Expert's guide: Where to buy luxury property in the Mediterranean now

Why buy in the Med?

The Med’s superyacht stop-offs offer a safe haven from political storms – and, as ever, the most glamorous pieds-à-terre in the world, says Francesca Steele...

Europe had a volatile 2016, with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and terrorist attacks causing uncertainty across multiple sectors, including real estate. But the continent’s jet-set party hubs are still thriving.

Importantly, there is large scale investment and new developments are being built, but not so many that prices are expected to stall. From the opening of restaurants such as Hakkasan’s Ling Ling on Mykonos to the new Portonovi marina in Montenegro, estate agents are crediting “facilities” as a deciding factor behind a destination’s property power.

All over the Mediterranean estate agents are saying that last year’s season was far better than expected, and that this year could be better still. Here is the lowdown on the best the Mediterranean has to offer…


Lord Byron once said that the Montenegrin coastline was “the most beautiful encounter between land and sea”. Certainly, it has thrived on its boating credentials. Montenegro’s flagship development, Porto Montenegro, has built up over the past decade to transform the city of Tivat. There is also soon to be a new kid on the block, Portonovi.

Once completed it will offer a new marina, 290 Montenegrin-style cottages and villas and the first One&Only hotel in the Mediterranean. Together, Porto Montenegro and Portonovi form two points of Montenegro’s “golden triangle”. The third point is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kotor, with its towering mountains and winding medieval streets.

Within the golden triangle, agents forecast that current and planned developments will attract €2.4 billion in investment, equal to more than two thirds of Montenegro’s current annual economic output, over the next five years. For superyacht owners there is a wide range of landscapes and seascapes to explore, all of which offer something quite different from the rest of the Mediterranean and often at a lower price point. Luxury properties can be found for less than €1 million, but they tend to sell quickly, typically within three months, according to Dolores Ilic of Dream Estates Montenegro, a Savills associate.

Buy: This 10 bedroom estate (pictured), made up of three villas, has a berth for yachts up to 25 metres and offers a huge outside entertainment area, including a karaoke bar. €9m,

Eat: For authentic Croatian cuisine, the Ribarsko Selo restaurant serves only fish caught by its own fishermen. It is virtually inaccessible by car but there are nine moorings for yachts over 40 metres.

Spot: Robert De Niro last year opened the new outlet of world renowned Japanese restaurant Nobu in Sveti Stefan, on a rocky precipice overlooking the Bay of Budva.


Mykonos is often compared with other jet-set destinations, notably Ibiza and St Tropez. But is that quite fair? It has a decent DJ scene and is popular with fashionable restaurant chains: Hakkasan’s Ling Ling and Buddha-Bar are two recent arrivals. However, this stunning little Greek island is in a class of its own.

The trendy bars and nightlife scene take place against a mythological backdrop and a landscape that reflects this – the straw-topped windmills of Chora, the tiny fishing houses hanging over the coast at Little Venice. It also happens to be the top-end destination for tourists and property buyers in the Aegean. It has continued to thrive throughout the Greek economic crisis and particularly after the 2015 bailout.

Restrictive planning laws make it difficult to build without having first secured a larger plot of land and this keeps villa numbers low, prices up and the shoreline less crowded than comparative Mediterranean hotspots. Average prices for villas are between €5,000 and €7,000 per square metre but the best, with sea views and privacy, will set you back at least €10,000. The most popular locations include Tourlos, Agios Ioannis and Kalafatis.

Buy: This secluded hilltop villa (pictured) is built in rustic Mykonian style, with six bedrooms and a traditional barbecue next to the infinity pool. €3.3m,

Fly: Mykonos has its own airport, about a 35 minute flight from Athens, with private jet facilities. However, the airport is busy during peak summer months and landing slots can be limited, so book in advance.

Party: Scorpios is one of the hottest openings of the past few years. It’s a beachside bar with morning yoga and “sunset rituals” – that’s DJing and dancing to the rest of us.


Ibiza is relatively small – about one sixth the size of neighbouring Mallorca – but even within its 220 square miles buyers and renters are on the move. There is a definite migration north, according to local agents, as road improvements have shortened journey times to Ibiza Town. Small fincas above €1 million are proving particularly popular.

