While it isn’t a well known region of Spain, living in Extremadura comes with a wide range of benefits.
Located in south west Spain, the region is well located for accessing the Mediterranean coast, the capital city of Madrid and Portugal. With so much to do in the region however, you may find little time to be heading elsewhere.
Cost of living in Extremadura
Although being well positioned for Andalucia and less than an hour from Seville at its southern point, Extremadura is not a typical tourist destination. This tends to translate into pricing in most things that is designed for locals.
That’s the case when eating out or just going for a drink in a bar.
Where it’s most marked and obvious though is when you look at housing. Property prices in the region are the lowest in the whole of Spain.
If you’re looking to get a toe hold in Spain while spending the minimum amount, it really is possible to buy a home for the price of a family car. Obviously it won’t be the most spacious or well appointed home, but it’s still remarkable that a home can be bought so cheaply.
This is the case across the board though and anyone used to the high prices of most UK cities may be left speechless by the price Extremaduran houses. Our featured property is one example, offering masses of space and striking period features.
Enjoy the Mediterranean climate
Being in the south of Spain, Extremadura benefits from the Mediterranean climate, making it a powerful reason for living in Extremadura.
Summers can be hot and dry, leading to a vibrant nightlife in even small villages.
Winters are generally short and mild by UK standards. While the region isn’t immune to proper cloudbursts, the seemingly climate change driven extreme weather that seems to be afflicting the UK over the last few years feels like it’s from another planet.
Getting to and around Extremadura
In the early 2000s, one of the worst things about living in Extremadura was transport. While Seville is just 45 minutes drive from southern Extremadura today, before the motorway opened, journey times could be up to twice as long.
Today there are good modern motorways from the south to north east and north west of the region, plus another linking the capital city of Mérida to the border city of Badajoz.
These motorways will look odd at first glance to British eyes, with them largely being two lanes only, but with traffic density so low, they’re a joy to drive on with congestion very rare even around the major cities.
Depending on which part of Extremadura, there are several choices of airport for travelling to and from the region.
In the south, the airport at Seville is a popular choice, bit for its proximity and being such a relaxed experience by modern airport standards.
According to Just The Flight, currently the following UK airports fly to Seville airport:
Additional options in the south are Malaga and also Faro on Portugal’s Algarve.
In the north of Extremadura, Madrid airport is probably the most attractive option, about two hours drive from the closest towns in the region.
Being on the border with Portugal, Lisbon airport may also be an option for some locations.
It’s fair to say that anyone living in Extremadura has a wide choice when it comes to enjoying their leisure time.
Where the region scores particularly highly is for outdoor life. While afternoons at the height of the summer may be a bit extreme for outdoor activities, the climate does mean the countryside can be enjoyed pretty well all year round otherwise.
It’s ideal for walking and cycling, and for those who prefer to do their walking with golf clubs, there are various courses across the region and more in Seville.
Of course, all of these pursuits also provide a fine opportunity to get close to nature.
The bird population of the region may be of particular interest, with vultures a regular sight in the skies. For much of the year white storks make their homes across the region in trees and on many man made structures that offer them the height. Further north, eagles nest in Monfrague National Park.
In the east of the region are some large lakes that reportedly offer some of the best angling experiences in Europe. The newer lake south of Mérida at Alange is also starting to build a reputation for fishing, though the town is better known for its restorative thermal baths, a tradition that dates back to Roman times.
The fingerprints of the Romans’ occupation of the region are still visible in many places. Mérida still has an old bridge in use, though the theater is probably the best known Roman landmark. It’s still used today for performances during the annual summer festival.
For those interested in history, there’s plenty of interest across Extremadura, with more Roman sites found in many places, such as the smaller amphitheater at Casa de Reina and the hill fort that overlooks it at Reina.
From more recent history, you can find seats of the Spanish Inquisition, such as the plaza at Llerena where public show trials and executions were carried out.
If after all that you prefer to vegetate on the sofa, you can always catch up with your favorite British TV, either through satellite or using one of the VPN services that offer access to free British channels.
Traditional food to enjoy
The Extremeños are proud of their food and it arguably one of the greatest joys of living in Extremeadura.
It’s particularly well known for the jamon iberico produced from the back legs of acorn fed, free roaming black pigs.
Each year, a competition for world cheeses in held in the town of Trujillo and regional cheeses often perform strongly. There’s a wide range of cheese types, but one of the most striking is Torta del Casar, a soft cheese with a strong and distinctive flavor that can divide opinions like Marmite.
Considering Extremadura is landlocked, perhaps the most surprising thing about the cuisine here is their love of seafood. This is a particular treat for special occasions.
Admittedly, eating out will be more difficult for vegetarians and vegans living in Extremadura, but establishments will try to accommodate where possible. Certainly in supermarkets, options are more easily found now than a decade or so ago.
If you’re a fan of big international fast food outlets, you may find the region disappointing. While Mcdonalds and Burger Kings are available, you may be surprised by the distance you have to travel to find one. Traditional restaurants remain the favored choice for many.
Would you rather be at the beach?
I’ve just mentioned Extremadura is landlocked, but that doesn’t rule out a day at the beach for those living in Extremadura.
Without leaving the region, you could choose to visit one of the public beaches at many of the lake and reservoirs.
If you really want the salt and sea air, from the south of Extremadura, the coast at Huelva is less than two hours drive away, and the beaches are considered by many in the region to be among the best in Spain. That’s possibly because the region remains popular with the Spanish primarily, more so than other parts of the Mediterranean coast which are more frequented by international holiday makers.
Whatever takes your fancy, Extremadura really does have something for everyone.