Buying a holiday home in a foreign country is as daunting as it is exciting. On one hand you’re getting your very own bolt-hole in the sun. A place to enjoy with your family and friends, and might even make you some money if you invest in a buy-to-let home.
On the other, there are so many decisions – where to buy, what to buy, how to finance it? The first decision has to be location, and it’s location we’ll focus on in this article.
So, where do we believe is the best place to buy a holiday home in Spain? Let’s take a look.
Firstly, why Spain?
One of the fastest growing economies in the Eurozone, world-class tourist destination, renowned gastronomy and wines; and lest we forget, a year-round mild climate. What’s not to love about Spain?
If any or all of the above are important to your final decision on location, then we are going to tell you that Andalucia is the region that ticks all of the boxes.
Let’s take a look at some of the locations in Andalucía that we believe make for perfect holiday home destinations and the reasons why they are the best place to buy a holiday home in Spain.
Our choices for the best place to buy a holiday home in Spain: Malaga
For the purpose of this article we’re sectioning the province of Malaga into three and looking at the merits of purchasing a holiday home in each:
- Costa del Sol
- Inland Malaga West
1. Best place to buy a holiday home in Spain: Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol runs from Nerja in the east through to Sotogrande in the west. Enjoying a privileged location with temperatures rarely falling below 11-12º degrees in the winter months and averaging 16-17º. Summer temperatures can hit the 40s but tend to be in the balmy 30s. The Costa del Sol is one of the most popular family holiday destinations in the world, making it an ideal location if you are considering purchasing a buy-to-let in Spain.
The infrastructure has been built around tourism, and you can expect a high level of amenities, good transport and lots of choice when it comes to eat out, shopping and sports. The area between Malaga city and Fuengirola is best served in terms of transport, with the Cercania trainline. Anywhere outside of that strip and you’ll need to hire or buy a car, catch a bus or grab a taxi to get around.
If you are purchasing a holiday home in Spain as a family then the Costa del Sol is an excellent choice, as aside from the beach, there are heaps of activities for both adults and children to enjoy. Golf, waterparks, adventure parks, cinemas, children’s camps, watersports, and much more.
You’ll find a myriad of choice when it comes to eating out. The Costa del Sol is an international community, and aside from excellent Spanish restaurants, you can dine on a different cuisine every night of the week if you want to. There are Michelin star and award-winning restaurants in Malaga city and Marbella, and the local Malaga wine industry is thriving.
With all of that in mind, how do property prices along the Costa del Sol compare to other areas? Of course the more popular the destination, the higher the price. The Costa del Sol attracts over 12 million tourists every year, and more and more these travellers are choosing holiday lets over hotels. This demand has had a knock-on effect for rentals:
- More owners are choosing to short-term let their property to holidaymakers. At the same time they get to enjoy their property out of season. A win-win situation.
- This means that less long-term rental property is available, pushing the cost of monthly rentals up. If you are buying to long-term let, you’ll pay more for the property, but your rental return on investment is high.
Property purchase prices are very much dependent on the exact location and type of property. You’ll pay a premium on purchasing in places such as Malaga City, Marbella and Sotogrande. However, your rental income will be higher, and the investment in general will see a high return if and when you choose to sell.
If you want to enjoy the Costa del Sol and all it offers, but not pay a premium, then consider east of Malaga, or areas such as Fuengirola, Benalmadena, and further west to Duquesa and Manilva.
2. Best place to buy a holiday home Spain: Inland Malaga West
The areas between Ronda and Casabermeja are renowned for their outstanding beauty. Traditional whitewashed towns and villages surrounded by spectacular countryside, fresh air and a laid-back lifestyle.
The real beauty of Inland Malaga West is the combination of tranquility and convenience. You can live ‘in’ but ‘out of it’, with most towns within one hour of the coast, beaches, airport and amenities.
