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Coasts of Catalonia: where to buy property to live and to spend a holiday

Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain with Barcelona as its capital. According to the National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística), it is the most visited region of the country. About a quarter of all tourists that visit Spain come here.

The coastline of Catalonia spreads from South to North for 400 km and consists of four “costas”:

The southernmost Costa Dorada is good for beach holidays. Costa del Garraf and Costa del Maresme are preferred by those who wish to live close to Barcelona, while nature-lovers choose the Costa Brava. Here’s the Tranio guide to Spain’s most popular region.

Costa Dorada

Average price: €1,200–1,500/sq m

VISIT. Costa Dorada is one of the most popular coasts of Catalonia among tourists. Its main attraction are endless golden beaches, hence the name “Costa Dorada” which translates as “Golden Coast”. It has the best facilities in Catalonia for family holidays: the biggest adventure park, Port Aventura, is located there, as well as Bosc Aventura, Jungle Trek, Jumpland Adventure, Sport Center Land parks, and Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, Aquopolis and Aqualeon water parks.

Most resorts were built specifically for tourists so there are many modern hotels and apartment buildings, as well as nightclubs, bars and restaurants.

The northern part is conveniently connected with Barcelona by rail, while travel is harder from towns south of Tarragona and Salou.

The main landmark of the region — the Ebro delta — is located at the South. Here, pink flamingos and more than 300 specimen of rare birds nest in a territory over 320 sq km. The Ebro river is a great destination for fishing as it is home to the biggest catfish in the region, black and sea bass among others.

The name of Costa Dorada coast translates from Spanish as “Golden Coast”

BUY. The Costa Dorada is quite flat, which leaves many opportunities for property development, so real estate is cheaper than on other coasts of Catalonia. Prices range from €1,200 to €1,500 per square meter on average. It is the only costa where you can buy a 20-30 ha estate with a vineyard and a forest just a few kilometres from the sea.

Cambrils, 100 km from Barcelona, is the best option for permanent residence because it is still quite lively during winter. There are kindergartens and international schools, as well as all necessary infrastructure. Apartments in this town cost €150,000–500,000 depending on the location.

Calafell is the closest to Barcelona, where there are many properties being built. Flats in new buildings cost €200,000–250,000 and houses from €350,000.

Salou and La Pineda, typical resort towns, are great for holiday property for sale in Spain. Prices for new property in Salou start from just €120,000.

Tarragona has the most heritage of all the towns on the coast. The Roman ruins here are now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Large Rovira and Virgili University (Universidad Rovira i Virgili) are located in Tarragona, which has brought great nightlife for young people, like nightclubs and bars. Apartments in Tarragona cost from €100,000 and houses from €300,000.

The remains of the Roman amphitheatre in Tarragona are a UNESCO heritage site

La Ametlla and La Ampolla are very beautiful towns, but far from Barcelona and rather expensive. First line villas here cost €1 million.

Costa del Garraf

Prices from €3,500/sq m

VISIT. Costa del Garraf coast spreads for 29 km from Villanueva y Geltrú to Gavá Mar village. Local resorts are a popular holiday destination for wealthy citizens of Barcelona. The sea here is warm, not deep and perfect for a family vacation, especially since there are far less tourists than on the neighbouring Costa Dorada.

BUY. Most of the area is occupied by the Parc Natural del Garaff, limiting property development. Excess demand and consistent price growth.

Villanueva y Geltrú has the most new buildings and therefore the most options for interest buyers.

Sitges has the most expensive property in Catalonia. Prices for villas and apartments here start from €3,500 per square metre and can reach €12,000 — more than in the most upmarket neighbourhoods of Barcelona. Sitges is famous for carnivals, festivals, parades and all-day-long parties.

Villages around Sitges are perfect for those seeking peace and quiet. Suburban apartments cost from €300,000, while prices for villas start from €700,000–800,000. Property in Sitges is easy to sell.

Sitges carnival — the most popular in Spain

Gava Mar, 20 km away from Barcelona, is closest resort to the Catalonian capital. Property here is upmarket and expensive: first line houses sell for over €1 million. Players of FC Barcelona own several villas in the area. The resort has marinas, golf clubs and excellent international schools.

Costa del Maresme

Apartment prices from €120,000

VISIT. The Costa del Maresme is close to Barcelona: local resorts are only a 30-min drive from the local capital and two-hours from France and Andorra. The high quality of life attracts more foreign citizens each year: foreign residents increased 4.5 times over the last decade.

Barcelona is just a stone’s throw away from the resorts of Costa del Maresme

The climate is mild so there are many luscious gardens and quaint vineyards. The region is famous for its winemaking traditions.

The most luxurious part of the coast is between towns of San Andrés de Llavaneras and Calella. There are less hotels and tourists. For instance in Sant Pol de Mar there is only one hotel. The rest of the coast is built-up by glamorous villas worth several million Euro.

BUY. The southern part of the coast (from Barcelona to Mataró) has affordable property and close to the capital.

Mataró is the fastest growing town on the coast. Starting prices for new properties for about €120,000. Three-bedroom apartments 500 m from the sea start from €150,000–200,000.

There are practically no tourists in Sant Pol de Mar. Wealthy individuals live there

From Calella and Malgrat de Mar, the coast is very similar to the Costa Brava. Infrastructure is well developed and aimed at tourists. Apartments sell for €150,000 and villas in upmarket neighbourhoods for €5–6 million.

Cabrils is surrounded by hills and pine forests. Villas and houses sell from €500,000. Those who prefer peace and quiet can settle in of the neighbouring villages scattered over the coast. Teia village is famous for its vineries, while local tennis club is known as the best in the region. Furthermore, it is only a 20-minute drive away from Barcelona.

Alella is known as the most beautiful town on the coast: two rivers flow through it and mountains surround the town. Many foreign citizens live here. Houses cost from €350,000.

Costa Brava

Average price: €2,000/sq m

VISIT. The Costa Brava occupies the northern part of Catalonia and is remarkable for its nature: rocky coves, wide sandy beaches, green gardens, parks and pine forests. Many towns on the coast preserved ancient forts, monasteries, palaces and castles.

It is widely regarded as the culinary capital of Catalonia and is known for its many Michelin-star restaurants. Most buyers here are British, French and Americans. About one quarter of foreigners are looking for permanent residence here.

Costa Brava is famous for its natural beauty

BUY. Average real estate prices on the Costa Brava are about €2,000 per square metre, with prices increasing as you get closer to Barcelona. An apartment 50–80 km from the capital may cost 20–30% more than property 140—150 km away.

Bagur and S’Agaro have the most expensive property: average prices here start at €3,000 per square metre but villas on the coast can cost tens of millions.

Lloret de Mar, Blanes or Tosa de Mar are great for party people. Apartments in these towns are also very profitable as tourist accommodation. Lloret de Mar and Blanes have a wide choice of residential complexes where apartment prices start from €70,000–80,000.

Apartments on the coast in Lloret de Mar cost from €70,000

Llansá, Rosas, Empuriabrava and Cadaques town are considerably far away from Barcelona but property is cheaper. Apartments in Rosas cost from €100,000–120,000, however, it takes 2.5 hours to get to Barcelona.

Gerona, capital of the province Gerona province, is 30 km from the coast. The city is known for its museums and historic landmarks. There is an international airport and a university (La Universidad de Gerona). Apartments in Gerona cost from €100,000–150,000.

Tranio recommends:

— Costa Dorada: families with children and beach lovers
— Costa del Garraf: young people and wealthy people
— Costa del Maresme: permanent residence close to Barcelona
— Costa Brava: foodies and history lovers

Julia Gushchina, Tranio

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