Spanish Property Glossary – Land, Plots, Building Sites, Fincas

The term finca is used in Northern Spain to refer to a field or plot of land.  There are two main classifications of finca.

1. Finca Rustica This is land that is zoned for agricultural purposes only.
This land can be used for recreational and/or horticultural purposes.
You cannot build a house on this land, although you may be able to construct a small building such as a shed or maybe even a cabaña (cabin). The rules governing up to what size such a building can be are governed by the local council or ayuntamiento. Commonly the size would be in the region of 2 metres by 3 metres.

2. Finca Urbana or Edificable. This is land that is zoned for building.
If you are buying land as a site to build a house, it must be ‘edificable’. The size up to which you can build is regulated by the local council (ayuntamiento) and is related to the size of the plot, i.e. the bigger the plot, generally the bigger the house you can build.
You, or your agent or representative, can consult the relevant Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) regarding the building regulations of the area. This information is in the public domain and is available freely. You, or your representative, can also request an official certificate of build  (Certificado de Edificabilidad) relating to a specific finca so that you know exactly what requirements you would need to comply with in building before you even commit to purchasing the site.

Some other Spanish terms you may come across when looking at land are

parcela (plot)

terreno (land)

Other related terms  Catastro, Registro Catastral …. more info coming soon in a separate blog

Check out for more information on Spanish Property terms, specifically relating to Asturias and Northern Spain


  1. The planning laws differ from province to province, town halls have their own classifications for laws regarding planning:
    It depends upon whether the land is dry, irrigated, planted and i believe the level above sea level is taken into consideration also.

  2. thanks for the wonderful data over such a topic.
    It will prove very helpful.

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