The Spanish town of Candeleda, where John & Norma Major have gone on holiday for the last 25 years, is naming a street after the former Prime Minister. What is it about Candeleda that attracts the Majors, and what does the housing market have to offer?
The ex-Conservative Party leader goes there every summer holiday with his wife Norma and friends to stay at former Foreign Office minister Tristan Garel-Jones’s holiday home near Candeleda, two hours drive west of Madrid.
There will soon be an Avenida John Major in the town, after the local council decided to show their gratitude for his loyalty as an annual visitor. After all, he could have deserted them for a place like Benidorm, where many more of his fellow countrymen choose to go on holiday.
Though just a couple of hours from Madrid, Candeleda will feel a bit cut off, so you can see why it might appeal to a politician hoping to get away from it all for a few days.
Just two hours drive away, in the neighbouring province of Valladolid, is the town of Olmedo, where Nick Clegg holidays every year with his Spanish wife and three kids.
The beauty of the area around Candeleda, with views of the Almanzor mountain, one of the highest in Spain, also makes it popular with weekenders from Madrid.
Cold in winter and hot in summer, the countryside reminds me of parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe – dramatic and scarcely populated – but with the advantage of being in Europe, just a few hours travel time from cities like London. The area is a paradise for outdoor types, with hills for hiking and biking, plus the Rosarito dam and reservoir for swimming and fishing.
Located in Castilla y León, but close to the regional borders of Castilla La Mancha and Extremadura, Candeleda is in the heart of the “real Spain”, where you won’t find many foreigners, let alone foreign ghettos. The food will be hearty and delicious – lots of jamon y queso – and put your liver under heavy strain.
Holiday-homes in Candeleda, Spain
So, if you want a holiday-home in a place like Candeleda, deep in real Spain and surrounded by dramatic countryside, yet less than half a day’s travel from many European cities, what do you get for your money?
A quick search in Spanish shows you can get anything from a three-storey townhouse dooer-upper in the centre of Candeleda for €15,0000.
Half a hectare of rural land with a water supply where you can build a home, costing €50,000.
A cottage with one hectare of land and a pool for €240,000
And at the top end of the market, a 5 hectare finca and cottage with dramatic views for €500,000, which strikes me as expensive for what it is.
But the chances are you won’t find a real estate agent that can speak your language, so if you want to buy in a place like Candeleda, I hope you speak more Spanish than John Major, who only knows a few words, according to press reports.