What’s On in July & August on the Costa del Sol

What’s On in July & August on the Costa del SolThose of us living on the Costa del Sol, whether we’re renting long term, or own a property, are in the very lucky position of being in one of the most desirable places in the world for a summer holiday and there’s loads going on that we can take advantage of, without having to spend a fortune renting a place or staying in a hotel.

There are things happening every day during this exciting season, but here are some highlights for July and August –

Global Gift Gala, Marbella 5th July – This annual event at the Gran Melia Don Pepe in Marbella is a place for celebrities, VIPs and philanthropists to get together to raise money and awareness of the plight of children and the empowerment of women worldwide. Described as a magical night of hope and inspiration, featuring entertainment, stunning cuisine and celebrity guests this is not to be missed if you can afford the 500€ ticket price. http://globalgiftfoundation.org/gala/marbella/

Elton John, Malaga 15th July – This month the legend that is Elton John is playing in Malaga, for the first time in a decade and will be bringing his best known songs and charisma to the Carpena Sports Arena for just 8,000 lucky people to enjoy. Tickets are expect to sell quickly, but check out  www.ticketmaster.es and www.entradas.com or pop into FNAC, Carrefour, Halcon Viajes or El Corte Ingles for last minute availability.

July Champagne Spray Party Ocean Club 26 July – This fantastic party at Ocean Club Beach Club in Puerto Banus brings together thousands of revellers in a cool environment, with great music from Sintillate and of course lots of champagne to spray! There are regular champagne spraying parties throughout summer, but be warned, beds book fast so don’t leave it too late.    http://www.mydestination.com/marbella/events/73614087/ocean-club-july-champagne-spray-party-26-july-2015

World Vision Gala, Sea Grill, Puente Romano 15 August – Raise money for charity World Vision whilst enjoying a stunning gala dinner under the stars at Puente Romano’s beautiful beachside restaurant. This VIP gala is featuring Kym Mazelle from Soul 2 Soul and Los Manolitos from Gypsy Kings performing live. http://www.puenteromano.com/

Starlite 18 July-22 August – One month of concerts in the impressive, outdoor Starlite Auditorium in Marbella, including performances from Lenny Kravitz, Placido Domingo, Lionel Richie, the Village People, Julio Iglesias, Enrique Iglesias, Anastacia, Alejandro Sanz and Andrea Bocelli. Plus when there are no concerts you can go and enjoy the atmosphere in their lounge every day from 8pm to 6am, and there will be fashion shows, film screenings and entertainment. http://starlitemarbella.com/en/

Spandau Ballet live in concert, Puente Romano Tennis Club 21 August – Spandau Ballet will be performing at the intimate venue of the Puente Romano Tennis Club this summer, playing their best known hits in a great environment. VIP seats are so close to the action that you can almost touch the performers and everyone gets a brilliant view. http://www.puenteromanotennis.com/

Amazing Sundays Nikki Beach – Throughout July and August Nikki Beach host regular events such as their Skandi party, Venician Carnival and much more, but one of the locals’ favourites is the Amazing Sunday parties for a fun, uber stylish, glamorous Sunday experience.

Let us know which event you’re most looking forward to this summer in Marbella and why you feel smug about renting long term on the Costa del Sol during the hot summer months by commenting on this post.

Residents of the Costa del Sol – Guide to surviving the summer

summer trafficWhen you relocate to the Costa del Sol you think of the summer as the best time of year to be here and your first summer can be a blur of parties, days at the beach and drinks round the pool. However, when you’ve found your long term rental or bought somewhere, got a steady job and have a routine of work and normal life the peak summer season can really start getting you down.

