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The Costa del Sol – the perfect base to explore Spain

If you are planning on moving to Spain and travelling around to some of the most famous sights is on your priority list, we’d recommend choosing the Costa del Sol. Its location in the middle of many of the most famous national treasures, with a great road network, makes it the perfect base to explore Andalucía and beyond. Plus, Malaga airport is within easy reach for internal flights to the most important cities further afield.

If you choose to rent long-term on the Costa del Sol you can take day trips to explore many world famous locations, or spend the weekend to really get the feel for the place.

Here are our favourite day trips from the Costa del Sol –

  1. Experience the glitz and glamour of the famous Puerto Banus, with its superyachts, supercars and designer shops
  2. Drive up the winding Ronda road and in less than an hour you can admire the impressive gorge, the bull fighting museum and visit a winery
  3. Meet the monkeys and take on the challenge of the Med Steps on the peak of the Gibraltar rock, or explore the caves where the last known Neanderthals were found
  4. Watch polo or golf or visit the marina in Sotogrande
  5. Visit the pretty white village of Casares
  6. Sample some of the incredible restaurants and charm of Benahavis

Something for the weekend

As you will have the luxury of time when you are living on the Costa del Sol, we recommend taking the time to spend a weekend in these fantastic places.

Granada and the Sierra Nevada – Just a few hours’ drive from the Costa del Sol is Granada, home to Spain’s most popular tourist destination the Alhambra. Granada is a beautiful city in its own right, with a great tapas scene, the winding streets of the Moorish Quarter, the Albayzin, and plenty of buzz and charm. Definitely a great place for a weekend break, which feels very different to the Costa del Sol.

Just above Granada is the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada which is open between December and April. You can do it in a day from the coast, but it means an early start, so if you can stay for one night, you can enjoy two days on the slopes. If you can take a day or two off work, you’re better to go up during the week to avoid the crowds.

Morocco – You can easily do a day trip to Tangiers and there are many tours available to make it less intimidating. But if you have a little more time, you can explore Tangiers and then take an overnight train down to Marrakesh, even stopping of at Rabat and Casablanca and venturing into the Atlas Mountains to get the full experience.

Kite surfing in Tarifa – This is a fantastic little town, just an hour and a half from Marbella, feels like a world away, with its bohemian charm and world-famous windsurfing and kite surfing culture. While close enough for a day trip, if you want to learn some kite surfing and enjoy the bohemian nightlife of Tarifa town, we’d recommend an overnight stay.

If this sounds good and you think it’s the right place for you, take a look at our selection of Costa del Sol long-term rentals. We have properties from Benalmadena to Manilva and everywhere in between.

Which location you choose will depend on your work, family, or travel commitments. If you don’t know the area well, we are here to assist you. Our team have lived and worked all over the Costa del Sol and so we can offer personal advice to guide your decision making process, as well as showing you the different long-term rental properties in alternative locations. Get in touch – we look forward to helping you!

Renting long term in Benalmadena – The Low Down

Benalmadena is very popular with international residents, thanks to the proximity to Malaga city and airport, the many amenities, pretty marina and great coastline. It is a well-developed coastal town, with a well-established expat population, lots to do and see, International and Spanish schools and good public transport routes to Malaga on one side and Fuengirola on the other.

You are spoilt for choice for things to do in Benalmadena, including amusement park Tivoli World, the Selwo Marina and Sealife, a Butterfly Park and Buddhist Temple. You can ride the cable car up to the top of the mountain, for stunning views, an interesting bird of prey show and great walking trails, they even have star gazing on summer evenings. A very popular place is Paloma Park, an oasis of green which is wonderful for a stroll, a picnic, for jogging or cycling, or to enjoy a coffee at the cafe. The marina is pretty and packed with attractions and restaurants, and the long seafront promenade is a great place to stroll.

We have a brilliantly located two bedroom apartment in central Benalmadena, just five minutes’ walk from the marina. It is in a secure community with a communal pool and gardens, and close to everything Benalmadena has to offer. It has two bedrooms, one bathroom, with a terrace and sea views. It is west facing and pets are welcome, this is a great place for someone who wants to be in the centre of everything and to be able to get around easily without a car.

There is a residential area called Arroyo de la Miel, which is a suburb of Benalmadena and is a great place to live as it has a train station, shopping, dining and entertainment options. Here in Arroyo del Miel we have an excellent two bedroom apartment for long term rent. Located in the Las Brisas complex with its swimming pool and children’s play area it is a good choice for families. The apartment is bright and modern with a comfortable lounge and south east facing terrace.

Check out a Benalmadena Area Guide on YouTube

What we love about Benalmadena is its easy access to the fantastic city of Malaga and its airport. The airport is just a 15 minute drive away and there are two trains an hour connecting you to the city and to the airport, so you don’t need a car if you are within walking distance of the station. This same train also goes to Fuengirola and there are good bus routes as well connecting Benalmadena with Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Malaga. You can even cycle to Malaga port in just over an hour! This location gives you incredible flexibility to enjoy all the best attractions and the enviable Costa del Sol lifestyle.

To find out more about living on the Costa del Sol and renting long term please contact us.  We are located near to Benalmadena in La Cala de Mijas and know the coast inside out. We can recommend the best base for your new life in the sun, depending on your requirements and preferences. We also pride ourselves on taking care of our tenants and making sure they have the best experience of renting long term.

Support for British expats on the Costa del Sol

If you’re a Brit living on the Costa del Sol, you need to know where to look for the right support, help and advice to make your move a success. Here are our recommendations on organisations and businesses there to help you.

