Your essential feria guide to partying like a local this summer

Your essential feria guide to partying like a local this summer

If you’ve recently started living in Spain and you’re looking for some Spanish culture, plus a really good party, check out our essential feria guide here!

To start with the basics – what is a feria?

It’s the town or village’s main annual party, which normally celebrates their patron saint. Typically, these last a week and feature flamenco (music, dancing and amazing frocks), great food and fairground rides. They have two different sections, the day feria which is dancing, music and food from lunchtime until around 8pm and the night feria, which includes the rides and dancing late into the night.

These are summer parties, starting in June and running through into October and every village and town has them. If you like the feria vibe, you can find one a week through the summer and they are a great way to visit new areas and really enjoy the atmosphere.

What’s the downside?

Some foreigners can’t cope with the volume of the music, the large crowds, and the endless flamenco. It is an assault on the senses, and can seem quite overwhelming at first, but as long as you’re not too sensitive with noise and you like music and dancing, you’ll love it.

When and where should you go?

Well that really depends where your long term rental property is, as it’s a great way to see your local area in it’s most colourful, exuberant state. Check with your local town hall when your feria week is, then consult our list below for the biggest and best, which are worth travelling for –

Marbella Feria 5-11 June

This is one of the first ferias and one of the best. Marbella is the right size for a feria to have a real party atmosphere, without being difficult to get around. The day feria takes part right opposite the Old Town with wonderful sea views, so it’s a lovely spot to party. The night fair takes place up by the La Cañada shopping centre and there are special buses to get you up from the centre if you don’t want to drive. The lovely folk at website Marbella Azul have translated the whole programme into English for you, so you can know what is going on during the week.  https://marbellaazul.com/marbella-feria-programme/

San Juan 23 June

This is something which is celebrated all over Andalucia, and is a lovely festival marking the longest day of the year. Everyone heads to the beach for bonfires, bbqs and fireworks. The biggest San Juan celebration takes place in Sabinillas and is amazing. Find out more about San Juan Celebrations

Estepona Feria, first week in July

Estepona is very greedy and has two patron saints, therefore two ferias! The first one is in May, but the July fair is the biggest and the best. There are activities taking place all over the town, but it is centred on the large fairground and sports complex just up the hill from the centre. This is an unusually large and modern space, so is more manageable for those people who struggle with the noise.

Nueva Andalucia Feria, third week in July

This feria is smaller than Marbella, but can be more manageable and has lots of activities for the kids, as well as the usual music, dancing and drinking.

Malaga Feria 11-18 August

This is the biggest party on the Costa del Sol, with thousands and thousands of people descending on the regional capital for a week of fun. There are lots of activities taking place through the town and late night revellers should head to the fairground by the Palacio de Congresos.

Torremolinos Feria 29th September to October 2nd

This is another big one with the day festival in the centre and the night fair on the San Miguel promenade.

San Pedro de Alcantara feria third week October

This is the last main feria of the season and is a great way to experience this popular town in full swing, with lots of great activities and events for all the family. 

This really just scrapes the surface of the brilliant ferias that we can enjoy by living on the Costa del Sol. Your local Town Hall or tourist office are the best source of information on the events taking place in your area. Some expats complain that they don’t know about these things until after they happen, as they aren’t on the grapevine. To be in the loop, keep your eyes open for posters, make sure you’re in the groups on Facebook for your local area and see if your Town Hall foreigners’ department or Feria department has a mailing list.

We’re here to help you enjoy your life on the Costa del Sol to the full by providing high quality long term rentals and insiders’ advice on living and working in this great area. We look forward to hearing from you.  

Doing your bit for charity on the Costa del Sol

Doing your bit for charity on the Costa del Sol

When you live on the Costa del Sol, a great way to integrate, understand the area and make new friends is to support a charity. You can join in with charity events, volunteer in a charity shop, take dogs for a walk, visit the elderly, fundraise and much more. Anything you can do is highly appreciated and it’s a great way to really help others, while getting to know people and settling in to your new life.

