11 Mar, 2024 @ 16:29
1 min read

‘We were paid to run the only bar in a tiny town in Spain – and are loving our new life’

A SPANISH family has moved to a tiny village in Toledo after being offered free accommodation in exchange for running the only bar in town. 

Many places across ‘empty Spain’ are facing extinction as young people migrate to big cities. 

Across the country, councils have come up with creative solutions to the exodus, some offering cash, property or land. 

But Hontanar, Toledo has offered more.

Hortanar has just over 100 inhabitants. Photo: Wikimedia commons

READ MORE: These two picturesque towns in Spain will pay you THOUSANDS to live there

The medieval village has promised free accommodation in exchange for running the local bar which has been empty for over six months. 

Just 145 inhabitants, Hontanar is surrounded by natural beauty, including the Parque Nacional de Cabañeros. 

Now, a young Spanish family has made the move to the rural village, beating out hundreds of hopeful applicants. 

Those interested had to be self-employed, design a daily menu on a budget and ideally move to the village with their family. 

Diego Moreno came to Hortanar with his wife, two children and dad, who frequently helps out in the kitchen.

Diego’s family made the move to repopulate the village. Photo: CMMMedia

READ MORE: Expat couple buy an entire abandoned ‘pueblo’ in Spain: These are the plans for their new village

He says he jumped at the ‘great business opportunity’.

“It’s important to repopulate the village,” he said.

The novice landlords did not have to worry about refurbishments, as the bar has just been renovated ready for operation. 

The bar has been open a few weeks and is a resounding success. Photo: CMMMedia

The town council has also agreed to pay half of the electricity, water and heating costs at the premises. 

In Spain, bars are hubs for socialising and provide a lifeline for many elderly residents who cannot cook for themselves. 

Everyday, the bar serves around 35-40 local people who are ‘very happy’ to have the bar back. “It was empty for six months and it was a very bad time,” said one resident. 

“Nobody socialised because there was nowhere to meet up, but Diego is a professional, we love him,” said another. 

The menu del dia is a purse friendly €13, but for retired people, it is half price at just €6.50.

The bar also has a shop ‘for the forgotten’, selling local products and pantry essentials. 

Above the bar, Diego and his family have free accommodation, with beautiful views of the mountains. 

Diego is happy with his new accommodation. Photo: CMMMedia

“It really is a privilege to live here,” Diego said. 

According to the town council, they received thousands of applications from across the world, including Colombia and Cuba.

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