Five steps to preparing for the new school year in Spain

Five steps to preparing for the new school year in Spain

Are you and your family ready to return to school after the 12 week summer holiday? We hope you’re all feeling rested and happy and that you enjoyed summer on the Costa del Sol. Renting long term is such a treat over the summer, as you are getting an amazing deal to be in one of the best holiday locations in the world. This is the time you can afford to feel smug knowing you have the pool and beach on your doorstep, as well as gorgeous warm weather and you’re paying the same per month as someone per week short term – it’s a great feeling.

However, September heralds the start of reality again when things need to be organised and you need to get prepared for work and school to begin again in earnest. Despite the length of the holiday, this always seems to come round fast and believe it or not, there’s only a week to get everything in order.

As Costa del Sol long term rental experts with years of experience of bringing up families on the coast, we wanted to share five things to do to prepare for the new school year to help you get ready.

  1. Get the books – For kids 3-5 years old (Infantil) there will be a book list for your year, which is often posted outside the school gates one week before the start of term. However, ordering the books can take longer than this, so to be organised, go along to the bookshop close to your school and ask whether they know the books for your year group and if you can order them. If your child is of primary age, books are free and you should have received a book list and document which shows that you do not have to pay for them (Cheque Libros), take this to your local bookshop and find out if they can accept it.
  2. Restart the normal bedtime routine – Summers on the Costa del Sol are full of late nights and lazy mornings and you need to break this habit and get back into the normal routine to make getting up for school easier. Ease it in slowly, half an hour earlier each evening so the kids don’t feel punished, but they are used to going to bed earlier and waking up earlier too.
  3. Do some homework – As boring as this sounds, kids get out of practice with reading, writing and maths over these long summer holidays, so it’s good practice to do something every day for the last week, so they get back into the swing of things and it’s not such a shock on the first day of term.
  4. Check the school gates or Facebook page or ask questions on the What’s App group – Notices of books, meetings and things to know are posted at the school gates in many schools, but can also be shared online. If you have questions, ask the AMPA (PTA) or in your classes’ What’s App group – there’s lots of great knowledge out there if you’re not afraid to ask.
  5. Enjoy the final week together, rest and create memories – Think about what you haven’t done enough this summer and use this week to tick them off the list and really enjoy your family time together. Once you’re back on the school and work treadmill you’ll have too much to do and too little time, so this last week is precious and should be enjoyed.

If you have any doubts, read our advice for going back to school on the Costa del Sol where we share more tips and insider knowledge. We also have useful information about education in Spain on our website and are always here to help you to find a place to live, answer your questions about long term rentals and offer advice and practical help so you can settle into your life here. Enjoy the final week of summer – see you the other side!  

Making the most of your new life in Spain

Making the most of your new life in SpainLiving in a foreign country is very different from simply being here on holiday and so relocating to Spain can take some getting used to, even if you know it well as a tourist. We believe that living on the Costa del Sol makes you happier, healthier and gives you a wonderful quality of life, but would never underestimate the challenges of relocating. You have to get to grips with the language, bureaucracy and slight culture shock, but when you do, the rewards more than make up for it.

We were really pleased to read a great article in the Telegraph with seven things to do if you want to live like a local and wanted to share it with you to help you to settle in. The author’s great tips include; learning the language and not being afraid to use it, trying to frequent Spanish bars and restaurants rather than heading to expat havens, relaxing your ideas on timekeeping, sharing food and embracing the siesta. All great advice and definitely stuff to take note of to really make the most of your new life here in Spain.

Website Trip Savvy also lists 10 Spanish customs and traditions to enjoy here including going for tapas the Spanish way, experiencing flamenco and bullfighting, eating late, partying and visiting your local fiesta. You may not want to try everything on the list, but it’s good to know and decide what to experience to really understand this wonderful place.

The great thing about life on the Costa del Sol is that you can pick and choose the best bits of the Spanish life and culture and experience them, but not be restricted by them. You can choose to use English service providers, doctors and schools if your Spanish isn’t so good, or take the plunge and go through the Spanish system.

It’s all available here, so it’s up to you on whether you want to bring up your children bilingual, or put them into an international school system which is easy to transport to other parts of the world. The key is choice and trying your best with integration, so you can enjoy the rich, glorious culture of the place you now call home.     

