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Visiting the Costa del Sol for Christmas

Visiting the Costa del Sol for ChristmasIt feels like summer only just finished on the Costa del Sol, but now that Halloween is over and the clocks have gone back, we can’t deny that Christmas is nearly upon us.

If the dark, cold weather is getting you down and the endless Christmas songs and ads are already driving you crazy, why not consider a different kind of Christmas this year in the winter sun destination of the Costa del Sol?

Those who can feel bah-humbug about Christmas in the UK, will find a Spanish Christmas refreshing and relaxing. There’s much less emphasis on the commercial side of Christmas, decorations don’t go up until the beginning of December and the events are quite low-key and charity focussed as opposed to a huge corporate marketing machine.

You can choose to indulge in Christmas as much or as little as you wish. Want to feel festive? Head into Marbella’s Old Town or into Malaga’s shopping district to see the lights and sample some chestnuts and vino caliente (mulled wine), visit one of the Christmas markets or go and hear carols at one of the stunning churches. There’s a new synthetic ice rink in San Pedro Boulevard which I am sure will be really popular during Christmas and kids can visit Santa in his grotto either in La Cañada shopping centre, or in Marbella’s Plaza Alameda. A really nice idea is to explore the chapels and squares in Marbella’s Old Town by following the routes to see the traditional “Belen” or nativity scenes, which range from the simple to the incredibly complex and ornate. Check out this page for Christmas activities in Marbella in English.

However, if you want to escape and disconnect from all the festivities, no problem, take a stroll down the seaside promenade, put on your sturdy shoes and head into the beautiful countryside for a hike, or indulge in some water sports such as kite surfing or paddle boarding.

Bear in mind that Christmas Day is not as important as Christmas Eve here, so you may find the day itself quieter than you expect. If you’re renting a self-catering property, then why not cook up a feast in your home from home? You can find all the Christmas favourites from the UK in the international supermarkets, or decide to indulge in stunning seafood and fish as the Spanish tend to do.

If that all sounds like too much hard work for your Costa del Sol Christmas getaway, then there are loads of great restaurants putting on special Christmas menus, with live music, a great atmosphere and delicious 4 or 5 course menus. There’s something for all budgets, check out local press such as the Euroweekly News and Essential to find out what’s going on and choose your favourite.

We can recommend a perfect holiday rental property on the Costa del Sol which will be your home from home this Christmas, but the best properties are already booking up, so please let us know your requirements as soon as you can.

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.

Walking Holidays on the Costa del Sol

wanderer-455338_1280Did you know that the Costa del Sol is a great place to walk? It’s a big part of the culture to “pasear” or stroll down your local seaside promenade, particularly on a Sunday before or after lunch. Estepona, Marbella and Fuengirola are great places to get involved in this lovely tradition and there are loads of great options if you love walking.

There are two great walking events taking place in Marbella in October where you can walk as a group, meet new people and have a great time. The first is the Neon Night Marbella a charity walk taking place on October 3rd, walking from the Hard Rock Café in Puerto Banus at 9pm and following an easy 3km walk, dressed in neon kits. It’s a fun, sociable, fundraising walk and suitable for all ages and abilities. Tickets to take part are 10€ and all funds raised will be donated to children’s charities.

The second walking event is Marbella 4Days Walking from 8-11 October. This is a great challenge which people travel from all over Europe to undertake. It costs just 40€ to take part in all 4 days or 12.50€ if you want to just do one or two days. The challenge is to walk routes of 20 or 30 km per day around Marbella for 4 days, a real achievement, a great way to see Marbella and also meet likeminded people and enjoy fun activities. Families and kids can also take part in two, shorter 6km routes on 10th and 11th October, which is a great way for all the family to get involved in walking.

