Spain Explained

Rural property in Spain: Weighing up your options

Last updated on March 31st, 2020 at 10:35 am.

If you’re considering buying a Spanish holiday home, you’re likely to be thinking about whether you should buy urban or rural property in Spain.

However, there is no straightforward answer to this question. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and which location you choose is down to personal taste. Considering the state of the property market at the moment, investing in either urban or rural property in Spain is a savvy investment. That said, there are some factors that you should keep in mind. Below, we run through four key things to keep in mind when weighing up your options.

Transport links

Transport links are very important to keep in mind if you’re considering buying a rural property in Spain. In terms of infrastructure, rural Spain is far less well connected than comparable locations in northern Europe. In some locations, there won’t be a public bus service, train stations, or even any substantial roads. For some, this might sound like heaven – but for others, it could make life difficult. Before buying a country retreat, do your research about local amenities. It’s also important to consider how you’ll cope with driving everywhere, especially in the years to come.

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Speaking Spanish

If you’re looking for a new challenge, learning Spanish is  (of course!) a fantastic way to integrate into your new community. Furthermore, many linguists regard Spanish as a more straightforward, logical language than French and German. This makes it more approachable for absolute beginners, so even if you’ve never learned a language before, you might be surprised how quickly you can pick up the basics. Plus, the Spanish are generally very friendly and more than happy to help beginners practice. However, whether or not you want to take this on is entirely up to you. If you’d prefer to live in a more multilingual area, then you might be better off with an urban or coastal property.


Cost is always likely to be a significant factor in your decision. As is the case across Europe, property at a popular coastal resort or in a major city is likely to be more expensive. Furthermore, your day-to-day costs are likely to be more in these areas, as prices are often inflated for tourists. This means you’re likely to be able to snap up a bargain at a more inland, rural location. However, before making your investment, make sure you hire a surveyor to check the property is structurally sound. After all, you don’t want any hidden costs cropping up later down the line.

Planning permission

Depending on whether you decide to buy a rural or urban property, the legal classification of the plot is likely to be different. In general, urban land will be included in a General Urban Plan, whereas a rural plots tend to be outside any urban planning legislation. This distinction has various implications, as with rural land may come with limitations or total restriction on planning permissions. Furthermore, on rural land, it is essential to check if the existing construction is legal and correctly declared in the land registry. Finally, should a rural area become urbanised, infrastructure expenses can increase. However, it is also likely that the value of the plot per square metre with increase dramatically.

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Urban or rural property in Spain: A matter of taste

The most significant thing that will determine whether you buy urban or rural property in Spain is your circumstances. If you have a young family or lots of young visitors, you might not want to be too far from local amenities. The same goes for if you’re in later life. In many ways, it’ll come down to your personality as well. Will you enjoy a bit of peace and quiet or do you like the hustle and bustle of city life? Either way, there are some real bargains available. If you have a healthy deposit, you’re in a very strong position whichever location you choose.

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