Improvements in Estepona make it a great place to live

estepona-changesJust a few years ago, Estepona on the Western Costa del Sol, was in a bad way, lots of empty shops, a lack of facilities and opportunities, but thanks to a dynamic mayor, town council and ambitious plans they have improved the town beyond recognition. Small touches such as lining the streets with flowers in coloured pots have made a real difference to the pretty old town and many new facilities have been added to make it a much better place to live. The aim is to make the town the focus for the Western Costa del Sol and there are two exciting projects in the pipeline to make this a reality.

The first is the creation of a “Grand Boulevard” in Estepona which will convert one of the main streets into a hotel, shopping centre and cinema complex, something which is much needed in this area. This is due to be completed in October 2016.

The second is the new botanical garden which is due to have the largest orchid collection in Europe, stunning glass domes and even a 17 meter high waterfall.  As well as the botanical gardens there will be new shops and eateries and 150 free car parking spaces with the idea that it will become an urban nature reserve. The project is on track for completion in March, so there’s not long to wait.

If you like the idea of living in Estepona, with its wide sandy beaches, charming old town, large stretches of play areas for the kids, a nearby safari park, great places to eat and drink, all within commuting distance of Gibraltar, then we have a number of great long term rental properties to choose from. Why not choose this luxurious three bedroom Estepona apartment which is overlooking the beautiful Los Flamingos Golf course. The good thing about this apartment is that it offers peace and quiet and beautiful views, just 10 minutes’ drive away from Estepona’s centre.

Or how about this spacious and highly affordable 3 bedroom Town House in Estepona, just 700m away from the shops, bars and restaurants of Laguna Village and the great beaches. For only 600€ per month for three bedrooms and two bathrooms, this is a really great value property and it’s about 5 minutes’ drive away from the centre of Estepona.

Please let us know your requirements and we can find you a great long term rental property in Estepona, or anywhere along the Costa del Sol. We look forward to hearing from you.

5 Reasons why living in Andalucia is great!

andalucia

 

Inspired by Andalucia Day on 28th February, we wanted to praise our beloved Andalucia and pull out a few reasons why it’s such a great place to live.

  1. The Sun Shines 300 Days a Year & Makes You Happier – There’s no doubt that sunshine boosts your spirits and gives you more Vitamin D which is extremely beneficial for your health. It also allows you to spend more time outside, enjoying the great sports facilities, or just taking a stroll, and of course dining al fresco is a real pleasure which you can enjoy almost all year round. There’s good reason why it’s called the sunshine coast!
  2. The Food is Delicious & Healthy – The Mediterranean Diet has long been known to be healthy and there’s more evidence all the time that eating this way can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. When you live on the Costa del Sol it’s natural to visit the markets and take advantage of the deliciously ripe fruit and vegetables, cook with olive oil and enjoy the plentiful and cheap fish. Restaurants serve lovely salads and fish cooked over coals, which is wonderful enjoyed on the beach and accompanied by a good glass of Spanish wine – which is good for you too!! Watch the fried stuff though, it’s delicious, but not as healthy.
  3. The Sports Facilities are Unbeatable – It’s not called the Costa del Golf for nothing, there are around 60 golf courses on the Costa del Sol, with four which rank in the top 10 in Europe. Sotogrande has some of the best polo fields in Europe, not to mention sailing and kite surfing and Tarifa is a mecca for windsurfing and kitesurfing. There are also many fantastic tennis clubs, including Wimbledon Champion Manolo Santana’s tennis club in Nueva Andalucia, very close to Puerto Banus. Many urbanizations have padel tennis courts which are free for residents to use, and the local councils have invested a lot in fantastic municipal sports facilities such as football pitches, basketball courts, tennis and padel courts which are really affordable to use.
  4. You’re Never Far from the Mediterranean Sea – There’s something so soothing about hearing waves crashing against the beach, and a day at the beach is a pleasure all year round. The Med is so important to the Costa del Sol, offering breathtaking views and great marinas to moor your boat, or simply enjoy a meal. There has been a lot of investment to link up the whole coast with a seaside promenade and there are large stretches along the coast with more in the pipeline. These “paseos” are brilliant for a stroll, a bike ride, rollerblading, or just enjoying a drink and the view.
  5. It’s so well connected with the rest of Europe – We are spoilt with so many low cost flights coming into Malaga from the UK, Germany, France, Scandinavia and more. We also have a fantastic fast train connecting us with Madrid in two hours, which is great for a weekend, but also offers more travel options to the rest of Spain and further afield. The great connections also make for a really international community, with many nationalities living together and creating a rich culture and really brilliant place to live, work, retire or bring up a family.

We help people to make their dreams of relocating to the Costa del Sol a reality, by offering affordable and desirable long term rental properties, so people can start living here and see how the life suits them without having to take the plunge and buy a property. Renting long term means you can try out a few different areas before you commit and it gives you lots of flexibility to move up and down the coast or inland as work, family, leisure or social life demands. Let us know how we can help you!

