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Support for expat parents on the Costa del Sol

If you are a parent, thinking about moving to the Costa del Sol, a big factor will be your kids and their education. The Costa del Sol is a total paradise for families, offering an excellent lifestyle for everyone and lots of opportunities for kids of all ages. Check out our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol to see why we love it so much!

However, if you don’t speak the language, some things can be a little daunting and Mums in particular can stress a lot about getting it right for their kids. So in this post, we wanted to share a few excellent sources of advice and support for expat parents before and after your move. Don’t worry, you are not alone!

International and Bilingual Schools on the Costa del Sol

The easiest option is to enrol your children in one of the many, excellent international schools on the Costa del Sol. Many of these teach in English, following either the UK curriculum of the International Baccalaureate. There are also schools which teach in German, Swedish and French and follow their curriculum, so you’re likely to find a good option for you. These schools offer parents lots of advice and support on moving over, know how to cater for international students and of course speak your language, so it’s very easy to fit straight in and get started.

Alternatively, there are a number of bilingual schools, such as Colegio Atalaya and San Jose in Estepona, which give kids a strong base in Spanish, but teach a lot of classes in English. There has been a move to increase bilingual schools in the state system as well, so research the areas well, to make sure that you have access to these specialist schools, if you want to be able to communicate well with the teachers and make it easier for kids to settle in.

Spanish Public Schools

If you want your kids to be totally bilingual, then immersion in a Spanish school is a great way to do it. Younger children find it easiest to make this move, but we’ve seen even older ones cope very well with good preparation before they arrive and some extra tutoring. Some schools are more set up to handle expat parents than others, so ask around and see if there is a more internationally minded school near to where you want to be.

Kids are amazing with learning a new language and will get to grips with everything quickly. In fact, it tends to be the parents that struggle more in the Spanish state system. This is being recognised, which is why we were so pleased to see that the Estepona Town Hall has introduced a network of volunteer interpreters in schools to help parents. These interpreters speak 10 different languages, and are available to communicate better with teachers and school staff. This is a pioneering scheme, which only launched last year, but hopefully if it is a success, more towns with large numbers of international parents will follow suit and give expat parents a helping hand.

Online support

On the Costa del Sol there is a great network of expat parents who help each other out. Take a look on Facebook for groups such as Costa Mums & Little Ones, Marbella Mums and Dads and Schools Noticeboard. These are really excellent resources where you can post your questions, learn about events and avoid mistakes by reading about other people’s experiences.

We hope this has been helpful for you and allayed some of your fears. You can read more information about education in Spain on our website and also read our tips for moving children to the Costa del Sol.

To get you and your family settled, you can count on us to find a perfect long term rental property for you all. Let us know if you want a pool, or garden, how old your children are, how many bedrooms you need and if you have any preferred areas and we can send you a list of properties that would fit the bill. Alternatively, you can browse long term rental properties on our website.

Best of luck with the move!

How to survive the summer heat on the Costa del Sol

How to survive the summer heat on the Costa del Sol

Following the UK’s heatwave last month, the Costa del Sol is now hotting up, with the first weather warnings of the year issued by the International Met Office for the start of August. There are possibilities that Spain’s record high for 47.3°C could be beaten this month, so for those of you lucky enough to be renting long term on the Costa del Sol we wanted to share our tips for staying cool and sleeping in these very high temperatures.

At home

Try and catch the breeze – If you can, try and open windows at opposite sides of the house to draw the breeze through your long-term rental. A gentle breeze will keep you cool and won’t put the electricity bills up!

Keep your blinds down during the day – Those blackout blinds are your best friends in the summer, keep them down when the sun is shining into the room, only opening them when there’s no direct sunlight entering the room. This will keep temperatures right down, and although it seems a bit gloomy at first, it’s very much worth the effort.

Boost your fan with ice power – If you put a tray of ice in front you your fan, it will cool the air coming from the fan and cool things down nicely.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, add ice to bring down your body temperature

Make ice lollies – Freeze fruit juice for a cooling treat that is good for you too

Wear cotton, loose fitting clothes – These will be comfortable and cooling, avoid nylon and other man made fabrics, as they don’t breathe

Bedtime tricks – If you struggle at night, try putting a bowl of iced water by your bed with a flannel to lay on your head or feet and keep cool. Alternatively splash cold water on your wrists or feet before getting into bed to bring your temperature down.

