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A guide to December on the Costa del Sol

A guide to December on the Costa del Sol

With the switching on of the Christmas lights in towns and villages along the Costa del Sol on the 30th of November, Christmas has definitely arrived and there’s loads to see and do this month. As Costa del Sol long-term rental specialists, we love the winter here and are delighted to see so many great things happening outside the summer period. To help you to make the most of this great time of year, here are seven of our highlights.

  1. Go to a Christmas Market – There are loads of lovely Christmas markets to go to where you can buy gifts, support local businesses and get in the Christmas spirit, here’s a nice rundown of Christmas markets to look forward to
  2. See a show or listen to a concert – There are some great new shows popping up along the coast. Posidonia in Puerto Banus are launching a dinner show this month, with music, dance and entertainment, which you can see on the 15th and 22nd of December, as well as part of a New Year’s Eve special. There are also some nice concerts by choirs and bands which will get you in the mood for Christmas.
  3. Visit Santa – Santa should now be installed in his grotto in the main squares of the towns along the Costa del Sol and visiting him is an essential for any of you with families. He is also making an appearance at a lot of the Christmas markets and can be found at the La Cañada shopping centre too.
  4. Learn a new skill – There are some nice workshops on how to make Christmas decorations, and Christmas cooking classes, which are a really nice way to learn something new and get prepared for Christmas. Food Room in San Pedro is offering a number of Christmas cooking classes for kids and adults this month that look a lot of fun.
  5. Go to Malaga to see the lights – There is an annual exodus to see the amazing lights in Calle Larios and their daily light and music show. This is an essential component of a Costa del Sol Christmas.
  6. Tour the Nativity Scenes – The Spanish love a good nativity scene and there are 8 in Marbella alone. A nice Christmas activity is to follow the route and tour these scenes and see if you can find the pooing boy!
  7. Join a Christmas Party – All the social and business organizations on the coast have Christmas parties and these are a great way to make friends and useful contacts for the year to come.

We hope that whatever you do this month that you have a wonderful time and enjoy the Christmas period here on the Costa del Sol.

If you’re looking for a change of scene in 2019, we have an excellent selection of long-term rental properties with availability for next year, so please contact us for more information.

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!

Tips for making the most of Christmas on the Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol ChristmasIt’s official – Christmas is here and we’re feeling very festive, with mince pies aplenty in the office. Malaga’s amazing lights were lit at the end of November, all the other towns followed suit at the beginning of December and everything is looking gorgeous. How’s your town looking? We’d love to see pictures!!

When you’re an expat renting on the Costa del Sol, Christmas can feel a little odd. Whilst we’re not complaining, having a sunny Christmas can make you lose that festive feeling, and not having family around can be tough. Don’t worry though, you just need to follow our handy tips and you’ll have a brilliant time.

  • Go to Malaga, marvel at the lights, stock up on Christmas presents on Calle Larios and enjoy a drink and some tapas to rest those aching feet. A visit to see the Malaga lights is a must for a perfect Christmas on the Costa del Sol and sure to get you in the mood.
  • Stock up on your Christmas favourites from a local international supermarket, or take a trip into Gibraltar. Having these goodies around you will make it feel like Christmas no matter where you are.
  • Make sure you’re warm enough – Stock up with wood if you have an open fire, or invest in an oil fuelled radiator and some lovely scented festive candles to make it really cozy and special.
  • Arrange special events – Get together with friends and arrange to have little parties at different houses, a Christmas Eve cocktail party, or a Boxing Day buffet to bring together friends who are staying makes it feel really fun.
  • Check what’s on – The Town Hall often holds events and there are theatre productions such as Swan Lake, but these do not tend to be well publicised in English, so keep your eye on the Town Hall website and posters which should be going up any time now.
  • Take full advantage of the lovely weather – Go and walk along the beach, or collect pine cones and fire wood in the hills and stunning countryside around Marbella, have a game of golf, or arrange a champagne brunch or cocktails on the beach with friends, you’re on the Costa del Sol so why not!!

If you’re feeling chilly and you haven’t found the right long term rental property where you want to spend Christmas don’t panic, we can help you find somewhere warm and comfortable, that will be a great base all year round. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can make sure you’re in and settled in time for Christmas.

To stay or not to stay in Spain for Christmas – that is the question

Stay in Spain for Christmas If you are still in denial that Christmas is coming, it’s time to wake up and smell the mulled wine! We’re just eight weeks away from Christmas Day and so if you’re renting long term in Spain it’s time to make the decision on whether to stay here for the festive season, or make the annual exodus to friends and family elsewhere.

It’s a tricky decision if you’re settled here and have found your perfect long-term rental property, as you feel at home, love living in Spain and can probably already imagine the tree and the stockings by the fire. However think carefully, as Christmas can be lonely without friends or family around, so make sure that there will be enough people around, or that your loved ones are willing to travel over to the Costa del Sol to be with you.

