Moving to Flix, Tarragona

HI everyone,

My husband and I share a common dream - to own a smallholding and live off the land in Spain. My husband is half Spanish and when our kids were smaller we lived in Northern Spain for three years. We currently live in England and are looking to buy a "project" with lots of land. We are developers so there are plenty of great bargains, especially in the Tarragona area.

However, having never visited the area (Our planned trip to view properties is in a few weeks) I do have my concerns about Flix. It seems there are chemical plants on the river Ebro, and Greenpeace is involved in trying to get the river cleaned up from the chemical waste that has been dumped there. There is even talk of radioactive elements.  My question is this; Does anyone know the area? And if so, could you tell me if it would be a good investment regardless of the chemical plant? Would the water from the river be so contaminated that you would not want to eat the fish from it, and what about the soil? Would there be any possibility that whatever chemicals are in the water, might be in the soil, and thus enter the food we would be growing?

Thank you in advance for any information or advice on this topic.

It has been apparently cleaned up now, but why would you want to eat the fish.  Most river fish need to be purged before being killed and eaten so more effort than it is worth.  Stick to the sea for edible fish.  Not sure about the land, if the local water supply comes from the river, it may have been, but if it has been contaminated I think the local farmers would have started shouting.  Look for land without an agriculture water supply and get it put on yourself and the water should be ok as it will not have been watered during the bad period.

Hi, Thanks for the information. I am glad that it is not an obvious concern for locals. That alone puts my mind at ease. And yes, you are absolutely right about the fish!! 😃

Hi NatashaWF

My partner and I are also planning a visit to Flix and the Tarragona area with a view to find a small holding but have not yet decided if this is the region for us. I am interested to know how you liked the area of Flix and your experiences good or bad on your visit in June? 

How was your Spanish language received, do people there generally speak Catalan?

We'd love to hear anything you'd like to share.

If you speak Spanish people generally reply in spanish but it's hard to join local groups,meetings, clubs because they are all in Catalan. There are 3 nuclear power. Stations in the area plus another one which had to be closed down because of lack of maintenance...

Hi rosbentley

Thanks for your reply, we didn't know about the power stations.  Something for us to look into and read up on before our trip.

Hi Joda1

Our trip to Catalunia was very brief but very informative too. The people speak Catalan everywhere but we communicated in Castellano and had no problem. The people in the Mora Valley are extremely friendly. Having previously lived in Cantabria where, in general, they take by far more time to warm to you, the openness and welcoming atmosphere really stood out in Catalunia. Flix has a decent amount of Brits so English was surprisingly easy to hear in the background. We however decided that Catalunia was not the place for us. This was based on the extreme heat, it was 38 degrees on that June day and I couldn't see my kids enjoying it as much as I did! Also, we just didn't feel right about the area, it was just not for us and so we are looking towards Northern Spain again.

If the area suits you, you will have no problem finding a property with rolling acres of arid land for a very very cheap price! We viewed several properties in one day and were blown away with what you can get for your money.

A word of warning though - please ensure that you go with an established agent who's information (contact number, address and business number) is available on the Internet and that they are happy to share this with you. The property market in Spain is a beurocratic minefield and there are many properties(some of which we viewed, without having been told) that have been built illegally and therefore living in, renovating or anything of the sort might be near impossible. That would leave you stuck with a property you cannot use and cannot sell.

Sorry but there are plenty of legal, very affordable properties out ther too so please do not be put off by what I said, just bare it in mind. As we are in development we managed to see through quite a few things that might have gone unnoticed to some.

On the whole, despite the power stations ( which are conspicuous) the Ebro valley is stunning, the people are friendly, and if you can handle it, the climate, amazing!!

I wish you all the best in your endeavour in both finding the right property, as well as your small holding!

All the best,


Thank you so much for taking the time to write back so quickly and with so much detail. 

The mention of ensuring reputable estate agents is advice we will follow, thanks for that. 

We were near Alicante in August, the heat was so intense and have moved our search further North. From the average temperatures on paper Tarragona looks to bearable for us,.....ideally it would be best to be there for a year and make a decision after that...a luxury of retirement we don't yet have.

Good luck with your move back to Spain, where ever you find yourselves. Thanks again.