THE ORBA & JALON VALLEY

Located at the epicentre of the Marina Alta, Orba is a small, typically Spanish inland town cradled in a fertile evergreen valley of citrus, olive and almond groves, and sheltered by the surrounding mountains. Although the town only has about 2000 inhabitants (a well proportioned mix of Spanish, British and other European) it is large enough to provide all essential services and facilities with a choice of good shops and supermarkets, bars, restaurants, banks, a fine community pool, sports and  barbeque park, and a new 24hr medical centre.

Orba and its neighbouring valleys maintain a very strong Moorish influence, apparent not just in the Arabic origins of the village names but also visually in the architecture and terracing of the hillsides. Referred to as the medicine chest of Europe in medieval times, not only do many wild herbs flourish but the area draws thousands of sightseers every spring to see the spectacle of the almond and cherry blossom. The local valleys are reputed to enjoy the earliest cherry harvest in Europe. A stark contrast to the nearby rice fields of Pego and vineyards of Jalon. Javea its coastal neighbour is claimed to be the first place in Spain to greet each dawn and the sun shines for at least 300days per year here. The ferocity of the midsummer heat is tempered by the happy cocktail of the altitude, the mountain breezes and the fact that Orba, being at the centre of a promontory, is within about 20 km. of the Mediterranean for a full 180º.

All kinds of property can be found in this area, from original Spanish terraced town houses through to majestic mountainside fincas (farmhouses), equally there are several small developments from town houses and apartments to imposing, individually designed luxury villas on plots of up to 12,000m2 (3 acres).

The Marina Alta region is more about longer term investment value than cheapness. Currently we have on our books a 5000m2 plot with a stone finca ruin for rebuilding with stunning mountain and valley views, a new development of two bedroom town houses with communal pool complex and tropical gardens, traditional three bedroom townhouse with roof terrace, at E190,000 we have a large part-renovated traditional finca on a south-facing 5000m2 plot with panoramic views of the mountains and sea.

Compared to the nearby coastal resorts, many of the towns and villages in the mountain and valley areas are relatively undiscovered and the market here is, relatively speaking, in its infancy. This situation, while it lasts, continues to throw up some exciting opportunities for shrewd buyers, who are prepared to venture just 20minutes or so inland.

This is an undeveloped market with values set to rise over the medium to long term as more people discover the charms and appeal of these inland areas. They have great appeal to both the retired and those with young families who want to speak back from the bustle of the coast. Of course, the growing popularity of towns like Orba also creates work and business opportunities too.

Whilst there are several popular entertainment venues in and around Orba without the need to travel to the coast, the greater appeal must be to those seeking the relaxation (or the exertions) that this spectacular rural setting offers. The mountains offer great opportunities for walking, climbing, cycling, fishing and horse riding etc. whilst the coastal resorts have all the usual attractions and some of Mediterranean Spain’s finest sandy beaches, just a twenty minute drive away.