Here are a few tips for coping:

 

  1. Leave plenty of time to get to meetings and appointments – traffic gets bad, particularly around junctions such as the Puerto Banus-San Pedro tunnel and can lead to jams. If you’re in a hurry, take the toll road, there are rarely hold ups there.
  2. Get ready for the long school holidays – If your kids are in Spanish school they have very long holidays, from 23rd June to the second week in September this year. However, there are a plethora of summer camps to choose from which are both fun and educational and can leave you to work or lead a normal life during July and August but book ahead as they can get booked up.
  3. Don’t expect to find parking easily – In the popular towns such as Marbella and tourist areas like Puerto Banus parking can be very difficult to find, but there are now metered on-street parking which is affordable and you can even sign up to top up the meter via your mobile
  4. Drink plenty of water and remember the sunscreen even if you’re just out and about shopping or having a drink with friends – it can really catch you out!
  5. Remember to enjoy the fun and take part – Go to your town’s local feria, join your friends onto the beach, enjoy your community pool and remember that as a long term rental tenant you are enjoying a wonderful summer in a brilliant place, at the fraction of the cost that holidaymakers are paying

If you haven’t found your perfect long term rental property on the Costa del Sol yet please let us know. There is less availability during the summer season as many owners will rent their property short term, but we can let you know what will be available in September if you can give us your requirements or tell you what’s available if you need a long term rental now.

A Brief Guide to Being an Expat on the Costa del Sol

expat lifeAccording to official figures more than 760,000 British have left the UK to make their home in Spain since the 1990s, a large percentage heading to the popular Costas. Whilst it’s true that in recent years the economic crisis has seen some returning home, most have dug their heels in and waited it out and we’re now ready to reap the rewards of the improving financial climate. Here are our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol to get you inspired if you’re thinking of making the move.

But we’ve been thinking about what makes one expat love their life on the Costa del Sol when others can’t make it work? Of course there are many factors and every person is different, but here are a few key areas where you can improve your chance of success for living on the Costa del Sol –

  1. Set realistic expectations – Life will never be perfect no matter where you live, and just because you choose to relocate to Spain and live under sunny skies you won’t be able to escape problems, so please don’t expect some sort of dream existence. If you take the “same s***t sunnier skies” philosophy you’ll do well! Salaries are significantly lower than the UK and jobs with a contract can be hard to find, but they are out there if you look hard.
  2. Make a plan and do your research – Don’t just rock up on the Costa del Sol with a dream of life in the sun! Make a plan which includes researching job opportunities, areas to live, people that can help and set a decent relocation budget so that if you don’t get work straight away you can stay the course. If you have family in tow think it through for them so come in the summer holidays for example and settle the kids in before the new school term. A little forward planning goes a long way. If you want your child to go to a Spanish school, applications for places must be made in March, so don’t let that catch you out. It’s a good idea to enrol your child into the summer school running in their new school in July and August to give them a head start with the language and get to know the school too.
  3. Learn the language – If you can learn Spanish everything will be easier to manage, so it’s worth the effort. Check out our language blogs for help on this front.
  4. Accept that Spanish bureaucracy is a pain – Once you have accepted that things are slow and frustrating and you leave enough time to do everything you can work within the system and you will significantly lower your blood pressure
  5. Appreciate the great sides of Spanish life – Take the time to enjoy that sundowner after work, go outside for lunch, or stroll down the seaside promenade on a Sunday and remember how grey, cold and boring it was in the UK and feel proud of yourself for making the move. It’s easy to take all these things for granted after a while.
  6. Rent before you buy – Renting long term on the Costa del Sol before taking the plunge and buying is a great way to get the feel of the place, discover the realities of being here and understand what you and your family need before putting down permanent roots. Many people do a couple of years renting long term, moving to a few different areas along the coast before making their decision and this period is really beneficial
  7. Create a support network – Try to convince family to come out with you, or to come and stay regularly, network online and offline to get a good group of friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we all know what it’s like relocating to the Costa del Sol and people are normally happy to give you a hand.

There’s some great advice about being an expat in Spain on the HSBC expat site including a handy relocation checklist. Please ask us if you’re thinking of moving to the Costa del Sol, we’d be happy to help.