Last month’s United Nationalities of Marbella event shone a light on the many charities and organisations that need our help. Charities which were present included Age Concern, Concordia Aids Charity, Debra Butterfly Children, Malaga Orphanage and Triple A Animal Charity. All of these are very short of volunteers and need support with fundraising too. To decide what you want to do, check out their websites, call the team and choose the one that really tugs on your heart strings.

Costa del Sol charities in focus  

One charity that has been really struggling for funds recently is Triple A Animal shelter. This animal charity looks after around 500 abandoned dogs and cats and tries to find them a home. They need members, volunteers and people to walk the dogs and cover their overheads, as there was a fear that they would have to close their doors at the end of last year. This is a lovely way for animal lovers to make a difference to our furry friends, keep this great charity going and meet like minded individuals.

One of the best known charities on the Costa del Sol is Cudeca, a cancer charity which offers a day centre and hospice for cancer sufferers and their families on the Costa del Sol. One of their biggest fundraisers is coming up and it’s a great one to take part in. The Cudeca Walkathon is taking place on Sunday 20th of May leaving from the Hotel Sunset Beach Club in Benalmadena. There are a number of routes, a 10 kilometre challenge which sets off at 10.30am and five and two kilometre trails which leave at 12. It’s 10€ for adults and 6€ for children to take part if you register online and all the money raised goes to the charity.

If that sounds like a bit too active for you, how about eating wonderful food from eight of the regions best chefs in aid of charity? There is a fundraising gala dinner on the 21st of May in aid of Aldeas Infantiles which works to provide homes for deprived children and help vulnerable families. It is taking place at the Los Monteros Hotel in Marbella and will feature an eight course menu, with courses from chefs with 1 and 2 Michelin stars, plus entertainment and surprises. This costs 350€ per person and you can buy tickets online

Whatever you do, from attending a charity market and buying some goodies, supporting a charity event or volunteering will really make a real difference to those in need. Plus, it will give you a sense of being at home here on the Costa del Sol, and bring you in contact with some genuine, lovely people, who also want to make a difference.  

For more information on living in Spain check out our website. Our team of long term rental specialists are passionate about life on the Costa del Sol and have helped thousands of people make the move and have a wonderful life here in Spain. Let us know if we can help you too.  

Being Vegetarian on the Costa del Sol

Being Vegetarian on the Costa del Sol

If you are thinking of relocating to the Costa del Sol and you’re a vegetarian, you may be concerned what options there are for you. Spain is a nation of meat eaters and the vegetarian revolution has been slow to start but it is finally gaining traction.

This is proved by this month’s VegFest, a one day festival in Fuengirola on the 14th of April. There are stands with vegan friendly products, services and of course loads of delicious vegetarian and vegan food. There’s also live music and activities for a party atmosphere.

Another great event for vegetarians is the Feria de Arte Sano in San Pedro which is taking place on the 28th and 29th of July. This is an alternative festival with lots of great activities and almost all the food on offer is vegetarian.

Year round, there are now a growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and there’s a great list of the most highly rated vegetarian restaurants on the Costa del Sol on TripAdvisor.

Also, don’t despair that you won’t be able to enjoy Spanish food, there are lots of great options which don’t contain meat. Here are our top recommendations –

Gazpacho – This classic chilled tomato soup makes a great start to a meal on a hot, sunny day. Don’t be alarmed if it’s served in a glass, almost like a shot – it’s delicious.

Salads – There are lots of lovely fresh salads available in every restaurant. The “tomates aliñados” make the most of the delicious Spanish tomatoes by simply dressing them in olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt. Most restaurants offer tomato and mozzerela salads too which are always yummy. If you don’t eat fish, please bear in mind that an “ensalada mixta” (mixed salads) almost always contains tuna, so tell your waiter to leave it out and perhaps supplement with avocado or cheese.

Vegetable Paella – There are some really good vegetable paellas out there and there are also plenty with fish and seafood if you eat that.

