Property for sale in Galicia Spain
The abandoned village of O Penso, in northwest Spain, is for sale for about $230, 000. The last resident died a decade ago. The village includes 100 acres with half a dozen houses, two sprawling farms with room for 70 cattle and a stand-alone bread-making kitchen. Lauren Frayer for NPR hide captionitoggle caption Lauren Frayer for NPR
The abandoned village of O Penso, in northwest Spain, is for sale for about $230, 000. The last resident died a decade ago. The village includes 100 acres with half a dozen houses, two sprawling farms with room for 70 cattle and a stand-alone bread-making kitchen.Lauren Frayer for NPR
Every August, Spain's countryside comes alive with fiestas.
A jolly trombone player prances through a crowd of revelers in Cantalejo, a small town about 1 1/2 hours' drive north of Madrid. But the hubbub is deceiving — because hardly anyone actually lives here. People come one week a year to party in the villages of their ancestors. During the other 51 weeks, towns like this are deserted.
"There was a time when this place was growing! But not anymore. This pueblo is dying, " says Felix Sacristan, who's 55 and unemployed, living in his late grandfather's house. "The only ones left are the elderly. There are lots of abandoned homes."
It makes for cheap housing, he says.
Like much of Spain's central meseta table plateau, this land is dusty and the climate is severe. People joke it's like nine months of winter and three months of fiery hell.
"This land used to be for cereals, but it's difficult to grow anything else, " Sacristan says. "And who wants to be a farmer these days now, anyway?"
In northern Europe, the Industrial Revolution pulled people to big cities centuries ago. But in Spain, that migration happened much later — in the mid-20th century. The first wave occurred after the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s; the second, after Spain's military dictatorship ended in the late 1970s.
Elderly residents gather in a dying village in the Sierra Francia region, northwest of Madrid. Lauren Frayer for NPR hide captiontoggle caption Lauren Frayer for NPR
Elderly residents gather in a dying village in the Sierra Francia region, northwest of Madrid.Lauren Frayer for NPR
Now there's been a third exodus, amid the recent economic crisis. But it's not just on Spain's harsh central plans. Even villages in the country's most fertile northwest region, Galicia, are being depopulated. The lush Galician landscape once supported Spain's highest population density, and half of all Spanish villages — some 3, 500 hamlets — are located there.
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Where can one find properties for sale in Spain?
One can find properties for sale in Spain by visiting websites such as Spain Houses, Kyero, Buy Sell Rent Spain, and Think Spain. One can also find properties for sale by contacting a realtor in the area of Spain they are looking at.