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Moving to the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is a fabulous area of the world to live with its mix of countryside, coast and restaurants. In recent years, road connections have improved and it is now possible to reach Barcelona in an hour and a half or so by car or by train. The airport at Girona has flights across Europe while Barcelona Airport connects worldwide.

It's fair to say that much of the property sold on the Costa Brava is for second homes and holiday apartments, but there is a thriving year-round community in the working towns like Torroella de Montgri, Palafrugell, Palamos, Platja d'Aro and Sant Feliu de Guixols - and out of season is often the best time to be here.

Most foreign owners come directly to the coast and while there are an increasing number of permanent residents in the seaside villages, for us an even greater attraction was the countryside and villages inland which often feel as if they have a more thriving local community during the off-season months.

Most of the work in the area is based around tourism, construction and possibly agriculture/forestry work with relatively few larger employers. But the ease of connections to Barcelona make this an option for setting up and running IT and internet businesses.

If you are looking to move here do visit outside in the quieter months. Estate houses by the coast can be very quiet out of season with some of the local amenitities closing during off-season, particularly thoses aimed at tourists rather than locals including the small supermarkets in the coastal villages. For year round living you will also need heating in November, December, January and February - mostly bright sunny days, but colder in the evenings.

The best general sites for property listing are: Idealista, Habitaclia, Yaencontre, and Fotocasa. Not every property is listed. Local estate agents don't tend to put everything online, and some of them will have old properties listed to draw you in, and then show you a different selection.

The local language is Catalan not Spanish. Although everyone speaks Spanish, schools, education and official notices will all be in Catalan. Tourists can annoy locals by refering to Playa d'Aro (instead of Platja d'Aro), or Gerona instead of Girona. The Catalan government offers free/low cost courses in Catalan for beginners up which are highly recommended.

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