If these events don’t fit with your schedule, then we can recommend the hiking in the countryside just inland from the coast. The picturesque village of Mijas Pueblo has wonderful hiking routes around the back of the village, which are rated by difficulty level and can be done on your own by following the signs or by joining one of the guided weekly walks which the Town Hall puts on. These walks take place each Saturday, leaving from the tourist office at 9am and taking various routes which normally last around 3 hours. Check out the walking programme here.

There are excellent walks around Istan, Ojen and Ronda to name a few, and there are several good companies offering private, guided walks and tours to ensure everything goes smoothly. There are also a few hiking groups you can join, such as the group which does weekly walks around Manilva every Sunday.

For those people who really want to push themselves there are two amazing options. One is the newly opened Caminito del Rey, a trail along a gorge which is not for the faint hearted or vertigo sufferers, but something which is a real experience. Please note you need to book a slot to do this as the numbers are strictly limited. You can find all the info and how to book the Caminito del Rey here.

But the biggest challenge has to be walking (also climbing in places) La Concha, the iconic mountain just behind Marbella. There is a hike from the Refugio de Juanar just outside Marbella which is approximately a 5 hour round trip and a distance of 11km. This is a challenging hike and not something that should be completed without adequate supplies or in bad weather. Here’s a good description of the route.

Whichever route you choose, we can provide great holiday rental properties where you can rest your weary feet and relax. We have properties very close to the hikes, or within the main towns so you can head out each day and do different routes. Marbella is probably the best base if you want to try several different routes, with Istan, Ojen and of course La Concha nearby to tackle. This stunning Marbella 3 bedroom apartment in a brilliant central location within walking distance of the beach is a great luxury option including a Jacuzzi bath to ease any aches and pains. Check out the options and let us know where you’d like to base yourselves and we can find you a great rental property.

Costa del Sol Tourist Attractions

bigstock-children-sliding-down-a-water--8101303It’s wonderful being able to specialise in holiday rentals on the Costa del Sol, because there’s so much to offer all kinds of holiday makers. Rental apartments and villas are most popular for families, as it’s so convenient to have a home from home where you can prepare food for the kids and let them have a nap whilst you relax. Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do on the Costa del Sol, plus there are more things being created all the time.

One of the newest things to launch is a concept called Happy Days Costa del Sol on the San Pedro Boulevard which includes a year-round outdoor ice skating rink, mini golf, American food from a cool food truck and even live sports on big screens. San Pedro Boulevard is a great place to visit in the early evening with a bike, roller skates or skate board as you can go from playground to playground and stop for drinks and snacks in some lovely cafes along the way. Perfect family fun and not surprisingly our San Pedro holiday villas are gaining in popularity!

Another new attraction in the pipeline is a new water park beside Hotel Don Miguel, behind Marbella’s main bus station. According to plans it should be open for summer 2017 and will offer 62,000sqm of water fun including 8 zones and 28 attractions. This will be a great new addition for the Costa del Sol to reduce travel to the existing parks and lessen crowds. But if you don’t want to wait for 2017, here are three great options which are open until the end of this month and then reopen end of May or beginning of June 2016.

Aqualand in Torremolinos is the largest waterpark in the Malaga province, featuring Europe’s highest water slide, 19 water slides for adults and 15 suitable for children. Torremolinos is the original tourist resort on the Costa del Sol, very convenient as it’s located so near to the airport and the city of Malaga, with lots to see and do. Read our Torremolinos Area Guide 

Parque Acuático Mijas, FuengirolaThere are five water slides, a lovely little kids’ area with loads of small slides for the under 7s, mini-golf, rock-climbing wall, Jacuzzis, picnic areas and gardens and they often arrange fun activities for adults such as aqua aerobics. There are discounts for booking online and also for going after 2.30. Fuengirola is an excellent choice for a family holiday, at the end of the train line from Malaga and the airport, with loads to do including a zoo, parks and playgrounds, wide sandy beaches, excellent shopping and lots of restaurants and we have many holiday rentals in Fuengirola to choose from.