Starting by renting long term on the Costa del Sol and choose a rental company with native English speakers such as HomeRentalontheWeb. This gives you flexibility to try different areas and find out what works for you, and get help, advice and support from people who speak your language. We all know what you’re going though, as we’ve all relocated to Spain and know the challenges, as well as the rewards and we’re on your side to help you through it, as well as find you a fantastic long term rental property.

Here’s some useful information on relocating to Spain please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Will you be escaping the crowds this year?

Last month, we wrote about all the great options for travelling to and from the Costa del Sol and how easy it is to get to Europe and further afield. So, the million dollar question is whether you will be staying here in this holiday paradise, or travelling to escape the crowds. Have you decided yet?

As you know, the tourists flood in from June and stay throughout the summer, with tourist numbers peaking in August. Predictions are that tourism is going to be very strong again this year, with ABTA putting Andalucia on their list of 12 destinations to watch for 2017 and Easter already breaking records for numbers of arrivals. The head of Costa del Sol tourism predicted a 2.6% increase in visitors to the Malaga province in 2017, which would bring the tourist count to 30 million for Andalucia.

This is of course amazing news for businesses related to tourism, so if you’re thinking of offering tours, diving, car hire, swimming lessons or opening a new bar and restaurant this is the time to make hay while the sun shines. Many hotels are predicted to be at full capacity during the peak summer season and restaurants and bars will also be fit to burst, so it’s a great time to be in hospitality and take advantage the main business in your new home.

However, what about those of you with B2B businesses, or jobs which are focused on year round residents? Although the vast majority of us have relocated to the Costa del Sol because we love the sunshine, the beaches and the holiday vibe, we get used to not having to share it with too many people and can get a little grumpy when the hoards invade and the temperatures rise.

The main problems you face in the summer is traffic, trouble parking and it being crowded on the beach or around the pool. Although these are not huge issues, when you are working and trying to handle the long summer holidays with no school it can start to get you down, so bear it in mind and plan for it.

Check out our guide to surviving the summer for tips on how to overcome these issues if you are staying, or start searching for flights to cooler climes. Have a great summer, wherever you spend it!

Travelling from the Costa del Sol

Travelling from the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is amazing and living in a holiday destination is a real treat, however it can be nice to get away and have a change of scene. Many residents decide to escape the heat and crowds in August and head back to their home country to see family and friends or explore a new country or city. Will you be one of them this year?

Due to several years of growing tourist numbers, airlines are increasing their routes and number of flights. As well as being great for the area in terms of tourist income, it’s also great for those of us lucky enough to call the place home. More routes and more competition drives prices down and we have loads more options to choose from for our next getaway.

Here are just a few of the new developments…

Jet2 are increasing their routes by adding 12 weekly flights from Stanstead and 10 weekly flights from Birmingham, making it easier than ever to visit the UK this year. However, why not broaden your horizons with a visit to the vibrant and beautiful city of Amsterdam? Both Ryanair and KLM are now flying from Malaga to Amsterdam, with KLM flying twice daily in the peak months of July and August.

Germany is also becoming easier to reach with Ryanair adding daily flights between Malaga and Frankfurt and local airline Niki offering regular flights connecting Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg with Malaga.

As well as the traditional routes to the UK and Northern Europe, we’ve got more to look forward to next year, with Qatar Airways announcing a new route which will offer direct flights between Doha and Malaga in 2018. There are also plans to restart the direct route to New York due to an increase in interest in visiting the Costa del Sol from the US. 

In addition to flights, we also have the high-speed train the AVE which can whisk you up to Madrid in just a few hours. Spain is also a great place to explore by car, with a rich history, plenty of culture and lots of regional variations. You could also drive across the border to Portugal for white sand beaches and a very different feel, or jump on the boat over to Morocco and explore a whole new continent.

Living on the Costa del Sol offers so many opportunities for a better work life balance and great climate and sports facilities, not to mention easy travel. If you made the move, well done! If you’re still dreaming about it, what’s keeping you? We can offer affordable and flexible long term rental properties all along the Costa del Sol, so you can try the life and the experience before you buy, with very little risk. Let us know if we can make your dream a reality!

Teens on the Costa del Sol

Teens on the Costa del Sol

If you’re already living and renting long term on the Costa del Sol, or you’re planning to move over with a family, you may be wondering what there is to do for teenagers here and if this is a good place for them.

