Coldwell Banker Around the World: January 2024

At first glance, the picturesque Alt Empordà region captivates visitors and locals alike with beautiful coastline and Catalan Pyrenees views. However, beyond the quiet countryside and blue horizon, the diverse Alt Empordà territory encompasses distinct characteristics.

At first glance, the picturesque Alt Empordà region captivates visitors and locals alike with beautiful coastline and Catalan Pyrenees views. However, beyond the quiet countryside and blue horizon, the diverse Alt Empordà territory encompasses distinct characteristics. From quaint fishing villages near the French border, to the plains region filled with wineries in the west, there is no shortage of gorgeous scenery. Visitors can engage in cultural heritage sites and art museums (a Salvador Dali enthusiast’s delight), enjoy mountain activities and water sports, and savor culinary adventures. It’s easy to understand why tourists return and residents remain here.

What makes it so appealing as a place to call home? “Because every imaginable land and sea activity is possible. Living by the canal and mooring your boat in front of your garden or living in a house with a splendid sea view. It’s a real paradise,” shares Coldwell Banker Lux Real Estate CEO Jean-Charles Strahodinsky. He and his wife, Rose, who coordinates the three Coldwell Banker Lux offices in the area, speak incredibly highly not just of the landscapes but the architectural qualities of the homes themselves. Rose adds that “in the Alt Empordà region, each house is a living history: masías in Catalan villages preserve tradition, fishermen’s houses with moorings bear witness to the past, luxury villas with sea views tell of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, architecture speaks of past histories and promises unique futures.”

Read on to learn more about the beautiful region of Alt Empordà, home to Coldwell Banker Lux Real Estate.

Where do you live? I live in a coastal town in the Catalonia region of northeastern Spain, named Roses, in the Region of Alt Empordà.

What is the perfect weekend day like? A perfect day is to wake up and have breakfast enjoying the magnificent sea views. In the morning grab your bike and discover the nature and Natural Parks of the region of Alt Empordà. Then, put on your swimming costume and spend the whole afternoon on a boat discovering the beautiful coves that the Mediterranean Sea has to offer and do all types of activities. In the evening, go to a restaurant on the beach with your family and friends, eat tapas, and listen to music.

What are the common modes of transportation there? People usually travel by car or motorbike. It is also very common to walk along the promenade.

Tell us about the foods your area is known for. As the Alt Empordà is situated on the Mediterranean coast and touches the Pyrenees mountains, its cuisine is influenced by both Catalan and Mediterranean culinary traditions, and so it has a lot of variety of food. But Roses is mainly known for its rice dishes like Paella, as well as its fresh seafood like prawns. Here, we also love Bread with tomato (Pa am tomàquet). It is a simple yet flavorful dish that involves rubbing ripe tomatoes on bread and drizzling olive oil over it. It’s a staple in Catalan cuisine.

What is your favorite meal, at home or at a restaurant? I really like local products such as fresh fish. It is also very common and tasty with rice or noodles, adding even more flavors to the final result. But first, some tapas to share with friends such as ham or prawn croquettes, bread with tomato and ham or patatas bravas.

Where do you recommend someone vacation in your region and why? For an enriching vacation in the Alt Empordà region, where Roses is located, explore its diverse attractions catering to various interests.

Cultural enthusiasts should begin their journey in Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí, where the renowned Dalí Theatre-Museum showcases the surreal art of this iconic artist. Continue to Cadaqués, a picturesque coastal town with an artistic legacy and the Casa-Museo in Portlligat, offering insights into Dalí’s life. To delve into the region’s history, visit Empúries, home to an archaeological site featuring Greek and Roman ruins.

Sports enthusiasts can head to Roses. It’s a haven for water sports lovers, offering activities such as windsurfing, sailing, and scuba diving. Explore the Cap de Creus Natural Park for active adventures with hiking trails and stunning sea views. If you’re a cycling enthusiast, the bike paths around Boadella or Albanyà near Olot and Banyoles provide a scenic route for biking addicts. Golf aficionados can enjoy a tranquil round at the Golf de Peralada, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, or experience the challenging course at the Golf de Torremirona in Navata.

Nature lovers should explore the natural beauty of the Cap de Creus Natural Park, with diverse landscapes, hiking opportunities, and birdwatching. The Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park, a birdwatcher’s paradise with unique wetlands, provides a serene escape. For a mountainous retreat, Albanyà offers a tranquil setting with hiking routes and distinctive flora.

For a summer getaway, enjoy the sun and sea at the beaches of Roses, Cadaqués, Llançà, El Port de la Selva and L’Escala, perfect for relaxation and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean.

For additional activities, explore the charming medieval town of Peralada, known for its castle and wine culture. For wine enthusiasts, the Empordà region offers a delightful wine tourism experience with visits to local wineries.

In conclusion I can say that the Alt Empordà region provides a diverse and engaging vacation experience, encompassing cultural richness, outdoor adventures, beach relaxation, and historical exploration, complemented by the tranquil settings of Golf de Peralada and Golf de Torremirona for golf enthusiasts. Whether you’re an art lover, sports enthusiast, nature seeker, history buff, or you just want to relax on the beach, this region has something to offer for everyone.

As far as accommodation is concerned, there is a wide variety of properties ranging from the most modern luxury to the luxury of the farmhouses named “Masía”. In the At Empordà you can find a villa with views of the sea and the Bay of Roses, a villa with mooring and swimming pool in the canals of Empuriabrava, a modern and renovated farmhouse or masía in the most historic villages of the region such as Castelló d’Empúries or a luxury house in the Golf de Peralada and Golf Torremirona.

