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Tips for visiting the beaches of the Costa del Sol

Spring has most definitely sprung here on the Costa del Sol and after the showers and rain over April, May has brought us some beautiful summer weather and seen many of us lucky residents hit the beach. Of course we’re spoilt for choice here, with 25 beaches awarded Blue Flag status in 2018 and miles and miles of stunning coastline. Check out our article on the best beaches on the Costa del Sol to help you choose where to go on your next holiday.

Wherever you choose, here are five tips for making the most of your beach experience –

  1. Come prepared – You will notice that the Spanish arrive at the beach with everything but the kitchen sink. It’s normal for families to bring gazebos, chairs, tables, coolers full of drinks, ice, food and lots of toys and games for the kids. While this may seem a little over the top to us, it certainly makes sure they are comfortable and enjoy the whole day on the sand. We’d suggest bringing an umbrella, or choosing a location with easy access to the shade, or if you have kids bringing one of those pop up tents to give them a place to play and relax out of the sun. The low beach chairs are much more comfortable than just a towel and fold up pretty small. Buckets and spades, a bat and ball and a football keep the kids entertained. Don’t forget plenty of water, some snacks and sun cream. If you can carry it all, that should keep you hydrated, comfortable and entertained and allow you to stay there the whole day.
  2. Go to a chiringuito – The beach restaurants are legendary for their fresh fish, cool drinks and great atmosphere and are perfect for a long, lazy lunch this summer. If you don’t want to lug a load of stuff with you for your beach day, many of them have sunloungers which you can hire for a small daily fee and allow you to relax in comfort, get some shade, pop in for a drink, use the toilets and enjoy a fantastic lunch at the beach. Heaven!
  3. Go to a jellyfish free area – Last summer there was a serious problem with jellyfish, which kept many people out of the sea. We hope this won’t recur this year, as it depends on weather and wind conditions, but if it does while you are on holiday, look out for the jelly fish free areas. Marbella’s councillor for beaches has arranged for floating play parks to add an area of water screened by nets and floats, which will offer a safe bathing area even when there are jellyfish around. Beaches will include San Pedro, Puerto Banús, Nueva Andalucía, Estrella de Mar and Marbella Playa in Las Chapas. Find out more
  4. Protect your skin – The sun here is very strong and you do not want to burn, so make sure you liberally apply high protection sun cream before you leave your holiday rental, seek shade between 11 and 3 where possible, wear a hat, sunglasses and coverup to protect your skin and keep reapplying that sun screen every few hours.
  5. Look out for a nearby kiosko – On the promenade there are lots of little huts selling beach essentials from cold water and ice cream, to buckets and spades and things for the kids. Many of them also sell very good value beer and plastic cups for you to take down to the beach for a cheeky sundowner, but you need to ask for it, as they don’t normally put it on display.

If access to beautiful beaches is top of your wish list, then check out our collection of beachside holiday homes. These are perfect for beach lovers, as they are either within walking distance of, or a very short drive away from, sand and sea.

Visiting Ronda

Ronda is a historic, beautiful town, surrounded by stunning countryside. Most famous for it’s extraordinary gorge and being the home of bullfighting, Ronda is developing new attractions for tourists, with a wine route and a new organic olive oil experience.

Ronda is easy to visit if you are holidaying in and around Marbella. There is a bus which goes from Marbella bus station and takes you up there. If you’ve hired a car, it’s also a stunning drive, but be warned the road is steep and twisty, so not advised for nervous drivers. The journey is approximately an hour, inland from Marbella and takes you though some really incredible countryside.

Ronda is growing as a wine producing region and now has a wine route. This comprises of 16 wineries that you can visit and a wine museum and interpretation center, where you can learn all about it. A visit to a bodega is a lovely thing to do on your holiday, where you can see them making the wine, understand the process and of course sample some of the produce. Find out more about wine tourism on the Costa del Sol on our blog, or discover the Ronda Wine Route here.

