With your name on the deed in some sunny location across the ocean, there’s always a getaway waiting for you. That’s the kind of thought that can lift a cloudy Tuesday afternoon: knowing that your own piece of paradise is waiting any time you decide to drop everything for the weekend - or the week, or even the month.
Owning a second home abroad is a dreamy prospect. But where to start? Property hunters looking to buy a second home abroad have the whole world to choose from. This may seem daunting - but that’s also the fun part. Now is the time to let the imagination run wild, whether it goes to images of late night flamenco dancing in Spain, early morning wilderness hikes in Peru, or idle afternoons well spent in a French vineyard.
Here are five fantastic places to get your imagination running ahead of buying a second home abroad.
They call it the Land of Smiles, and Thailand is certainly a popular choice for its fantastic beaches and bustling cities. Others will be drawn to Thailand for the amazing food. Spicy grilled meats, fragrant broths and slippery noodles are served in heaped piles at every hour of the day - all at bargain prices, too. For foreigners, the cost of everything from sustenance to health care is very good value in Thailand, and this extends also to the property prices. A thriving expat community means you’ll have no trouble finding fellow English-speakers, so it’s easy to make friends.
Getting lost in the narrow backstreets of the Marrakesh souk is part of the Moroccan experience, right up there with the smell of untanned leather and fresh mint tea. The North African country offers a tantalising mix of influences: a bit of France, some Spain, plenty of old Arabia alongside the Berber traditions. For some foreign house hunters, perfection will be a hideaway to watch the waves crash into old Essaouira harbour, while others will be drawn to Morocco for its proximity to Europe - the old world is right on the doorstep.
It’s very easy to love Costa Rica - after all, this is the place known as the Greenest Country in the World. If you’re looking to buy, you’ll be reassured to know that Costa Rica is on the ball when it comes to environmental practices, meaning your new vacation home should still be looking idyllic when it’s time to pass it on to the kids. In the meantime, Costa Rica boasts gorgeous scenery and dreamy beach living, and all at excellent good value for money too.
Whether you want the quintessential seaside holiday experience of the Algarve, or you prefer touring the port wine lodges in the north, there’s a lot to get excited about with Portugal. Explore historic city centres in smaller seaside towns like Cascais, or take a contemplative walk through the many churches of Braga. Although no one will blame you if you just stay in Lisbon, and marvel at how such a small country once became one of the biggest maritime powers in the world.
Colombia’s old reputation would almost certainly keep the country off the family holiday shortlist, but this has long since changed - and not just for adventure travel junkies. The economy is growing, the arts and literary scene is booming, the architecture is fabulous, and the weather is very pleasant. When it comes to setting up a home away from home in Colombia, we recommend you head for Medellin. The area has been on the up for years, making this a great investment choice. Medellin’s great museums are a surprise treat for many visitors - make sure to check out the eye-catching ‘Boterismo’ style. Lush, green coffee plants grow in the hills around Medellin, making this a perfect place to lounge in the city’s many coffee houses while making friends with the locals.
Then, once you have decided where on the map to stick that pin, make sure the international adventure isn’t soured by the dreariness of bureaucracy. Talking to local property experts is key to maneuvering local laws and customs, while currency specialists will be vital aides for taking sting out of foreign exchange transfers.
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