On the Costa de la Luz, the wind can howl – much to the delight of kite surfers.

Wind and dreamhome Andalusia

The people of Malaga hate the wind. Kite surfers, meanwhile, love it: “The wind doesn’t take everything away; it sweeps away what doesn’t belong” (Jichi Hussein).

Many people don’t consider the wind when buying their dream house. Yet, the south-western part of Spain – the Costa de la Luz – is one of the windiest areas on the European mainland. Anyone who spends time in the region from Tarifa up to Zahara de los Atunes or Conil de la Frontera will notice this from the numerous wind turbines.

This can become a major downside over time: unsecured items and garden furniture can fly around, a cosy coffee on the terrace can be spoiled, and clattering shutters can rob you of sleep, which many seek by coming here.

We’re somewhat spared on the Costa del Sol, but there are still some windy areas, namely Estepona, Benahavís (Montemayor), La Mairena near Ojén, the south side of the Sierra de Mijas (Higuerón), and especially the Guadalhorce Valley (Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín el Grande, Coín, Cártama).

Even the city of Malaga suffers from the west wind known as ‘Terral’, particularly in the western part of the city. This is one reason why wealthy individuals predominantly settled on the eastern side in the past century and built their summer palaces there. Even today, the eastern part of Malaga (Limonar, Cerrado de Calderón, Pedregalejo, San Antón) is considered home to the upper middle classes.

Wind directions

On the Costa del Sol, the Levante wind predominantly blows from the east, bringing pleasantly cool temperatures to Malaga city even on some summer days. In contrast, the hot and dry Poniente (converted into Terral) can be very unpleasant in some coastal areas. Some people also experience mood swings due to the change in air pressure. Known in Malaga as the infamous “Terral” wind (an offshore Föhn wind accelerated by mountain formations), it only blows for a few days at a time. It is bone dry (ideal for drying laundry!) and can exceed 35ºC in the summer, even at night.

The Terral, or Poniente, is an important part of the ecosystem. It pushes fresh Atlantic water into the Mediterranean (at a rate of about 1.5 million m³ per second during Poniente), stirring up the seawater and bringing plankton to the surface. This process cools the water temperatures and supports the extraordinary abundance of fish in the Alboran Sea (the stretch of the Mediterranean between southern Spain and Morocco).

Interestingly, in the summer, the Poniente wind brings slightly cooler temperatures to inland areas and the Costa de la Luz, while causing extremely high temperatures on the Costa del Sol—often over 40ºC—except in areas like Puerto Marina, around El Faro, and Marbella. Conversely, when the wind shifts to Levante, all of Spain, including the Costa de la Luz, experiences high temperatures, while Malaga enjoys (at least sometimes) a cool and pleasant day, even in August.

Building considerations

When it comes to building your dream home in a windy area, it’s essential to know where the wind predominantly comes from and whether the outdoor areas will be usable. For instance, a terrace facing west or north-west in Higuerón will be uncomfortable on days with Terral winds. Similarly, terraces facing east (Levante) or west (Poniente) will be difficult to use along the Atlantic coast.

What does this mean for your dream house? You have two options: either choose a property in a less windy area or create wind-protected outdoor spaces. Awnings are not suitable for wind protection, so consider other solutions.

If you’re building the house yourself, place it to be as sheltered from the wind as possible while still maintaining a good view. It’s crucial to orient the house to the wind-sheltered side: if the wind blows from the north-west, orient the house towards the south-east. This will save you many unpleasant moments!

As architects, we can offer structural solutions such as loggias (terraces enclosed on three sides), wall projections, or at least terraces with two protective walls.

If the windy side happens to be in the direction of the best view (which often occurs!), we can mitigate this with strategic cuts, wall screens as living sculptures, and the design of loggias.

Get in touch with us and we’ll find the perfect solution!


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