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Exploring and Experiencing Spain’s Heritage for your next holiday

Exploring and Experiencing Spain’s Heritage

Spain is ranked number 2 in the world rankings for heritage in the Best Countries report and rankings for the distinctive way of life, the value put on their culture, history and national identity. Spain is fiercely proud of its traditions and even the younger generations are passionate about it, with flamenco music, fashion and ferias, being embraced as strongly by the kids and teens, as by their grandparents.

Spain also has a rich history and some stunning historical buildings and sites to visit. There are 45 World Heritage Sites in Spain, seven of which are here in Andalusia. The Costa del Sol offers a great combination of heritage, culture and internationalism, to make your holiday easy and stress free, as well as culturally rich.

As soon as you arrive in Spain, you start to relax and allow the spirit of “mañana” (tomorrow) enter into your veins. The Spaniards know how to enjoy themselves and eating, drinking and partying is central to their lifestyle, which makes it such a great place for a holiday!

You can experience the Spanish culture in all its madness and glory at the Malaga Feria from the 12th to the 19th of August, a wonderful display of flamenco music and fashion, great food and the Andalusian spirit of fun. This is the biggest and the best feria in the region, but there are many other ferias throughout the year, which give you a sense of the wonderful culture and heritage. Here are our top three Costa del Sol ferias

Another great way to experience the heritage and culture of Spain, is to base yourself in a holiday rental property on the Costa del Sol and go and visit some of the area’s seven World Heritage Sites. The Costa del Sol is just a few hours away from Cordoba’s historic centre, Granada’s Alhambra, Seville’s Cathedral and Alcazar, Antequera’s Dolmens site and many more and they are easy day trips if you have a car.

Marbella is a great cultural base, with its stunning and well-preserved old town with chapels and churches and the famous flamenco club Tablao Flamenco Ana Maria.

Estepona is also a good location to choose, as it has a more authentic Spanish feel, with less international influence than Marbella or Fuengirola. It has a ham festival from the 10th to the 15th of August which celebrates Spanish ham, and in July they celebrate Cultural Summer with a programme of dance performances in the streets as part of their annual feria. There is a bullfighting museum and 25 massive murals around the town and you can take a walking tour of these enormous art works to get to know the town and enjoy the art. There is also a wonderful theatre with lots of excellent music and dance performances, which is running weekly flamenco shows every Thursday until the end of the year.

There are towns and villages along the Costa del Sol to suit everyone, whether you want culture, sport, nightlife, or just want to lie on the beach. All the HolidayRentalontheWeb team have lived and worked here for many years and so we can advise you on the best place to go, to make it easy to enjoy your perfect holiday, in the perfect holiday home.

The best places to enjoy water sports on the Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol Water Sports

The Costa del Sol has 161 kilometres of beautiful coastline and the Mediterranean Sea is never very far away, so it’s no wonder that water sports is such a popular activity here. You can find people on almost every beach offering pedalos, jet skis, kayaks and more, but we wanted to explore three towns where you can find a wide range of activities in a small area.

Fuengirola

Fuengirola has wonderful blue flag beaches and a busy marina and is a centre for water sports where you can go parasailing, scuba dive, fish and take out jet skis. There are lots of options to choose from, take a stroll down the front and around the marina and you can easily see what’s on offer.

Marbella

Marbella has a lot to offer the water sport enthusiast, including a popular diving school and a stand up paddle board centre, which can both be found in the Puerto Deportivo. Another good area for water sports is around Funny Beach which offers all the normal stuff, plus a wave x ramp where you can surf and flyboarding, where you can take to the air.

Estepona

Estepona has a pretty marina which is the main base for water sports in the area. On the Western Costa del Sol, Estepona is within easy reach of the famous Gibraltar Straits and has many boat trips leaving for whale and dolphin watching as well as fishing. You can also learn to paddle surf, kite surf, windsurf and kayak in several schools and businesses which hire out this equipment for you to enjoy. The beaches are wide and sandy and generally less crowded even in the summer months, so it’s a good choice.