Temperatures depend on the location. Most inland areas are warmer during the summer months, as you don’t have the breeze off the Mediterranean to cool down. However, the winter months can be a lot cooler depending on where you live. It’s not unusual to see snow in Ronda, the Sierra de Ronda, and Sierra de las Nieves during winter; yet head over to the Guadalhorce Valley, closer to Malaga, and towns such as Alhaurin el Grande and Alora remain as mild as on the coast.
Transport infrastructure is better than one would expect from a countryside location. Ronda has a train service that circles the city, and heads out to the local villages, and a train line runs from Ronda through to Malaga. A local train line also runs between Malaga and the towns of the Guadalhorce Valley, as far as El Chorro and Alora. You could almost argue that it’s easier to get around inland, than it is on the coast. The roads are also well prepared and only start to deteriorate, as you head off the main road along tracks towards fincas and farmland.
The villages and towns of Inland Malaga west tend to have tight knit communities which cater very much towards a family lifestyle. Most towns and villages, even the smaller ones, will have a municipal swimming pool, and activities for children throughout the year. And you’ll be surprised at just how many foreign residents live inland. All whose aim it is to get away from a busy coastline and live a more Spanish lifestyle. Here communities are much more integrated.
Dining out and shopping in general will cost less than on the coast, where most restaurants cater for tourism. A family of four will be able to eat out at a local tapas bar for 20-25 € and most of your shopping can be done with local traders. In the Guadalhorce Valley especially they have an organic cooperative, and you can shop organic and local at the markets. Ronda is the place if you are a wine aficionado. The Ronda wine route is now one of the most distinguished in Spain. Excellent red wines are produced here.
Inland Malaga West property prices vary depending on location. You’ll definitely get more for your money than you will on the coast, but as more and more foreigners head inland, property prices have been pushed up. Want to buy a country estate in Ronda and you’ll pay a premium, but purchase a townhouse or city apartment in Ronda and prices are much more economic.
Head further east towards Malaga and you can get a lovely country house with private pool and land for as little as 300,000 €. A village townhouse can be half of that price, and you’re central with amenities around you, and a safe environment for your children to walk to school and make friends.
Inland rental prices are lower than on the coast, but the demand is high. We have many clients looking to rent a country finca with their families when they arrive here. As Property Finders we can help you choose a rental investment property that will get snatched up quickly.
3. Best place to buy a holiday home in Spain: The Axarquia
The Axarquia region lies to the east of Malaga, inland from Rincon de la Victoria to the lake and mountainous towns of Competa and Alcaucin. This is another area of outstanding beauty, where vast embalse (reservoirs) and undulating hilly landscapes are only dented by whitewashed villages nestled in the hillside.
Beautiful indeed and this area is also known to be protected from harsher winters. Set back from the Malaga coastline, the mild climate only gives way to rainy season, when life in the Axarquia can get slightly complicated.
Why? Road infrastructure here hasn’t evolved as quickly as that further west. The hilly and mountainous region can get quite hazardous in rainy season. So if your dream is of a Spanish finca in the Axarquia countryside make sure it includes a 4x4 and acceptance that there may days when you’re cut off from the outside world.
There are also fewer villages in the Axarquia compared to Inland Malaga West which means you’ll often have to travel further to get to bigger amenities. This is an area that is better suited to retirees and couples, and less so for families.
Property prices in the Axarquia are lower than Inland Malaga West, and this is a big pull for many foreign residents who want to live a Spanish rural lifestyle. But it’s important to mention that buying property inland has to be done with great care, as there are rural property laws which leave some properties – especially in the Axarquia – illegal. When you work with Move to Malaga and our sister Buyer’s Agent Spain we will brief you extensively on what you can and can’t buy, and ensure that you are not going to fall in love with a property only to find out that it doesn’t have the right paperwork, and your lawyer won’t let you touch it.
Rental prices in the Axarquia are lower than Inland Malaga West, however, the area is a very popular winter tourism destination, which makes purchasing a buy-to-let here attractive. Although unlikely to achieve the same ROI as on the coast or further west.
