Salto De Castro, A Spanish Village that Went Up for Sale for $259,000

by Piya Sengupta12 months ago
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Picture Salto De Castro, A Spanish Village that Went Up for Sale for $259,000

Many of us aspire to buy our dream house someday. But what if you could buy a whole village instead? If owning an entire village happens to be on your bucket list, striking that off may be possible soon! An abandoned Spanish Village called “Salto De Castro” was recently put up on sale for just $259,000! Yes, a whole village at a price that will not even get you a small apartment in New York!

So, what is the story behind Salto De Castro? Has it been sold yet?

Why has the Spanish Village Salto De Castro been empty for thirty years?

Spanish Village Salto De Castro
The Village of Castro. Image credit: Balles2601/Wikimedia

In the province of Zamora, on the banks of river Duero, lies the abandoned Spanish village of Salto De Castro. This beautiful, lazy, little village is just a three-hour driving distance from Madrid, on the border of Portugal. But, in spite of being a picture-perfect example of an archetypical Spanish town with breathtaking natural beauty, it has been sadly lying empty for more than three decades.

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In the 1950s, Salto De Castro was built to house the workers building the Castro Dam, a hydroelectric power station. But soon after the dam was built, the workers and all residents began to move away. The Guardia Civil also moved to another barracks. By the 1980s, it became a ghost town without a single living soul. An echo of a better past.

Salto De Castro was already purchased once at the beginning of the millennium.

empty church at Salto De Castro
The empty church at Salto De Castro, full of grafitti. Image credit: Ramajero/Wikimedia

The entire village of Salto De Castro, along with its 44 homes, hotel, church, school, municipal swimming pool, and even an old barracks of the Guardia Civil, was already bought by someone in the 2000s. He had planned to turn it into a tourist hotspot, with a new, big hotel to host the tourists.

But the timing was bad. The recession of 2008 and the Eurozone crisis crushed his plan. Spain suffered an economic crisis, and consequently, his plans to repopulate the place failed. According to the spokesperson of the firm that represents the owner, now in his 80s, he still wants the project to come true, but he needs to sell because he lives in the city and cannot maintain Salto De Castro anymore.

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According to records, this village was put up for sale years ago for a total of 6.5 million euros (around $69,20,225). But not a single buyer came forward. The value gradually decreased due to a lack of demand and the deteriorating condition of the village.

“España Vacia,” or “Empty Spain” – what is behind Spain’s 70% depopulated lands?

The population density of spain
The population density of Spain. Image credit: Instituto Nacional de Estadística de España via

Between Madrid in the center and big cities on the coast, connected by high-speed, efficient rail lines, Spain in reality has a lot of vacant land. Ninety percent of its population lives on 30% of the land, while 70% of the interior rural lands remain empty! This forms a big donut-shaped population void in the interior of Spain. A lot of it can be blamed on the lack of connectivity, healthcare, infrastructure, technology, and industries, in comparison to the thriving city centers.

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This decline of rural Spain started the revolt a few years back. The movement called “Empty Spain” or España Vacia was a movement of people who protested in large numbers to rescue rural Spain from depopulation. According to the data, in 10-15 years, a lot of villages like Salto De Castro could be emptied and abandoned unless action is taken soon.

Sold already! Salto De Castro has now been bought for $325,000.

Salto de Castro, Aerial view of Dam
Salto de Castro, Aerial view of Dam

When the news of its sale for a mere $259,000 went up, it went viral and attracted around 50,000 tourists in a matter of days. There were 300 prospective buyers from the UK, Russia, Belgium, France, etc., all wanting to own this abandoned village. Some were even willing to pay upfront to reserve and seal the deal.

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But finally, Oscar Torres, a builder from Toledo, has become the proud owner of this quaint, pretty Spanish village, closing the bargain at $325,000. Torres thinks that the location and beauty of this village make it a very prospective tourist destination. This unique village was included in the “Red List of Historic Heritage in Decline” of the Hispania Nostra association in 2021. Salto De Castro is located not too far from Madrid, sits on a huge national park full of birds, and has the beautiful river Duero running through it. As per Torres, this unique place will be perfect for kayaking, sailing, cycling, etc. He is optimistic that his ambitious plans for this place can be fulfilled, though he estimates that renovation will cost him a minimum of $3-$4 million dollars.

Let us all hope that this beautiful place soon sheds its image of a ghost town filled with graffiti and vandalism and becomes a hustling-bustling tourist destination for everyone.

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Picture Salto De Castro, A Spanish Village that Went Up for Sale for $259,000
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