A little further afield is Tarifa, the centre for kite surfing and wind surfing, due to its excellent wind conditions. This has a very boho vibe and is very cool place to enjoy water sports, although accommodation is very thin on the ground. Basing yourself on the western Costa del Sol, such as in Sotogrande, gives you easy access to Tarifa, with a much better choice of holiday rentals.

Please let us know if you are searching for holiday rental properties to spend an amazing holiday enjoying the waves. We can help you find amazing properties with sea views and holiday homes close to these water sports hubs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Five Amazing Things to do on your next Costa del Sol Holiday

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do over the summer months, with hundreds of attractions for all ages and tastes all vying for your attention but here are our pick of five amazing activities that you are sure to love.

 

Meet the penguins at Selwo Marina – You may not think about penguins on the Costa del Sol, but an ideal way to cool down on a hot summer day and have an unforgettable experience is to go into the penguin enclosure at this great park. You will be able to feed these loveable creatures and learn all about them – perfect for animal lovers of all ages. Selwo Marina is located in Benalmadena, a great town with lots to offer for a fun summer holiday.

 

Pet a panther at Castellar Zoo – Castellar Zoo is a rescue centre for an amazing collection of wild animals and very different from other zoos, you can actually touch a lot of these wonderful creatures. Twice a day, they bring out the animals and you can touch them, feed them and even hold them. Highlights include a lion and panther cub, a huge snake, a lemur and a hawk. Buy a bag of food at the entrance and you can feed the creatures in their enclosures too. To be close to Castellar Zoo, we recommend holiday rental properties in Sotogrande.

 

Try out the new Jurassic River ride at the water park in Algeciras – Bahia Park in Algeciras is a big water park covering over 45,000m2 which has a wide range of attractions, slides and experiences for all ages. They have just opened a new ride, which is called the Jurassic River, they have the biggest Jacuzzi in Andalucia as well as a great kids’ area. This is a wet and wild way to spend a summer’s day.

 

See your favourite artist live at Starlite – There are some amazing concerts on the Costa del Sol this year and the centre of it is the 6 week long Starlite festival, with a whole host of amazing stars including Elton John, Anastacia and Andrea Bocelli all performing outside in a great venue very close to central Marbella

 

Dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant – The Costa del Sol is the perfect place to engage in a spot of gastro tourism, with lots of amazing places to dine and food festivals a plenty. No matter where you are staying, you are within easy reach of a restaurant with a Michelin star. There are four in Marbella, one in Fuengirola, one in Casares and one in Malaga. Just make sure you book well in advance, as demand is high, particularly in the summer months.

 

We have excellent holiday rental properties all along the Costa del Sol and can recommend the best location to allow you to have access to these and many more great holiday activities. Please get in touch and ask our experts for advice or download our Costa del Sol Holiday Guide.

Costa del Sol concerts summer 2017

Costa del Sol concerts summer 2017

Spring is in the air and after a hot and sunny Easter, excitement is building about the summer season. Live music is a regular feature of summer on the Costa del Sol, with Beach Clubs, restaurants and bars all adding to the atmosphere with live performers.

In recent years, the concerts have really been growing in importance and thousands of fans flock here to see their favourite act. There have been some amazing acts announced who will be performing over the summer at Starlite and Puente Romano. Coming over to the Costa del Sol for a summer holiday and combining that with seeing your favourite artist is a great way to have an unforgettable getaway.

Here are some of the great people performing and when you can see them –

Starlite takes place in an old quarry in the Sierra Blanca area just above Marbella Town. For several years this music festival has been attracting some amazing acts and this year is no different. Here are the top international acts performing and the dates.

  • Anastacia 15th July
  • Art Garfunkel 16th July
  • Elton John, 20th July
  • Pretenders, 26th July
  • The Cranberries, 5th August
  • Andrea Bocelli, 15th August
  • Jason Derulo, 24th August

The Puente Romano concert series has been going for many years and holds intimate gigs in their tennis club, giving guests the chance to enjoy a great atmosphere and be close to all the actions and their favourite stars. Here are four great dates for the diary.

