- Winter travel tipped to beat 2.9% increase of 2013/14 season (Eurostat)
- EU air passenger traffic up 5.6% in October (Airports Council International)
- Outdoor sun terraces available from as little as €35,000 (Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa)
As the nights draw in and those early morning starts seem ever colder, the idea of sitting outside and soaking up the sun may seem like a distant dream, but the perfect outdoor terrace is actually a lot closer than you might think.
According to Eurostat, the pursuit of winter sun expanded over the 2013/14 season, with 15.4 million more nights spent in hotels and similar establishments within the European Union, an increase of 2.9% on the previous year. The 2014/15 season looks to be a good one too thus far, with the Airports Council International reporting an increase of 5.6% in passenger traffic at EU airports in October.
Some of the main increases in air passenger traffic were recorded in Spanish and Italian airports, while the Eurostat figures put Spain and Italy as two of the three most popular winter tourist destinations. With their warm climates, pretty beaches and short travel time from the UK it is easy to see why many of these tourists want more than just a hotel room and opt for a second home overseas instead. Martin Dell, Director of leading Spanish property portal Kyero.com, explains,
"Being able to bask in the sunshine over the winter months is hugely appealing to buyers from colder countries. For such buyers, outside space is extremely important and a property with a decent outdoor terrace can easily command a price premium over one without."
It is a fact well understood by Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, whose properties feature outdoor areas in the forms of gardens, balconies and roof terraces. Each development also has at least one communal swimming pool for those wishing to take the plunge over the winter months. Sea views, golf views and wide terraces are all tempting buyers at the company's latest site, the delightfully designed Miraval on the Costa del Sol, where prices start from €245,000.
Over in Italy, luxury holiday home company Appassionata also appreciates the value of outside space. The urban fractional townhouse Casa Tre Archi comes complete with three outdoor terraces, including a large roof terrace with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Owners can enjoy the three bedroom/three bathroom property for five weeks per year from just £65,000.
For buyers looking a little way beyond Spain and Italy, Portugal and Albania offer plentiful sunshine over the winter months and are both exceptional value for money as holiday destinations. Chris White, Founding Director of boutique real estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, observes,
"Being outside and enjoying the sunshine is just part of the way of life here in Portugal. From spacious apartments overlooking the sea to detached villas with their own pools, everything is geared towards maximising sunshine. It's a wonderfully relaxed approach to life."
In Albania, soaking up rays is also at the top of holidaymakers' priority lists, as the generously appointed balconies and terraces of the country's first high-end resort, Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, demonstrate. With prices starting from as little as €35,000 the resort has something for all budgets, so those who think that a second home with a stunning outdoor sun terrace is beyond their budget may just need to think again.