What are the advantages of living in the lands of the Basque Country?

When most people think of the French Basque Country, they imagine upscale coastal towns like Biarritz et Saint Jean de Luz, but the hinterland (known as “Les Terres”) has a lot to offer in terms of quality of life. Small tucked away villages are obviously less popular than iconic towns with tens of thousands of residents, but trends are gradually changing and more and more buyers are leaning towards buying homes in more rural areas.

 

Advantages of living in “the lands” of the Basque Country

More attractive prices

That would be the most obvious advantage. To give you an example, the average price per m2 in Biarritz is €6, and €680 in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This means you can afford to buy more square footage while spending less and have more space for home offices, guest rooms etc…If that sounds like some of your criteria, now is the time. come to act.

Due to COVID, a much higher percentage of home buyers are moving to rural areas, driving up property prices in those markets. This trend will only continue as remote working becomes more common while paying a lot to live in big cities where everything is closed seems increasingly pointless. Needless to say, the value of your home inland will inevitably rise as more and more people leave the big cities to live “the good life”, which the Basque Country epitomizes. Since property prices inland are more accessible, a significant portion of the recent influx are populating the area.

 

You're not as lonely as you think

No matter where you are in the Basque Country, you are never more than an hour or so from the ocean and the amenities of major cities like Saint Jean de Luz, Bayonne and Biarritz. There are also a plethora of beautiful, authentic villages located throughout the Basque Country, all with their own schools, local businesses and communities, such as:

  • Salt
  • Ainhoa
  • The Bastide-Clairence
  • Espelette
  • Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle
  • Itxassou
  • Ustaritz
  • Arcangues

Ainhoa, La Bastide Clairence, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Sare have been labeled among the “most beautiful villages in France”. Time seems to stand still in these picturesque villages which have preserved their traditional Basque architecture in an impressive way.

 

Better air quality

Fresh air and freedom from noise and light pollution is a modern luxury.

The further you go from city centers, the better the air quality thanks to less pollution and a higher concentration of trees and grass. Phytochemicals released by plants, fungi and microbes improve the quality of human cells. Country air has been shown to protect against health problems, including asthma and heart disease.

 

Psychological health

Living in an urban environment overstimulates regions of the brain associated with emotions and anxiety. Scientists believe this is why they are seeing higher rates of mental health problems in cities than in rural areas. In more natural settings, the brain does not experience such excessive stimulation that it was not designed to handle on a daily basis.

The psychological benefits of living in rural areas include a lower risk of anxiety disorders and mood disorders. Research also shows that city living increases the risk of mental health problems, such as schizophrenia. Stressful environments have a negative impact on brain development.

Now, you won't be able to completely prevent mental illness by living in the countryside, but you will avoid common risk factors.

 

Foods directly from the source

As we have already mentioned, prices in land are much cheaper, which means that you will probably have a larger garden area. Not only will your dog be happier, but you can also grow your own fruits and vegetables. A chicken coop would be another possibility.

There are a variety of local farms located inland, so you can buy produce directly from producers, lowering the price and increasing the quality of your food.

 

Outdoor activities

Hiking

The Lands of the Basque Country offer excellent hikes. A fantastic example would be the Gorges de Kakuetta in Haut Soule, a 4km hike set in an area that is one of the wildest and most prestigious in Europe. The entire hike can be done in a total of two hours, and along the way you will see a beautiful turquoise-colored lake and waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation. The undeveloped and picturesque landscapes are certainly a common point throughout the Basque Country, especially in the Lands.

Moutain Biking

With mountainous terrain and a relatively temperate climate, the Basque Country is a mountain biker's dream.

Some of the most popular mountain bike trails:

  • Descent of Jaizkibel
  • Urrugne forest and Socoa cliffs
  • Ibardin Lake
  • Ascent of the Rhune
  • Peat bogs of Ascain and heights of Ibaron
  • Ursuya tour
  • Sare palombières course
  • Pass of the three crosses of Espelette
  • Calf Pass and Bear Mountain
  • Bidarray and the abandoned village

 

pick mushrooms

From June to October, the Basque Country offers a favorable environment for Ceps.

Some starting points for picking are:

  • Irtaty forest
  • The forest of Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle
  • Forest of Ha'ra in the upper Aldudes valley

Be careful, however, not to reveal your picking spots to just anyone, when you see the soaring prices of porcini mushrooms, it is a real treasure to be passed on from generation to generation!

Conclusion

Not only does Land in the Basque Country offer affordable real estate prices, but also an exceptional quality of life with many activities for the whole family. If you would like to know more about buying a house in Les Terres, do not hesitate to contact O'Plus Immobilier so that we can find you the ideal home and facilitate your transition.