  • Foreigner, 11th June
  • Heather Small, Right Said Fred and Billy Ocean, 6th July
  • George Benson, 21st July
  • Michael Bolton, 10th August

These concerts are focussed around Marbella, so look for a quality holiday rental in this area to reduce travel and taxi fares.

To be close to all the action at Starlite, we’d recommend this stunning villa in Sierra Blanca  With four bedrooms, four bathrooms and impressive design, this property really has the wow factor. There are sensational views, lovely pool and garden, terraces, games room, gym and much more. This villa is perfect for a luxury holiday on the Costa del Sol and just a few minutes from Starlite, for maximum convenience.

Marbella’s new gourmet market

Marbella’s new gourmet market

The Costa del Sol has always been a fantastic destination for gastro tourism, but now it has even more to offer, with the opening of a new gourmet market in the heart of Marbella last month.

This indoor market is open from midday to midnight from Sunday to Thursday and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. It is located on Marbella’s high street Avenida Ricardo Soriano number 19, is 470m2 in total and has been designed to resemble a town square, with stalls around the outside and a mix of modern and traditional design elements. There are 14 stalls serving a range of delicious food and produce to buy including sushi, cured Iberian meats, cheeses, traditional Spanish food, fine wines, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish.

You can go and shop for great local produce to cook back at your holiday rental, you can take away freshly prepared food, or you can eat on the premises. It is proving very popular with locals and holiday makers alike and has been buzzing ever since it opened. There is seating outside and inside so you can relax and enjoy a coffee, good wine, a beer and delicious food.

There is sushi available from 4€, and a good variety of dishes, but early feedback shows that it’s best experienced in a group so you can share and try a good selection. Look for stalls offering “medio raciones” or half portions if you’re in a smaller group but want to try different options.

It is great to see yet another addition to a thriving restaurant scene and excellent weekly markets which take place in every town along the Costa del Sol. There are also a number of food festivals  which are a must for every foodie traveller. The first one of the year is Fuengirola’s Feria de Los Pueblos at the end of April, where you can try food from all over the world, which is highly recommended.

There are also a range of excellent fine dining restaurants, including four Michelin starred restaurants in Marbella alone, so if you like to travel and eat, come down to the Costa del Sol for a spot of gastro tourism.

If you want to be close to the new gourmet market and the stunning restaurants in Marbella, this central Marbella holiday apartment is a great choice. With stylish, modern interiors, plenty of light and space, 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, it’s a stunning property, but the location is what really sells it! It’s just 650 meters from the beach and a short walk into the centre of town, with a shared pool and secure parking. A real find!

Fuengirola Events 2017

Fuengirola Events 2017

As we said in our last post about holidaying around Malaga, Fuengirola is an excellent holiday destination due to the amazing beaches, restaurants, shopping, eating out and activities for all the family. What we didn’t mention, was the great events programme that this vibrant town runs each year. There’s almost always something going on, but here are a few highlights that you should put into your diary, which are a great reason for a trip.

The first one of the year is the Feria Internacional de los Pueblos, which is being held from the 27th of April to the 1st of May in 2017. This is a celebration of the huge range of nationalities which call Fuengirola home, and showcases their music, dance, culture and most importantly their food! You can wander around the “casetas” or little houses which each represent a different place, listen to their music and try some of their most delicious and emblematic dishes. Make sure you come hungry though, last year there were more than 30 places represented including Italy, France, Argentina, the UK, Egypt, Greece, Venezuela, Senegal and India.  There are also parades, performances and a brilliant atmosphere. Stalls open from 1pm each day and close at 4am and it’s always an amazing party.

The next date for your diary is the Fiesta de San Juan on the 23rd of June, one of the best parties of the year here on the Costa del Sol. This festival is all about celebrating the longest night of the year by building a bonfire on the beach, eating, drinking and making merry. Check out our guide on how to celebrate San Juan Spanish style to find out more about this great festival.

