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Spain is a swimming-pool paradise: One for every 37 people
Wednesday, August 31, 2022 @ 6:56 PM

OVER 1.27 million swimming pools – private and communal – mean Spain has one for every 37 inhabitants, and some towns have as many as one pool for every three, according to land registry data.

Private pools, including communal ones on apartment or villa complexes, are often seen as a bonus, or even an essential feature, when buying a property (photo: La Fuente del Viento/Pinterest)

The figures do not include municipal pools – outdoor ones at bars, restaurants or run as a lido for summer heat relief inland, nor council-owned leisure centres, or those at hotels – but cover purely those at private homes.

They are either individual pools at residential properties, or communal ones on an apartment or villa complex which all residents, and summer visitors renting properties on the estate, can use.

Although the average is one pool per 37 people, numbers vary widely according to areas of the country and types of municipality, with out-of-town urbanisations more likely to have them, and regions with warmer climates seeing more of them.

The Balearic Islands, with one per 17 people, and the Comunidad Valenciana, with one for every 21 residents – and towns such as Jávea with up to one pool per three residents – comfortably exceed the national average.

A residential complex, or urbanisation, in Mallorca. The Balearic Islands have the highest ratio of pools to humans in Spain - one for every 17 inhabitants

Only 1% of pools are indoor, and the ratio is lower in the north of Spain where summers are less humid and shorter, meaning those who do not have a beach on the doorstep are not so likely to need them.

'Need' may sound a strange notion, but cooling down by jumping into a large body of water is a health necessity in summer – to such an extent that a high number of towns and villages a long way from the coast have set up river beaches or lidos for their residents.


Regions with the most pools

Despite being thought of as a southern or Mediterranean phenomenon – and it usually is – the region with the third-highest number of private or communal residential pools per inhabitant is the centre-northern Castilla y León, a huge inland high plain which habitually has some of the country's coldest and harshest winters. 

Pools can be customised to make them look like beaches - such as this one by NaturSand, shown on its Instagram page

In much of Castilla y León, average winter temperatures hover around 6ºC in the daytime and -2ºC at night, with snow at street level being common and often very deep.

But it still has a pool for every 25 residents.

That said, heated pools are also a great asset in winter – relaxing in very warm water while the air temperature is in single figures is a ritual in much of northern Scandinavia.

Andalucía comes below Castilla y León, even though its three land-locked provinces – Sevilla, Córdoba and Jaén – are colloquially referred to as 'the frying-pan of Spain', but is still well above average with a pool for every 28 people.

Murcia, on the south-east coast and one of the regions with the warmest winters, has a pool for every 30 inhabitants, and the land-locked western region of Extremadura – where the province of Badajoz has a long string of blue-flagged inland beaches – has a swimming pool for every 34 residents.


Towns with the most pools are in Madrid, Andalucía and the Comunidad Valenciana

Towns, villages and cities with the highest outright number of pools, irrespective of inhabitant numbers, are Madrid (13,842), Córdoba (11,538), and Marbella, with 10,662, or one for every 14 people.



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