One of the most popular places on the Costa del Sol of Spain that expats consider moving to is the small town of Sotogrande.
We interview locals and find out just what living in Sotogrande is REALLY like.
Are you questioning if you should you move to Sotogrande?
We attempt to answer all your most popular questions to help you decide whether Sotogrande is the right place for you or not.
Moving to Sotogrande
If you are thinking of moving to Sotogrande, then you must read our interview with Celeste Alonso of The Property Agent below.
Celeste is a real estate agent and inmobiliaria based in Estepona and Sotogrande and covers all nearby areas.
We are very grateful to her for this helpful local knowledge she has kindly provided exclusively to us:
What is Sotogrande best-known for?
Sotogrande is one of the most prestigious residential developments in Europe and is the chosen holiday destination of many well-known celebrities and sports personalities. Sotogrande is a hot spot for polo with the Santa Maria Polo Club being dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of polo’. People come from all over the world during the summer months to play polo here.
Sotogrande is also a mecca for Golf lovers. There are a remarkable five golf courses in the area, including:
- Real Club de Golf Sotogrande,
- Club de Golf la Cañada,
- Almenara Golf Club
- La Reserva Club
- The most famous of all – Real Club de Golf Valderrama which regularly hosts major international tournaments. The likes of the Andalucía Masters, the Volvo Masters and, most famously, the 1997 Ryder Cup, have all been hosted at this course.
The area also has a beautiful marina. The waterfront is like a little Venice with its bridges crossing the waterways. The Marina is best appreciated from the water by boat with its stunning canals weaving through the many luxurious residential complexes dotted around the waterfront. This waterside enclave is one of the most prestigious marinas in Spain and has an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. The Marina has 1382 berths, but tying up your yacht here won’t come cheap with some of the most expensive mooring costs in Europe.
What would you say would be the advantages to living in Sotogrande compared to other towns on the Costa del Sol?
Sotogrande is the jewel of Southern Spain. A beautiful compact private coastal community, immaculately maintained surrounded by breath-taking scenery. It’s a fully gated and extremely secure resort, with round the clock security. Despite being one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Spain, everything is low key and discreet as opposed to the bling and glitz of Marbella or Puerto Banus.
Life in Sotogrande moves at a lovely unhurried pace, and it’s the perfect location to live or to have second home in Spain, that’s of course if you can afford it.
Would the Sotogrande area not suit certain types of people, i.e. are there any possible downsides.
If you’re a young 20 somethings and looking for lively nightlife, then Sotogrande is not the place for you. Although there are several bars and beach clubs, it’s all very family-oriented and well behaved. The cost of living here is another consideration, property isn’t cheap, and rents are considerably higher than any of the neighbouring towns but if you have the budget then it’s a really special place to live.
What proportion of the local population in Sotogrande is Spanish?
There is a large ex-pat community in Sotogrande, very diverse with people from all over the world, but there’s a real sense of family that protrudes everything. In the summer months, the area explodes with Madrileños (people from Madrid) who have second homes here, so the Spanish population indeed becomes the majority. In true Spanish style, they bring their upbeat and out-going approach to life, and Sotogrande suddenly becomes alive from its sleepy winter siesta.
What are your favourite things to do in the Sotogrande area?
Being a mum, everything now revolves around kids activities, so one of my favourite destinations is Jugarnia in the marina of Sotogrande. A great kids playground with a bouncy castle, trampoline and a cosy corner to watch the kids run free while enjoying an espresso.
Another great day out is the man-made lagoon in La Reserva called the ‘The Beach’. It’s the first of its kind in Europe and has a sizeable golden sandy shore with excellent facilities including an array of water sports and a top-notch restaurant.
Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants in Sotogrande?
One of myself and my husband’s favourites was the Petit Bistro, but since the virus took hold, unfortunately, they’ve closed their doors for the foreseeable future. There are some excellent tapas bars in the neighbouring town of Torreguadiaro. The marina in Sotogrande is also well-stocked with good restaurants, and for those that love a good steak, then Cancha Dos perched over the Club Ayala polo field is a must.
Are there many facilities in Sotogrande such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
Yes, Sotogrande has several private health clinics and dentists. The surrounding towns also have government health facilities like A&E. There are two large supermarkets in the shape of Mercadona and Supercor at the main entrance of Sotogrande, and there’s a newly refurbished Lidle in the town adjacent. The area is nicely compact with many shops, restaurants, beach clubs and bars all within close proximity.
Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?
