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EXCLUSIVE: Where can you build on rural (rústico) land in Spain?

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EXCLUSIVE: Where can you build on rural (rústico) land in Spain?
You may be able to build on rural land in some areas of Spain, according to specific rules. Photo: Pixabay

Finding out where it's possible to build a home on rural (rústico) land in Spain can be difficult, so we've trawled regional websites to help our readers dreaming of constructing a container home, tiny home or any kind of new build in Spanish nature.


Many come to Spain dreaming of buying a plot of land to construct their very own Spanish home, but it's not always so easy to make this a reality, due to the fact that not all land can be built on.

In Spain land is distributed into three categories: urbano, urbanizable and rústico.

Urbano land has official municipal accreditation for residential properties to be built on it, urbanizable is theoretically meant for residential purposes but needs accreditation and often isn’t connected to the water, sewage or electricity grid yet, and rústico is rural land where residential properties cannot be built, also called no urbanizable

Rural land is considered to be non-developable because it typically has some type of specific protection such as landscape or wildlife and/or because it is intended for specific uses such as livestock or agriculture. 

This law unfortunately means that foreigners and locals in Spain who buy a piece of rural land and want to build a home from scratch on it may find it difficult to do so. 

Rural land is further divided into various categories including normal non-developable land, protected non-developable land, common rustic land, protected rustic land, and rural land with special protection. 

READ ALSO - Property in Spain: What's it like to build your own house?

It is also categorised according to the activity carried out on the land such as forestry, agricultural, livestock and hunting. Interestingly one of these categories is also for homes, farmhouses and rural hotels. 

Rural land can be preserved by territorial and urban planning for its transformation into urban land, but this will be subject to protection according to its ecological, landscape or environmental characteristics and if has value such as for agricultural, livestock or forestry.

This all means that houses or other buildings may be able to be constructed on certain pieces of rural land, but it all depends on various factors, the main one being the region it's located in.

Here are the rules for all the regions in Spain. If in doubt or your area is not mentioned, you must contact the local authorities to find out if construction is possible as ultimately it will the town hall (ayuntamiento) that has the final say.


Castilla-La Mancha

Single-family homes can be built here, but any type of construction must be carried out respecting the regulations. This includes the rule that the land they're built on is at least one hectare and the house does not exceed 200m2. 


Andalusia recently brought in a new land law that will allow people to build homes of up to two floors on rústico (rural) land, as long as it doesn’t lead to the development of new settlements. Regional authorities will require each person who is given a building permit to pay the municipality in question the equivalent of 15 percent of the total construction budget.

READ ALSO: How you can now build your dream home on rural land in Spain's Andalusia 


The Urban Planning Law of Catalonia allows the construction of some buildings on rústico land, which can be grouped into three groups:

 - Rehabilitation and reconstruction of existing buildings and facilities.

 - New constructions and facilities linked to the rural world.

 - Equipment and facilities of public interest.

This means that you can't construct a new home on rural land, but you could buy an existing building to renovate or reconstruct.  


Madrid recently approved a draft law by which the construction of houses on rural land will be allowed as long as they are sustainable.

Homes can only be erected if the land is not protected by some type of legislation.  

In order to build a rural house, the land must measure at least six hectares, and the building must have a maximum height of 3.5 metres. The distance between homes must also be greater than 250 metres. 


Castilla y León

Owners of rural land have the right to use, enjoy and dispose of their lands according to their nature, being able to allocate them without urban restrictions that do not alter the nature of the land. You can renovate old existing properties for tourism purposes or other, and only build single-family homes that are necessary for carrying out a specific activity or operation. 

READ ALSO: A Spanish architect's step-by-step guide to building a home in Spain


The possibilities of building a single-family home on rural land according to the Urban Planning Law of Aragón are:

- Municipalities may grant a building permit for the construction of isolated buildings intended for single-family housing in places where there is no possibility of forming a population nucleus.

- Only one home per plot will be allowed and buildings must not exceed 300m2. Each plot of land they are built on must measure at least 10,000m2.

- Like in Catalonia it's possible to by buildings on rural land and requesting the corresponding permit from the City Council in order to renovate them.

- If you want to build movable property that does not require any type of foundation such as yurts, tipis, wooden houses or mobile homes you must ask the corresponding City Council for a permit. 

Valencia region

Houses can be built on rural land if:

- They are built on land of at least one hectare
- The construction doesn't exceed two percent of the land or 200m2 per hectare.
- It is not built natural water source and you do not have to cut any trees to build it or modify the topography of the land.
- It's for a single family. Collective or communal dwellings are prohibited.



In Murcia, it depends on the applicable local and regional regulations, as well as the degree of protection the land has. There are also limits as to the size of property that can be built on certain size areas of land. Check with regional authorities. 

La Rioja

As a general rule, rual properties can be constructed with a surface area of up to 40 m2, but you must always consult the authorities of the town it's located in as it must have a minimum size (1000 m2, 2000 m2 depending on the town's regulations).


In 2022, to promote the economic development of rural areas, the Xunta de Galicia changed the law to allow construction on rural land, when certain requirements are met. This changes for each municipality, so you must contact the town hall where you own the land. 

You can also build on rustic land as long as the building has agricultural, livestock or tourist purposes (such as camps, sports facilities or rural accommodation).

Buildings cannot be constructed on rural land if it is less than 2,000 m2.


A modification in the law last year stated that there would be no differences between the places where single-family homes can be built on rustic land throughout Cantabria, as long as a series of requirements are met. The caveat is that it will only be possible for two years, after which permits will only be granted to municipalities with less than 5,000 inhabitants.

There was a similar modification in 2012, but now there will be less bureaucracy.



The Balearic Islands also recently changed their rules regarding property on rural land. Previously, the maximum buildable area was 3 percent of the land and now it is only 1.5.

There has been an important change in the maximum permitted volume, which has been reduced to a maximum of 900 m3 for any type of rustic land (until 2020 it was 1,500 m3).

- Common rustic land must be at least 14,000m2 and land specially protected areas must be at least 50,000m2.

- No more than one swimming pool may be built per property, which cannot exceed 35 m2 nor its volume exceed 60 m3.


Canary Islands

Space may not be readily available on the archipelago, but it is possible to build a property on rural land in the Canary Islands as long as certain requirements are established by the competent authorities. It is necessary to present a detailed technical project that guarantees the viability of the property and get a permit.

Buildings can't take up more than two percent of the surface area of the land.

There are different specifications between the islands so check with the authorities first. 


A modification of the law in 2020 changed the decentralisation of procedures in municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants. It is now the town councils and associations that grant permits, which has considerably reduced the waiting times.


Owners of non-developable land must request authorisation to carry out each new activity from owning livestock to building a house. The answer will depend on each area. 


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