They celebrate San Juan all along the Costa del Sol, but Fuengirola really makes the most of it with a street party in the Boquetillo area, with music, food, drinks and entertainment for the kids. This is a great way to try some of the delicious Spanish food, party like a local and start the summer in style and this continues for several nights after San Juan too, so you don’t have to miss out on the bonfires.

In July and August the emblematic Sohail Castle hosts regular concerts with Spanish and International acts flying in to perform in this amazing venue. They haven’t announced any acts for this year as yet, but keep your eye on the Fuengirola events calendar on the Fuengirola Town Hall website for upcoming performances. Also during this time there’s the Medieval Market and the Oktoberfest, dates for this year to be confirmed, but keep checking the calendar.

Finally, October 6th-12th is the Fuengirola Fair, a week of brilliant partying day and night, where the whole town comes out to celebrate. It’s a great time to visit the Costa del Sol, with cheaper flights, and cooler temperatures.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of all of the great events taking place in Fuengirola and whenever you’re coming we have some brilliant Fuengirola holiday rentals for you. Imagine sunning yourself in this exceptional 6 bed Mijas Costa Villa with private pool and sea and mountain views, just a few kilometres from Fuengirola.

If that’s a bit big, how about this lovely 3-bedroom apartment close to Fuengirola in the heart of a thriving residential area, with a shared garden and pool? There are lots of options to choose from, please contact us with your requirements and we’ll give you a handpicked list perfect for you.

A Guide to Holidaying Around Malaga

Holidaying Around Malaga

January is a popular time to plan your holidays and if you’re wondering where to jet off to this year, we’d recommend the coastal towns around Malaga on Spain’s sunny Costa del Sol.

As well as being beautiful beachside resorts, the towns of Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola have plenty of good value holiday rental properties, lots to do and excellent access into Malaga city and to the airport. They are connected by a good train line, unlike everywhere else on the Costa del Sol, so you don’t need to have a car. This saves you money and stress and gives you much more flexibility for exploring.

Torremolinos is closest to the airport and has plenty to offer, with wide sandy beaches, brilliant nightlife, shopping and lots to do. There’s a new tourist office in the centre of town which can help you make the most of this great area and is open Monday to Friday 9-2.30.

Benalmadena is next down the coast and within easy reach of Torremolinos and the airport. This lovely town has something for everyone, a beautiful marina, amazing nightlife, lots of family friendly activities and of course some lovely beaches.

If both these places sound good to you, then we’d recommend this 3 bedroom apartment between Torremolinos and Benalmadena and within walking distance of supermarkets, bars, restaurants and shops. The apartment is arranged over one floor, with a south-east facing terrace, a comfortable living and dining area and three good sized bedrooms, one with bunk beds, and there’s a shared pool and gardens.

A little further along the coast towards Marbella is Fuengirola, the final town on the train from Malaga and the airport. Fuengirola has wonderful beaches, great restaurants, a large international community and plenty of things to do, including an excellent zoo and water park. It is great for families, couples and groups and there are lots of good value holiday rental properties to choose from.

This cosy 2 bedroom holiday apartment is located in Carvajal, between Benalmadena and Fuengirola. Carvajal has a train station, so you can easily pop to Fuengirola and Benalmadena and up to Malaga too. Or if you fancy some exercise, you can walk along the promenade to either Benalmadena or Fuengirola, or all the way to Torremolinos if you really want to stretch your legs. The apartment has amazing sea views and is just 5 minutes’ walk down to the beach. It is well maintained, has a stunning south facing terrace and roof terrace, a spacious lounge and dining area, a modern kitchen and two bedrooms.

Choosing a location close to Malaga, gives you easy access to the airport and the beautiful city of Malaga, with its gorgeous port, historic centre, amazing shopping and art galleries. Each town has its own character and plenty to offer, if you’re not sure which one to choose please contact us and we can discuss the perfect area and Costa del Sol holiday rental for you.

Things to do with kids on the Costa del Sol in the winter

Things to do with kids on the Costa del Sol in the winter

 

We are very lucky here on the Costa del Sol and usually have bright sunny days, even in the winter, however it’s not always beach weather, so for those of you planning an off-peak break with kids, we’ve put together a list of recommendations for you.

