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Area Focus – Western Costa del Sol

Western Costa del Sol Holiday RentalMany people are unaware of the many charms of the western part of the Costa del Sol and because of that you will find the beaches are less crowded, there’s parking even during peak season and although restaurants and bars are busy, you won’t struggle to get a table like you may do in the most popular area.

There’s a lot to love about the Western Costa del Sol; beaches are great, with many lovely Spanish communities which still follow a very traditional way of life and the cost of accommodation, food and particularly drinks are much cheaper. You can fly into Gibraltar to cut down on travel time and there are some great things to see and do.

Highlights include

Castellar Zoo, which is a rescue centre and zoo where you can learn about the animals and even pet and feed them!

Sotogrande Port is a great place to see the beautiful boats and enjoy a coffee, a few drinks or a bite to eat in a lovely environment. There’s live music in the evenings most weekends, as well as a market during the summer.

Duquesa Port is a great place to eat out if you fancy something other than Spanish food, as there are Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, American and even Moroccan restaurants all next to each other, as well as lots of great bars.

Sabinillas has a couple of brilliant festivals on the beach which are well worth a visit. The San Juan celebration on the 23rd of June where enormous bonfire sculptures are lit at midnight and there’s live music and a wonderful atmosphere is the best in the coast. Plus there’s the Full Moon Festival in August where everyone dresses in white and heads to the beach for a festival of music and lights, it’s really magical.

Manilva village is famous for its sweet wine and there’s a small wine museum where you can learn about wine making and also arrange wine tasting sessions. There’s also a place making artisan beer which you can visit and do a tasting session, so you can enjoy artisan beer and wine in one place.

Casares is a stunning white village gathered precariously around a hill, with a fort on the top. As well as the stunning views it has a reputation for excellent gastronomy and a large selection of great restaurants.

Estepona is a vibrant and pretty Spanish town, with wide beaches, a long seaside promenade, sweet old town and an amazing Orchid House, not to mention a lovely Spanish atmosphere. There are lots of events through the year and many people really fall in love with its charms.

We have a wide range of holiday rental properties in the western Costa del Sol, here are just a few –

3 Bedroom Townhouse in CasaresThis delightful townhouse is situated in the complex Pueblo Andaluz, in the village of Casares. The Andalusian village style complex blends into its surroundings perfectly and has wonderful rustic features.

1 Bed Apartment Estepona – This distinctive 1 bedroom, 2nd floor apartment is front line beach, situated in the complex of Buenas Noches in Estepona. The apartment offers stunning views over the sparkling Mediterranean sea to Gibraltar and over to Africa and is perfect for beach lovers looking for a great value apartment. More information or Book Now

Duquesa Port Apartment – This delightful two bedroom holiday apartment in the gated complex of Arenal Duquesa is situated between Puerto de la Duquesa and Sabinillas. This modern apartment complex offers beautifully maintained tropical gardens and is within walking distance of Duquesa port. 

If you’d like to have a holiday on the Western Costa del Sol, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice on where to stay and a list of properties which best meet your requirements.

Recommended Winter Sun Destination – San Pedro de Alcantara

Winter Sun Destination - San Pedro de Alcantara Beat the January blues by booking a winter sun getaway to the Costa del Sol!

It’s hard when the decorations come down, the nights are long and the days cold and wet, but just a few hours away is Spain’s sunshine coast, with lovely weather all year round.

We had a record breaking December with temperatures in the 20s and hardly any rain and predictions are it will be a mild start to the year as well. February is a lovely time to visit, when spring is just around the corner, but prices are still very reasonable and you can feel like one of the lucky locals. Picture yourself strolling along the paseo, enjoying delicious food, walking in the surrounding hills and enjoying some great sports at the beginning of this year, it’s nearer than you think. Also, even if it does rain, you know it’s falling on the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains as snow, so why not pop up there for a day on the slopes? Every cloud has a silver lining you know!!

If you do fancy a winter getaway, the location really counts, as you want a town which is full of life all year round and has plenty to do no matter what the weather. This month we wanted to recommend the lovely town of San Pedro de Alcantara, just west of Puerto Banus. It is becoming more and more popular with locals and visitors alike due to a number of new parks, play areas and facilities, plus a brand new “boulevard” which has brought the town together. The new fame is bringing with it lovely new coffee shops, restaurants and a real buzz, perfect for a winter getaway.

San Pedro has a fantastic beach area, with a long and well-kept promenade with fitness areas, playgrounds, cafes and restaurants and it’s a really nice walk into Puerto Banus. If you want to cover some more distance, why not rent a bike and see how far you can get?