If you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning but don’t want to run up big bills, put it on for an hour before you go to bed to bring down the temperature in the room before you go to bed and make it comfortable while you fall asleep. If you find that it gets too hot in the night, put it on a timer to come on for another half an hour in the night to bring the temperatures down again. 

Out and about

Seek out the shade – Before you moved here you’d probably be looking for any sun you can be in, but now you’re renting long term you know better! It’s way too hot to be in direct sun unless you can’t avoid it, so walk on the shady side of the street, go to the park so you can find some shade, and sit under the umbrellas outside the restaurants.

Be Spanish and take a fan – It may seem a little odd at first, but an essential accessory for any woman in Spain over the summer is a fan. Stash it in your handbag and pull it out when you need it, they really work for cooling you down when you’re out and about.

Carry a spray bottle with cool water in it – Buy a little plastic spray bottle in one of the many Asian markets or supermarkets and keep it in your fridge filled with water. Packing this with you is a great way to keep cool on the streets or at the beach. We also like to freeze small bottles of water and take these out with us, so we have really cold water on hand.

Go to the beach in the evenings – Forget sitting on the beach in the middle of the day, it’s way too hot! Do like the Spanish and head down after work around six o’clock and stay there until the sun goes down, it’s a great way to escape the heat at home and enjoy the beach without frying.

If you have any tips we’d love to hear them, please post in the comments below or share them with us on Facebook.

For more information on living in Spain and renting long term please browse our website and read our blog, or contact our helpful team.

Costa del Sol – The Wine Lovers’ Paradise

Costa del Sol Wine Lovers’ Paradise

Andalucia is famous for the sweet wines found in Manilva and Malaga and the sherries in Jerez. The area is also developing quite a reputation for producing red and white wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Living on the Costa del Sol, you can visit some great wineries and wine museums and take part in some excellent events, you just need to know where to look. Here are our tips.

Visit Ronda – The conditions in the Serrania de Ronda are perfect for producing excellent wines and there are a large number of vinyards growing grapes and producing small batches of interesting wines. Recently, they have launched a wine route, which makes it easier for visitors to go to these bodegas, enjoy a tour and tasting and pick up a few bottles of your favourite. 

Visit Manilva – The pretty area of Manilva is covered with vinyards which produce very sweet dessert wines. Normally this is made by families and sold in plastic bottles in the markets and local shops. There is also a new wine producer Nilva, who are bottling Manilva wine in glass and winning a lot of awards for the quality of this dry white wine, as well as their sweet versions. They run a wine museum in the village, and do guided tours in English as well as tastings and even meals out in the vineyards, which are a lovely way to experience wine where it is grown, in stunning surroundings.

Keep your eyes peeled for wine events – The growing interest in national and international wines are increasing the number of wine events in the region and these are a great chance to try different brands and styles. On the 13th and 14th of this month Estepona is hosting the largest outdoor wine tasting event in Spain. This will showcase the wines of Rioja and around 400 people will be tasting wines, enjoying live music and experiencing the wonderful atmosphere in the Plaza de Reloj in the Old Town.

Visit a specialist wine shop or restaurant – There are lots of excellent wine shops around the Costa del Sol with very knowledgeable staff who can advise you of the best bottles for your tastes or the occasion and sometimes do tastings.

There are also a number of great restaurants which specialise in wines and offer regular tastings and an amazing variety of styles. In Cancelada, near to Estepona is El Secreto de Baco a lovely little wine bar, which runs mini wine tastings every Saturday night. These include 3 wines and 3 cheeses and are only 10€ per person, so they are a great way to try some different wines.

D-Wine in San Pedro is a mecca for wine lovers, with the best collection of Spanish wines in the area. It has a wine shop, a lovely restaurant and relaxed indoor and outdoor areas where you can enjoy delicious wines and food. The experienced sommeliers can guide you through the experience and offer tastings too, so it’s a real treat. 

Fine wines and great food is just one of the reasons why we love living on the Costa del Sol. It’s a real pleasure helping people to find their feet here in Spain by getting them a quality long term rental in the right area for them. Many people use this to try before they buy, others love the flexibility to move around different areas and experience the diverse ways of life in the different areas of the Costa del Sol. Whatever your situation, we have a great selection of Costa del Sol long term rentals which you can browse on our website. Alternatively, let us do the leg work for you! Send us your requirements, your preferred areas and any must have aspects of the property and we will send you a list of long term rentals which fit the bill. We look forward to hearing from you!

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!

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.

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.

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