Berenjenas con miel – Thinly sliced aubergine, deep fried and drizzled with dark honey. Sounds strange, but done well, it is delicious.

Patatas bravas – This is just one of many great potato dishes in Spain, but one of our favourites. Cubes of potatoes, deep fried and served covered in a spicy sauce – yummy.

Olives – While not a meal, the olives here are great and normally come free with a drink, so make great nibbles.   

Pisto – This rich tomato and vegetable dish is a little bit like ratatouille and is often served with a fried egg on top and makes a delicious and healthy light lunch.

Manchego cheese – While others enjoy ham, a plate of the famous Manchego cheese is the best option and available everywhere!

So as you can see, while being a vegetarian isn’t as widespread here in Spain than in other parts of the world, there are still plenty of options to enjoy. It’s a trend that is growing in popularity, so we expect more vegetarian and vegan restaurants to pop up and restaurants to get more vegetarian friendly. The amazing produce and the ability to grow your own in our fabulous climate is another reason why it’s easy to live healthily and meat free if you wish.

So don’t let being a vegetarian put you off your move to Spain, we love it here and we’re sure you will too. Check out our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol to see why!

Browse our blog for more great tips on living on the Costa del Sol, or ask our experts for relocation advice and long-term rental properties.

Could you survive expat life?

Could you survive expat life?

Deciding whether to move abroad is a big decision and one not to be taken lightly, but thousands leave their home country for a new adventure abroad each year, so how hard can it be right? Well, the answer to this question really depends on the kind of person you are, how you deal with challenges and how motivated you are to make life in a new country succeed.

The profile of an ideal expat

Here are ten character traits which mean you can handle expat life. If you fit this profile, then you should definitely take the plunge.

  1. You crave a new adventure and find life at home boring and limited
  2. You love to meet new people and make friends, and are excited about the idea of starting again
  3. You are flexible and dynamic and not afraid of a challenge
  4. You want to learn a new language and understand a different culture and you are flexible to adapting to a new way of doing things
  5. You like different foods and enjoy trying new experiences
  6. You are skilled in a trade, work in real estate, or are entrepreneurial and want to start your own business
  7. You don’t mind taking a pay cut to achieve your dream of living abroad
  8. You have some money behind you to set up a new life and wait to find the right job, or you can work from anywhere with your current job
  9. You never want to come home when you’re on holiday and love the warm weather
  10. You understand that starting a new life will be hard, but you know it will be worth it to have a new life in the sunshine and enjoy the adventure

If this sounds like you, then you would make an ideal expat, so the next step is to choose the right destination for your expat adventure.

Why the Costa del Sol is a great expat destination

Those of us who have made our home here on the Costa del Sol love the life and opportunities we have and couldn’t imagine going back. The Costa del Sol works particularly well for expats for the following reasons –

  1. There is a large expat population – This means there are services and facilities tailored to your needs, such as English speaking private medical cover, international schools, translators and fixers who can sort things out for you. It is easy to make new friends as there are loads of groups you can join and it’s a really welcoming place.
  2. The weather and lifestyle is amazing – It really makes a difference when you wake up to sunny skies and can be outside to do sports, walk, eat and just enjoy. The Spanish way of life is relaxed and social, based around eating, drinking and having fun and it’s a lovely way to live.
  3. The cost of living is relatively low – Although salaries are lower, so is the cost of living in general. Rents are significantly lower, eating and drinking out is cheaper and fresh fish and fruit and veg is cheaper too. Being outside, going for a walk, heading to the park or beach are all essential parts of life and totally free, so money goes a lot further.

For more reasons to make the move read our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol

People who struggle as an expat

We want to be honest with you that expat life doesn’t suit everyone. Here are a few things that make moving away hard.

