Gandia is a town located on the mid eastern side board of Spain. It is within Valencia Province (one of the three Provinces of the Autonomous Region of Valencia Comunitat de Valencia) and is situated some 70 kms south of Valencia City. The immediate area around Gandia is known as La Safor which comprises a number of small towns and villages of which Gandia is the ‘capital’.
Gandia has a permanent population of some 80,000 people which rises considerably during the height of the summer tourist season. It is at this time that Gandia’s popularity as a Spanish holiday town can be seen as Spanish tourists (particularly from Madrid) come to Gandia for their summer holidays.
Gandia is effectively divided into two parts – the Playa (beach) area and the town itself. Both are very different and provide Gandia with its unique nature.
Gandia Playa is located some 5 kms from Gandia town and lies on the coast itself. It comprises a small commercial port, a protected marina for yachts and small boats and a very long stretch of beach behind which lies a substantial complex of apartments, hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants, night clubs, casinos, shops etc. A small campus of Valencia Polytechnic University is also to be found at the Playa, well behind the beach itself.
Gandia beach is notable for being Blue Flagged and having a magnificent promenade which stretches for several kilometers. The beach itself comprises golden sand which is kept in immaculate condition during the ‘season’ when it is sieved and harrowed daily. It stretches at least 30m from the promenade thus providing ample room for sun bathers and holidaymakers even in the middle of August. Furthermore, the beach has chiringitos (small bars), life guards, warning flags, medical facilities, play areas, showers, rubbish bins, sports areas and palm trees.
Indeed, it would be hard to find a better ‘commercial’ beach than Gandia anywhere in Spain – or perhaps along the Mediterranean.
Gandia town lies some 5 kms inland from the beach although there is a new(ish) estate of houses (La Casona) which physically links the Playa to the town.
The town is on flat ground and runs beside the riu Serpis (river Serpis) which, for part of the year, is dry. Bordering on this is the Palacio de Borgias (Borgias palace) from which the original (somewhat notorious Borgias originated.
Running right through the middle of Gandia is a magnificent pedestrian promenade (Paseo Germanias). To either side of this are shops, flats, restaurants and businesses with Gandia hospital (with a full A&E capacity) to one end. The Casa Cultura also borders the Paseo Germanias and is well worth visiting for its excellent exhibitions and superb musical events (often free!).
Towards the bridge (over the Serpis) end of Gandia there is the Calle Major which is a pedestrian street of boutiques and shops known throughout Spain for its quality and variety. This ends by a small plaza with statues of the Borgias. Closer to the Paseo are other squares including the Prado (meadow) under which there is a large underground car park (there are several car parks in and around Gandia).
Throughout Gandia there are a profusion of shops, supermarkets, small businesses, bars, restaurants and cafes most of which have a terrace – allowing for al fresco refreshment. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Gandia there are several light industrial estates/shopping complexes. From these you can find and buy virtually whatever you need from a new or second hand car through to a dishwasher, computer parts, building materials, and fashionable clothing etc.
Indeed, one of the strengths of Gandia town is that it has an economy that is not reliant on tourism and that is quite separate from Gandia Playa. This is an important point to note as it means that Gandia has a ‘life’ of its own and does not ebb and flow with the tourist season. This makes it an ideal place to live – with the beach area close to get to but not so close that daily life throughout the year is influenced by it.
Needless to say, there is public transport between Gandia playa and Gandia town in the form of buses. There is also a main line railway station to Valencia which takes some 50 minutes with a return fare costing some 8 Euros. The train runs every 30 minutes during the week but hourly during the weekends.
In short, the exceptional things about Gandia town are its sheer ‘workability’ for permanent life, its vibrancy, proper ‘Spanish’ nature and proximity to excellent beaches and fine communications to Valencia City.