Design guru Philippe Starck has recently launched an olive oil experience on the outskirts of Ronda which is a great place to visit. It is being called an immersive cultural centre and is surrounded by vines, olive trees and an organic vegetable garden. Visitors are taken around the centre on a 45 minute guided tour to learn about the region’s olive oil, see some interesting exhibits and sculptures by Philippe Starck, enjoy the beautiful setting and of course taste the oils. Tours cost 20€ per person  and can be reserved on the LA Experience website.

If you like the pretty Andalusian countryside, a village feel and easy access up to Ronda, Benahavis is a good choice as a base. Inland from San Pedro, Benahavis is a beautiful village famous for gastronomy and surrounded by excellent golf courses and countryside with excellent walks and trails. We have a number of holiday rental properties in this area, such as this lovely penthouse in Las Terrazas at Los Arqueros. With two bedrooms, stylish décor, spacious living area and incredible views this is a beautiful apartment. It’s perfect for golfers as well, right by the golf course and with a 30% discount on green fees. From there, you can go straight up to Ronda in less than an hour.

For more information on visiting the Costa del Sol and making the most of your stay, download our free Costa del Sol Holiday Guide or ask one of our helpful team.

Shopping and Eating in and around Malaga

Last month we gave you some information on shopping on the Costa del Sol and the two big shopping centres of La Cañada in Marbella and Miramar in Fuengirola. It was such a popular post that we wanted to give you more great places to shop on the Costa del Sol, this time in and around Malaga.

Malaga city is a wonderful place to shop til you drop, with the long, pedestrianised Calle Larios lined with great shops. Parallel to it is Calle Nueva, with more great options, including some independent boutiques, as well as international brands. It also has a huge El Cort Ingles which sells just about everything, the big Larios Centro shopping centre and some great markets too. Down in the recently redeveloped port area there are yet more shops and some excellent places to eat and drink too. So you really are spoilt for choice.

Just outside the city is the huge mall of Plaza Mayor. Unlike La Cañada and Miramar, this has more of a village feel, with plenty of outside space, squares and walkways connecting the shops, for a more American shopping experience. There are a massive array of shops which are open from 10am to 10pm. There is a cinema and entertainment complex and they are about to unveil a new food court with some fabulous new restaurants which offer a more high-end dining experience than before. It’s a great place to hang out for the day to shop, eat and relax.   

But Malaga offers much more than just shopping! There’s a wonderful selection of museums and historical sites such as the Cathedral, the city walls and fortress and the remains of a Roman amphitheatre.

The restaurant scene is amazing too, with great places to try on every corner and a kicking nightlife. Combine shopping and eating with a trip to Malaga’s gourmet market and marvel at the amazing produce and delicious food.

Last but not least, head down to the Malaga Gastronomy Festival from the 23rd to the 26th of May. Based around the Plaza de la Marina near the port there are food trucks, stalls and a stage with cooking demonstrations. Artisan and specialist producers sell some amazing local produce and so you can enjoy a little shopping too! 

If you love Malaga, but also want to enjoy the best of the Costa del Sol towns and coastline, we’d recommend the towns of Torremolinos and Benalmadena. Both are well connected with Malaga by public transport, but also offer lots of things to see and do for the whole family.

There’s a great waterpark in Torremolinos, as well as a lovely beachfront area, good shopping and a buzzing nightlife. Benalmadena has an amusement park, cable car, aquarium and great park too. It’s also got a pretty marina area and a very lively nightlife.

Browse our website for quality holiday rentals near to Malaga, or contact us with your requirements and we’ll recommend the best places to suit you and your budget.

Summer concerts and festivals on the Costa del Sol

We’re gearing up for summer here on the Costa del Sol. As the beach clubs open their doors once more and amazing events are announced it looks like we’re going to have another fantastic summer season!

Music lovers are going to be spoilt for choice once again this year with a stellar line-up of concerts already announced.