  1. If you are very close to your family, love to be surrounded by old friends and couldn’t imagine being away from them.
  2. If you hate change and fear making a new life for yourself you will find it hard, you really need to be ready to throw yourself in to the experience and take on the challenges.
  3. If you want to live the dream – Many people who head home quickly are expecting the same experience as being on holiday all year round and have this idealised vision of how their life will be. When you have to work, send the kids to school and manage your home then it won’t all be roses, but those of us who have lived here for years much prefer to do these things under sunny skies!
  4. If you aren’t open to learn the language and don’t have the money to use professional translators, have private medical cover, or send your kids to private schools. You don’t need to speak Spanish to thrive here on the Costa del Sol, but you do need money behind you to choose English speaking alternatives, rather than go through the state system.

Take the plunge

If you fit our ideal expat profile and don’t identify with the persona we’ve described above then expat life is for you and now’s the time to take the plunge. There really is no time like the present!

Come over and rent long-term for a few months to see how the life here suits you and whether it will work in the long run. We have some excellent Costa del Sol long-term rentals which start from 400€ per month, so you can live very affordably while you job hunt and get settled. Please contact us for advice or support with finding a place to live, we’re here to help start off your expat adventure!

Getting in shape on the Costa del Sol

Getting in shape on the Costa del Sol

Many people decide to get in shape and lose weight in January, and we’re lucky enough to have some amazing sports and fitness facilities here on the Costa del Sol, so we wanted to help you to achieve your New Year’s Resolution this year by explaining what’s on offer.

Fitness

Each area has its own Town Hall and they have subsidised gyms, fitness classes and sports activities which all residents are entitled to. Once you are signed up to the “padron”, a register which shows where you live, you can go to your local Town Hall sports’ office and sign up for a month, three month, or nine month period. The activities go with the school terms and run from September to June, with summer activity programmes also on offer. Costs and activities vary, but it is very affordable.

There are also local football, basketball and tennis leagues that you can join as an adult to get fit, enjoy sports, competition and getting to know Spanish people in your area. As well as municipal facilities, there are many private gyms and teachers offering dance, Zumba, aerobics and much more. Take a look online, or keep your eyes out for posters advertising group classes near you.

Sporting events

How about setting your sights on running a half marathon in 2018? It is great to have a goal to work towards, as it really keeps you on track. There is a Half Marathon in Marbella each September, where thousands take to the streets. There are group training sessions in the run up to the race to make sure you are prepared, but if you start now, you can gently work up to the full distance to avoid injury and too much stress on your body. There are also regular 5K races for charities and triathlons, so have a look what’s going on in your area this year and set yourself a goal.

Golf

There are a huge number of golf courses on the Costa del Sol, as well as golf societies you can join to socialise, compete and try different courses. Pick up one of the local golf newspapers, or browse online for green fee offers and deals. We have teamed up with Golf Two4One Discount Card, so you can access some of the best offers on the coast and take part in their tournaments. If you find your long term rental with us, we will give you this card for free!

Tennis and Padel

There are lots of excellent municipal tennis and padel courts, as well as some world class facilities at the prestigious private tennis clubs. The most famous is owned and run by the Wimbledon legend Manolo Santana! Many urbanisations also have tennis courts which residents can use for free, so if you love tennis, please let us know and we’ll try and find you a long term rental on a community with tennis courts.

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to explore the stunning countryside just inland from the Costa del Sol and there are lots of great places to do it. There are excellent hiking trails behind Mijas Pueblo, which are easy to follow on your own, or join one of the group hikes organised by the Town Hall. Marbella also has a wealth of trails from the Refugio de Juanar just above the La Cañada shopping centre, including the very challenging ascent of La Concha, the highest mountain in the area. We advise starting gently and building up to La Concha by hiking a different route each week, this is a wonderful way to explore the area and improve your fitness and stamina before taking on the La Concha challenge. If you love hiking, then Mijas is a great base for you and we have some excellent Mijas long term rentals available for 2018.

