If you are looking for an inland property for sale in Andalucia, let us introduce you to a little known low cost alternative! Cast your eyes directly north of Andalucia on the map and you will find Extremadura, a province which shares much of the rich history of Andalucia – but where properties are available at a much lower price (source INE).
In fact, while inland Andalucia and Extremadura enjoy similar architecture, landscapes and lifestyle, the cost of living in Extremadura is significantly lower. Extremadura is actually the cheapest place to buy property in Spain!
Cheap Alternative to Inland Property for Sale in Andalucia – Extremadura Priced for Spanish Buyers
One of the reasons why Extremadura property is so low priced is it is largely unknown by international buyers. Even many Spanish people will be hard pressed to pinpoint Extremadura on the map! And it is foreign buyers that often push up the prices of property in Spain.
Therefore when you are searching for inland properties for sale in Andalucia – or indeed any area of Spain which is popular with international buyers, you will often find that properties for sale to international buyers are priced higher when sold through international property portals than properties sold through local agents.
Less than 1% of properties sold in Badajoz, Extremadura in the second quarter of 2019 were sold to international buyers, and that compares to 27.9% in the province of Malaga, Andalucia (source).
Take a look at our Featured Property. This large townhouse in Extremadura shares many similarities in architectural style as townhouses in Andalucia, however it comes with huge outbuildings and masses of potential. Yet, at 229 euros, it represents great value for money.
Shared History and Culture
Both Andalucia and Extremadura share a history and culture which has helped to shape their ‘Spanishness’ today. Both are packed full of striking buildings influenced by Arabs, Romans and other parts of Spain’s rich history. You will see Roman remains scattered liberally over the Extremadura landscape as you will also find many landmarks detailing the destination of many of the battles of the Napoleonic wars. If you are interested in Spain’s history and culture, you will be amazed at what Extremadura has to offer.
Pros and Cons of Living in Extremadura vs Andalucia
So, while Extremadura presents a great low cost alternative to inland property for sale in Andalucia, it won’t be for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons of living in Extremadura compared to Andalucia.
Very Few Foreign Inhabitants
There are very few foreign inhabitants in Extremadura. We’re not just talking about there being one or two foreign families in a village – we’re talking about one or two families, if that, in an entire comarca.
This is both a pro and con depending on your viewpoint. If you are someone looking for the expat life, surrounded by English speakers and all day English breakfasts, then Extremadura is definitely not for you!
On the other hand, if you are looking to immerse yourself in traditional Spanish life – Extremadura is undoubtedly somewhere to consider and it is certainly an interesting low cost alternative to inland property for sale in Andalucia. There is very little foreign influence (although you will find the big international franchises in the larger cities), so the rich Spanish culture waits to be discovered.
English is Not Widely Spoken
There is a school of thought that ‘English is spoken everywhere’. The reality is, English is spoken everywhere it needs to be spoken – and this is often places where English people are looking to spend money! In Extremadura English is not widely spoken. While in Andalucia, you will never be far away from another English speaker, this is just not the case in Extremadura.
However, this doesn’t mean that you need to be a fluent Spanish speaker to live here – today, more than ever, it’s possible to get by and lead a very good quality of life by not speaking more than a few words of Spanish – although you’ll be relying greatly on the medium of mime and the help of translation apps!
Download Google Translate onto your smartphone and you can now just take a photo of some Spanish text and automatically translate it. It may not be perfect, however it certainly means that living in an area and not speaking the language is nowhere near as difficult as it once was!
The most important thing about living in an area and not speaking the language is to maintain a good sense of humour. A huge amount of mistakes and misunderstandings can be avoided or forgiven with a smile.
English is taught at an early age in schools – therefore there are plenty of youngsters who know the fundamentals of English and will be able to direct you with glee to the nearest post office. However, for more important ventures, for example when doing anything official, it is worth getting an official translator to help – however this would be the case where ever you lived if you weren’t fully fluent in the native language.