There are some excellent international schools in the area, which are the best choice for teens who do not speak Spanish and want to get internationally recognised qualifications. There are options to study the International Baccalaureate or the UK system to A level, so getting the qualifications shouldn’t be an issue. These schools also offer a rich programme of extra curricular activities.

Outside school, there are brilliant sports facilities, so if you are interested in football, basketball, rugby, sailing, golf, rock climbing, riding or any sport, then there are teams and clubs available and this can be a great way to integrate into the Spanish community. Also, if performing is a passion then there are lots of great performing arts and music groups to join which are excellent for teens who want to express themselves.

There are also lovely hikes and trips into the surrounding countryside organised by the town hall, where families can explore this beautiful area. During the summer months, it’s great to hang out down the beach during the day and there are big parties or ferias in every town and lots of activities for teens and people of all ages to enjoy. Check out the calendar of activities in your local town hall, there is often a lot more going on than you may realise.

An important activity for teens to make the most of their new surroundings is learning Spanish and while they might not be keen at first, it’s a great way to learn a new skill and feel settled in your environment. There are group classes, or private classes and once your teen has some confidence, you can introduce them to the language exchanges, where people get together socially to practice. You can talk to your local town hall to find out if there are any language exchanges and also look at the website Meetup which has loads of interesting things going on, including language exchanges.

Another idea for teens looking for things to do and to enrich their CV is to contact the local Costa del Sol charities and find out about volunteering opportunities. These organisations are always in desperate need of help and it can be a great way for teens to increase their skills, help the community, fill their time productively and really make a difference.

Last month, there was an interesting forum organised by Nicole King and RTV Marbella Now to get community ideas on how to improve the lives of people on the Costa del Sol. The most popular topic was teens on the Costa del Sol, as there was a lot of concern about the lack of options for this sector. Held at Laude School, the kids themselves were able to have their say. The kids and parents discussed that activities such as the cinema, ice-skating, paintballing, theme parks and water parks are widely available and teens would like to do them. However, they are expensive, so for teens and their parents the costs are too high to be affordable on a regular basis. The group plan to set up a discount card to get around this issue.

The other concern was having a safe place for the teens to hang out, and the attendees discussed creating some sort of youth club concept where kids would want to go and could be supervised. They will be speaking to owners of space in the Puerto Banus area and the Town Hall to see if this could be got off the ground, to improve the life for teens in the area.

HomeRentalontheWeb are experts in living on the Costa del Sol and our website contains information about education, healthcare and practical advice about moving here. We provide quality Costa del Sol long term rentals, which are the perfect way to start your life in Spain. Please contact us to find your ideal property.

Help HomeRentalontheWeb keep our beaches clean

Help HomeRentalontheWeb keep our beaches clean

One of the many great benefits of living on the Costa del Sol are the long stretches of beautiful beaches and being able to enjoy the Mediterranean whenever you want. The Costa del Sol has 161 kilometres of glorious coastline and a stroll along one of the beachfront promenades, lunch in one of the great beach restaurants and a day at the beach with the family is an essential element of life on the Costa del Sol.

To fully appreciate the diversity of the coastal areas here, we particularly recommend exploring the wide sandy beaches around Elviria, the lovely sandy bay in Cabopino and the stunning coves with crystal clear water around Nerja.

It’s getting easier each year to explore the coastal areas on foot or by bike with the extension of the coastal path. Recent additions include new stretches in Benalmadena, Marbella and Estepona, which have really improved access. The plan is to ultimately link Nerja to Manilva, a network of boardwalks, paths, bridges and cycle oaths which will stretch 190 kilometres. 

We love enjoying the coastal paths and beaches along the Costa del Sol, where the sands are normally well looked after and regularly cleaned. However, you can notice that there is a huge amount of rubbish in the planet’s seas, which wash up on the beaches and are a serious threat to the ocean wildlife. This is something we want to reduce and help the area’s beaches and sea to be even better.

To help combat the problem and support important research into the amount of rubbish and plastic in our oceans, there is a global event called the International Coastal Cleanup taking place on Saturday 6th May. Our partner Novasol is organising events across many different countries and HomeRentalontheWeb are helping them to get as many people as possible to support the campaign.

If you love the Costa del Sol and are as passionate as we are about protecting the oceans and wildlife and cleaning up our beaches, please come and join us at Playa del la Malagueta, by the Paseo de Matias Prats in Malaga from 10.30am on Saturday 6th May. Volunteers will be provided with gloves, bags and a notepad to list and identify the type of waste found on the beach and it will be a great way to protect our seas and raise awareness about the growing problem of rubbish and waste polluting our beaches and the sea.  