Swimming and Watersports

Swimming is a wonderful way to get fit, with a very low risk of injury. In the summer, we’re spoilt for choice, with most urbanisations boasting great outdoor pools and the sea being within easy reach. There are also many indoor pools in private gyms and municipal pools too, check out the facilities near you so you can swim all year round. Watersports such as sea kayaking and the very fashionable SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) are excellent for your upper body and core muscles, not to mention your balance and coordination.

If you want to get in shape in 2018 then let us find you a long term rental near to some great sports facilities and advise you on how to join up and take part in local sports classes and activities.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

On behalf of all of our team, we wish you a very Happy Holidays, and health and happiness in 2018! We hope you have a wonderful time, wherever you are spending the holidays, and that you can be with friends, family and loved ones.

At this special time of year we always like to give back to those less fortunate than ourselves, so we’re helping the homeless on the Costa del Sol. We collaborate with a local homeless charity and contribute savoury and sweet pies to their Christmas meal and presents so that everyone can get a little something this year. All our generous staff are making donations to this cause, and the company is doubling what they raise so we can help as many people as possible.

At the office, we are collecting warm coats, blankets, scarves and rucksacks, to give to the homeless. So if you have anything in the house which you don’t use anymore, please drop them in to the office and we’ll make sure they get to people in need. Where to find us

Christmas Opening Times

It has been a very busy year for our property management and property rentals team and we continue our hard work throughout the festive season. We will be closed on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th of December and the 1st of January, but open as normal throughout the rest of the holidays.

Please let us know if we can help you with property management or renting out your property in 2018, or browse our great holiday rental properties and start planning your next holiday. We look forward to hearing from you!

Six Amazing Festive Activities on the Costa del Sol

Festive Activities on the Costa del Sol

We love Christmas on the Costa del Sol, there’s lots going on, it’s usually sunny and we are able to escape some of the worst of the commercialism that you can get sick of in the UK. If you have just moved over here and this will be your first winter holiday, we wanted to give you some advice on what to expect and also list six of our favourite festive activities.

What to expect

  1. Holidays start later and ends later – Lights don’t go up in most towns until the beginning of December in most places and kids don’t break up until the 22nd. However, the festivities last until the 7th of January, with the most important day for kids being the 6th of January, when the Three Kings came to bring their gifts to baby Jesus.
  2. You can enjoy the Christmas rituals from all the nationalities that call the Costa del Sol home – As it’s a really multi-cultural area, with strong communities from many different countries, you get a glimpse of loads of different traditions. You can celebrate Santa Lucia with the Swedish contingent on the 13th of December, enjoy gluvine and gingerbread at the German Christmas events and of course have a traditional Christmas lunch with the British business and social groups. You will have seen many of these events already taking place in November and they continue to the middle of December and then stop, as many people return to their home countries to be with family.
  3. Spanish celebrate on the 24th – The 25th isn’t such an important day for the Spanish, they eat together as a family on the evening of the 24th and the 25th isn’t much to them, so if you want to go out to eat on the 25th, choose a restaurant which caters for the foreigners, so you can enjoy a more familiar atmosphere.

Now you know what to expect, here are our six favourite activities to get you in the mood and ensure you don’t miss a thing.