Bahia Park, Algeciras (near Gibraltar) was named the best water park in Andalucia by travellers on TripAdvisor and you can see why, with 8 rides, activity pool, children’s area and the largest Jacuzzi in Andalucia. There’s also kids entertainment in the afternoons and you can either enjoy a picnic or try one of the restaurants. This closes earlier in September than the other 2 so you may have to wait until next June to try it out. Algeciras is quite an industrial town and not one we’d recommend for a base for a holiday, but if you’d like to be near there and Gibraltar, then Sotogrande is a good choice, especially if you like water sports and golf and large villas.  Check out our Sotogrande Area Guide to find out more

We have holiday rental properties throughout the Costa del Sol, so please just ask if you want to be in a specific area, or you’re not sure where to stay, or browse our holiday rentals by location with our easy to use browse and book interactive map.

It’s sizzling in Spain come and escape the rain!

English BeachIt seems like after a brief glimpse of summer the weather in the UK has got bad again with temperatures in July dipping to as low as 4°C at night in some places! At that same time here on the Costa del Sol we have been experiencing record temperatures and several heat waves have sent us rushing to the beach to cool down and enjoy the summer madness.

Long range weather forecasts predict that in August the temperatures will drop slightly to make for spectacular weather in the mid-20s to early 30s, which is just perfect for a summer holiday!

If you’re longing for some Spanish sunshine the great news is you haven’t missed the boat, even if you haven’t booked anywhere yet! We have some great holiday rental properties on the Costa del Sol with last minute availability here’s just a few –

2 Bedroom Luxury Apartment in Mar Azul, Estepona

Set in the five star complex of Mar Azul, this luxurious apartment is in the perfect location just metres from the beach and only a short drive from the centre of Estepona – Learn More Now

3 Bedroom Townhouse, Torreblanca, near Fuengirola

Situated just off the main coast road, within easy reach of Fuengirola and just 300m from the beach. The property is spread over 4 floors including the large roof terrace – Learn More Now

1 Bedroom Apartment, Torrequebrada, Benalmadena

Situated just 550m from the beach and furnished in a modern and contemporary style. The gated complex has a fenced swimming pool and children’s pool, open gardens and secure parking – Learn More Now

3 Bedroom Apartment, Los Lagos de Santa Maria, Marbella

This lovely, ground floor apartment is situated in the residential urbanisation of Los Lagos de Santa Maria Golf, set in the beautiful surroundings of Elviria, in the heart of this prestigious Golf area – Learn More Now

3 Bedroom Villa in Riviera del Sol, Mijas Costa

This spacious, sophisticated semi-detached villa is set in the complex of Flamenco Villas. The complex offers mature communal gardens and two large, fenced swimming pools, one of which is open all year round – Learn More Now

 

If there’s nothing there you fancy and time is of the essence, please send us an email to info@homecareontheweb.com with your dates and requirements and our team will swing into action to find you properties which fit the bill. Hope to see you soon!

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.

Discover Inland Costa del Sol

Discover Inland Costa del SolWhat do you think of when you picture the Costa del Sol? A modern, developed coastline with loads going on, beautiful beaches and international population? You’re right, and yet venture just 10 minutes’ drive away from the famous beaches and you’ll discover a very different world of rolling countryside, quaint white villages, hiking trails and a very relaxed, sleepy way of life.

Choosing an inland location for your Costa del Sol summer holiday can be a smart move, as you’re away from the crowds, and able to relax and unwind in peace and quiet, and yet, you’re just a short drive away from the action – when you want it!

Top Inland Costa del Sol Holiday Destinations

Best White Village
We recommend Casares to the west of the Costa del Sol, the most picturesque white village in the area. The white houses are perched high on a hillside surrounding an old fort and church, it’s breath-taking. As well as being beautiful, it has developed a reputation as a gastronomic hotspot, with lots of great restaurants to enjoy. It is brilliant for birdwatchers with many birds of prey in the area, plus golfers will be spoilt with several great courses in the area. Casares has a good selection of modern holiday apartments and town houses on the outskirts of the village, so you can enjoy comfort and great facilities yet also be close to the village itself. Check out this Casares 2 bedroom holiday apartment located on the Casares golf course, in a lovely complex with several pools and shared garden, plus a discount on green fees for the golf course.