The new boardwalk or boulevard area in the middle of the town has a number of playgrounds and cafes, plus an American Diner/Food Truck with an ice rink and big screens to watch sports. There’s also an amphitheatre area which hosts concerts and plays and there are often special events going on.

The old town of San Pedro is as pretty as a picture with lots of shops and a pedestrianised area with cafés, bars and restaurants and good shopping. There’s also a great weekly flea market at the top of the town, with everything from clothes, to accessories, to fruit and veg and household items to browse.

San Pedro has so much to offer itself, plus its proximity to Puerto Banus and Marbella gives you even more options. We have a perfect holiday rental for a winter sun getaway, which is located in a stunning development in between Puerto Banus and San Pedro, just 600 meters away from the beach.

This luxury 2 bedroom apartment in San Pedro  sleeps 4 people in style. It includes a south-facing covered terrace, perfect for soaking up the winter sun with a coffee or a glass of wine, comfortable and chic bedrooms, including a large master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and a twin bedroom. There’s free Wi-Fi, everything is finished to the highest standards and you can stroll to San Pedro or Banus in around 15 minutes. All this from under 150€ per day, amazing winter value! Contact us to book your winter sun getaway.

We love Malaga – why it should be on your list of places to visit!

We love Malaga!If you’re planning a Christmas getaway or drawing up a 2016 travel wish list, don’t overlook the cosmopolitan, cultural hotspot of Malaga on the Costa del Sol. Often thought as simply an airport linking Brits with Andalucia’s best loved beach destinations, Malaga is an amazing destination in its own right with some of the best shopping, nightlife and museums you can find anywhere.

The Independent recently wrote a great article about Malaga’s success story and its incredible transformation which shone a light onto this often overlooked city and the response has been great. Describing Malaga as “hot, hip and happening” and “one of this year’s top-rated city break destinations” it praises the city for the well-placed investment which has changed it into a cultural hub with 30 museums which was nominated as a worthy candidate for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

We couldn’t agree more! Malaga really has the X-Factor, with very pretty streets and impressive buildings which buzzes with life day and night. The newly developed port area has done wonders for the city, as it’s encouraged people to move around from the fantastic Muelle 1 area with its great shopping and chic bars and restaurants right on the marina, up to the Old Town with the iconic cathedral, striking fort and Roman ruins. Wherever you go, you will be spoilt for choice with bars, coffee shops and restaurants. The best time for dining is after 9pm, but don’t leave it too late as it’s getting such a great reputation as a gastronomic destination that the best restaurants fill up fast.

Just make sure you leave enough time to visit the amazing museums and galleries, as this has really converted the city into a cultural hotspot. We would recommend a visit to the new George Pompidou centre in Muelle 1 in Malaga’s port, a striking multi-coloured box you can’t miss, the CAC contemporary art gallery, the Picasso Museum and the Thyssen Gallery. For younger visitors, the interactive Music Museum is a great choice and the Automobile Museum is incredible for petrol heads. There’s so much to do you most certainly won’t get bored, to help you choose check out Tripadvisor’s Top 10 attractions in Malaga

Staying in Malaga can be very pricy and if you like self-catering accommodation, it can be very limited. We recommend basing yourself in nearby Torremolinos or Benalmadena, great destinations in their own right, with much better choice and good value accommodation. They are both connected by train to Malaga, so you can enjoy the buzz of the capital when you want it, but also relax with the slightly slower pace of life and the charm of a seaside destination.

We’d recommend this 3 bedroom penthouse in Torremolinos as you can benefit from a spacious, light and modern apartment with great communal facilities such as a pool, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. You can relax on their private roof terrace and then jump on the train for a blast of culture and gastronomy whenever you want it. Browse the website for more properties near Malaga, or let us know what you need and we’ll recommend the best holiday rental property for you.

Recommended Winter Sun Destination – Benalmadena

Benalmadena Holiday RentalThe Costa del Sol is a great place to visit off peak, as the weather is fantastic almost all of the year and there’s still lots going on. However, the key to choosing a winter destination here is to make sure you choose a large enough town with a strong year round population, lots of amenities open during the winter period, with things to enjoy no matter the weather.

Benalmadena is an excellent choice, as it’s a well-developed town with lots to keep you busy! We can recommend a visit to its lovely marina, which has loads of shops, bars and restaurants and stunning boats. You can go on boat trips from the marina if the weather is good and even go dolphin spotting.