  1. Go and see the lights at Malaga – The most famous lights in the region are in Malaga and this year they are absolutely stunning. They were turned on at the end of last month, and you can see them between now and the 6th of January. Beware that they are very popular so parking can be a problem, so consider taking the train if you’re in Fuengirola or Benalmadena. If you’re further along the coast, you can drive and leave the car at Plaza Mayor shopping centre and hop on the train from there – it’s much less stressful.
  2. Go to a Christmas market – There are loads of Christmas markets, which often have fun activities for the kids, carol singers and mulled wine and are a great place to get into the mood and pick up some festive pressies.
  3. Look at the nativity scenes – Nativity scenes are known as “Belen” and they are a big deal here, with huge, intricate displays in chapels, churches and even town squares. Marbella had a great one last year by the main church made of Playmobil! They normally have a map of the nativity scenes around the town and it’s a lovely way to explore and see the Christmas lights.
  4. Have a few drinks on the beach and make your friends back at home jealous – We are very lucky to live on the Costa del Sol and have such wonderful weather all year round! So get out onto the beach on Christmas Eve, or walk off your lunch with a stroll along the promenade on the 25th stopping for a few drinks. Sharing those pictures on your social media accounts will get everyone talking and make you feel very smug.
  5. Take a trip to the snow – It’s not all about the sunshine, we’re within easy reach of the slopes too. You can get to the Sierra Nevada mountains in around 2.5 hours from Marbella, so you can pop up to see the snow, build a snowman or even enjoy a day’s skiing, it’s the perfect Christmas trip, which will get you in the mood.
  6. Watch the Three Kings Parade – On the evening of the 5th of January, all the towns and villages along the Costa del Sol welcome the Three Kings with a fun parade. This is a must for families as your kids will see their favourite characters on fantastic floats, enjoy the music and atmosphere. They throw sweets into the crowds, so take a little bag to collect them in!

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful time. Please share your tips and photos with us on Facebook – we’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas activities here on the Costa del Sol.

If you haven’t made the move yet, but this sounds like your ideal Christmas, our short term rental team at HolidayRentalontheWeb can help you find a great holiday rental property as a home from home this Christmas. Alternatively, if you want to make the Costa del Sol home in 2018, speak to us about finding a wonderful long term rental to help you take the plunge!

Benefits of living abroad and how to make it happen

Benefits of living abroad and how to make it happen

We are having a spectacular autumn here on the Costa del Sol with hardly any rain, blue skies and temperatures in the mid to high 20s. If you’re sitting at home in the rain and cold and you’d rather be here, why not make it happen and relocate? To help you take the plunge here are some great reasons to live here.

Living on the Costa del Sol

As long-term residents of the Costa del Sol, we really believe it offers the best life because of the weather, food, sports, amazing coastline and good connections to the rest of Europe. Read our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol

According to Work the World living abroad can actually make you smarter! It has been shown to awaken creativity, improve communication skills, increase earning potential by improving your understanding of cultural needs and building great contacts around the world. If you can learn the language it will improve your cognitive skills and living abroad also enhances your self-awareness, one of the most recognised traits linked to success.

Living in Spain with your family is amazing, as the kids get to enjoy the great outdoors, be in a much more family friendly environment and learn another language. Get them into a Spanish school early enough and they can become bilingual – it’s the best gift you can give them. Being bilingual has a positive effect on the brain, gives you an educational advantage, offers more options for employment when they are older and helps you to learn other languages easily. It’s brilliant all round! Find out more about the benefits of being bilingual

If that weren’t enough, people living in Spain and enjoying the delicious Mediterranean diet improves your health, reduces the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Working on the Costa del Sol

There are lots of ways to live and work on the Costa del Sol, here are some of the most common:

If you have a job where you work remotely, why not follow the lead of thousands of others and live here, while continuing to work with your existing clients back home. The low cost of living and the regular low cost flights means that you can save money by living here and “commute” when necessary to go to a meeting or event for less than the cost of a train fare!!

Alternatively, you can follow your dreams and set up your own business along with thousands of expats who do it each year. Check out our advice for living and working on the Costa del Sol in 2017 if you have a great business idea and an entrepreneurial spirit.

If you’d rather work for someone else, start looking for jobs by contacting recruitment agencies in the area and read the local newspapers Sur in English and Euroweekly News to see the latest job ads. This year we have seen a lot more jobs being advertised as the economy improves and confidence grows, so don’t get fixated by the unemployment figures, good candidates are definitely in demand.

How to make the dream a reality?

If all this sounds good, and you want to give living in Spain a try, the first thing to do is to start your job search, or research into starting a business in Spain, so you know where your income will come from.