One of the exceptional things about Gandia, given its coastline location, is that it has remained ‘Spanish’ never having been overrun by foreign tourists. Historically this was due to the distance to Alicante airport (approx 90 minutes drive away) and poor international marketing from a town that was wealthy and had obtained its wealth from Spanish tourists and its successful light industries and citrus fruit agriculture. However, now that Valencia airport (60 minutes drive away) has opened to cheap flights, matters are probably set to change as people find Gandia and appreciate its unspoilt nature.
Certainly, Gandia is blessed with not just a magnificent beach. Only slightly inland there are beautiful and dramatic mountains that are perfect for bird watching, walking, climbing, nature trails, cycling (a big sport here) and mountain biking. This is complemented by nearby Xativa – an historic and beautiful Renaissance town and charming pueblos, many of which are surrounded by lovely evergreen citrus groves (which produce a fabulous fragrance in late April/May).
Gandia has a wide selection of properties. These vary from beach apartments (primarily for holiday accommodation, through to flats of all kinds and sizes, to terraced houses (old and new), to villas (normally located within urbanizations away from the town itself).
The beach apartments (with some exceptions) tend to be fine for holiday accommodation only, with front line (beside the beach) properties always in demand. There also tends to be the same high demand for fine Gandia properties (apartamentos and adosados) around the port area where there is ‘life’ throughout the year in an area not totally dependent upon tourism for its existence.
Gandia, like most Spanish towns, has many flats – the normal permanent accommodation for most Spaniards anywhere in Spain. However, flats in Gandia (pisos) vary widely in quality with the sensitivity of a good location being as important in Gandia as anywhere else in the world. Around Gandia hospital or in Benipeixcar or Benirredra are areas that are worth looking.
Prices for flats in Gandia range from as little as 40,000 Euros (no lift and a poor location) to 300,000 Euros +. There are some new three bedroom flats available, at the time of writing, from 75,000 Euros to 130,000 Euros, for example, with a few flats in Gandia having a large, private communal area with a swimming pool. The latter sell for 190,000 Euros to 250,000 Euros and are very desirable.
There are terraced houses (adosados) in and around Gandia as well as town houses (casas de pueblo). The prices, condition and size of these vary enormously but they are worth looking at – although very few have much outside space.
There are very few villas within Gandia and these tend to be very pricey indeed. However, there are several estates (urbanizations within 10 – 15 minutes drive of Gandia and these are well worth investigating. Very close to Gandia is Santa Marta (noisy!) and Monterrey (no bar/café). A little further away is Monte Pino (for the wealthy Spanish!), Monte Corona (great views but some problems with wind and shade) and exclusive and beautiful La Drova (make sure you buy on the La Solana side of the valley).
Surrounding the inland side of Gandia are citrus groves in which there are scatterings of other properties such as in Marxuquera (always check for legality and infrastructure works).
Prices of villas around Gandia, again, vary enormously depending upon whether they are urbano and fully urbanized (see ‘How to Buy Spanish Property and Move to Spain – Safely!) or in rural land – sometimes with dubious legality and poor services. However, a good quality, fully legal, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa with a pool and 800m2 of land can be bought for between 250,000 – 350,000 Euros.
Accommodation in Gandia
Strangely enough, there is not a great deal of hotel accommodation in Gandia town with the town itself boasting only a single hotel and a hostel. However, there are an array of hotels on Gandia beach (of all types and standards), many of which are within ‘shouting’ distance of the sea itself. Meanwhile, around Gandia there are a number of Casas Rurales and small hotels dotted around La Safor both within the surrounding villages and Marxuquera.
Needless to say, it is worth booking early if you wish to find hotel accommodation in Gandia during the height of the season. For the rest of the year, generally speaking, you do not need to panic quite so much (although watch out for Easter).
Gandia enjoys a wonderful climate – one that is technically temperate. Winters are mild with temperatures along the coast rarely going to zero with sunny days often going up to as much as 20 degrees. Summer temperatures normally do not exceed 30 – 35 degrees and there is normally a breeze to cool the air temperature down. There are important two winds the Levante and Poniente (one fromr the coast and one from the sea). Rainfall is moderate and there has been no water shortage or curtailment of water over the past eight years.
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