Visit the zoo – We love the zoo in Fuengirola on a sunny winter’s day, as it’s quieter and all the walking around is much easier when it’s not too hot. Selwo Aventura near to Estepona is amazing as well, it’s a huge zoo with animals including lions, hippos, giraffes and zebras. You can pay extra to go on their safari tour, get up close to the animals, learn about them from the zoo keeper and even feed the zebras which is a great experience. If you’re staying around Sotogrande, then Castellar Zoo is a great choice too, where you can pet and feed many of the animals!

Take a Hike – The countryside just inland of the Costa del Sol is spectacular and perfect for exploring in autumn and winter. We’d recommend the foothills of La Concha near Marbella for a lovely stroll and a place to collect pine cones to burn on your log fire, or the hills behind Mijas Pueblo have some lovely trails to follow.

Make chocolate – Mijas Pueblo also has Mayan Monkey the world’s smallest chocolate factory, where you can do fun workshops to make your own chocolate!

Visit a play centre – There are several great play centres, including the newly opened Mundo Mania in Cancelada (between Marbella and Estepona), which is the biggest in the area, and has zones for babies and toddlers, 3-12 year olds and even a teen zone, so it’s one for all the family! There’s also Kidz Kingdom in Cancelada, Fantasy Land in La Cala and BosquiPark in Sabinillas.

Have a bite to eat – Almost all restaurants on the Costa del Sol welcome kids with open arms, but if it’s a nice day, then eating in one of the chiringuitos (beach restaurants) right on the sand is a great choice. If you want something with more for the kids to do, Funky Forest between Marbella and Estepona is a lovely café with a lawn, swings and a slide, a play house and even rabbits to feed and the food is great.

Head to the playground – Everywhere you go on the Costa del Sol you will find playgrounds and they are great fun at any time of year!

For more great tips on off-peak holidays on the Costa del Sol read last month’s blog post, where we shared some advice on choosing your location, accommodation and holiday type, to make the most of this very affordable time to get away. We have a selection of great holiday rentals on the Costa del Sol, which are the ideal home from home for a family holiday. Many are equipped with kids’ toys, cutlery and plates and high chairs, so you can travel a little lighter, and they are a great place to relax and enjoy a holiday with the little ones. Hope to see you here soon!

Holiday Advice for August on the Costa del Sol

Are you coming to the Costa del Sol this August? You are in good company, with a whole raft of celebrities spotted here last month, including Novak Djokovic, Seal, Tom Jones, Eva Longoria, Antonio Banderas, not to mention footballers and stars of the small screen. It’s a wonderful place to take a holiday, with so much to do, great beaches, shopping, restaurants and events and August is definitely the most popular month to travel.

Here are some tips from Costa del Sol holiday rental experts HolidayRentalontheWeb to make your holiday even better –

Take care in the sun – Weather forecasts are predicting temperatures in the late 20s and early 30s throughout August, with next Friday reaching a sweltering 36°C. The wonderful weather is one of the best things about a holiday on the Costa del Sol, but it can get dangerous too if you don’t take care. Apply your sun cream regularly, starting with a high factor and working down to protect your skin, whilst getting a great tan. Make sure you’re drinking at least 2 litres of water every day, wear a hat and good quality glasses to protect your eyes and if you start feeling too hot seek shade and a cool glass of water until you feel ready to cope with the heat.

Watch out for unregulated masseuses on the beaches – The Marbella Town Hall has issued warnings against using illegally-practising masseuses on the beaches this summer, saying that they are not qualified and can also make their clients feel sick and dizzy, often pass on illnesses and infections and can cause serious injury. Many beach clubs and chiringuitos have massage areas with regulated and qualified masseuses and there are many spas where you can enjoy a relaxing massage, so there’s no need to miss out, just choose carefully.