Then you need to find yourself a long-term rental in the right area for your work and family life. Consider how often you need to travel and therefore how close you want to be to the airport. Think about whether you want things within walking distance, or you don’t mind driving places, and whether you want to be in the town or in the country. Also look into schools and decide if you want to send kids to an international school, or a Spanish state school. If you are looking at an international school, proximity to your chosen school can be the leading factor in your search.

Once you’ve decided where you want to live, talk to us about long term rental properties and average costs. The great news is that rent is a lot cheaper here than in the UK, so your money will go a long way. If you contact us with your chosen area and your requirements. we can give you a list of the right properties in that area and potentially suggest other areas with similar characteristics to give you some more options.

There’s loads of useful information on our website about life in Spain to help you decide if it’s right for you and take the decisions about schools, healthcare etc. If you have any questions which aren’t answered there don’t hesitate to ask us, we love helping people to relocated to the Costa del Sol!

Five things to look for in a long-term rental

 

Five things to look for in a long-term rental

Now is a great time to find a long-term rental on the Costa del Sol – the summer has passed, landlords are looking for ways to make money over the low season and are more open to long term rentals. But, how do you choose your perfect long-term rental?

Our experts have been finding long-term rental properties for clients for many years, as well as living here on the Costa del Sol for decades. So based on this experience, here are five important factors to consider to make sure that you find the perfect place for you.

  1. Location, location, location – We all know that even the best property in a terrible area is going to be hard to live in, so we advise that you think very carefully when choosing your area and location. Think about how easy it is to get to, with or without a car, how it will feel out of season, as well as in peak summer and whether it will be too noisy in the summer or too isolated in the winter. Try to visit your favourite locations at different times of the day and ask locals what it’s like at different times of year. Go to the local supermarkets and shops and check you feel happy with the area and will enjoy living your life in your chosen part of the Costa del Sol. The great thing about this coast is there are different areas and options to suit everyone, so look around, ask for advice and do your research before making your decision.
  2. Price – The great news is that renting long-term on the Costa del Sol is a lot cheaper than in other parts of the world. However, when you’re setting your budget for monthly rent, make sure that you can afford the rent comfortably and factor in costs for bills to make sure you can afford it, not just now, but in months to come. When you first move, and you may not have a job, you’re better off choosing a cheaper place where you’ll feel comfortable for longer. You have the flexibility to move again when you are working, but at least you have an affordable base while you get yourself settled.
  3. Space – Take a close look at the interior and exterior space and think carefully how much space you really need. We are lucky to have such wonderful weather on the Costa del Sol, that terraces (especially covered ones) can be used almost all year round, so factor them in as usable space. But remember that we do have a winter too, so don’t prioritise exterior space over interior areas. Think how many bedrooms you need. Many people pay for an additional bedroom for visitors, when they could easily sleep on a sofa bed. Remember most of the year it will just be you, so don’t shell out on additional rooms unnecessarily. On the other hand, if you will be working from home, it’s a good idea to give yourself a dedicated office space, which can also double as a spare room when needed, as it’s hard working around the kitchen table.
  4. Facilities – Many Costa del Sol properties will offer amazing facilities on the development such as gardens, pools and even playgrounds and this is a real bonus for residents. As you’re renting long term rather than buying, you normally don’t have to pay community fees, so take advantage and choose a property with lots of facilities. Try to get a property with access to a pool, as they are a real godsend in the summer, especially if you have kids.
  5. Parking – If you are looking in a town such as Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmadena or Torremolinos and want to be central, parking is often an issue. The population in the summer months can double in some places and so it can be a nightmare if you don’t have a designated parking space. If your apartment doesn’t have parking, ask your agent if there’s an option to rent a space and how much that would be on top of the rent, as this is often the most affordable and reliable option.

We hope these five factors will help you to choose the right long term rental property for you. Remember that we’re here to help with your search and we can give you the benefit of our years’ of on-the-ground experience to make sure you make the right choice. Browse our website for long-term rentals on the Costa del Sol, find out why to choose a long-term rental, or contact us with your requirements and we’ll send you a list of options.

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!