We hope to see you there, please come and say hello!

Estepona announces the building of a new hospital

Marbella has often been seen as the centre of the Costa del Sol and had the lion’s share of facilities, including the main hospital for the region. However, this is changing, with towns such as Estepona on the Western Costa del Sol developing amazing amenities, restaurants and shopping to rival Marbella.

Estepona has pretty streets, lots of charm and great wide beaches. It already has some lovely shopping on the pedestrianised Calle Mar and scattered around the town, with lots of the big brands, plus independent shops. There are also plans to build a shopping centre and cinema right in the centre, which be a big boost for the area.

The latest development is that a new hospital has finally been given the official go ahead and they are starting the tendering process. This is a great result for the residents of the western Costa del Sol who have had a 40km journey to the nearest public hospital. This impressive modern hospital will be built within two years and will have A&E, surgical wing, areas for women and children and much more.

This final piece of the puzzle will add to the already great changes that Estepona has seen over the last five years. Its Old Town has been transformed with coloured pots and lovely squares to explore, everything is clean, neat, tidy and very welcoming. They have added huge murals around the town, as well as a new botanical garden which has a wonderful collection of orchids, not to mention a huge indoor waterfall, and it’s a joy to stroll down the long sea front promenade.

The restaurants and bars are excellent, with a great atmosphere in the beachfront restaurants, in the pretty squares or streets with cafes and restaurants spilling out onto the pavement. The area is becoming very desirable, yet prices for long term rentals in Estepona are still significantly below those of Marbella, so it’s an excellent option if you’re looking to relocate to the Costa del Sol.

We have a great value two bedroom long term rental apartment which is just ten minutes from the centre of Estepona and a short stroll to a golf and country club. The luxury commercial centre of Laguna Village with its excellent restaurants is nearby too. You can get two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two terraces, a large lounge and dining area, a well equipped kitchen, and access to a shared garden and pool for just 550€ per month.

If you would like to live in Estepona, but aren’t ready to buy, long term rental is an excellent choice. Please contact us to find out more.   

Valentine’s Activities on the Costa del Sol

Valentine’s Activities on the Costa del Sol

It’s February, so all thoughts turn to romance and celebrating the love of your life, but if you’re in a new country it can be hard to know what to do and where to go. Never fear, we’re here to help to make living on the Costa del Sol fantastic, so we’ve picked some top activities for families, couples and singles to help you have a great day no matter what!

This year Valentine’s falls on a Tuesday, so many places are running special romantic meal deals for the week of the 10th to the 19th of February. This includes 2 weekends, as well as a whole week, so it’s much more flexible than normal.

For the big spenders or those who want to make this year one to remember

If you’re thinking of popping the question, or you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary, how about two nights in a luxury hotel, with pampering, amazing food and stunning surroundings?

The most historic and iconic Costa del Sol hotel has to be the Marbella Club, and they are offering an amazing package including champagne buffet breakfasts, a gourmet dinner, spa treatment and unlimited golf for the Valentine’s period.  Find out more

A little further along the coast is the Kempinski Hotel Bahia, the only 5* Grande Luxe hotel in the Estepona area. They are also doing a wonderful Valentine’s package, including luxurious accommodation, a romantic 5-course dinner, champagne in your room and use of the spa and fitness centre, which would be a very special way to say I love you.

For Love birds

The Beach House is a lovely restaurant right on the beach in Elviria, with great food and a lovely atmosphere. They are holding a special Masquerade Dinner & Dance on Valentine’s Day itself, including a 5 course menu and champagne cocktail.

The Urban Villa is a stunning boutique hotel in the hills behind Marbella, with breath taking views. They have created a lovely four course menu including marinated salmon with a pink pepper and dill dressing, confit cod and mascarpone with red fruits, which is 35€ per person including a half bottle of wine.

The Kempinski Hotel Bahia has a special couple’s Valentine’s spa treatment in their amazing Aqua Suite, with 2 treatment beds and a private Jacuzzi. The therapists will pamper you with an exquisite 50-minute massage and then you will sip champagne in the Jacuzzi together, for a relaxing and totally romantic treat.

