The northernmost section of Spain rarely gets the praise it deserves. An obsession with sandy beaches and suntan lotion has meant attention is often focused on the bustling tourist resorts to the south, rather than this spectacularly rugged landscape. Stretching for round 491 kilometres (305 miles), from the Bay of Biscay (Cape Higuer) to the Mediterranean Sea (Cape de Creus), the Spanish Pyrenees is a dramatic mountain range that towers up to 3,400 metres in height.
The great outdoors
Whether you’re in Catalonia to the east, the Basque Country to the west or anywhere in between, you’ll be able to enjoy alpine solitude, spectacular views, a border with France and even skiing. This combination attracts overseas property buyers who want a little more Spanish authenticity and tradition than you might find on the Costa Blanca.
The snowy peaks of the Pyrenees loom gracefully over northern Spain, providing a mighty barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. For anyone with a passion for the great outdoors this alpine playground is like being a kid in a giant sweet shop.
If you like nothing better than shredding powder, you might choose to purchase an alpine retreat that provides you with access to one of the regions 10 ski resorts. You’ll be the envy of your friends back home as you enjoy the sunny slopes, varied terrain and vibrant après ski. Rental potential also increases thanks to the dual seasonality a ski resort offers; meaning the property could pay for itself when you’re not around. Then once the snow has melted and the mountains magically turn green it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and explore the vast expanses of natural parkland.
Towns and villages
Home to a large swath of the Spanish Pyrenees, Catalonia offers visitors convenient access to the foot hills and snowy peaks beyond. Ripoll, a gateway town to the mountains, is easily accessible from the international airports located in Girona (1 hour) and Barcelona (1 hour 30). Surrounded by rolling, tree-lined hills for as far as the eye can see, this small town of around 11,000 inhabitants offers a perfect example of idyllic rural living in this part of the world, without being completely cut off from civilisation. For as little as €338,400 you could purchase a fully restored, 7-bed farmhouse, complete with your very own 15,000 metre squared slice of the Pyrenees.
If you head north and begin to wind your way up into the mountains you’ll come across centuries-old alpine villages like Planoles and Vilallonga de Ter. It’s locations like these where you will truly feel at one with nature and detached from the stresses of everyday life back home. Purchasing a property here is like stepping back in time; where the chiming of the bells from the Romanesque church and the cry of a cockerel in the morning is about as raucous as it gets. Rivers, forests, peaks, meadows, valleys and pastures will form your back garden, meaning you won’t have any trouble hitting your daily step target as you explore your new home.