Best Inland Luxury Urbanization
Pueblo Los Monteros, 6 minutes’ drive inland from Los Monteros on the beach, near to Marbella. This luxury urbanization has wonderful facilities such as communal pool with Jacuzzi and an infinity pool with stunning views, an indoor pool including sauna and steam room, gym and playroom for the kids. It is perfectly located to access Santa Clara and Marbella Golf and Country Club and offers a real retreat, within easy reach of the coast. We have a number of holiday rentals on this complex, including a stunning Marbella 3 bed duplex apartment including a large terrace for dining, sunbathing and relaxing, whilst taking in the beautiful views. Everything is stylishly decorated and finished to the highest of standards, for a really special holiday rental apartment in a peaceful, luxurious environment.

Best Inland Activities
Hiking, horse riding, quad biking and canyoning are all exciting activities which are organized around the Costa del Sol and are a great way to explore the inland areas and get away from it all. If that sounds a bit too strenuous, we recommend bird watching, golf or even wine tasting from one of the local wine producers in Ronda, Gaucin or Manilva.

Let us know your favourite places and things to do in inland Costa del Sol, by commenting on the post.

How to experience the longest night of the year Spanish style!

San Juan 2015Noche de San Juan is the night of 23rd June – the longest night of the year, and is celebrated in style in on the Costa del Sol. There are parties on the beach where everyone builds bonfires, or barbecues, hangs out with friends and parties until midnight when it’s time for the rituals of running into the sea and jumping over the fires. The whole idea is to purify and have a lot of fun.

 

 

Where to spend San Juan

There’s stuff going on all along the Costa del Sol, but here are some highlights for organized activities:

If you’re in holidaying in Marbella they light bonfires on the beach (Playa de la Fontanilla) and the beachfront chiringuitos are packed with revellers enjoying special set menus. We recommend La Red and Europa for their location and amazing atmosphere.  Booking is essential!

If you are around Elviria then Nikki Beach holds a super glamorous San Juan party at their legendary beach club, with entertainment. This is not a cheap option, but will certainly be one to remember

If you are renting a holiday apartment in Duquesa on the Western Costa del Sol, they hold an incredible party in Sabinillas on the beach with a mega bonfire/statue that is a work of art and looks too good to burn. Thousands of people descend on to the beach, there are rides and stalls and live music – it’s really worth a visit

 If you’re lucky enough to be on holiday anywhere on the Costa del Sol on the 23rd June and want to make your own party, here are a few tips to making the most of this special night like the locals –

  1. Get a group of friends together (Spanish only operate in crowds)
  2. Buy beers, wine, snacks, easy things to cook and a disposable barbecue (plus take some spare clothes with you, you’ll see why later)
  3. Take everything but the kitchen-sink – The Spanish come to the beach with gazebos, tables and chairs, enough food to feed the world and more (I’ve even seen a portable generator for light) so don’t be afraid to take a lot of stuff!
  4. Head down to your nearest beach around 9pm
  5. Set up camp in a good spot – have a look around to see if there are any bonfires on your stretch of beach, as this is always the centre of the action
  6. Don’t sit too close to the fires – there is no health a safety in place and the fires burn seriously hot
  7. Make a small fire and at midnight run round it three times, jump over it and then run backwards into the sea and be purified (it’s very funny no matter what happens)

Enjoy this wonderful Costa del Sol tradition however you choose to spend it! Let us know if you’d like to book a last minute holiday apartment near all the action, there’s still some availability.