Don’t miss the enormous Paloma Park with its lake and animals to feed – take a picnic, hire a bike or go to the café, it’s a lovely place for a relaxing stroll and has been ranked the best attraction in Benalmadena on TripAdvisor. There’s also a butterfly park, ice skating rink, SELWO Marina an aquarium and dolphin show which comes highly recommended and of course lovely beaches. For an amazing view take the cable car up to the top of the highest peak in the area.

An important note is that it’s not a good idea to head to Benalmadena for a party holiday off-peak. It’s fantastic fun during the summer, but in winter months as the legendary “24 Hour Square” and surrounding bars are too quiet, so you’re better off in Puerto Banus. The lack of party tourists and hen and stag groups off peak, makes Benalmadena even more popular with families with young children or retired travellers, as it’s a lot quieter.

Another great benefit of Benalmadena is it’s just a short train ride away from the thriving city of Malaga and all its art galleries, fantastic shopping and wonderful nightlife. The Plaza Mayor shopping centre, Fuengirola and its wonderful zoo and Torremolinos are all easily accessible by train. If you hire a car then you also have easy access to the beautiful countryside inland from the coast and the East of Malaga, including the town of Nerja and its caves. Why not even challenge yourself to do the Caminito del Rey whilst you’re here? It’s a real thrill and not far away.

We recommend this lovely 2 bedroom Benalmadena apartment, a modern duplex apartment in a quiet residential area, within walking distance of supermarkets, bars, restaurants and shops. This property sleeps 6 and allows pets – a rare treat for animal lovers. There is a private garden and it’s near to the train station. Let us know if you want advice on great holiday rental properties for off peak stays, we can recommend properties with open fires, central heating and double glazing so you will be cozy and comfortable on colder nights.

Recommended Holiday Destination – Puerto de la Duquesa

Recommended holiday destination – Puerto de la DuquesaI am sure that everyone has heard about Puerto Banus, but how many of you know about Puerto de la Duquesa? On the western Costa del Sol, between Estepona and Sotogrande, Duquesa is a stunning little marina, lined with bars and restaurants, and a lot to offer holiday makers.

Whatever food you fancy from the old favourites of Indian, Chinese and Italian, through to Argentinian steak, Thai and Moroccan can be found here. Plus, because there’s so much competition the standard of food and service is actually very high. Popular with English tourists, everyone speaks English and you can get fry ups and watch sport to your hearts’ content. At night there’s a pretty market and the lively bars have live music. If you’re looking to party into the early hours you can find that too!

The great thing about the area is that just a ten minute stroll along the promenade to the west is the charming village of Castillo de la Duquesa, famous for its fish restaurants with a traditional Spanish vibe, plus events in the medieval castle.  Ten minutes stroll to the east is the bustling town of Sabinillas, with shops, bars, restaurants and beautiful beaches, as well as a massive Sunday market. You can also hop on a bus to the large town of Estepona with its great shopping, packed programme of events, excellent nightlife and new botanical gardens, so there’s plenty to do without needing to hire a car.

We have a number of great holiday rentals in Duquesa and the surrounding areas, so please contact us to request the full list. But if you like to be in the middle of the action, we can recommend this 2 bedroom apartment Duquesa which is located in a lovely gated complex with tropical gardens between Sabinillas and Duquesa Port and within walking distance of both.

The complex includes several swimming pools, including a kids’ pool and two padel courts to try out this great game. The apartment itself is bright, modern and spacious, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It is furnished to a very high standard and includes free Wi-Fi and air conditioning throughout.

Where will you spend your holiday this year and where would you recommend? Let us know.

Recommended Holiday Destination – Fuengirola, Costa del Sol

Fuengirola Holiday RentalNow we know that Fuengirola doesn’t have the best reputation in the UK, but if you get rid of the stereotypes and give this destination a chance then you’ll see why it’s a perennial favourite and has been popular with holiday makers for nearly 60 years!

Here are five facts about Fuengirola which makes it a great holiday destination:

 

 

  1. Beautiful Beaches – Fuengirola has over 6km of lovely wide sandy beaches which have once again been awarded with a blue flag in 2015 and a long seaside promenade perfect for a stroll
  2. Easy Access – The great thing about choosing Fuengirola as your base is it is on the train line to Malaga, for easy connections with the airport and the city, and the destinations in between. It also has a large bus station connecting it up with towns to the West including Marbella, so there’s no need for a car.
  3. So much to do – You won’t get bored in Fuengirola, there’s a lovely zoo (Bioparc), a castle to explore, a water park, large shopping centre with cinema and bowling alley, some really great playgrounds and parks for the kids and the active town hall put on regular festivals and events to enjoy.
  4. Yummy grub – Fuengirola has something for everyone when it comes to food, because it’s such an international area. So you can find British style fish and chips and fry ups on the front, but venture just one line back and you’ll find a pedestrianized street full of great restaurants with loads specialising in fish, explore further and you’ll find tapas bars a plenty – there’s really something to suit every palate.
  5. Affordable holiday rentals – As a well-developed holiday destination it’s a real hub for holiday rental properties with apartments, town houses and villas available to rent and the prices are competitive because there’s so much around. How about this holiday rental apartment in Los Boliches with direct access to the paseo maritimo and 15 meters from the beach? Or this spacious two bedroom Fuengirola apartment 10 minutes’ walk from the beach?