Starlite in Marbella is once again coming to town and bringing some wonderful artists for more than 46 days of concerts and events. There are too many amazing acts to mention, but we’re particularly looking forward to The Beach Boys, Kool & The Gang, Jamie Cullum and Sting. Check out the full programme

Mega stars The Jacksons and Tony Hadley are playing at the Puente Romano Tennis Club in August. This is a really intimate venue and it will be an excellent opportunity to see these legends of music up close. Find out more and buy tickets

If you’re holidaying in Fuengirola, then the Marenostrum Festival in the beautiful park around the Sohail Castle is a must. They have a series of excellent events from the 25th of April until the 15th of September including a Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart in concert, a Rock Festival, a 90s Music Festival and much more. Find out more

There’s also going to be a brand new venue hosting lots of cultural, sporting and music events. The old Puerto Banus bullring is being transformed into Marbella Arena, which will open its doors in June. Sunset Events have promised a packed schedule of events including a Hip-Hop and Latino Festival, and lots of concerts including by Bob Marley’s band The Wailers. Find out more

The many Beach Clubs we have along our coast are have packed schedules of events with live music and brilliant DJs playing for glamourous guests. Check out the websites of Nikki Beach, Ocean Club, La Sala Beach, Kah Marbella and more to see their programmes and decide when and where you want to party. 

Many more acts and events will be announced over the next few months. To keep up to date and to see what’s going on when you are here on holiday, check the event website MyGuideMarbella.

We have a wonderful selection of holiday homes on the Costa del Sol  which make the perfect base for enjoying the concerts, events and nightlife on offer.

Once you’ve decided what you want to see, contact us and ask for recommended holiday rentals nearby.

Shopping on the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is a great place to shop, with everything from designer brands to high street favourites and bustling markets where you can pick up a bargain.

There are two big shopping centres which are favourites for residents and holiday makers alike as there’s parking, lots of shops in one place and also restaurants and cafes where you can take a break.

If you’re holidaying in Fuengirola then your best option is the Miramar shopping centre. Conveniently located close to the centre of town and connected by buses and trains, Miramar is one of the largest shopping centres on the Costa del Sol with lots of great shops, a cinema, restaurants and supermarket. The shops are open from 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. Outside of the peak season it is closed on Sundays, but open most Sundays in July and August. There’s a kids club open from 5-8pm Wednesday to Friday and 12-2 and 5-9 on weekends and holidays so the little ones can be entertained. The cinema shows films in English (look for VO screenings). Check out the Miramar shopping centre website

If you’re holidaying in Marbella then La Cañada shopping centre is the best one for you.  Located a bit further away from the centre of town, you need to take a bus or car to get there, but it’s only a five minute drive from the centre. It is a big shopping centre, with loads of great shops, restaurants, a supermarket and cinema. The cinema doesn’t show many films in English, so isn’t as popular with the tourists, but the shopping is great! The highlight is the women’s clothes shops, which offers loads of options, so you’re almost guaranteed to find what you’re looking for.

Another great option for holiday makers in and around Marbella is Puerto Banus. It has a massive El Corte Ingles department store, a smaller shopping centre just opposite and a market in the main square during the summer. Down in the marina, you’ll find a large selection of designer brands too, so there’s something to suit everyone.

Last but not least, head to the massive weekly markets which are held all along the coast and you can pick up everything from clothes, jewellery, bags and accessories to fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and ceramics. These are great fun and always busy, just make sure you get there early, as by 2pm everything is closing. Here’s a good guide to the Costa del Sol markets.

We help our clients make the most of their Costa del Sol holidays, with excellent holiday rental properties and local knowledge and information. Please get in touch with us for advice on where to stay, or the best places to visit during your holiday. We can advise you on the best locations for you and help with everything from car hire to green fees. We look forward to hearing from you!

Four amazing rental properties for your next golf break

As all golfers will know, the Costa del Sol is a golf paradise, with a huge quantity of world-class courses in a very small area. Depending on your handicap, preferences and budget, you can choose from driving ranges to courses with a potential 27 holes to play, to Links courses on the coast, to stunning mountain courses and everything in between. To find out more about the options, read our article on our favourite golf courses on the Costa del Sol.

