Posted: Sep 25, 2015
Beauty, as everyone knows, is in the eye of the beholder. But here is our pick of the 20 most beautiful places to live around the globe.
Wake up in beautiful surroundings and you are ahead of the game before you have even had breakfast. And it is the sheer physical beauty of some locations – from deserted beaches to easy-on-the-eye cities – that tempts millions of Britons to buy property overseas. Here are just twenty locations where the most important consideration is not value for money or proximity to good amenities, but simply the view from your bedroom window.
20. St Lucia
Property prices are appreciably lower than Barbados – you can find a three-bedroom villa on the prestigious Cap Estate for £750,000 or less – but St Lucia has the edge in the beauty stakes. It is the combination of beaches and rain forest, particularly in the less populated south, near the famous Pitons, that makes the island so irresistible.
19. The Algarve, Portugal
Considering the volume of tourism in the Algarve, the area has lost little of its charm. The combination of pine trees and sandy beaches, dainty fishing villages and rugged cliffs, is as irresistible as ever. You can play golf every day if you want to – three-bedroom golf villas in resorts such as Quinta do Lago cost from around £300,000. But why not just have a beer at the nineteenth hole and enjoy the view?
18. Turkish coast
Many Britons discover the Turkish coast on holiday and are then tempted to buy property there, perhaps in the area around Dalaman. Prices are extremely reasonable – you can get a three-bedroom villa with pool for about £100,000 - but it is the coastline itself, one easy-on-the-eye bay after another that is the real drawing card.
17. Portofino, Italy
Whether your taste is for coastal living or pastel-coloured properties set on the Italian Riviera, Portofino ticks all the boxes. It is a beautiful fishing port that attracts the rich and famous, including Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.
Property prices are not cheap. A three-bedroom apartment here could set you back around £650,000. But where better to wake-up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean.
16. Mykonos, Greece
If you are a sucker for that distinctive Greek cocktail of sunny beaches, azure seas and pretty white-washed houses, you will find it in spades in Mykonos. The island is deservedly very popular, and property prices reflect that – you might have to pay upwards of £500,000 for a traditional family-sized villa. But you won’t begrudge the money when you are savouring one of those famous Mykonos sunsets.
More and more Britons have been discovering Morocco, and not just for its winter sun. It is the conjunction of sandy beaches and distant mountains, allied to the urban charms of cities such as Marrakech that makes the country a winner. You can find gorgeous three-bedroom villas with pools near Marrrakech for about £800,000.
14. The Gers, France
A bit like the Cotswolds, but far sunnier, and with sunflowers and vineyards instead of sheep, the Gers is still relatively undiscovered, which is good news for house-hunters. For around £700,000, you can buy a magnificent six-bedroom period property – then enjoy the sights and sounds of rural France at its best.
13. Tallinn, Estonia
Of the great cities of Eastern Europe, Tallinn has become many people’s favourite. People go there on stag or hen weekends and end up staying. They are lured by the easy-going lifestyle and competitive property prices – £200,000 or less for a stylish city-centre apartment. The old medieval town, with its maze of cobbled streets, has a timeless grace.
12. Andalusia, Spain
From the busy coastal resorts to the great inland cities such as Seville and Cordoba, Andalusia is Spain in perfect miniature: a land steeped in history where the sun always seems to be shining. It is the brilliant palette of colours, from bougainvilleas to lemon trees, that makes the heart dance. The Spanish property market has suffered from over-supply, but you can buy two-bedroom apartments within walking distance of the beach for £100,000 or less.
11. Paris, France
Paris has become a cliché, but it has become a cliché for a reason. Tourists come and go, but the physical charm of the city, from Montmartre to the Left Bank, never palls. And unlike some other great cities, it is beautiful all year round, whether bathed in sunshine or wreathed in fog. You can get a one-bedroom apartment in Montmartre for around £300,000.
10. Heidelberg, Germany
Is there a prettier town in all Germany? It is hard to think so. Heidelberg’s old castle is like a something out of a medieval fairy tale, while the riverside setting, on the banks of the Neckar, is incomparable. There is the inevitable property premium, but prices are still pretty reasonable compared with Berlin. Expect to pay around £250,000 for a modern three-bedroom apartment.
9. St Kitts and Nevis
You get two islands for the price of one in St Kitts and Nevis, and they vie with each other in the looks department. Nevis, with its cloud-capped mountain, is the less populated and more exclusive of the two, but St Kitts – where you can get two-bedroom penthouses overlooking a golf course for around £300,000 - is equally delightful, one curvy bay after another.
8. Tasmania, Australia
A lot of people who know Australia will tell you that, for sheer scenic beauty, Tasmania is unrivalled. The remoter parts of the interior still feel like a wooded wilderness, while the east coast is delicious – a photo opportunity around every corner. Property prices compare well with the cities on the Australian mainland. You can get decent family homes with land near a beach for around £300,000.
7. New York, USA
The city that has come to define city living, New York will always be a magnet for high-end urbanites, and property prices reflect that. You might have to pay upwards of £1 million for a smallish two-bedroom apartment in a sought-after area of Manhattan. But what price can you put on looking out over that world-famous skyline in the setting sun?
6. Salzburg, Austria
The Sound of Music was filmed here in the Sixties, and the famous Austrian city has lost little of its charm in the intervening years. It is the combination of breath-taking Baroque architecture and equally breath-taking mountain scenery that makes Salzburg irresistible. Property prices – around £400,000 for a four-bedroom chalet within 20 miles of Salzburg – are not unreasonable either, compared with the blue-chip ski resorts of France and Switzerland.
5. Vancouver, Canada
If you like living in an elegant port city, with offshore islands and mountains in the distance, Vancouver ticks that box. The capital is fast becoming one of the most popular cities on the western seaboard of North America, although property prices have not yet gone through the roof – £500,000, or less for a well-located family home with sea views.
4. Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany needs no introduction and, because others have got here first, property prices are steep in the most sought-after towns and cities. But there are plenty of less fashionable enclaves where, if you are prepared to spend time and money doing up a run-down farmhouse, you can pick up decent-sized properties in out-of-the-way areas for under £50,000. You can then spend the rest of your life savouring the Tuscan hills and those inimitable hillside towns..
3. Bay of Islands, New Zealand
The South Island may be more physically spectacular, but more and more people are discovering the lazy charm of the Bay of Islands, to the north of Auckland. Whether you fancy living on the mainland or one of the small islands, you will be spoil for choice, with delectable views on all sides. Expect to pay between £400,000 and £500,000 for a three-bedroom beachfront bungalow.
Mauritius has really blossomed in the 21st century, with a string of classy residential developments. Ringed by sandy beaches, with the odd golf course thrown into the mix, the island is bigger than other tropical paradises and has correspondingly more scenic variety. The people are friendly, too. You can get a two-bedroom apartment in the exclusive Anahita resort for around £500,000.
1. Venice, Italy
If you do not mind the crowds, you will never tire of Venice. The famous city of canals and palazzos looks ravishing for twelve months a year. And property prices are not wildly unreasonable, given the inevitable Venice premium. You can get a large apartment in one of the quieter areas for around £500,000. Another tempting option is the neighbouring island of Murano, known for its glass, where you might have to pay between £200,000 and £300,000 for a maisonette..