If you’d like to find out about holiday rental properties in Fuengirola please contact us with your requirements and dates and we’ll send you a list of options – it’s not too late to book that summer holiday in the sun!  

Great ideas for winter holidays with kids – Fuengirola Zoo

Meet the lemurs at Fuengirola Zoo
Meet the lemurs at Fuengirola Zoo

If you are holidaying on the Costa del Sol over the winter months with kids you need to do a bit of research to make sure you can all have fun, even when it’s not hot enough to go to the beach. However there’s lots to do, so there are several blogs written for you about things to do to help!

One wonderful day out is the zoo in Fuengirola, otherwise known as Bioparc Fuengirola. Tucked away in the middle of town is this oasis with hundreds of animals all housed in large enclosures made as close to their natural habitats as possible, for happy, well-treated animals and a much nicer visitor experience.

Although it’s quite a small zoo, it’s really cleverly done with paths winding through plants leading you to different habitat areas. The little ones love exploring and you can see the animals from different levels which works really well. There are shows twice a day and an opportunity to walk through the lemur area through a man-made baobab tree and be within touching distance of these fantastic creatures, as well as a playground and restaurant.

Our favourite animals are the huge gorillas, the two beautiful tigers, the little pygmy hippo and the amazing crocodiles, but for the little ones it’s all about the monkeys and they go wild for the chimps, orang-utans and all the other different species.

Fuengirola has a lot more to offer as well, including a huge shopping centre called Myramar, a striking castle, a range of bars and restaurants and a water park amongst others. It also has stunning beaches, some amazing playgrounds and a long wide promenade, so it is a family favourite destination where you don’t need a car. Check out our Fuengirola area guide and Fuengirola holiday rentals on our website.

Easter week on the Costa del Sol

We love this time of year in Southern Spain! The towns and beaches receive a spring clean after the winter, and the days start to get considerably warmer! Easter is an important time in the Spanish calendar and is hugely celebrated by the whole country.  If you are lucky enough to be on holiday here during this time, you will be sure to find plenty of things to see and do!

The history of Easter in Spain

Holy week (Semana Santa) is an event rich with culture, celebrations and fantastic processions which have become a big part of Spanish tradition since the 16th century.  You may have already seen various groups of people (nazarenos) wearing tall pointed hats and robes with faces covered; this is all part of the Easter tradition in Spain and has a symbolic meaning. The face cover represents shame for the sins committed throughout the year and mourning for Jesus Christ. The pointed hats are said to bring the penitence closer to heaven and are removed on Easter Sunday to mark a victorious end to mourning.

From every Catholic Church, a local brother hood “costaleros” carries a large antique throne, traditionally to the cathedral then back to the church, with some of them weighing as much as 5,000 kilos! The pain and suffering coursed by carrying such a heavy weight is actually a symbol of what Jesus experienced carrying the cross. In fact, all of the parades from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday depict the story about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is a great reminder of why we celebrate this time. Every part of Spain has different rituals to celebrate the Easter story, so where ever you go you are sure to have fun and learn something new!

Here are some great events happening over Easter in the Marbella area;

  • Processions – One of the biggest Easter processions in Spain is held in Malaga, so definitely worth a visit if you’re here on holiday. It’s worth keeping in mind though that parades will be cancelled if it rains! You can see the timetable for the local Marbella processions here.
  • Easter egg hunts – There are some great Easter egg hunts planned on the Costa del Sol for the kids to enjoy this year, you can find out when and where they are held on websites like MarbellaFamilyFun.com. If the weather isn’t brilliant though, you could always have your own Easter egg hunt at your holiday home! You can find everything you need including all your favourite chocolate eggs at the local supermarkets such as Iceland and Supersol.
  • Kids activity days – The art camp at the Picasso Museum in Malaga and the multisports club in Nueva Andalucia are both good for being creative and burning off some energy! For younger children the Galaxia Play centre is holding a fun Easter party with loads of activities and a special visit from the Easter bunny!
  • Round of golf – While the kids are being entertained, why not enjoy the start of warmer weather with a spot of golf! There are plenty of courses to choose from for people of all levels.
  • Easter boat fair in Puerto Banus – This very popular event is held in the famous Puerto Banus Marina and makes a great day out for yacht lovers.