Things to do around Marbella – Camino del Rey

Camino del ReyFor those of you renting long term on the Costa del Sol and looking for fun and exciting activities for your weekends, or days off, there’s so much to choose from, such as the many pretty white villages inland, Fuengirola zoo, several aquariums, and even a crocodile park and ice rink, but something which is really getting people talking is the reopening of the Caminito del Rey in the stunning countryside outside of Malaga.

This aerial walkway hugs the cliffs and crosses the stunning but vertigo inducing El Chorro gorge has been being restored for what seems like ages, but is now due to open in time for Easter. Already people are getting excited about it, with the Lonely Planet’s new booklet 26 of the world’s hottest new experiences for 2015 putting it at an amazing number 5 and dubbing it “one of the world’s scariest hiking routes” with views to take your breath away.

Malaga Town Hall announced at the end of January the Easter opening date and said that access to the Caminito del Rey will be free for the first few months and open every day apart from Mondays. You will not be able to just turn up, but to book online on the official website (unfortunately this hasn’t been released yet) and judging by the Lonely Planet and the Guardian’s reactions there will be a lot of interest. Residents of the Costa del Sol need to keep their eyes peeled for information and openings to make sure they can benefit from this great new attraction before they start charging.

There’s an excellent website with the latest information about the area as well as the path here which you can check out http://www.caminodelrey.es/ and if you want to find out more great things to do on the Costa del Sol download our free guide.

Learning Spanish – Asking for & Understanding Directions

Directions in SpanishIs improving your Spanish a New Year’s resolution for 2015? So many of us that live and work on the Costa del Sol want to be able to speak Spanish better, especially if you’re renting long term and are trying to battle with Telefonica for your phone line, or trying to sign up for an important piece of paper at the Town Hall.

Thankfully, there’s lots of help out there for you, with Town Halls having people ready to help us foreigners in our own language and long term rental companies like us dealing with landlords and service providers on your behalf, and providing services such as an out of hours helpline as part of our tenant support service so you don’t need to worry.

But when you’re lost and need help, then some vocabulary is very important. Here are some key phrases to learn to find your way around the Costa del Sol –

  • Excuse me – Perdóneme
  • Can you help me? – ¿Puede ayudarme?
  • I’m lost – Me he perdido
  • Where are we? – ¿En dónde estamos?
  • How do I get to Marbella? – ¿Cómo puedo llegar a Marbella?
  • I’m looking for… – Busco…
  • Where is the …? – ¿En dónde está el/la …?
  • Where can I find a …? – ¿En dónde puedo encontrar un(a) …?
  • Are we on the right road for…? – ¿Estamos en la calle correcta para…?
  • Is the … far? – ¿Está lejos el/la …?
  • It’s very near – Está muy cerca.
  • It’s a bit far – Está un poco lejos.
  • Straight on – Todo derecho.
  • To the left – A la izquierda.
  • To the right – A la derecha.
  • The second street on the right – La segunda calle a la derecha.
  • On the corner – En la esquina.
  • Can you show me on the map where I am? – ¿Puede enseñarme en dónde estoy en el mapa?

You can check out our previous learning Spanish posts for more helpful Spanish vocabulary, or join a local class to improve with help of a teacher. ¡Buena suerte! (Good luck)

Things are looking up for Spain in 2015

growthIf you’re living and renting long term on the Costa del Sol then you’ll want to know what’s in store for the economy in 2015. You will probably have felt the increasing positivity over the last 6 months of 2014 with a strong summer and improving property market and things are predicted to continue to improve. The government has put in place incentives for companies to try to generate more employment and a strengthening international economy is expected to help our area significantly in terms of tourism, international investment and property sales.

Things are looking better than the pundits expected and so revisions were made to cautious predictions at the end of last year. The Foundation of Savings Banks (Funcas) estimate that the economy will grow by 2.4% in 2015, two tenths more than they previously predicted. It predicts that private consumption will increase by 3% and even construction will see an increase with a 1.8% rise. They also expect a fall in unemployment of 2% in 2015 (330,000 jobs being created) which will be a huge boost.

BBVA bank has argued recently that the property market has finally reached a turning point into recovery and they predict that “2015 will mark the start of a moderate recovery in residential development.”

This is such great news for Spain, a fantastic country to live in, which has been challenging to work in for the last few years. We are looking forward to an even stronger 2015 and expecting an increase in demand for long term rental properties as people come back looking for opportunities as well as a fantastic standard of life, but aren’t ready to commit to buying just yet.

If we can help you to relocate to the Costa del Sol in 2015 and find you the perfect long term rental property, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Three Kings – Don’t Miss the Processions Tomorrow

3 kingsWe hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, whether you spent it on the Costa del Sol or back with your family. If you were in Spain did you try the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight – one for each chime of the clock? Share your experiences, it’s something I have never mastered!

Please don’t think that the festivities are at an end – the most important is still to come, the arrival of the Three Kings!

In Spain they celebrate the Three Kings on 6th January with a public holiday and a day spent with family. This is the day traditionally children will receive their presents as the Three Kings brought their presents to the baby Jesus on this date and it is more important than Christmas Day for many Spanish families.

