History, beauty and luxury on the Iberian peninsula

Timothy Barber
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THE credit crunch kicked the bottom out of the Spanish property market. But if you’re looking for somewhere to bask in the sun this time next year, that simply means Spain is a more affordable place to buy than ever. The problem is location. You’ll need to avoid the obvious areas that have been clogged with tatty developments over the past two decades and find something a bit more special. Which brings us to the province of Cadiz and Palacete Thebussem, a boutique development done up over four years by a retired English couple and their son.

Say Andalucia to people and they’ll think Marbella, Malaga and other tourist traps. But over on the region’s Western, Atlantic-facing coast, the story is different. It’s an area of charismatic beauty – including the most blue-flag beaches in Europe – with much of it protected by national park boundaries and strict, low-density planning regulations. There’s also plenty of history, from the ancient sherry-making culture around Jerez to the city of Cadiz itself, reputedly the oldest continually-inhabited city in southwestern Europe.

You also have the entrancing white villages of the Moorish occupation, including Medina Sidonia, which is where you find Palacete Thebussem. A grand 19th century home, it’s been converted into four apartments and a townhouse by the Breckon family, who bought it in 2006. It has the charm of a place that’s been a personal labour of love rather than a corporate scheme. While every property is swish and luxurious, and includes access to a roof terrace and pool, each has its own distinctive feel and atmosphere – modern luxury in the heart of one of Spain’s most historic, beautiful areas.

From £250,000. www.andaluciaboutique.com