There are loads of benefits of Christmas on the Costa del Sol, not least the weather, which is often good enough for a stroll along the beach after Christmas dinner. The Christmas lights in Malaga are a real highlight, the old towns are lovely to stroll around and do a little chilled out shopping and there are some lovely Christmas events organized by the Town Halls.

However, we want to be honest with you, it can be hard to get into the festive mood here in Spain, as it’s much more of a low key affair in general and let’s be honest, most people don’t associate Christmas cheer with a drink on the beach. Most expats living in Spain will probably head back home and the “traditional” Christmas events like the markets and carol services take place earlier in December to allow for this. So unless it’s your dream to escape the cold and dark in the UK, or you have a good group of friends around you, or the family is over, it can feel a little sad to be living abroad at this important time of the year, so if you’re not sure we’d recommend you head home.

Travelling from Malaga or Gibraltar to the UK is surprisingly affordable before Christmas and after New Year. Be warned though, travelling back to Spain between Christmas and New Year can be expensive, if you’re looking for the most affordable fares and don’t mind much about New Year’s Eve, then travelling on 31st December or 1st January is a real bargain!

Kids are at school until 23rd December, but then their holiday lasts until 7th January because of the Three Kings. Also bear in mind that here offices tend to be open right up to Christmas Eve and only have Christmas Day as a public holiday, going back to work on Boxing Day, so make sure you book holiday asap if you’re working.

We hope this post has helped you make the decision on whether you’ll be staying over Christmas or not, if you haven’t taken the plunge and moved over here yet, we have more great advice on life in Spain on our website, not to mention loads of great Costa del Sol long term rental properties.

If you want to stay, then in our next post we’ll be sharing our tips for making the most of Christmas on the Costa del Sol.

Costa del Sol Christmas Markets and Events

Costa del Sol Christmas Markets and Events Tis the season to get busy and there’s loads of festive fun to be had in November and December on the Costa del Sol. If it’s your first Christmas renting long term here, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it! Even if you’re not staying for Christmas itself, there are some lovely opportunities to get in the mood and do the Christmas shopping with markets and special events.

Here are just a few –

The Nutcracker Ballet Marbella Theatre 21st November 20.30- A lovely way to start thinking about Christmas is to enjoy the classic tale of the nutcracker, being performed by the Company Russian Classical Ballet More information

ADANA Xmas Fair – 22 November 2015 – Palacio de Congresos, Estepona from 10.30 to 16.00 – Fantastic day out with entertainment and lots of Christmassy stuff.  If you have a business on the Costa del Sol selling gifts then you can also book to have a stand. Enquiries to: events@adana.es or 697-289-922.

Discount Fair Marbella 3-5 December Palacio de Congresos Marbella 10.00-22.00 – Whilst not a Christmas themed event, this is a great place to get your gifts at amazing prices. With over 100 stands to look at and a huge range to choose from, you could get all the shopping done at once and there’s even a rest area, entertainment and a bar to rest those weary feet.

Peppa Pig Festival 12 & 13 December – Palacio de Congresos Marbella – An early Christmas present for the kiddies to experience the magic of Pepper and her friends and play with the characters for 4 unforgettable hours. Choose from a morning or afternoon session, and experience 10 different characters and 9 amazing activities. More information

Arboretum Winter Festival 20th December, Arboretum Marbella – This will be a winter festival outside in the beautiful setting of the edible gardens in Arboretum. There will be stalls, activities for children and the theme will be sustainable Christmas trees, with activities for making trees out of recycled materials. More information

To see what the Town Hall is planning in Marbella over the festive season in English, keep your eye on the Marbella Family Fun Christmas page where they translate the programme as soon as it becomes available.

If you’re looking for a Marbella long term rental for Christmas, please browse our selection of properties or get in touch with us to find out what we have available so you’re in and settled before this very special time of year.

Spending Christmas on the Costa del Sol

To stay on the Costa del Sol or to head back home is a common dilemma for expats renting on the Costa del Sol. It’s obviously a highly personal decision and if the family in the UK is calling you home then it’s not easy to say no! However, there’s a lot to attract you to stay here over the festive period, not least the warmer temperatures and the option to stroll on the beach to walk off that Christmas lunch!!

Now that the Christmas lights have gone on and the temperatures have dipped it is feeling a lot more festive and there are loads of things you can do which can get you into the Christmas spirit. The first is to get the local Christmas guide from your nearest Town Hall which will tell you what’s happening. There’s lots happening such as carol concerts, kids’ events, markets and of course religious ceremonies, so there’s no excuse to be bored.