February to May are brilliant months to visit the Costa del Sol for a golf holiday. The weather is great, with sunny skies, but comfortable temperatures to play 18 holes without breaking too much of a sweat. Our collection of golf holiday rental properties include villas and apartments on or near to some of the area’s best courses.

If you’re planning your next golf getaway and looking for some great accommodation, read on for our recommendations of four stunning properties, that we know you’ll love!

  1. Penthouse Apartment Los Arqueros Golf and Country Club – This three bedroom penthouse is on the La Torre development within the Los Arqueros golf complex and is great for a group of six people. The roof terrace is a fabulous place to hang out when you are done on the fairways and there’s another good terrace for al fresco dining. Inside the décor is stylish and modern, there is one master bedroom, a double room, and one with twin beds. All guests receive a 30% discount on your green fees at Los Arqueros Golf.
  2. Penthouse Apartment Los Eucalyptus – Also on the Los Arqueros Golf Complex, is this lovely apartment. It is south west facing, with a large terrace with dining and relaxation areas. It is elegantly furnished and has a master bedroom, a double and a twin room, plus two bathrooms. All guests receive a 30% discount on your green fees at Los Arqueros Golf. The location is close to the pretty white village of Benahavis, Puerto Banus and Marbella.
  3. Three Bedroom Apartment La Cala Golf – This lovely apartment is on the La Cala Golf Resort, close to the pretty town of La Cala de Mijas, with its weekly market, good restaurants and excellent beach. It is also within easy reach of the bustling town of Fuengirola. The apartment has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and sleeps six people. It is a modern apartment on a secure complex with amazing views from the terrace over the greens. There is a master with a super king double bed, one with two singles and another with a super king, which can be separated into two singles, so this is a good one for a group of friends.
  4. Two bedroom Townhouse La Cala Golf – This modern townhouse is arranged over two floors, with a stylish lounge and dining area and a great terrace and private garden. Both bedrooms are doubles, with en suite bathrooms, one with a king sized double and one with 2 single beds. Both have terraces with great views. There is a sofa bed in the lounge, plus a guest bathroom on the ground floor, so the property sleeps six people.

We hope you like our recommendations for golf holiday rental properties. Please contact us to see our full portfolio. If you want to be near a particular course, please let us know and we can recommend the best properties in that area.

Visiting Fuengirola in 2019

Fuengirola is a wonderful town to take a holiday. It has miles of Blue Flag beaches, a lovely marina, a reputation for excellent restaurants, a vibrant nightlife and great shopping. Over the past few years, it has also established a fantastic event calendar, with outstanding events which are a brilliant focus for a trip.

Here are just a few dates for your diary, to help you plan your Fuengirola holiday this year:

30th April-5th May – Feria de los Pueblos

Highly recommended for foodies and those interested in learning more about different countries through their cuisine, music and culture, the Feria de los Pueblos is a real feast for the senses. Held in the massive fairground area in Fuengirola, this food fair is a celebration of the many different nationalities that call Fuengirola home. There are around 35 stands, each representing a country or region, and sharing their iconic dishes with the crowds. You can see the country’s national dress, sample some of their drinks, listen to their music and join in with typical dances. You really can travel the world at this food festival!

Marenostrum Festival

This music festival has been running for many years and brings some fabulous artists to perform in the castle park in Fuengirola. There are many more acts to be announced, but here are a few you won’t want to miss.

4th May – Bob Dylan and his band perform

14th and 15th June – Rock the Coast – a two day festival for rock fans, featuring German rock legends Scorpions and Europe, with many more to still be announced

3rd July – Rod Stewart

October 6th – 12th – Fuengirola Feria

One of the last big parties of the year, Fuengirola Feria is at a great time if you’re looking for cheaper accommodation and flights, and cooler temperatures. One week of fun, flamenco, food and fairground rides, the feria is a great time to see Fuengirola come to life.

If you like the sound of these events, but want to learn more about the town, then read our Fuengirola guide and browse our selection of Fuengirola holiday rentals.