Local Elections in Spain

Election_MG_3455This month Spain goes to the polls for the local elections and you will see a lot of campaigning on the streets, posters, flyers and events to gain support from the town for a particular party.  The date of the election is 24th May and if you are living in Spain and registered on the electoral role and the padron then you’re entitled to vote, even if you’re renting long term.

Local Town Halls are finally realising the importance of the foreign residents’ votes and making it easier for them to vote, as well as offering incentives such as reduced IBI tax for property owners, which you apply for whilst also applying to vote. The Mayor of Marbella wrote a letter to the foreign residents of their district back in April, encouraging them to get involved in the elections. In this letter she also introduced the new mobile app “Marbella vota” where you can find your local polling station and get involved.

If you’re out of the country but would like to cast your vote, you can do so before 14th May in any post office. You may have received an electoral census to your address, but don’t worry if you haven’t you can find your nearest polling station by asking in your Town Hall. Please note that if you plan to vote on 24th May, you must take photo ID.

Costa del Sol long term renters and foreign property owners are an important part of the community and if you work here, use the health system, or schools, then go and have your say on 24th May.

Unfortunately, if you didn’t register on the electoral roll then you won’t be eligible to vote, so you will have to wait until next year. However, check at your Town Hall if you’re not sure, as many official processes obliged you to register, so you may have done it without realising.  

Get to grips with the Spanish holidays!

bigstock-Teenage-flamenco-dancers--81977894We’ve just had Labour Day (Día de los Trabajadores) and then a surprise extra day on Monday when many schools were closed and a lot of expats we know are heading into the summer with trepidation wondering when the next holiday is due.

Did you know that last Sunday was Spanish Mothers’ Day, or did it pass you by? Don’t worry if you missed it, you are not alone, because it is different to the British Mothers’ Day it catches a lot of families living on the Costa del Sol out. The first many of us know is when their child comes back with something from school!

The Spanish love their holidays and they are peppered through the year, giving those expats lucky enough to live on the Costa del Sol a nasty surprise when they suddenly realise their child doesn’t have school, or that all the shops are closed. So here’s our guide for all you long term renters to make sure you don’t miss out, or get taken by surprise!

01-Jan

New Year’s Day

06-Jan

Día de los Reyes Magos/Three Kings

19-Mar

Father Day´s

02-Apr

Maundy Thursday

03-Apr

Good Friday

05-Apr

Easter Sunday

06-Apr

Easter Monday

01-May

Labour Day

03-May

Mother’s Day

24-Jun

San Juan Night

15-Aug

Feast of the Assumption

12-Oct

Spanish National Day

01-Nov

All Saint’s Day

06-Dec

Día de la Constitución

08-Dec

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

25-Dec

Christmas Day

You will also have your local feria and saint’s day which will be a local holiday, so check your local town hall calendar if you’re not sure. For more advice on living and renting long term on the Costa del Sol please browse our blog or feel free to ask, we’re here to help!

New Foreign Residents’ Office Opens in Marbella

Foreigners OfficeBack in June, we wrote a post about the great services available to foreign residents on the Costa del Sol through the different Town Halls, and the lengths they are going to in order to ensure that we are happy, well-looked after and can get the help we need in our own language.

One of the new services we mentioned then was the opening of a new, dedicated office for foreigners in Marbella and I am pleased to say that it is now open in the area of La Patera – Calle Duque de Lerma 3.

This office has been created by the National Police to improve the quality of services for foreign residents and adapt to the interests and needs of the highly international community in Marbella. The large 180m2 building will make it a lot easier to process documents such as invitation and nationality letters, residence certificates, return authorisations or student cards, amongst others, and will reduce the load on the general police station by giving a dedicated centre for these activities.

Please note that this does not replace the foreign residents’ department office in Glorieta de la Fontanilla, s/n 29602 Marbella (in the tourist office by Da Bruno on the Paseo Maritimo), but is an additional resource for processing documentation.