Sotogrande is well-positioned to strike out along Spain’s Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. To the west, you have the chic town of Tarifa, labelled the Kite surfing capital of Europe and further up the Atlantic seafront you have the beautifully quaint towns of Vejer and Conil. To the east, you’ll find the stunning hilltop town of Casares and the more lively harbour town of Estepona. Torreguadiaro, a town that neighbours Sotogrande has a fantastic beach and many good tapas bars.
What are the nearest international schools to Sotogrande and how good are they?
Sotogrande has a very well-known and widely praised international school which is one of the few schools on the Costa del Sol that offers students international educational programs in English. It’s got some fantastic facilities, high quality teachers and students from all over the world.
Is crime in Sotogrande an issue for ex-pats?
Security is visible everywhere in Sotogrande, at each entrance there’s a security check point with security guards, most of the streets have CCTV, and there’s frequent security patrols around each neighbourhood. Sotogrande is extremely safe.
What is the market for buying a property in Sotogrande like now in terms of prices going up, or down or staying the same?
Despite the impact of COVID-19, house prices have remained pretty steady but the next six months will tell a lot about where the market is headed. I could see a drop in resale prices but new build prices will hold.
Is this a good time to buy, and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?
There’s been a flood of bank repossessions that have hit the market recently but many of these homes have been idle for years and need a lot of work, some even have underlying issues so be careful when considering to buy a bank repossession, make sure you know what you’re actually getting. My advice is always the same, work with a local Real Estate agent who knows the area, the property and the type of documentation to request.
How much are the typical property prices in Sotogrande for apartments, villas etc?
The average price of a good quality 2-bed apartment starts around 350.000€ working out at 2.500€ per square metre, whereas villa prices start around 550.000€ at 2.400€ per sqm.
What urbanisations are there and can you describe each one and how they might differ from each other?
Marina of Sotogrande
Pier 1 is a unique residential concept sitting on the waterfront in Sotogrande marina. It is composed of four very large apartments, with beautiful views of the marina. The stunning ground floor apartment boasts a private pool and direct access to the dock from the terrace, while the spectacular penthouse offers an immense solarium with private pool and panoramic sea views.
Village Verde is an exclusive residential complex of luxurious apartments, penthouses, and townhouses nestled in La Reserva Golf Club. These stunning homes are super spacious boasting spectacular open plan living area. At the core of Village Verde, you will find the Village Centre. This communal area includes all sort of facilities. You will be able to meet with friends at the coffee shop or restaurant, relax at the Spa, workout at the gym, or to buy your essentials at the minimarket.
Senda Chica is a stunning new development composed of 102 very large contemporary homes surrounded by a Cork Oak Forest. At the heart of the complex, there is an extensive communal area of 8.000sqm including a swimming pool, paddle courts, and a gymnasium. Senda Chica has the perfect location, close to La Reserva Golf, and a short drive away from the Sotogrande International School.
Do you have any tips and advice to people looking to buy in Sotogrande or the surrounding areas
Always work with a local Real Estate Agent who knows the area, who has a good and credible online presence, and has a local network of contacts.
How much does it cost to rent in Sotogrande for an apartment or villa on a long-term rental basis?
Rents have risen over the last few years, and the increase is over 20% in five years. A decent-sized apartment in the Marina will cost about 1100 euros per month, at around 10€ per sqm.
Is Sotogrande a good place to consider renting in the wintertime on a longer-term rental basis?
Summer holiday rentals is big business in Sotogrande, and there’s high demand especially during the Polo season. For longer term lets, the marina has a good supply of apartments that can be rented both short and long term.
How is the cost of living in Sotogrande for people thinking of retiring here?
Sotogrande is not cheap, but for the quality of life you enjoy, it’s worth paying. For anyone thinking of retiring here, I would always recommend trying a place out first before committing to a permanent move but Sotogrande ticks a lot of boxes. It is extremely safe, very well maintained, and has all the facilities and amenities of a high quality resort.
Celeste Alonso, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences of Sotogrande, Spain.
If you want to contact Celeste, you can find her details below.
The Property Agent
Telephone: +34 637227986 | Skype: Celeste Alonso
Address: Urb. El Casar Floresta 44, 11310 Sotogrande, Spain.
Celeste also has a detailed area guide to Sotogrande on her own website here: https://thepropertyagent.es/area-guide/sotogrande/
Contact us to be featured – we want more expat interviews for our newsletter and website. You don’t need to be an estate agent, we want to hear from anyone who lives in Spain whether you are working or retired.
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Main author and owner of SpainMadeSimple.com which was started in 2004 when I first moved to Spain.
Spain Made Simple features expert advice on all aspects of moving to and living in Spain as well as useful tourist information and travel tips.
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