We have a wide range of beachside properties close to the centre of the action, like this two bedroom apartment close to Castillo Sohail, which is just a short walk of the beach and the concert venue. To be even closer to the centre of town and just two streets back from the beach, this one bedroom Fuengirola apartment is perfect.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to enquire about the right holiday rental properties for you and where in or around Fuengirola would best suit you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Art and culture holidays on the Costa del Sol

Art and culture holidays on the Costa del Sol

In the winter months, holidays to the Costa del Sol change from lying on the beach to being active, enjoying the bright sunny weather to play sports, be outdoors and experience another side of this beautiful place. Another thing we love to do in the autumn and winter is to experience the culture and art that we have on our doorstep and this is a great thing to incorporate into a winter break.

Enjoy art

Malaga is a hotspot for amazing art galleries including the Picasso Museum, the CAC, the Carmen Thyssen gallery and the Pompidou Centre. A day trip to Malaga is essential for any culture vulture and is particularly nice in the quieter winter period. Discover the 10 best galleries in Malaga

Marbella too has some really nice galleries to visit. One of the largest is the Ralli Museum, just off the beachfront in the Golden Mile, which has one of the best collections of Latin American Art in the world. Tucked away in Marbella Old Town in a beautiful old building is the “Engraving Museum” which houses a small but beautiful collection of engravings and graphic art including works by Picasso, Dalí and Miró. There are also some nice private galleries which you can visit and even pick up a piece to take home. Check out this list of the best Marbella art galleries  to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Estepona is another great place to visit for a bit of art and culture. There are 45 beautiful murals on buildings around town which you can explore with the Murals Walking Route. You will also find lots of beautiful sculptures and pieces of poetry scattered around the town and this is a lovely way to explore the town, while also enjoying art. The Kempinski Hotel Bahía has regular art exhibitions in the hotel, which are open to the public and free to view. Until the 10th of January, you can see 20 works by the musicians Brian Travers from UB40 and John Illsely from Dire Straits in their gallery, and iron sculptures by Nimrod Messeg in the lobby.

Experience the Spanish Culture

This is a great time of year to take in a flamenco show, listen to traditional music, or see a performance. During the Christmas period, there are many great performances from the town bands and choirs, as well as a chance to try Spanish Christmas delicacies. Depending where you’re staying, check out the Town Hall’s website, or pop into the local tourist office and find out about these performances, as they aren’t always easy to find online, but are very special.

Roads are quieter this time of year, so hire a car and explore the amazing culture nearby. Learn about the history and spirit of bullfighting in Ronda, flamenco in Seville and sherry making in Jerez, all an easy day trip away from Marbella.

For a taste of Christmas in Spain, look out for “turron” a kind of nougat which comes in all shapes, sizes and forms over Christmas, “polvorones” round almond based biscuits with an unusual powdery texture and the “roscon”, a round cake in the shape of a donut, with a sweet bread exterior, filled with cream and candied fruits.

If you want to take a cultural holiday to the Costa del Sol, please contact us for advice. If you have a particular focus to your holiday, or a few key destinations in mind, we can recommend perfectly located holiday rental properties for you. Staying in a holiday rental, gives you the flexibility to come and go when you please, cook, make a packed lunch, and generally feel at home and give you a comfortable base to explore from. We hope to welcome you here very soon.

Walking in the Malaga hills

Walking in the Malaga hills

One of our favourite autumn activities here on the Costa del Sol is to explore the area’s stunning countryside on foot. Autumn is an ideal time as it’s cooler and the countryside looks pretty after the first rains of the new season.

There are great walks to be had in almost all our favourite holiday rental destinations. Highlights include the well signposted walking routes at the back of Mijas Pueblo, the hiking route which runs parallel to the Guadalmina River near to Benahavis and of course Marbella’s iconic La Concha mountain. The base of La Concha has some lovely long hikes in beautiful countryside, which are suitable for all ages and levels, but you need to be well prepared to actually take on the La Concha trek, as it is high and demanding.

