We are Davina and Joan, a young couple with two kids who want to come and live in Central Portugal. At present we live in Alicante (Spain) and have just sold our farm. We are coming in June for a couple of weeks (10-24th) to see some areas and land for sale and we would love to meet some permies around Castelo Branco!
We are looking for accommodation in Castelo Branco. We've found many things in Airbnb but none of them seem to match our criteria- as they are all quite far. For some reason, we haven't been able to find anything around Monsanto, Penamacore area.
Does anyone know a place where we could stay?
Any local permies who would like to meet? That would be great!
Hi Davina/Joan - apologies in advance for hijacking your thread. Can I ask why you're moving away from Alicante, and moving towards Central Portugal? I ask for purely selfish reasons - I'm considering the southern Valencia/Alicante region myself and curious if there are any strong reasons to avoid it.
Hi, I'm Joan, my wife writes better in English than I do. But I'll try to answer your question the best I can.
We're both from Alicante, were born here. The last 6 years we've been developing a farm in north Alicante, in a very nice area called valle de Guadalest.
I would not recommend Alicante to start a permaculture project. Actually I would not recommend Comunidad Valenciana, nor Murcia either. But again Geoff lawton does permacutlure in Jordan, so,it's fine if you really want to do it here.
If you can afford to buy a piece of land with a reliable source of water fine, it's going to be difficult and expensive but, if you can you have a lot done. It does not rain that much here. Maybe in Marina Alta area.
This is becoming a desert. We've noticed a real change in the last 15 years, springs don't last as long as before. Some of them don't flow at all.
Price of land and size.
Comunidad valenciana is a very turistic place. Land here is quite expensive. If you've got money go for it but normally the land one can afford is steep or quite far from any nucleus of people or eroded. To get more than 2ha you're gonna have to buy from more than one person.
My options in spain would be, and are (I'm still considering spain): Valle del Genal (ronda), Sierra de huelva, and north of spain (cantabria, asturias and galicia) trying it to be quite near de coast (less than 35km).
And of course Portugal. Castelo branco is a bit cheaper than spain and, to me, seems to have more permaculture projets going than any other place in spain.
If you come to alicante send a message and we could have a beer.
posted 11 months ago
Thank you for your perspective. As an American who wants to move to Spain but has only spent about 3 weeks there, it really helps to have the opinion of someone born there . I'll share my observations from my short time in Spain in case they are useful to you.
I visited Alzira (south of Valencia) this April and was very surprised how green the area is, and not just the irrigated places. This rainfall map seems to agree with that observation: http://www.city-data.com/forum/weather/1923775-iberians-climate-maps.html I talked to a farmer on 4 hectares, who indicated they spent about 300 euros on watering their orange trees per month. That's a bit high, but not unreasonable in my opinion. I agree the land did appear to be expensive and there were fewer options when compared to southern Spain.
Southern Spain, around Malaga/Marbella, has way more land and also way more housing options at lower prices. However, most of this is not in the green valley between Marbella and Sierra de Grazalema. I spent some time near Gaucin which I believe is south of Valle de Genal. It was surprisingly green but also colder than I would like due to the high elevation and the soil was very rocky (poor for crops?). The area north of Malaga and Marbella looks to be good agricultural land, although it would probably rely on external water sources. My guess is you want all your water to come from rain?
Of your list, I had also considered central Portugal (Castelo Branco) but excluded it due to the wildfires in the area, and distance from good healthcare. I wish I could live in the mountains near Seville/Huelva, but think these are too hot for me and northern Spain is too cold/rainy
Yes, it rains quite a bit in the south of Valencia. A microclimate.
Have you thought about the Canary Islands? Considering your temperature range ... Not too hot, not too cold, all year round :)
About wildfires: Comunidad Valenciana is a place with high risk or wildfires. Same as Galicia. Galicia, and portugal have eucalyptus, we have pinus halapensis. 90 percent of tree cover in alicante is pinus halapensis. And it loves fire. We've had wildfires almost all summers, some of then quite near.
High rainfall is ok but a good spring or perforation (well) would add a lot.
Maybe north of spain is a bit rainy. Not too cold though.
We're thinking about a good property in 20, 30 or a life time span. Maybe you like the temperature now in Alicante but every year is the hottest year of history with more and longer heat waves. Maybe sooner than you expect Alicante is as hot as sevilla is now.
The thing is that Portugal has the same climatic range as spain and is a bit cheaper.
Also in these six years we've realised that community is really important. We're going to portugal to see if we can get the feeling that there is place we can fit in.
posted 11 months ago
My concern with islands and areas far away from cities are those situations where you'll need something, like a healthcare specialist, and you'll be forced to travel. This isn't a situation I want to be in when I'm older (say 80+).
Very wise to value areas where you can live 30+ years from now, and those with a good community. I agree there seems to be much more of that in Portugal than Spain. When I visited both near Valencia and Malaga, I had the strong impression that there were many holiday houses in the countryside which were empty for much of the year. That doesn't help build a sense of community.
You and others here may have changed my mind on Portugal. My research suggests that quality broadband (cable or fiber) is almost impossible to get in rural areas of Spain, whereas it seems possible to get a house on 2-3 hectares of land north of Lisbon with fiber. I'm very curious about your impressions of Portugal.
posted 10 months ago
Since June has passed, I'm wondering if you learned anything useful on your trip to find permaculture communities. I've recently found a new way to find permaculture communities. Searching workaway.info with a "permaculture" filter shows a number of hosts in Central Portugal (although maybe not near Monsanto). Even if you don't stay with these hosts, I'd bet they would have good contacts in the area.
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