It’s not too late to book holiday homes on the Costa del Sol for your Easter break, just visit our website  to browse available properties or give us a call with your requirements on 952 839 595.

 

Family holidays on a budget

After all the unpredictable weather in the UK, you may be starting to think ahead to your summer about some time away, but with most of us on a tight budget, a sunshine break away for the whole family can seem like a luxury we can’t really afford. Or can we?

The Costa del Sol has been a favourite holiday destination for years due to the excellent climate and choice of things to do for the whole family. Just a few hours from the UK by plane, it can take less time to get here than it does to drive to many places in the UK and thanks to budget airlines, you can be sunbathing in Spain for as little as €25!

All the time, the airlines that regularly fly between Spain and the UK, are trying to expand to have more seats and cheaper fares available for their customers. This means that there are even more reasons to holiday in Spain!

Now you just need to pick somewhere to stay! If you are on a budget this year, renting a holiday home in Spain for a week or two can work out a lot cheaper than staying a hotel, especially if you are traveling with family. For instance, a 3 bedroom apartment in Fuengirola, (based on 6 people sharing) can work out at less than €100 per person for a whole week’s accommodation! There are loads of stunning areas to choose from depending on what you want from your holiday. Whether you want to be near the beach, somewhere with land for the dog, or somewhere tranquil yet not too far from amenities, you can find it all on the Costa del Sol. Here are some of the more popular tourist areas;

  • Marbella – One of the world’s most prestigious resort towns and a favourite with celebrities. There is plenty to see and do, from relaxing at the fabulous beach clubs on the Golden Mile, to wining and dining in the cobbled streets of the Old Town and enjoying the ‘buzz’ of open-air bars and shops in beautiful Orange Square
  • Fuengirola – One of the top destinations on the Costa del Sol, largely due to its long beach promenade lined with bars and restaurants, busy night life and abundance of things to do. Amongst other things, Fuengirola has a water-park, a Zoo, a shopping centre and plenty of high street stores, cinemas, children’s play areas, a castle and fantastic port!
  • Estepona –Traditional bars, restaurants and shops line the town’s quaint cobbled streets and avenues. Estepona is perfect for families with a smart seafront promenade featuring a large children’s play area. There are more than 20km of beaches, a bustling marina with bars, cafés and restaurants, and a regular street market.
  • Benalmadena – Great place for kids and the whole family with its lovely sandy beaches, award-winning port full of luxury yachts, innovative architecture, lively nightlife, huge variety of restaurants, bars and clubs, plus the nearby Sea-Life aquarium, Selwo Marina, Tivoli World theme park, Butterfly park and a Mountain-top cable car!
  • Elviria – For those seeking the highest quality, modern self-catering accommodation. Just ten minutes from Marbella, it’s a fine forested residential area featuring some of the best beaches and golf courses on the coast.
  • San Pedro – Situated close to Puerto Banús and the Sierra de Ronda mountain range, San Pedro is great for water sports and relaxing walks in the mountains or along the promenade where you will find a variety of beach bars and restaurants. San Pedro is also close to some superb golf courses including Guadalmina, La Quinta and Atalaya Golf.

Visit our website to view our list of available properties in the above areas or call us on UK 020 8133 1609 or Spain 0034 952 83 95 95

Tour Guide app for Andalucia

Gone are the days of buying disposable cameras in bulk for your holiday or lugging around video cameras, as most of us now do it all from our mobile phones and there is an app for just about everything!  Now you can even have  you own personal tour guide on your mobile for those visiting Andalucia, it is called ‘En tu mano’ (in your hand).

En tu Mano was presented by the Junta de Andalucia Councillor for Tourism and Commerce, Rafael Rodriguez at the recent international tourism fair in Madrid and is available on all smart phones.

The useful app provides users with up to date information on local events, history, shopping, dining, activities and lots more in five different languages! En tu Mano uses a GPS signal to pin point your area, so you can easily find out things to do and more about the area with a touch of a button.

So if you are going on holiday to the Costa del Sol this year, make sure you check out the tour guide app, more destinations throughout Andalucia are being added all the time. You can see the list of current destinations on the En Tu Mano website.

Check out our previous blog for more technical tips and apps to use when on holiday in Spain.