Make sure you have your EHIC – A European Health Insurance Card entitles you to free emergency health care when you’re on holiday in Spain. The EHIC is something you should apply for at home before you leave and make sure you have it with you when you travel. It’s unlikely that anything will happen during your holiday, but having your EHIC gives you peace of mind and allows you to enjoy everything to the full. Here’s a useful article about the EHIC including a link to the application form to make it easier for you to apply.

Book Restaurants and Attractions in Advance – August is a very popular time to come and so everything is buzzing, which gives a wonderful atmosphere, but also can cause problems with finding a table in the best restaurants, or can cause lines at some of the attractions. We advise booking in advance by popping down to the restaurant the previous day, or in the morning, or giving them a call, people normally speak English and it’s nice to know that you have a place sorted out for the evening. We’d also recommend looking online for attractions such as the waterparks, you will often be able to book online and get a discount and also be able to skip the queues, so it’s well worth doing!

Trust the experts HolidayRentalontheWeb to find you the perfect Costa del Sol holiday rental property, we have a large portfolio of quality rental properties all over the coast, from luxury villas to affordable apartments. For more tips on making the most of your holiday, download our Costa del Sol Holiday Guide

If you want a last minute booking, please call us on 0034 952 83 95 95 as availability is very limited this year. Remember that September is a wonderful time to visit when the weather is still glorious, but the crowds lessen and the travel costs drop, so you haven’t missed the boat if you haven’t had your sunshine holiday this year! Have a great holiday!

Three Family Friendly summer activities on the Costa del Sol

Family Friendly Costa del Sol Activities

The Costa del Sol is an amazing place for a family holiday with loads to keep the kids entertained, let the adults relax and all enjoy some brilliant family time. Of course you have great beaches, pools and playgrounds, which can be enough for many families, but if you want to do a little more, here are three great family activities and holiday rental properties close by.

Aqua Mijas Water Park – This water park on the outskirts of Fuengirola is a firm favourite with families due to its range of attractions and slides, a dedicated area for younger kids, Jacuzzi, wave pool and even a pool area which holds Zumba classes! It’s a place you can spend the whole day, relaxing on sun loungers, or racing from slide to slide, you can take a picnic and there’s a good café area too.

Recommended Holiday Rental – Fuengirola Luxury Villa – If you’re a family, basing yourself near to Fuengirola, but in a villa with its own pool and plenty of space is a great idea and this holiday villa really has the X-Factor. Boasting 4 bedrooms, lush garden, private pool and plenty of space, it gives the feeling of being in your very own luxury resort, just 3km away from Fuengirola.

Butterfly House Benalmadena – Rated 5 out of 60 activities in Benalmadena, the Butterfly House has more than 1,500 exotic butterflies in a tropical paradise including waterfalls and flowers. It’s a stunning place and a great way to learn about the butterflies and see them emerging from their cocoons.

Recommended Holiday Rental – Benalmadena Town House – This three bed holiday rental town house is 3km from the coast, in a nice urbanisation with a communal swimming pool. It gives you very easy access to both Benalmadena and Fuengirola which both have loads of activities for kids. The area is peaceful yet accessible and the property is rustic, but comfortably furnished, with great terraces to enjoy dining al fresco.

Aventura Amazonia – If you like adrenaline and challenging yourself to push your limits, we can recommend the tree top adventure of Aventura Amazonia located in Elviria. There are a total of 83 activities you can do in the trees and 20 zip lines which are split between six adventure circuits. Children from 4 years old will enjoy this activity and adventurous adults will love it too. Kids can enjoy the MiniKids area with adventure activities, workshops and zip lines for kids from 4 to 7 years old and they will look after the children for you whilst you try the more challenging area. Your entry ticket gives you 3 hours in the park, trying as many things as you wish.

Recommended Holiday Rental – Elviria Penthouse – This great duplex penthouse is located in a lovely gated complex very close to Amazonia.  The secure complex has lush tropical gardens and four large pools, so it’s great for a family. The apartment is beautifully decorated, with plenty of space, including a large terrace, three great bedrooms and a sofa bed in the lounge if you are a larger group.