Enjoy our quick guide to the popular Blanca situated in the Ricote Valley, one of the municipalities in the Spanish region of Murcia found in the “Vega Alta del Segura.”
Below we feature an expat interview with Tracey Victoria Swift Galera of Casas de España who covers the Blanca area.
Specifically, we asked Tracey on the advantages of choosing Blanca as a place to live and the value for money that one can get if you decide to stay permanently in the area.
Tracey, thanks for helping our readers. I guess we should start off by asking what would you say would be the advantages to living in Blanca compared to other Murcia towns?
Blanca and the Ricote Valley is a unique area for a few reasons; each town here has its own motorway exit so our roads are never congested.
We are situated only 40 minutes to the new airport in Corvera (Murcia) and 60 minutes to Alicante – so we have cheap flight options all year around.
Each of our towns in the Ricote Valley are “self-sufficient” with medical centres, shops, bars, restaurants, theatre’s, dentists, beauticians, public swimming pools etc – so we are never more than a few minutes from fresh provisions, good restaurants, 24/7 healthcare, fresh bread, a glass of wine and everything that we all need to provide for a modern lifestyle.
In addition, thanks to the low altitude in this area we enjoy a better climate, with mild short winters allowing us to grow tropical fruit and flowers all year round.
Would the area not suit certain types of people, i.e. Are there any possible downsides?
The beautiful Ricote Valley is still very unspoilt, not over-commercialized and still very Spanish. It’s a lovely place to live or holiday for all ages, however if you need designer retail outlets you won’t find any here, plenty of lovely privately owned shops and markets but no large shopping malls.
We do have all the designer names in nearby Molina city and our capital Murcia city, which is approximately 10 or 20 minutes up the motorway from the Ricote Valley, where you will find massive shopping malls including a large designer outlet village.
What proportion of the local population are Spanish?
Around 80 percent.
What are your favourite things to do in the area?
I still love walking, horse riding, gardening, rafting on the river, joining in the all year round fiestas and concerts, eating excellent locally grown food in the gourmet restaurants and drinking the best wines from the region and a few very cold beers.
But over and above all of the wonderful indoor and outdoor activities I think to just sit quietly with a glass of wine and watch the mountains change colour at sunrise and sunset, listen to the birds of every variety, watching the butterflies, smell the sweet blossom and generally soak up the ambiance, is my favourite thing to do here in this wonderful Ricote Valley.
Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants?
The Ricote Valley and surrounding areas including Murcia city have been titled an area of outstanding gastronomy and with award winning restaurants we can eat exquisite traditional Spanish dishes or if you fancy, Michelin star gourmet food.
In particular, a visit to our wonderful Ricote Valley famous restaurant El Sordo, in Ricote town will excite your taste buds with the freshest organic dishes, tastiest dishes and incredible bodega is a must. In our news section from our website you can find more about our gastronomical ideas and tips.
Are there many facilities such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
Yes each town has everything needed for modern living including dentists, opticians, banks, shops, hairdressers and barbers, beauticians, markets every day, and all the towns here have their own 24/7 health centres with paramedics plus we also have our own modern hospital here in the Ricote Valley with an A&E department where you will be attended without any appointment or documents as long as you take your passport. In addition we have museums, art galleries and theatres – this is a very colourful and culture rich place to enjoy all year round.
Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?
The Ricote Valley comprises: Blanca, Ricote, Ábaran, Cieza, Ricote, Ojós, Ulea, Villanueva and Archena – all with majestic character and yet each with its own identify. As we say every day, there is something for everyone here in the beautiful Ricote Valley including the famous Roman Spa in Archena.
What are the nearest international schools and how good are they?
I know that there are first class international schools in Molina and Murcia cities however my kids and most of the foreign children who come here attend the local state schools which are excellent and free. In addition, we have the universities in Murcia city (which both my sons attended) and I personally feel that their education was far superior here in Spain then that they were provided in the UK.
Is crime an issue for expats?
No, not at all which is probably why we sell to clients of all ages and from “all walks of life” including some celebrities, royalty and nice normal people like you and me.
How far away are you from the nearest beach?
We have a lovely riverside beach area here in Blanca with a great little chiringuito bar, and of course miles and miles of award winning coastal beach within one hour driving from here.
Where are the most most beautiful areas of Blanca?
The Ricote Valley is filled with beautiful scenery with incredible views from mountains to historic buildings, great architecture, Roman ruins, Arabic palaces, that still remain with us even today and all free to roam and explore.
Here are a few sights we recommend seeing in Blanca:
The castle of Blanca (s.XII) This historic building was a fortification that took place before the Castilian conquest when the Arabic Al-andalús took over Spain. The castle is packed with history and stories, today we still conserve 3 towers and connecting walls and it’s been said that it could have been 12 meters high in its time. Very exciting experience, placed in a mountain and we can see the old antique quarter houses, the river, lake and mountains beyond.
The Virgen Blanca
On the top of a hill there is a statue in honour of our Virgen Blanca, where can see all of Blanca town, and another beautiful place to go for walk, were we can see the river el río segura, the orchards and many unusual character properties nestled within our spectacular valley.
Mirador de Alto Bayna
Here we can see beautiful views from a seemingly flying floating metal walkway built on the rock of the Bayna area.
The waterwheel of Miguelico Nuñez
An original working wooden waterwheel, still bringing irrigation water up from the river to irrigate the charming terraces of every imaginable fruit. In Abarán we have the largest working water wheel in Europe.
Coming onto buying property, what is the market like now in terms of prices going up, or down or staying the same?
After the 2007 crisis property prices dropped by about 50% as with the rest of Spain (and most of the world), and remained stable until now as following the pandemic lock downs etc our properties are in more demand than ever, therefore we are now seeing a significant increase in property values on the horizon.
Is this a good time to buy and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?
Now is an ideal time to buy as prices are still low offering many excellent property bargains. We do not usually have any repossession here as we are not selling flats to tourists etc. The market is growing rapidly and in a short time the demand has begun to overwhelm the property supply and so it is inevitable that property values will significantly increase.
What urbanisations are there and can you describe each one and how they might differ from each other?
This is a very beautiful protected area and of all properties for sale are privately owned, unique and ideal for our buyers of all ages and budgets. We do not have any large urbanizations at all here and our clients definitely prefer that.
How much are the typical property prices in Blanca for apartments, villas etc?
Property styles and prices range from small town houses available sometimes for less than 10,000 euros to luxury villas up to and above 600,000 euros. In addition we are also building new modern luxury villas with private swimming pools, please click this link for up to date details.
Any tips and advice to people looking to buy in Blanca or surrounding area?
The Ricote Valley is a lovely area for clients looking to integrate with their new Spanish friends and neighbours. It is not necessary to speak fluent Spanish, however the town halls provide free Spanish classes for those who want to join in. This is culture-rich area, observing ancient traditions and caring in the community and welcomes all nationalities who invest here, beautify their property and observe the Spanish rules and regulations and we help our clients with everything that they need from before they buy for as long as they need us. Here we are nearly 20 years after starting our company and we are still supporting some of our original clients with all sorts of different subjects, with pleasure.
Tracey, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences in Spain. If you want to contact her, you can find her details below.
Casas de España
Calle Gran vía Nº 6
Blanca 30540, Murcia, Spain
Mobile: +34 618 925 947
Tel. +34 968 778 630
UK Local Call Rate: 0844 802 7034
Fax: +34 968 459 317
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