What is your favorite recreational or leisure time activity?  My favorite activities are sports and outdoor activities, connected with nature. In the Alt Empordà region you can practice all kinds of sports all year round. Activities range from swimming in the sea to skiing, as Alt Empordà borders the Pyrenees. During the summer I like to go running and cycling in the mountains in the Cap de Creus Natural Park, swimming in the bay of Roses, and at the end of the day, relaxing on the beaches of the Costa Brava. In winter, I swap open water swimming for skiing and winter sports. Apart from sports, I like to go out for lunch and dinner in the many restaurants in the region. Each time I discover new restaurants and flavors.

Is there a specialty your area is known for? The region is renowned for its wines, particularly those labeled as “Empordà.” The vineyards benefit from the Mediterranean climate, and the wines produced here, including reds, whites, and rosés, have gained recognition for their quality.

Olive cultivation is prevalent in the Alt Empordà region, and Cadaqués, in particular, produces high-quality olive oil. The local olive groves contribute to the production of extra virgin olive oil, which is a staple in Catalan cuisine.

Also, Anchovies of L’Escala. The local anchovy industry is well-established, and these salted or marinated anchovies are a sought-after delicacy.

Share a little known but interesting fact about the area/region: A lesser-known but interesting fact about the Alt Empordà region is its association with the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí beyond the well-known Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres. In the small coastal village of Portlligat, near Cadaqués, Dalí purchased a series of fishermen’s huts in the 1930s and transformed them into his eccentric home. The Casa-Museo Salvador Dalí in Portlligat is a fascinating insight into the artist’s personal life and creative process.

What makes this fact intriguing is the unconventional nature of Dalí’s residence, with its labyrinthine layout and quirky features. The house itself is a surreal work of art, reflecting Dalí’s eccentric personality and providing visitors with a unique glimpse into the mind of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists. The Portlligat house allows visitors to explore the spaces where Dalí lived and worked, offering a more intimate perspective compared to the grandeur of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres.

If you were to live in any other region where we have a Coldwell Banker presence, where would it be and why? Canada stands out as an ideal destination for me for a multitude of reasons. Beyond the fervor for sports, the country’s rich cultural tapestry, spanning from the multicultural streets of Toronto to the vibrant arts scene in Montreal, promises an enriching experience. The gastronomic landscape is equally diverse, offering a fusion of global cuisines alongside iconic Canadian dishes. With breathtaking natural beauty, a commitment to a high quality of life, and welcoming communities, Canada presents itself as more than just a residence – it’s an immersive and fulfilling lifestyle that I would like to experience.

Territory Summary:

The Alt Empordà region, nestled in the northeastern part of Catalonia, Spain, is a captivating blend of rich history, diverse geography, and a thriving economic landscape. Historically, the region has been shaped by various civilizations, evident in the archaeological treasures of Empúries or the Citadel of Roses, where Greek and Roman influences converge.

Geographically, Alt Empordà enjoys a strategic location along the Mediterranean coast, Costa Brava, boasting picturesque beaches in towns like Roses and Cadaqués. The Cap de Creus Natural Park showcases rugged cliffs and pristine landscapes, offering a stark contrast to the serene Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park, known for its unique wetlands.

Economically, Alt Empordà has evolved from an agrarian society to a region embracing tourism, agriculture, and viticulture. The vineyards of Empordà contribute to the renowned local wines, while the coastal areas attract visitors seeking sun-soaked beaches and water activities. The historical significance of the region, coupled with its natural beauty, has made Alt Empordà a cultural and economic hub within Catalonia.

Please tell us a little bit about the real estate industry in your region:

The real estate landscape in Alt Empordà features a diverse array of architectural styles. In the historic towns, you’ll find charming Mediterranean-style houses with whitewashed facades and tile roofs. In more rural areas, traditional Catalan farmhouses, known as masías, contribute to the architectural tapestry. Additionally, modern and contemporary designs have gained popularity, especially in newer developments and coastal areas.

Prices per sq. ft/meter: 2,379.98

Real estate prices in Alt Empordà can vary based on factors such as location, property type, and amenities. In coastal towns like Roses or Cadaqués, where proximity to the Mediterranean is a significant factor, prices per square meter may be higher compared to rural or inland areas.

In 2022, the average price in the entire Alt Empordà region was 2,379.98. In other words, the average price ranged between 1,800 and 2,500 euros per square meter, although in exclusive areas prices can exceed 4,000 euros per square meter.

Average Sale Price: 375.000 EUR

The average sale price of properties in Alt Empordà depends on the specific location and property features. Coastal properties, especially those with sea views, tend to command higher prices. Similarly, the condition and age of the property can influence the average sale price.

Average years in house/apt: 45 years

The average number of years people stay in a house or apartment in Alt Empordà can vary. Coastal areas with a higher influx of tourists might see more turnover, with some properties serving as vacation homes. In contrast, inland areas and historic towns may have residents with longer-term commitments, in average 45 years. This aspect can influence the availability of properties on the market.

Types of financing:

Financing options for real estate purchases in Alt Empordà are typically aligned with broader Spanish financing practices. Buyers often secure mortgages through banks or financial institutions. The terms and interest rates may vary, and it’s advisable for potential buyers to explore different financing options and consult with local financial institutions to determine the most suitable arrangement based on their financial situation.

Key Facts:

  • Population: Alt Empordà has 142,624 inhabitants. Roses, has 19,807.
  • Language(s) Spoken: Catalan, Spanish
  • Climate: Mediterranean
  • Currency: Euro 

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Sam is the Content and Multimedia Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Weehawken, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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