Some of the most beautiful countryside is inland from Malaga city. They have three beautiful areas with large reservoirs, where you can swim, do watersports or simply hike into the hills. Up here is the famous Caminito del Rey a vertiginous walking route which is becoming hugely popular since it was reopened a few years ago. Anyone who loves walking, beautiful scenery and has a head for heights will love this route. However, it’s very popular and tickets are required, so make sure you book in advance.

Another amazing place to visit in this region is El Torcal, near Antequera. This national park is full of weird and wonderful rock formations, plus the ancient dolmens burial mounds which date back 5,000 years and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Find out more about exploring Malaga’s countryside on our blog.

Cycling is also another great way to explore the countryside and coastal areas around the Costa del Sol. The most popular areas for cycling include the long seafront promenade, or exploring the tracks and parks inland from Marbella and Estepona. By renting bikes and a car, you can reach stunning countryside easily and cover a lot of distance. Find out more about cycling on the Costa del Sol and routes we’d recommend on our blog.

You don’t even need to leave the towns and cities to stretch your legs. There are excellent walking routes in Marbella, Malaga city has a number of great themed walks and in Estepona you can do a walking route around nearly 30 huge murals.

The Costa del Sol is a great place to be active, walking, riding a bike, jogging or even horse riding and there’s so much beautiful countryside to enjoy. We can match you and the activities you want to do, with holiday rental properties in the ideal area to make it easy and cut down on travel time. Contact us with what you’re planning and we’ll send you a list of ideal home-from-home properties which are perfect throughout the year.

Last chance to experience a Spanish feria in 2018

Last chance to experience a Spanish feria in 2018

San Pedro Feria holds the last Feria of the year and it’s a great excuse for a short break to the Costa del Sol. Taking place between the 16th and the 21st of October in the town’s feria ground, this is always an excellent party. There will be a week of flamenco, music and delicious Spanish food during the day feria and then great fairground rides, music and dancing until dawn for the young (and young at heart) as part of the night feria.

The festivities begin on Tuesday 16th of October with a parade of “Gigantes y Cabezudos” through the streets. From 7pm, huge figures and people in large masks will be parading from Plaza Pueblo de Istan and doing a circuit of San Pedro. Stick around for the fireworks at 9.30, which announce the official start of the feria and are always great to watch.

There is a kids’ “caseta” or little house, which is open every day of the feria, with activities for the smallest members of the family. The big day for the kids is Wednesday 17th of October, with a kids’ party in the Municipal Tent from 5pm, a show for them to watch and then special prices for children on the rides from 6pm.

Thursday is when the day feria begins at 1pm and there is a parade through the streets at 5pm. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is much the same, with the day feria from 1pm, masses and religious parades to honour the Patron Saint and rides and music in the evening.

There is also a great programme of concerts during the feria. On the 18th of October the group Efecto Pasillo will be playing, David DeMaría takes to the stage on the 19th and Niña Pastori on Saturday. Sunday is the big day and there will be three great concerts from Furia Falconeti, Rockinger z and Devils in the Sky.

We would recommend San Pedro de Alcantara as an ideal winter destination and the feria is a great way to discover it. It is an interesting place to explore, as there are three zones, with very different identities.

You have the traditional Old Town area, which is very Spanish in character, with its small streets, church squares and plenty of charm. This is perfect for shopping and people watching sitting outside one of the great cafes. Then you have the Boulevard, a stretch of playgrounds, cafes and parks, which was completed a few years ago and is very modern, appealing particularly to families with young children. Finally, you have the beachfront area, with its very long promenade, great beaches, cafes and restaurants. This gives you a lot of variety within a small area, without needing to drive. You can even walk to Puerto Banus in under an hour, to see a very different side of the Costa del Sol, and Marbella is just a short taxi ride away.

If San Pedro sounds like somewhere you’d like to visit, we’d recommend this fantastic three bedroom beachfront apartment. It’s in a wonderful complex with manicured gardens and a communal pool, which is just 50 meters from the beach. It is a spacious apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms and its wraparound terrace has amazing sea views.