4. Best place to buy a holiday home in Spain: Cadiz & The Costa de la Luz
Our unsung hero. The Costa de la Luz in the province of Cadiz is a world apart from neighbouring Costa del Sol. The Atlantic coastal region is characterised by long sweeping white sandy beaches, broken up by beautiful golden sand bays. Many parts of this region are still not as widely known by foreign residents and tourists, but they get extremely busy in the summer with Spanish tourists, and out of season with tourists of various nationalities.
If you are looking for a beach location which is less built up, then we urge you to visit Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz.
Transport is all about car and bus. There are no train lines along the coast only from Jerez to Cadiz Capital. However, the roads are excellent and getting around isn’t a problem. Although the region caters less for mainstream tourism that doesn’t mean that there is less to do or fewer amenities. The Costa de la Luz is an area with an abundance of outdoor activities. Renowned for watersports, with visitors coming from all over the globe to windsurf and kitesurf in Tarifa, and Sancti Petri is popular with surfers, yachtists and kayaking.
Because of its location on the Atlantic coastline, the Costa de la Luz has a reputation for being windier than the Costa del Sol, and although that maybe the case, our Lisa Sadleir has a house here, and she’s enjoyed many sunny, windless 18+ degree days through this winter!
Eating out is less expensive than on the Costa del Sol, but no less quality. This is the land of Almadraba tuna (Conil de la Frontera), and where a great pride is taken in local specialities, such as the tuna and fried fish dishes, local retinto beef and crispy chicharrones. Sanlucar de Barrameda is home to the renowned wineries of Barbadillo and La Gitana; producing Jerez, Manzanilla and White wines.
Property prices here are rising. As in most areas of Andalucía there are not many bargains to be found. Another option we can help you with, that Lisa benefited from herself, is to seek out beachside villas and chalets that are reasonably priced, but may need work. Or plots, walking distance to the beach, to build on.
Rentals here are more popular in the summer months, and if you are considering a buy-to-let in Cadiz, you should be focusing on creating a summer business, rather than buying to long-term let or expect an all-year-round short-term let income.
5. Best place to buy a holiday home in Spain: The Costa Tropical
The Costa Tropical, or Costa Granada as it is also known. Renowned for an especially mild climate. Protected by the Sierra Nevada mountains, the region enjoys a sub-tropical climate that makes it especially appealing for escaping the long winter months of Northern Europe and Canada. The most popular towns on the Costa Tropical are Almuñecar, Salobreña, La Herradura and Calahonda.
Although the infrastructure is not as developed as the Costa del Sol, the region still has everything one would need to live on a daily basis, if you want to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. Motril is the largest town and where you’ll find more extensive amenities.That’s not to say you’ll be bored! The Costa Tropical is a popular destination for watersports, especially scuba diving, and Motril is less than an hour from the city of Granada and slightly more for skiing. So you can ski in the morning and have lunch on the beach in the afternoon. That’s your reality in the Costa Tropical.
Granada is the closest airport, with Malaga around 75 to 90 minutes drive away. This is an important factor if you have to travel for work, or do a lot of travelling, as Granada airport does not have many international flights arriving and departing on a regular basis.
Because the Costa Tropical is a popular winter tourism destination for retirees, shopping and eating out isn’t cheaper than on the Costa del Sol. Here, businesses depend on winter tourism. During the rest of the year, you might find it quiet. If you are considering purchasing a home in Spain and you have a young family, the Costa Tropical isn’t possibly the first choice you should consider.
Property prices on the Costa Tropical vary depending on location. The areas of Punta de Mona, Cerro Gordo and Cotobro, with their spectacular sea views, can hit the million euro mark plus. However, you’ll get a decent townhouse in the centre of Almuñecar or Salobreña for much less, and head slightly inland and property prices can drop to under 100k, and you’ll be living the Andalusian dream.
Learn more about how we can help you purchase a property in Spain with our Personal Property Finder Service. Our team will guide you through each aspect of purchasing property in Spain. We’ll give you invaluable feedback and an insight into the market you won’t receive from traditional agents. Our aim is to help you choose the property that ticks all of the boxes for your ideal home in Spain. Whether it’s your permanent residence, holiday home or buy-to-let investment.
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