For the singles & newbies

Social group Marbella Buddies are putting on a fun event on the 11th which is a NON Valentine’s Dinner, where you can meet new people, enjoy a great meal and dance to a DJ, without needing to have that special someone, or know anyone at all!

Spectrum Love are holding a special event on Monday the 13th of February at Laguna Village near Estepona for people looking for that special someone. It’s amazing value, for 15€ including dinner, gifts and activities to help you meet new people, have a great evening and maybe find love!

For the families

This is a tricky day for those with kids – you either need to splurge on a babysitter (if you can find one) so you can go out, try to do something at home when the kids are finally in bed or just forget about it all together! Mundo Mania family entertainment centre in Cancelada have come up with a solution and are putting on a special after school event, where the kids can play in the soft play and be entertained with face painters, a magician and games. Meanwhile, adults can sample the special set menus in their lovely café area and spend some quality time with their other half. Perfect! Find out more

We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, no matter what you’re planning! If you want any advice about living here or finding that perfect Costa del Sol Long Term Rental please get in touch. We love life here and have all got years of experience with helping people to relocate, find a great home and make the most of living here, so get in touch and see how we can help. 

Living and Working on the Costa del Sol in 2017

Living and Working on the Costa del Sol

If you’re dreaming of relocating to the Costa del Sol in 2017, go ahead and take the plunge – January is a great time to start putting a plan into action and it looks like 2017 is going to be a great year for Spain. The economy is expected to grow well above the Eurozone average, an impressive 2.5% in 2017. Growth forecasts also include the creation of 500,000 new jobs, and there are schemes to support people to set up their own businesses and thrive.

There’s plenty of support out there for new businesses and a great place to start is to visit one of the CADE offices on the Costa del Sol. CADE is a government funded organisation which offers help for entrepreneurs, from helping with business planning, funding and grants. The CADE Marbella office is set up with foreigners in mind, the staff speak many languages and can help you through the first stages of setting up a business here in Spain.

Another great way to start is to visit some of the networking meetings which take place along the coast. These meetings bring you into contact with fellow business people, allow you to meet new clients, build partnerships and also to pick established entrepreneur’s brains and find out what the reality of running a business on the Costa del Sol really is. We believe that Andalucia is a great place to work but it does have some unique challenges, so do your research, reach out to other entrepreneurs and seek help from organisations such as CADE.

One of the exciting new trends for entrepreneurs which makes starting a new business easier is coworking – shared office spaces which offer new businesses an affordable way to start up, with great facilities and opportunities for development, training and networking. A few coworking spaces opened in Malaga in 2016, and a new coworking brand is launching in Marbella next month. Our//Space Marbella promises to give new businesses an inspirational and highly designed work space, amazing facilities and lots of added benefits such as fitness, training and development sessions, as well as regular social events and networking. They are launching with a free 30-day trial, so anyone can see what coworking can do for them. Coworking will be a growing trend on the Costa del Sol in 2017 which will really help new businesses flourish.

To get yourself settled on the Costa del Sol and make life in the sun work for you, we’d suggest taking it slow and steady and not over-committing yourself. Start by finding a long term rental property, as these are very affordable and flexible, so you can change locations or property types depending on the needs of your new business and cash flow. Think carefully about your location, as well as your budget when choosing the best property. If your business will involve foreign travel, or be linked to the UK, then a location close to Malaga airport such as Benalmadena is a great option. This two bedroom Benalmadena long term rental apartment close to the marina could be a perfect base.

We have plenty of information about living in Spain on our website, and our experienced long term rental specialists are here to help find you the perfect property, and offer advice on locations depending on your needs. Let 2017 be the year that you make your dream of relocating to the Costa del Sol come true – we’re here to help!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

From all the team at HomeCareontheWeb, HolidayRentalontheWeb and HomeRentalontheWeb, we would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2017.

As this is the time for giving, we’re delighted to be supporting a local homeless project by buying socks and boxer shorts to give them and baking some delicious treats for their Christmas lunch. We are also helping the A.C.E Animal charity, buying food for the animals to make sure they have a very Merry Christmas too.

This has been a great year for our company and we hope we can help you next year if you want to rent out your property and have it managed, or find a brilliant holiday home or long term rental on the Costa del Sol.

We will be open throughout the festive period Monday to Friday except the Bank Holidays on the 26th of December, and the 2nd and the 6th of January.

¡Felices Fiestas – Happy Holidays!