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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.

Costa del Sol’s Best Party 15-22 August

feria_malaga2015If you’re at a loose end and need a holiday this August, why not come and experience the Malaga Feria, one of the best events on the Costa del Sol! It is a week-long extravaganza in the capital of the Malaga province which celebrates Malaga being regained by the Catholic Kings on 19th August 1487. You may think given the history it would be quite a stately affair, but the Spanish really know how to party and the date has been appropriated as a massive summer party where the whole city comes to celebrate day and night.

We recommend that you find a good place to watch the fireworks for the inauguration of the feria which takes place at midnight the night before and are really amazing. You can also enjoy processions of people dressed in their flamenco finery on horseback processing through the streets.

Unlike many ferias, they bring parts of it into the city centre, where you can enjoy wine tasting, tapas and live music in the beautiful streets of the old town. We would highly recommend this as a great way to explore this city, which really knows how to have a good time and buzzes with life all year round.

Then there is the festival area itself, outside the city centre, but linked by public transport, where you will find hundreds of “casetas” which are little houses which each have their own music and special atmosphere, plus an amazing fair in the evening for thrill seekers young and old.

Check the official website for the full programme and ask at the tourist office for transport options and other activities related to the feria – http://feria.malaga.eu/

There is so much to see and do in Malaga all year round, with museums, art galleries, concerts and events, plus a wonderful gourmet scene and nightlife and we’d highly recommend locating yourself near to the city at least for a day trip. If you like the idea of being able to pop into the city easily, the best locations for a holiday rental property would be Benalmadena, Torremolinos and Fuengirola, all great places in their own right and on the train line to Malaga. You can browse the Costa del Sol holiday rentals we have in the different areas easily on our interactive view, click and book location map, or let us know where you’d like to be.

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.

Happy Easter from HolidayRentalontheWeb!

semanasanta-300x225Today is Good Friday, a sombre day in “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) where Spanish Catholics mark the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and the penitents (those who have done wrong) parade through the streets in a silent procession, often barefoot, or even on hands and knees. These processions are striking and powerful, very different from how Easter is celebrated in the UK.

If you are in Spain over Easter, and this sounds a bit too serious for you, we’d recommend Sunday’s events, in Marbella or Malaga, where the whole area celebrates the resurrection of Christ with joyous parades through the streets. Please beware that if you’re planning to go to Malaga you will be joining thousands of other holiday makers and residents, so parking and getting around can be a problem, so you’re best to take the train or bus in if you can.

One question we get asked from holiday makers with children here during Easter is where are the Easter Eggs! This is not a Spanish tradition, so for a good range of recognizable brands we’d recommend trying out Iceland in Fuengirola, Puerto Banus or Sotogrande or the more internationally minded supermarkets – Supersol, Aldi and Lidl are all good bets.

If Easter in Spain sounds like fun, but you didn’t manage it this year, then get planning! Easter 2016 starts on Palm Sunday on March 20th and runs through to Easter Sunday on March 27th. If you want to be in the most desirable holiday rentals in Malaga or Marbella they can book up fast. Contact us and we’ll give you a list of Costa del Sol Holiday Rental properties within walking distance or easy public transport reach of the parades so you can be sure you have the perfect base for your Easter holiday.

Dance Yourself into the Record Books

sevillanas recordSpain and flamenco go hand in hand and the style of flamenco known as Sevillanas forms a crucial part of any festival in the region of Andalucia. If you love to dance flamenco and want to take part in an exciting event, come on down to Estepona on June 14th and take part in the Guinness World Record attempt for the number of couples dancing the Sevillana at one go. They need more than 1,556 participants to break the record, so everyone is welcome to take part. Click here for more information

We currently have more than 10 Estepona holiday rentals available to allow you to take part in the record attempt on June 14th including town houses, apartments and villas. This luxury beachside apartment in Estepona is very special and has availability for these dates. Sleeping four people, this is a modern apartment furnished to the highest standards right on the beach, with lots of great amenities in the complex including indoor and outdoor pool, spa and gym.

If dancing flamenco seems too much like hard work, there are lots of other things going on in Estepona to mark the opening of the new fair ground on the same day, including a free concert with three popular Spanish singers Tamara, Merche and India Martinez.

Alternatively there are many great places along the Costa del Sol to enjoy watching flamenco. There are lots of places in Malaga, Benalmadena and Marbella including the Ana Maria flamenco show in Old Town Marbella which is well worth a visit. Here’s a list from TripAdvisor on some of the most popular, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, keep your eye out for special events and performances in the local press and try to take in a local feria if you’re visiting over the summer – you will see flamenco on every corner! The next one is June 9th in Marbella, Estepona in the first week in July, Benalmadena in the second week in August, Malaga third week in August and more in autumn. Let’s dance!

