Rural depopulation has left a legacy of abandoned villages in Spain. Who’s to say some might not come back to life?
Rural depopulation happens to all industrialised societies but it came to Spain later than many other Western European countries. As a result there are numerous abandoned villages all over Spain, as this map shows.
In other countries like France and the UK there has been a move back to the countryside in the last 50 years, as technology and other structural changes in society and the economy made it more viable to make a living outside of big cities (I read that somewhere). I guess the same is starting to happen / will happen in Spain. Some of the villages on this map are in the process of being “rescued”, explains the map’s creator.
Judging by this map there appear to be very few abandoned villages in the south of Spain (and plenty in the centre and north), but in reality that is probably not the case. It’s more likely that they are just not identified on the map, which has been put together by one person who admits that many villages have not yet been included.
So if you want to create your own Arcadia out of an abandoned village in Spain this map might be the place to start your search. You might be able to buy a Spanish hamlet today for a song, but I imagine everything else about the process, like finding out who has title, could be a minefield. Not for the fainthearted.
Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.