The Town Hall also have created a useful information hub particularly for foreign residents which you can review here http://www.marbellaexclusive.com/en/international-residents-community.html

In other foreign residents’ news, the Marbella foreigners’ department has been running a campaign to improve the amount of people registered on the Town Hall census (empadronamiento) and is making it even easier to do.

If you’re renting long term in Marbella, we would highly recommend registering on this, as it gives you access to council services such as health care and schooling and you can often get discounts on state services such as sports and language classes. It will also improve your area, as the budgets are allocated depending on how many people live in a certain district, so if you want better roads, services or activities, then registering will help you to get them! Click here for information on how to do it, or contact your local foreigners’ office and they will help you to do it, quickly and easily.

Vaccinations in Spain

syringe-417786_640If you’re living on the Costa del Sol with kids, you need to know about the vaccination programme and make sure your kids are correctly protected. Vaccinations protect your children, and your whole family, from serious and potentially deadly diseases. The schedule of jabs needs to be respected, even if you’ve recently moved over and are just starting to figure out the system.

As a long-term renter, you have put down some roots, but may be playing things by ear. This is a huge advantage of renting long term on the Costa del Sol, however can be disruptive to your children’s health care, as you may not have fully entered the system and therefore miss routine check-ups.

If you (or one member of your family) are working and paying your social security, then you and your extended family are entitled to state medical care. If you speak some Spanish, or have someone who can help, this is the most cost-effective way of getting healthcare for you and your children.

You need to apply for a social security number and card, sign on to your Town Hall register (empadronamiento) and then take your number and your padron (registration) certificate to your nearest doctors’ surgery to register. This process is pretty straightforward if you have someone who understands the system and the language, but can be difficult without, so either reach out to a friend, or consult the local foreigners’ office and ask for their help.

Once you have registered your children at the doctor, they will be entered into the “Niño Sano” (Healthy Child) programme and will have a series of vaccinations planned. They have vaccinations at birth, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 months and 3 years at the doctors’ surgery under this programme. Then jabs will be given at school at the following ages; 6 years, 12 years and 14 years. As well as the mandatory vaccinations such as Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria and MMR, you will also be offered optional vaccines such as chicken pox, which will be done through the doctor, but which you have to pay for.

If you don’t want to go into the Spanish health system, due to issues with the language, or convenience and flexibility, there are some excellent private health care providers. They offer affordable health plans which include vaccinations and can advise you if you feel you have missed anything whilst you’ve been getting settled.

We are here to help if you’re struggling with living and renting on the Costa del Sol and have some useful relocating to Spain information on our website as well as this blog. We also have a number of guides about living on the Costa del Sol and our team are all long term residents, so can give you their personal experiences of sending kids to school, healthcare, driving, insurance and much more. Please don’t be afraid to ask.

Moving children to the Costa del Sol

VacationWe meet hundreds of people each year looking to make the move to the Costa del Sol with their family and deciding to start by renting long term in order to have flexibility and be able to make an informed decision about where they want to settle down.

Spain is the most wonderful place to raise a family, the Spanish love kids and will make them welcome everywhere you go. Plus, the climate is brilliant for an active, outdoor lifestyle and children think nothing of popping to the beach or taking a swim in the pool after school. You can also give your kids the most amazing start to life with a second language and a high level of cultural awareness.

However, it is a daunting step to take and many of our long term renters are worried about how their kids will adapt to a new life in Spain. Here are a few helpful tips on how to make the move easier:

  • Keep the kids’ informed about the move and make them feel excited about the adventure ahead
  • Take advantage of the many social groups, websites and forums offering advice and support for newly arrived parents and get together with people to share experiences and learn Spanish
  • Don’t miss the application dates for state schools & consider the schools when you’re choosing where to live. Don’t just consider International Schools if you want your children to integrate fully
  • Don’t neglect your kids’ English – although they will keep their spoken English level if you speak it at home, their written English will really suffer if they are in Spanish school, so extra work is needed from the parents or a tutor to give them the option to study in an English speaking country at a later stage
  • Help them to get to grips with the language before you leave the UK and work on Spanish at a language school or private classes at holidays so that when they get to school they will feel prepared. Kids are like sponges and will pick up the language quickly and confidently, but it makes everyone feel better if they have a baseline
  • Don’t think any children are too old to move, but make preparations to help them settle depending on their age. Make sure you prepare them for the language if they are older and you are putting them into the Spanish system, or ensure you have enough money for the international schooling system
  • Enjoy the freedom and safety for kids in Spain and let your children explore and make friends, it’s a treat but can be hard to adjust to when you’re used to the more restrictive life in the UK
  • Learn the culture yourself and pass it on to your children by getting involved with everything around you as much as possible
  • Embrace all that is good and different about Spain, let them stay up (really) late like the Spanish kids and take them with you when you go out in the evenings and discover the restaurants and bars in Spain are all child friendly! It’ll help you all to settle in and make new Spanish friends.

Enjoy it, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice, we’ve all been there and Mums and Dads are always happy to share stories, put people in touch and generally make it easier for you. At HomeRentalontheWeb, we’re happy to advise on schools, medical facilities and family friendly activities in the area you’re looking to rent. We all live and work here and so can give you the inside knowledge. 

Staying safe on the Costa del Sol

sosThe Costa del Sol is a great place to live and rent long term and feels very safe. Families notice how much more relaxed it is to have children running around whilst other families help you to keep an eye on them, and there’s a friendly and positive atmosphere on the streets.

However, sometimes we all need some help from the emergency services and should be prepared. If you do need to call the emergency services, dial 112 and this number will connect you with the police, fire and ambulance. There’s a useful post with numbers to call for other emergencies here, which also has a list of a few Spanish phrases to use and would be worth printing out and having around just in case.

In addition there is a new smartphone app which has been sponsored by Mijas Town Hall which gives an immediate alert to your location. It has been designed specifically for hearing and visually impaired members of the community and is totally free to download online for both Apple and Android phones. When the GPS facility is activated, any calls you place requesting assistance will make it easier to pinpoint your location ensuring a rapid response to your call. You can find out more by clicking here

Another danger which you need to be very mindful of is the ever present drowning hazard from being close to the sea and having easy access to pools. Children can drown even in shallow water, so be really careful, ensuring kids are constantly supervised around water, always wear buoyancy aids and are educated as soon as possible to be confident and safe swimmers. Ensure pools are safely gated off or covered when not in use so children can’t just wander in unsupervised.

Being close to water is a huge benefit of renting long term on the Costa del Sol and many of our long term rental properties have private or communal pools, but always remember that they are also potentially dangerous places and take precautions to protect children other members of the family.

Stay safe!

Taxes in Spain

taxesAs Benjamin Franklin famously said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”, but what is sometimes not so certain for expats living and renting long term in Spain is what taxes apply to them, how much should they pay and should they still be paying taxes in their country of origin.

This is a constantly evolving topic and varies depending on where you are from and what your status is in Spain, so the key is to research properly, make sure you’re looking at the most up to date information and ask for professional advice. Anglo Info has some excellent general information about the different categories of tax, including the new declaration of overseas assets here – http://costadelsol.angloinfo.com/information/money/general-taxes/

We have some useful information about financial and tax matters on our website and our trusted partner Perez Legal Group have a wealth of interesting articles on legal and financial matters on their site. They recently highlighted important changes to the EU Inheritance Law in 2012 which will make international successions easier to resolve from 17th August 2015 and is important if you are tax planning for the future. Read the article by clicking here.

We suggest that you find an English speaking accountant and tax advisor who can guide you through the minefield of Spanish taxes and you see a few companies before choosing the one you feel most confident about. We can put you in touch with some highly recommended specialists, so please just ask info@homerentalontheweb.com