Planning your Easter holiday on the Costa del Sol

Asemanasantafter half term, the next opportunity to get away, for those with kids, is the Easter holidays. It’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy the wonderful combination of weather, culture and family activities that the Costa del Sol has to offer.

The weather starts to really hot up at this time of year, so strolls in the warm sunshine are great to enjoy, and if you’re lucky you’ll even get some time on the beach. Easter marks the start of the tourist season and the atmosphere really ramps up, beach bars start to reopen and there are loads of events and special activities.

Palm Sunday marks the start of Semana Santa or Holy Week and throughout this week you can see stunning displays of the catholic faith which is so important to the Spanish people. There are daily parades through the streets featuring striking religious statues carried by devotees, some very sombre and some celebratory, but all fascinating and very different from the commercial side of Easter. You can get an Easter programme with all these activities from the tourist information office in the run up to the holiday or view it online www.marbella.es

In addition to this there are many Easter activities such as parties at the play centres like Galaxia in San Pedro, special Easter Egg Hunts and many sports and activities camps which will be announced shortly. Keep your eyes peeled on Marbella Family Fun for upcoming activities.

Demand for holiday rentals on the Costa del Sol really increases during this period, so bookings are advised in advance to avoid disappointment.

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.

 

Valentine’s Day in Southern Spain

If you are lucky enough to be spending Valentine’s Day on the Costa del Sol you are in for a treat as it is a very romantic place to be especially this time of year. In fact, many marriage proposals are made on Valentine’s Day in Spain.

Traditional gifts for Valentine’s Day in Spain are red roses, chocolates and cards but if you are looking for something extra special there are lots of great shops, jewellery stores and boutiques in Marbella and nearby Puerto Banus so you are bound to find the perfect gift.

Make your valentine feel a million dollars with a pampering beauty treatment at one of the local spas, or use Valentine’s Day as the perfect excuse for a relaxing couple’s massage! You can even find holiday homes with their own Jacuzzis’ and saunas if you are looking for a touch of luxury.

The beaches are not crowded so you can take a relaxing stroll along the promenade, stopping by a chiringuito or two for a drink and bite to eat with the blissful sound of the Mediterranean  in the background. When the sun sets on the Costa del Sol it’s a breath taking view from the beach or mountains and a perfect setting for this romantic day. It’s no wonder so many couples get engaged and married here! If you want something more active to do, you could spend the day horse riding together or go skiing for the day at Sierra Nevada ski resort which is only a few hours’ drive from Marbella.

Many of the top restaurants book up quickly but don’t worry if you haven’t reserved as there is a large selection of great restaurants to choose from or you could even whip up a romantic meal for two at your holiday home! You can stock up the fridge with all your favourite foods which you will be able to find at local supermarkets such as Iceland, Supersol, Carrefour and El Cort Ingles and have dinner and drinks under the moonlight in the privacy of your holiday home. All our holiday homes come fully equipped with everything you need to wine and dine, but if you have any special requirements, just let us know.

HolidayRentalontheWeb can also arrange for you to have chocolates, roses and chilled champagne on arrival so you can spoil your loved one with first class, hotel style service. Visit our website for more details and to view holiday homes on the Costa del Sol or call 952 839 595.

Celebrating the Three Kings in Spain

One of the great things about going on holiday to the Costa del Sol during the Christmas period is that you get to do it twice! The celebration of the arrival of the three kings who bring gifts to the newborn baby Jesus Christ is the most important day of the Christmas holidays in Spain.

The three kings are celebrated pretty much the same as Father Christmas. The children leave a little snack for the kings and camels on the night, similar to us leaving out sherry and a mince pie for Santa and they even write letters to the kings telling them the toys they wish for. Many cities even set up a special post box where children can leave their letters for the ‘royal mail man’ so your children could even join in too! If the children have been good that year they receive presents from the three kings during the night just like Father Christmas!

The Spanish commemorate the arrival of the three kings on the 5th January every year with a festive parade and gift giving, however as the children usually go back to school on the 7th it doesn’t leave them with much time to play with their new toys, so many families have also started to celebrate the 25th December to give them more time. The children usually receive half of their presents on Christmas day and the other half on three king’s day.

The arrival of the three kings on the 5th Jan brings much excitement to cities all over Spain and the big parades (la cabalgata de reyes) are major events and usually attended by the whole family. Some of the big parades are even televised. During the festive parade, the three kings are mounted onto big chariots and will throw sweets to the children who are waiting nearby holding umbrellas upside down in order to catch them! It’s a really fun event to take the kids to, you can find the route the parade will take and information on other Costa del Sol Christmas events on Marbella Family Fun and other websites.

Remember during the three kings it will be a national bank holiday on the 5th and 6th January so make sure to stock up on everything you need before then! If you would like a welcome pack with all the essentials ready and waiting for you at your holiday home on the Costa del Sol, send us your requirements or call us on 952 839 595