The Spanish coastline is one of the most varied and favoured by people from all over the world. It is understandable that most want to buy a home by the sea. – in our 2020 Spain Survey, unsurprisingly the Costas remain the most popular destinations. However, around 29% of respondents said they would be looking to purchase farmhouses – in inland Spain.
Inland Spain is extremely diverse, with parts almost desert-like and others green and luscious with mountains and waterfalls. Living in the countryside in Spain is a very different lifestyle to that of the Costas and more and more people are looking for a quieter, more natural way to live. No doubt the pandemic has something to do with this, as busy beaches and cities seem less safe. Despite this, the trend towards country living had started before the world turned upside down in 2020.
The move towards remote working, rather than commuting to an office, has made the prospect of country life much more attainable. Your money will go much further inland than on the coast and you can find really lovely fincas for much less than a villa near a large town or city.
Then there is the tranquillity and slower pace of everyday life, which is sought after. For those who enjoy simple pleasures, such as long walks in the middle of nature, horse riding, hiking, cycling along country lanes and so on, the Spanish countryside can offer it all and with no pollution! Your health will certainly benefit.
In this article, we will look at some of Spain’s wonderful inland tracks and trails, as well as the appeal of buying property in these areas.
Your money will go much further inland than on the coast.
This region is definitely one of Spain’s most popular, as it includes the Costa del Sol. Step away from the coast to explore inland and you will find some wonderful scenery, small towns and villages hidden in the hinterland.
The writer and poet, Laurie Lee, wrote eloquently about his travels in Andalusia when he was 19 and spent 4 years journeying in Spain and other eastern Mediterranean countries. If you haven’t already read it, do read As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Lee, which is very descriptive of rural Spain, as well as his experiences during the Spanish civil war.
Not far from the delightful town of Antequera (45 minutes from Málaga International Airport) is an area known as Parque Natural el Torcal de Antequera, which offers numerous walks of differing difficulty. Here you will find some really impressive rock formations and also a wonderful array of wild flowers in spring and autumn, including 30 varieties of wild orchid. The Spanish ibex wanders wild in the area as do badgers and weasels. The griffon vulture makes its home here too.
You can access the park from the village of Villanueva de la Concepción. The visitor centre provides information for three colour-coded trails, one of 1.5 km, another of 2.5 km and the third of 4.5km which all pass some spectacular views.
Within the park is the small town of Almogía, which survives through cultivating almonds and olives. It is only 25 km from Málaga but is like another world! Here a 4 bedroom villa with pool and guest apartment in a secluded location costs around €279,500, but there is also property there for as little as €99,000 and as large cortijos costing over €1,000,000.
Read your Buyers’ Guide to Spain for all the information you need about purchasing a property.
Anyone choosing to live outside Valencia City can enjoy the Albufera Rice Trail. It is located about 15 minutes from the city in Albufeira National Park, which is home to Spain’s largest lake. You can enjoy all sorts of terrain with sand dunes, forests, beaches and of course, rice fields. Information can be found in the tiny village of El Palmar where you can discover several walking routes. Their length and ease vary, as some trails are in the open and flat while others are hilly and in forests.
Sollana is an inland town to the south of the National Park and is the first place in Spain where rice was grown. Today rice is still the main crop together with oranges. Within its comarca is the village of El Romaní where property is inexpensive. An ancient farmhouse with 4 bedrooms and a terrace will cost around €230,000, but there is also cheaper property in the area and farms for sale.
The stunning PRG-18 trail Fervenza do Toxa-Mosteiro de Carboeiro in inland Galicia is suitable for fairly fit people of all ages. You will pass a 70 metre waterfall, a hermitage and a fluvial beach. The length of the trail is 6 km and is not too taxing. At the end of it, you reach the 10th Century Monastery of Carboeiro, which is considered an architectural gem.
In the heart of Green Galicia, the town of Silleda is 40 km from the Galician Capital, Santiago. Cattle farming is the main source of income and the town houses Europe’s largest roofed street. The main international fair draws people from around the world. It’s a small town but has recently seen more tourism, so there could be work opportunities in the tourist industry.
Property isn’t as cheap as in other parts of Spain, so expect to pay €375,000 plus for a large stone farmhouse with 5 bedrooms and land of 1250 sq m. €70,000 buys a finca in need of restoration.
Ruta de les Ermites is a 30 km long walking route which tracks through farmland and forests. You pass 5 churches, hermitages and chapels. It is mainly flat, which will suit most and also has the advantage of joining other roads, so you can return quickly if you don’t want to complete the whole 30 km. There is one quite steep climb up to Santa Seclina. Another idea is to drive to a spot and walk to one of the sights and then return to your car. There are endless possibilities.
Not far from the provincial capital of Girona lies the spa town of Caldes de la Malavella, a starting point for the Ruta de les Ermites. Although small, it has a train station linking the town with Girona and Barcelona. The therapeutic waters were used by the Romans and nowadays there are several centres using them. In 1898, the Vichy spa and bottling plant was opened and it continues to produce the carbonated spa water. You can enjoy many types of treatments here including hot stones, chocolate wrap and aromatherapy, as well as massages using essential oils of grapefruit, thyme, rosewood and wild pine.
Property prices are similar to those in Galicia. You will pay between €300,000 and €1,000,000 for a well restored finca with 3 to 7 bedrooms and a parcel of land.
Don’t get caught when negotiating for your price – discover our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad.
A comparatively easy trail, the Valle de Almanzora valley lies between two mountain ranges. The walk takes you through glorious scenery, past white villages and several places of historic interest. You can choose from a wealth of different routes, all well signposted from each village. This trail boasts 2 via verdes – Spain’s network of trails and cycling tracks which follow the route of abandoned railway lines. There are types of walks for all abilities, some long, some short. The Via Verde Olula del Rio track is just 1.6 km long and takes about 25 minutes. On the other hand, the Via Verde Hijate to Seron track takes 2 hr 20 mins and stretches for 11.8 km.
In the north of the valley lies the small town of Oria, which has plenty of history and is surrounded by beautiful nature. There is a fascinating non profit museum here dedicated to the story of flamenco and dance and the local olive oil is renowned. Almonds are another product but you won’t find any hotels here – you need to go to larger towns nearby. This is the most rural area of the ones discussed in this article.
Property is very inexpensive with most fincas selling for less than €150,000.