Country houses for sale

Property inland from the Costa Azahar

Valencia, Spain’s third largest city and host to next year’s America’s Cup, has triggered the imagination of property investors in the past couple of years. The results of this ‘Barcelona effect’ of improved infrastructure are already being felt with a new high-speed rail link from Madrid, and the extension of the main airport, which already receives a number of low-cost flights from the UK.

Unsurprisingly, the orange-grove peppered Costa Azahar, which stretches for 75 miles along the Castellón province north of Valencia, is now being heralded as the next coastal hotspot.

The beaches and plenty of nature reserves make the coastline ideal for families. However, canny travellers in search of the true Spain might again want to venture inland, according to Jason Webster, the author of Guerra and two other books on Spain. Mr Webster moved to Spain 12 years ago and lives in Valencia with his Spanish wife. He has travelled all over the country but recommends forays into the hills of the Castellón province.

‘Vilafamés is a beautiful hilltop town about half-an-hour from the coast, which is famous as a home to artists and painters, a bit like a Spanish version of St Ives,’ he says. ‘It’s also worth driving to Puertomingalvo via Villahermosa del Río,’ he adds. ‘The valley is thick with pines and evergreen oaks and is quite spectacular.

When you get to the town, again on a hilltop, the views over the Teruel countryside are breathtaking. The town itself is also a delight. Cobbled streets take you past artisans’ workshops including a leather worker and a pottery.’

Costa Azahar

The Jackson Stops representative in Valencia, Lionel R. Westell often negotiates for clients buying around the village of Macizo de Caroig, about half an hour’s drive inland from Valencia airport. ‘It’s a stunning area: wild and rural but also only 20 minutes from the coast and a short drive to Valencia city,’ he says.

Mr Westell is currently marketing a large masia (farmhouse) complete with fully functioning fruit orchards. The property, which has been recently renovated and

run as a rural hotel, is on the market for ? 1.8m (£1.2m). For more information,

contact Lionel R. Westell at Gabinete Inmobiliario (00 34 627 97 06 70).