What Property To Buy In Spain

Monumental Architecture.
 
Spanish architecture does not always receive the full recognition it deserves. The country has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe and many are important cultural buildings from the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to the works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona.
 
The Romans with their aqueducts and bridges were the first to leave their mark on the Spanish mainland, but it was the Moors who arrived from North Africa in the eighth century who had the most dramatic impact. Their 800-year occupation of Spain brought new crops (including the orange, lemon and fig trees that still dominate parts of Spain today) as well as creating dramatic and beautiful architecture. The Great Mosque of Cordoba – now a Catholic cathedral – and the magnificent Alhambra, the fortress and elaborate medieval palace, are two of the finest examples.
 
The Moors who remained in Andalucía after the twelfth century created a unique architectural and artistic style. Highlights still visible across southern Spain include horseshoe arches, glazed ceramic tiles with characteristic geometrical patterns in a range of blue and white, woodcarvings and courtyards with orange trees and soothing water fountains. 
 
Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles all came from Europe and were adapted, generally by adding more elaborate Moorish-inspired details. Neoclassical architecture then saw a return to a purer, less embellished style, such as on the magnificent frontage of the Prado Museum in Madrid, founded in 1819.
 
By the end of the nineteenth century, Catalan Modernism – a Spanish version of Art Nouveau – was transforming the wealthy city of Barcelona. Famous examples by the leading architect Antoni Gaudi of this flamboyant, curvaceous style with its highly decorated facades include Casa Milà, his central Barcelona building without one right angle, and the still uncompleted Catholic basilica La Sagrada Familia.

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A Spanish Home
 
A country as large as Spain offers a big selection of property and areas to live in. Newer homes include seaside apartments and homes on gated golf resorts, but older properties, and especially rural ones, have been attracting buyers eager to connect with an authentic Spanish country lifestyle.
 
Fincas
 
The word finca translates in Spanish as ‘estate’ and refers to agricultural land, possibly with estate buildings or an old house included. Today it refers rather generally to a medium size farmhouse surrounded by less than 10 acres of land, and can also mean a substantial and grand new build rural home.
 
Cortijos
 
Strictly, a cortijo (country house) is often found on a finca. However a cortijo is generally a larger and more impressive building or estate. Usually in the form of a traditional stone farmhouse, many cortijos are painted white and have Moorish origins or architectural details. Particularly pertinent in Ibiza, the very beautiful Ibicenco style property is often found further inland following traditional farming custom, allowing tranquillity and spectacular rural views.
 
Many fincas and cortijos have their own wells but buyers should be sure to check connections to utilities and services.

 

Coastal Homes
 
The original reason that took many overseas buyers to Spain – a home along Spain’s long and varied coast has great appeal. Choices range from a detached home high up in Deia on the Balearic island of Mallorca, to a contemporary apartment in Marbella on the Costa del Sol.
 
Golf resorts
 
If the original overseas buyers went to Spain for the beach, the next generation headed there for a home around the wonderful golf courses that transformed the country. Professional international golfers attached their names to ambitious residential projects, and Spain’s place in golfers’ hearts was born.
 
Including the Canary Islands and the Balearics, Spain has over 400 golf courses. The most famous is arguably Valderrama, one of the championship courses in Sotogrande, which hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup the first time it was help in Continental Europe.
 
Figures show that it isn’t only golfers who like a home on the green. Buyers like buying in a golf development because of the immense green zone afforded by the golf course itself, as well as the potential rental returns, should they care to generate income from their property. 

 

Sporting Estates
 
Spain’s size means it has a fabulous selection of sporting estates, from Mallorca to Marbella, offering a diverse selection of activities. For example, as well as golf, Sotogrande in Andalucía offers international polo with nine pitches, horse riding, tennis, sailing and modern marinas. International sports teams train there year round, thanks to the combination of superb facilities and good weather.
 
The Spanish royal family enjoy hunting in the Spanish countryside, where both hunting and shooting estates, mostly found in Andalucía, are stocked with wild boar, ibex, deer, partridges and quail. There are equestrian and stud farms, as well as farmland covered with almond and olive trees and vines.
 
 
New Developments and Gated Communities
 
After a protracted slowdown in the construction industry, Spain is building again, but at a measured, more thoughtful pace. Well located new developments with communal facilities such as pools, gardens and tennis courts can offer attractive rental returns and easy living without constant maintenance concerns. Villas in great residential areas are once again being sold off-plan.
 
Gated communities offer security and the ease of a lock and leave lifestyle which appeals to residents and holiday home owners alike. Find these across the country, from up market small scale estates in Ibiza, to substantial and spacious clubs in Marbella such as La Zagaleta.
 
 
City Centre Apartments
 
The new kid on the block for overseas home owners, the appeal of a city centre home in Spain lies in the compelling mix of high culture, year-round life and the opportunity for healthy potential rental returns. Restaurants are on the doorstep and you don’t need to rely on a car to get around.
 
Architecturally pleasing apartments in Madrid and Barcelona have a universal appeal while in Mallorca, it is overseas buyers who have lead the charge to renew historic homes. Over half of Palma’s Old Town around the Gothic Cathedral has now been renovated.