As you would expect, given the low level of international buyers, there is very little in the way of ‘holiday home’ purchase in Extremadura. Most villages are populated by full time residents. Therefore these are living villages with full time doctors, supermarkets and other services.
There is little in the way of ‘in’ or ‘off’ season, although the villages do fill up in August when families from other towns come to visit.
Shopping in Extremadura is much the same as shopping off the tourist trail in inland Andalucia.
You will find a wide range of independent shops, local bakeries and tiny shops selling the most bizarre range of products (bras to fly catchers).
In Extremadura the shops in the villages will be open all year round, with the main difference being they open different hours in winter to summer. It is not unusual to find shops in the summer open much later in the afternoon after siesta and not shut to midnight.
Head to the larger cities and you will find the national stores such as El Corte Ingles as well as international chains.
The big difference, however, is there are fewer large cities in Extremadura – namely Badajoz and Caceres.
Tourism in Extremadura is on a very different level to that of Andalucia. While there is tourism, it is certainly not on the same scale. Tourists to Extremadura are typically visiting to experience the Spanish culture. They will visit the ancient medieval towns, walk the Ruta de la Plata, investigate the seats of the Spanish Inquisition, experience some of the best bird watching in Europe…. You will not find tourists looking for English breakfasts or home-from-home comforts like English newspapers.
There is plenty of opportunity for tourism development in Extremadura and the junta supports many new initiatives. A bed and breakfast for walkers of the Ruta de la Plata or a casa rural offering a ‘real’ Spanish experience could well be a great opportunity.
If you are looking for a low cost alternative to inland property for sale in Andalucia, weather is likely to be on your list of priorities. While Extremadura and Andalucia are neighbours, the temperature in Extremadura is quite different. Being inland, the temperature in the summer can be significantly warmer – however it is a dry heat and not at all humid. This makes the heat a lot easier to live with and not like the oppressively humid hot days that can be found in coastal regions.
Inland = Travel to the Beach
Being inland, it goes without saying that anyone living in Extremadura will have to travel to the beach. However, that goes with any inland location in Spain and the journey to beaches in Huelva from the south of Extremadura are via modern good quality roads and the journey is just a couple of hours – make a day visit to the beach very viable.
Interestingly, there are some inland beaches in Extremadura. Many of the larger embalses (reservoirs) have man made beaches where you can enjoy beach activities as well as a wide range of watersports.
However, a trip the beaches around Malaga will take around three and a half hours, making this more of a weekend option.
There is an advantage to living not too close to any single beach or landmark, and that’s that it opens up the opportunity to explore.
If you are looking for an alternative to inland property for sale in Andalucia, another important thing to consider is transport. One reason why Extremadura is not well known by international visitors is that it is pretty much off the beaten track when it comes to transport. However, that doesn’t mean it is inaccessible by any means. Travel to Seville airport is just over an hour from the south of the province, and travel to Madrid airport from the north east of the province is around two hours. Malaga airport is about three hours from the south of the province.
High speed trains do not currently run in Extremadura, although this is being rectified and the work is being completed on tracks for new high speed train services from Madrid.
“The Only English in the Village”
It is highly likely you will be the only English speaker or international resident in a village! This, again, has its pros and cons and which side you fall on, will depend on what you are looking for in your next home.
While this won’t be for everyone, one of the immediate benefits of being the only English speaker in an area is you will be well set up to offer English classes and there is a massive demand for native English teachers! While English is taught from a young age at school, it is not taught by native teachers and many parents (and, indeed schools) are always on the lookout for native English speakers to help students with their pronunciation and basic vocabulary.
If you are looking to create a revenue stream while living in your new home, teaching English to native Spanish students is a huge opportunity.
Inland Property Andalucia vs Extremadura
So, while inland Andalucia and Extremadura share many similarities, there are also many differences. Extremadura is ideally suited to someone looking for a new adventure and to experience something completely different – it is also a great place to find extraordinary bargain properties in Spain.
Extremadura is certainly Spain’s secret!