Posted on 07 December 2016
There is more to Spain than seaside villas and apartments in tourist resorts. Spain is a country with a rich hinterland of art, culture, shopping and nightlife. Basing your property search around a city opens the door to an array of cultural and historical options but also easy access to an airport. But with so many to choose from, how do you know which city best suits you? To give you a helping hand, we take a peek at five of Spain’s top cities. Even better, four of them have sensational beaches on the doorstep for when you need a break from all that urban excitement.
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Palma de Mallorca
Palma is one of Spain’s richest cities, beloved by the Spanish royal family (and 10 million tourists each year). At the airport just outside Palma, while the tourist buses sweep 99 percent of the tourists off to resorts like Magalluf and Alcudia, the classy and beautiful city of Palma twinkles in its lovely position around the bay. It has a medieval old town, a trendy Bohemian quarter named Santa Catalina and wealthy seaside suburbs like Portal Nous. You could buy anything from a renovated 13th century Moorish palace to a swish harbourside apartment complete with Mediterranean mooring.
As the capital of Spain’s fiercely proud Catalonia region, Barcelona offers a unique blend of art and architecture. Plus, how many countries can boast a second city with both a sandy beach and skiable mountains a short drive away? Birmingham? Not really! Barcelona offers a variety of city centre and seaside properties and a unique opportunity to combine typical tourist life on a sun lounger with the bustle of the city.
In the very heart of Spain, Madrid combines history and culture with a modern infrastructure and status as a financial centre. Madrid is certainly top draw when it comes to art, boasting more than 60 museums – including the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisz, and Reina Sofía (where Picasso’s Guernica hangs). After a day spent wondering through the elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks – such as the Buen Retiro – you can either relax at one of the many tapas bars or enjoy the city’s nightlife.
Next time you fly out to the Costa del Sol, give yourself time for a night or two in the city of Malaga. When it sided against Franco after the civil war it was kept poor, and its people responded by emphasising their Andalusian heritage in the culture of flamenco, tapas, strong wine and bullfighting. The resorts of the Costa del Sol and the white villages of Andalusia are on hand when you want them, but an apartment in or close to the city offers the Picasso Museum, the terrific restaurant scene and literally dozens of flights to the UK every week and all year.
Alicante is the gateway to the Costa Blanca, with tourists arriving in their hordes on regular flights, before being shuttled off to the nearby resorts. But those that take the time to explore this provincial capital discover a port city awash with medieval history and a rich cultural calendar. The old quarter, which clings to the slopes of Mount Benacantil, contains narrow streets, coloured houses and a lively nightlife. If you crave a touch of modern luxury Alicante also delivers. Head to the waterfront, where you’ll find a stylish marina, refined restaurants and contemporary bars.
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