The day before there are brilliant processions through the towns, with favourite kids’ characters, as well as the three kings throwing sweets to the crowds. It’s a really fun event and everyone gets out into the streets, so there’s no excuse for the January blues! Go and visit your local Town Hall for the events and times, as there may well be other festivities happening too. Look out for anything to do with “Los Reyes Magos”, a “cabalgata” is a parade.

The following day, make sure you head out to your local park or seaside promenade, even if you’re not celebrating, as it will warm your heart to see all the kids with their shiny new bikes, scooters, roller blades and whatever this years’ craze is, showing off to everyone, whilst the families stroll, chat and have fun.

Normal life resumes on 7th January officially, but expect it to be a slow start and be patient until 12th when people will start to work as normal.

Marbella’s campaign to increase its registered population

register_marbellaThere’s renewed interest in the municipality of Marbella from people looking to rent long term, buy, set up a business or own a second home. Let’s be honest, the climate, leisure possibilities, business opportunities and the reduced property prices make it a very attractive option and the area has seen the sharpest increase in population in the Costa del Sol and beyond.

At HomeRentalontheWeb, we are also seeing a big increase in people who want to try out the great lifestyle, but who haven’t decided exactly where to live and want to be sure the property market has reached the bottom and so are renting long term rather than buying.

Did you know that if you are renting long term and living full time on the Costa del Sol you should be on the Town Hall’s official register? Many people don’t know, or don’t want to and this is causing big problems for the municipality as they are only allocated funds on the basis of the registered population.

According to data provided by the Junta de Andalusia’s Institute of Statistics and Cartography, 39.500 new foreigners were registered last year. But it’s clear that there are many more residing in Marbella who can still not be found on official lists.

To improve the situation the Town Hall has launched a campaign to encourage us foreign residents to register by making it really easy! They have a regular presence in markets, El Cort Ingles and shopping malls Las Cañada and Marina Banus, they are holding meetings with representatives of the many foreign residents associations here and even have a trailer at all the markets in which citizens can sit down and register on the spot.

Whether you own a property or are renting long term in Marbella, there are loads of benefits to being registered, such as being able to use the state medical facilities and school and there are also discounts for lessons, clubs and facilities. Find out more here

Getting in the mood for Christmas on the Costa del Sol

921344_christmas_presentAlthough it may feel like the summer has just ended, because of all the amazing weather we’ve had on the Costa del Sol during autumn, we can’t hide from the fact that December is here and Christmas is almost upon us.

For those of us renting on the Costa del Sol from the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe who associate Christmas with cold and dark, we may need to work a bit harder to get into the Christmas spirit, but there are loads of great opportunities to feel festive. The lights went on at the end of November and so the streets are now sparkling and there have already been a host of Christmas markets and there are more festive markets, shows and parades in the pipeline and here are some highlights.

If you’re renting long term in Marbella, there’s loads going on…

  • Outdoor Ice Rink Puerto Banus – Have a surreal experience in the sunshine and go ice skating in Antonio Banderas Square in Puerto Banus, open now until 6th January from 5pm to 9pm Monday to Friday and 12.00-9pm weekends and holidays until 19th December and then every day 12.00-9pm from 20th December.
  • Christmas Concert in Marbella’s Main Church 12/12 20.30 – Enjoy carols and lots of traditional Christmas charm in Iglesia del Encarncacion in Marbella’s Old Town
  • Performance of the Nutcracker in Marbella by the Imperial Russian Ballet 14/12 – Marbella Town’s main theatre, cost 25€ per ticket
  • Christmas and New Year Concert 26/12 – For a fun boxing day treat head to Marbella’s theatre for a two part show – classical Christmas, featuring a trio and quartet of classical musicians playing classic Christmas songs from the likes of Bach, Haendel, Tchaikovsky and Strauss. Following this there will be a celebration of American “crooners” and Broadway classics which all celebrate this special time of year.

If you’re renting long term around Estepona there are some fab options…

  • Los Pequeños Ángeles Christmas charity party for children, Funky Forest 13/12 16.00-20.00. This charity kids’ event at an indoor play centre near to Estepona will be a great way to support a good cause and have a wonderful time with face painting, a magician, creative activities including making presents and gingerbread and of course a visit from the man in red himself.
  • 14/12 El Campanario Christmas Artisan Market 11.00-18.00 – Buy gifts, cards, sweet and savoury food, face painting, kids’ activities and mulled wine to enjoy.
  • 13th & 20th December – Christmas Wonderland and kids event –  This Christmas Heaven Duquesa in conjunction with the Foreign Residents Department of Manilva Town Hall and My Party Perfect are bringing the Magic of DISNEY to Puerto de la Duquesa and have created a WONDERLAND FOR ALL, come and revel in a jovial assortment of festivities crafted just for the season

There are also Santa’s grottos in shopping centres and town squares, and look out for the programme of events in your local area by visiting your Town Hall or tourist office. For more general information on spending Christmas on the Costa del Sol download our free guide.

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.