“Increasingly, buyers are far more open to look around the peaceful northern parts of Ibiza because here they can get much more for their money,” says Numa Heathcote, of Aylesford International. He admits that the traditional places to buy are still in the middle of the island, around Santa Gertrudis and San Rafael, and the south, which remains the most expensive area.

Here, coastal properties are highly coveted and frequently sell for €10 million plus. Andrew Langton, chairman of Aylesford International, says: “Of all the locations in the Mediterranean we still put Ibiza at the top of the wish list for UK buyers, holiday rentals and visiting yacht owners. While nowhere is recession-proof, it is evident that the demand for holiday homes on Ibiza has outperformed the sister island of Mallorca and mainland Spain over the past five years.”

Buy: Located in the prestigious area of Es Cubells, Casa Cubells offers six bedrooms, four in the main house and two in the guest house, which also has a gym. With views over countryside and sea, it is just a 15 minute drive from Ibiza Town. €11.5m,

Order: Ibiza Delivers, the island’s yacht and villa provisioning firm, has recently introduced the Ibiza Delivers Offshore Service, Ibiza’s first luxury water taxi and superyacht support tender service.

Visit: Unleash your inner Julia Roberts and stomp the divots at half-time at the Ibiza Polo Club, with a packed summer schedule and Argentinian-style barbecue on offer.


“Lifestyle investors” seeking a refuge from the doom and gloom of their home nations after the political upheaval caused by Donald Trump’s election and Brexit are fuelling interest in Barcelona’s second homes market, Spanish agents say. The international agent Lucas Fox registered a four per cent rise in prices during 2016 and up to 10 per cent in prime micro areas such as Barcelona Old Town and Eixample.

Highend modernist apartments in central city areas, such as El Born in the Old Town, are still booming (a penthouse will cost you at least €3 million), as are those on sale near the recently redeveloped OneOcean Port Vell. The world-class marina reopened in 2015 and has since been chosen as the host venue for the 2017 MYBA Charter Show. For more traditional would-be homeowners, Zona Alta, overlooking the rest of the city, remains the place for the crème de la crème to buy large houses, particularly the area of Pedralbes. Here, villas with landscaped gardens and mountainous views are €10 million plus.

Buy: This three bedroom penthouse is in an amazing modernist building in Eixample, with period features plus contemporary high-end amenities including a gym and a wine cellar. POA,

Eat: The Adrià brothers, the men behind El Bulli, have built a small food empire in the streets of Barcelona, with no fewer than six restaurants. Visit Michelin-starred Tickets for a theatrical tapas experience, and don’t miss the infamous liquid olive.

Drink: Barrio Gótico (Gothic Quarter) in the Old Town is the go-to area for cool bars and nightlife. If you are a fan of kitsch style visit Sor Rita, a cocktail bar decorated with leopard print rugs, Barbies and high heeled shoes.

St Tropez

Despite a slowish summer for the town’s estate agents, celebrities still lunched at Le Club 55 near Pampelonne beach and visitors flocked to see Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez regatta as usual. Agents say that with vendors a little slow off the mark to sensibly adjust their prices, buyers are considering new areas. According to Jack Harris, senior negotiator for Knight Frank, the more affordable inland villages of Grimaud, Gassin and Ramatuelle have increased in popularity.

In Grimaud, the price of a four bedroom farmhouse or villa begins at around €1.2 million. Ramatuelle’s proximity to the best beaches pushes the starting price up to around €2 million. The most expensive hotspots still include the exclusive areas such as Les Parcs de St Tropez, on the peninsula east of the town. Here, starting prices for the best villas are at least €10 million. “There is an increased demand for luxury properties close to the town of St Tropez,” says Joshua Buckley of H Barnes & Co. “In some cases boat ownership and access is the reason.”

Buy: Just 500m from the very heart of St Tropez, this stunning estate still manages to pack in eight bedrooms and sprawling gardens with 100-year-old olive trees. €13m,

Stay: The five-star hotel Résidence de la Pinède and its three- Michelin-star restaurant La Vague d’Or (where you can eat only locally sourced ingredients) are already stunning, but are getting an upgrade.

Do: For a bit of peace and quiet, check out the views from Le Sentier du Littoral, a seven mile coastal walk across the bay. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

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