Make a splash this summer – Holiday Villas with Private Pools

Family Outside Relaxing In Swimming PoolOne of the most enjoyable things about a family holiday on the Costa del Sol is hanging out by the pool, soaking up the sun, with kids swimming and playing together and being able to pop inside for an ice cream, delicious lunch, snack or a cold glass of wine. This is a real luxury, but also so convenient, especially for families with young kids that still need a nap during the day. Plus, because you can have a great time at the villa, you can really relax and can actually end up saving money as you’re eating at home.

We have a great selection of villas with private pools available for holiday rental on the Costa del Sol this summer. Please note these villas are always in high demand, so if you are planning on coming this summer (especially during kids’ holidays) we’d recommend you book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Here are three of our top picks:

3 Bed villa with private pool Riviera

This detached villa in the quiet residential area of Riviera del Sol, is just 400 meters away from the beach and also close to supermarkets, bars, restaurants and a tennis club with mini-golf. The location and practical layout with comfortable lounge and dining area, fully equipped kitchen and three good sized double bedrooms offers a great base for a family holiday.  There is a shaded terrace, a sweet garden and of course the all-important pool. Riviera is just 36 km from Malaga airport. Please note that the villa is already fully booked for June and the first week of July, so early booking is recommended.

Holiday Rental Villa Benalmadena

Not only does this 3 bed, 2 bath villa have a lovely private pool, a large garden with terraces, and a courtyard complete with lemon tree, but it also boasts stunning sea views, so it’s great for people who love to live al fresco. The pool area is gated, so perfect for a young family, and it’s a really comfortable home from home. The location of Benalmadena is a great choice for families as there’s loads to do in Benalmadena itself, plus it’s close to the airport and connected by train to Malaga and Fuengirola so you can do without a car. It’s already booked for August and the last week in July, but has availability in June, July and September.

Holiday Rental Villa Estepona

This lovely, modern 4 bedroom villa located between Estepona and San Pedro offers a luxurious and comfortable base for your holiday which you will love to call home! It sleeps 8 people, features a large kitchen, comfortable living room and dining area and modern bathrooms. The outside space is great, with a covered terrace for dining, a lawn area and a large pool, which is a real joy. The complex that the villa is located on has tennis courts, a swimming pool and a children’s play area so the kids certainly won’t get bored. Plus it’s close to Selwo Safari Park, and the lovely town of Estepona.

We have a wide selection of Costa del Sol holiday rentals on our website, including beachside villas, golf villas and luxury holiday homes. Please feel free to browse, or contact us with your requirements and we’ll send you a list of properties to suit you. 

Gourmet market planned for Puerto Banus

market_gourmetMarbella Town Hall has announced that there will be a new gourmet market opening this summer. The first of its kind on the Costa del Sol, it will be located just 250 meters from the heart of Puerto Banús, in the area of La Alzambra.

This gourmet market called Ambrosia, will be set over 1,000 square meters and two floors with three terraces. It will be an exciting combination of stalls, bars, cafes and restaurants in a market setting with high tables and stools. You will be able to buy stunning products from stalls and delicatessens and enjoy a wonderful meal, snack or drink in a fun, and bustling market environment – sounds like a great combination! They will also organize lots of special events during the year. Due to open this summer, this will be another wonderful draw to the Costa del Sol, an area rightly famous for its gastronomy.

Visitors to the Costa del Sol are really spoilt for choice when it comes to fantastic places to eat and drink, with a wide range of Spanish, International and Michelin starred cuisine, and you can check out our previous posts for more information about the Costa del Sol as a gourmet destination. However, we recommend that you consult TripAdvisor, and move away from the main tourist traps, as the best places are often hidden away. Look for a good bustle and try to eat at the same time as the Spanish (2pm for lunch and from 8pm earliest for dinner) to experience a great atmosphere as well as delicious food.

To help our holiday guests enjoy the Costa del Sol to the full, we’ve produced a guide to Marbella and the surrounding areas, including loads of great information and listing our favourite restaurants, so you know you’ll eat well! Download it for free on our website.