, Seville often reaches temperatures in excess of 40°C during summer. Madrid is a city of extremes, with biting winters and sweltering summers, whereas, if you head to Spain’s north coast, you’ll find regions where the climate differs little from the UK.
such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago, Bilbao, Granada, Seville and Jerez, you can fly direct from the UK
to just about anywhere in Spain – not only those airports which serve the Costas.
British Airways, Iberia, Ryanair, EasyJet, Air Berlin, First Choice, BMI, Monarch, Clickair, Vueling, Aer Lingus, Globespan, Jet2, Flybe…the list of carriers is almost endless. Brits heading to Malaga, for example, can fly from more than 20 airports in the UK, including the likes of Aberdeen, Coventry, Newcastle and Southampton, as well as the larger, more established, airports. Flight times vary, depending on where you’re flying from and to, although the average is around three hours.
Romans also left their mark on the buildings. More recently, illustrious architects have changed the face of
modern Spain; none more so than Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona. That city was also home to Miró, Picasso and Salvador Dalí at various points in their lives.
The Spanish, of course, take food and drink very seriously and their tapas, seafood and paella are every bit as famous as their sangria, cava and Rioja. Best of all, these ingredients all come together, along with healthy portions of dancing, processions and entertainment, at the week-long celebrations known as fiestas. The most famous are the running of the bulls at Pamplona’s San Fermin, the giant fallas figures at Valencia, Buñol’s Tomatina and Semana Santa in Seville.
Golf’ has more than 70 courses, including the famous Valderrama, Club Real de Sotogrande and Parador de
Malaga. Elsewhere on the Costas, hiking, horse riding and mountain biking are all extremely popular, although they often take a backseat to the joint lures of the swimming pool and beach, which offer a wide range of water sports.
Speaking of which, the town of Tarifa, at Spain’s southernmost tip, is widely regarded as the kite surf and windsurf capital of Europe, while further around the coast towards Portugal, regular surfing is also popular.
Sailing has really taken off in Spain – as the America’s Cup in Valencia has proven – as has motorsport, with Barcelona and Valencia now both holding F1 GPs – a sign of Spain’s commitment to sports, entertainment and tourism.