You must go to Malaga to see the Christmas lights, they are famous throughout the region and will really get you in the mood. Whilst you are there, head to the lovely port area which is full of restaurants, cafes and shops and well worth a visit and stock up on Christmas presents on the famous Calle Larios shopping street.

If a white Christmas is what you want, no problem! The nearby Sierra Nevada ski resort is just 2 hours from Marbella and is open throughout Christmas and New Year. You can easily go up for the day, or stay overnight in a hotel or a chalet, although accommodation is limited and expensive. Alternatively you can stay in Granada which is a great city, with excellent nightlife and loads of reasonably priced accommodation and ski during the day.

We have produced a guide to Christmas on the Costa del Sol which you can download and have just posted on our sister site HolidayRentalontheWeb all about Christmas in Marbella to help  things along (link to that post)

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, we wish you ¡Feliz Navidad! – Happy Christmas! and Feliz Año Nuevo – Happy New Year!

Learning Spanish – Christmas shopping

The Costa del Sol is an enchanting place to be at Christmas time and a great chance for you and the family to learn about Spanish traditions. Pretty Christmas lights are sparkling in the towns, the restaurants and bars are once again bustling and the supermarkets are stocked with juicy turkeys and all kinds’ of festive goodies ready for week-long celebrations of the Three Kings.

Now that you are renting long term on the Costa del Sol, a great way to really feel settled in is to learn the lingo and Christmas is a great excuse to get started! Here are some Spanish tips so now you can do your Christmas shopping in Spanish too.

Christmas Tree

¿Aquí se vende árboles de navidad? – Do you sell Christmas trees here?

¿Cuánto cuesta por metro? – How much do they cost per metre?

¿Se entrega a domicilio? –  Are they delivered to the house?

¿Cuándo se puede entregarlo? – When can it be delivered?

¿Viene con raíces o está cortado? – Does it come with roots or is it cut?

Presents

Busco una camisa para hombre. – I´m looking for a man’s shirt.

¿Hay de seda / algodón? – Is there anything in silk / cotton?

Busco algo clasico / de moda. – I´m looking for something classic / fashionable.

¿Puedo devolverlo si no le gusta? – Can I return it if he doesn’t like it?

Tiene que devolverlo dentro de catorce días con el recibo. –  You have to return it within 14 days with the receipt.

Me podría dar un reembolso o tengo que cambiarlo para otra prenda? – Can I have a refund or do I have to change it for another garment?

Aquí tiene el recibo. – Here´s the receipt.

Me gustaría un reembolso. – I would like a refund.

Es para regalar, ¿se puede envolverlo? – It’s for a present, can you wrap it?

Shopping for Christmas dinner

Nata montado – whipped cream,      nata para montar – whipping cream,      jerez – sherry,      chirivía – parsnip,      castañas – chestnuts,      pavo – turkey,      pastelillo navideño relleno de frutas – mincepie,      relleno de frutas – mincemeat,      pastel de frutas secas que se come el día de Navidad – Christmas pudding,      col de Bruselas – Brussels sprouts,      tarjetas de Navidad – Christmas cards,      papel de regalo – wrapping paper,      lucitas de Navidad – Christmas lights,      nueces – walnuts,      frutas secas – nuts (general),      adornos navideños – Christmas decorations,      bolas de Navidad – Christmas baubles,      turrón – typical Christmas sweet made of nougat and chocolate.

¡Feliz Navidad! – Happy Christmas!

Michelle Lewis is a Spanish Teacher, Translator and Interpreter. She can help with a wide range of issues in Spanish including; NIE, residency, registering at the medical centre, medical appointments, importation of cars, problems with the Town Hall, the gestor, the police, or Telefonica. Email michellejlewis@hotmail.com or call 680 155 254 for more information.

Marbella looking beautiful for Christmas

Marbella turned on its Christmas lights at the beginning of this month and is now looking very festive and ready to party. Despite the rain we’ve seen over the last few months, the twinkling lights are making the whole place look stunning.

The main road Avenida Ricardo Soriano, the Old Town, the Parque Alameda and the Avenida del Mar are the best place to go and see the lights. There’s a gorgeous Christmas tree of lights and baubles of poinsettia flowers on the Avenida del Mar which is well worth a look. It’s been said that the council are spending 280,000€ this year on their decorations which seems like a lot, but I’m glad that they haven’t stinted on the Christmas cheer!

Malaga is also famous for its Christmas lights and the huge parade that they hold for the Three Kings on the 5th January. However, parking can be tricky, so you can leave your car in the Plaza Mayor shopping centre and take the train in to the centre to avoid the traffic jams and the parking problems.

If you are spending your first Christmas in Spain and want to find out more about what’s happening, download our Guide to Christmas on the Costa del Sol for free on our website.