  1. The British Embassy – We have just got a new British Ambassador to Spain, with Hugh Elliot taking up his post in Madrid this month and meeting with the Spanish King to present his credentials. Hugh and his team are available to help British expats in Spain and they have been working hard to offer information and advice ahead of Brexit on the 31st of October. They have an excellent web page which is regularly updated with official advice and practical steps on what you should do regarding Brexit and other aspects of living in Spain. Visit the Living in Spain Guide or join the Brits in Spain community on Facebook.

 

  1. Town Hall Foreign Residents Departments – Every Town Hall along the Costa del Sol has an “extranjeros” department, who are dedicated to helping foreign residents with the official aspects of their life in Spain. They can offer practical assistance with items such as getting your NIE number and registering for schools and usually have multilingual staff who can speak your language and make the settling in process a lot easier.

 

  1. Networking and Business Organisations – The official voice of British businesses in Spain is the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain. They are very active in the big cities and have a group operating on the Costa del Sol as well, with regular networking and training events in Marbella and Malaga. This is just one of many excellent networking and business groups operating on the Costa del Sol, which provide a highly valuable support network and fellow professionals that you can look to for advice and collaborations to grow your fledgling business. CADE in Marbella is another place to look if you’re setting up a business on the Costa del Sol. It is a centre for entrepreneurship and is set up for international business people and can give practical help and support with everything from registering your business to sourcing investment and partnering with other businesses.

 

  1. Citizens Advice Bureau Spain – This charity has been set up to provide independent advice, information and support for anyone living in Spain. They have an excellent website and social media pages with lots of useful information for expats.

 

  1. HomeRentalontheWeb – We are here to help Brits moving over to Spain to find their perfect long-term rental and also to put everything in place to start their life here as they mean to go on. Our experienced team have lived and worked in the area for many years and we’ve all been through what you’re going through. This experience, our language skills, contacts and of course our excellent portfolio of long-term rentals on the Costa del Sol makes us perfectly placed to support you before you arrive and as you get established.

For more helpful information read our guide to living in Spain and our overview of education and healthcare on the Costa del Sol, or contact us.

How to enjoy August on the Costa del Sol

August is here and with it come the crowds and the heat, but also an amazing atmosphere and loads of fantastic events and things to do.

Those living on the Costa del Sol full time are in two camps about August –

  1. One group thinks they are super lucky to be able to be in a holiday destination at peak time without the expense
  2. The other group just wants the people to leave and the weather to cool down so they can get back to normal.

Which camp are you in?

At HomeRentalontheWeb we love living on the Costa del Sol and feel really lucky to live in this beautiful place. Although it can be tricky to park in August, we love the atmosphere, the ferias and welcoming people to our stunning stretch of coastline.

Here are a few tips for enjoying your summer and minimising the disruption too.

Make the most of the summer fun

  • The key to making the most of the summer here is to be plugged in to the grapevine so you know what’s going on, where and when, so you can enjoy all the great free activities. Follow your local Town Hall on social media, and look out for posters and flyers in your town or village. There are always great things being organised all along the coast, from free concerts and performances, to free kids’ activities and family days, so make sure you look out for them.
  • Try to work shorter days so you can head to the beach or hang out at the pool and pretend you’re on holiday.
  • Look out for special offers for residents, such as at the water park Aquamijas where adults can save 8€ per ticket, or see if there are specific days of the week or times where it is either free or pay what you can for attractions such as museums and galleries.

Leave extra travel time or think of alternatives

There’s no getting away from the fact that the traffic is heavier this time of year, so either leave extra time so you don’t stress, use the toll roads or even try a moped so you can weave through the jams and park almost anywhere!

Handling the heat

Some of us suffer in the hottest months of the year, but there are some tricks to keeping your long term rental and yourself cool.

The most important thing is to keep your blinds down during the day to stop the sun heating up the property during the day, then when the sun is no longer shining into the rooms open all the doors and windows and catch the breeze without costing you money on air con. Get yourself a fan and make sure you have cool water with you at all times. Enjoy a cooling dip in the pool or the sea when it gets too much! For more tips on keeping cool, check out our list of ways to survive the summer heat and let us know if you have any tips or tricks too.

Find out more about renting long term with HomeRentalontheWeb by reading the frequently asked questions about long term rentals on our website, or contact us and let us help you choose the right option for you.

Things to do on the Costa del Sol this summer

Even if you’re living here and renting long term, you can still make the most of the amazing tourist activities and events taking place at this time of year. It’s one of the many benefits of living here! Take some time off work, or make the most of the summer holidays with the kids or grandkids and go to places you’ve never been before!

Here are our recommendations for making sure you don’t miss out on a thing –

Enjoy the amazing events

There’s so much going on over the summer and as a local you can join in the fun all summer long. Don’t miss the local ferias in your village and town and head to Malaga for the biggest feria of them all to see how it’s done! Check out the concerts at Starlite and Puente Romano in Marbella and Marenostrum Festival Fuengirola. To find out more about what’s going on, read our guide to summer concerts and festivals on the Costa del Sol on our sister site HolidayRentalontheWeb.

Make the most of our amazing beaches

The easiest, and we think one of the nicest things, about living on the Costa del Sol is being able to soak up the sun on the beach. Of course they are busier over the summer months, but the atmosphere is great and there are often special things like inflatable play parks in the sea and events on the beach. Thankfully, experts are predicting fewer jellyfish this year, so we will be able to make the most of our stunning coastline. Check out our tips for enjoying the beaches to the maximum.

Take a day trip

When you live here it’s easy to stop exploring, as daily life gets in the way, but there’s so much to see. We challenge you to go somewhere you’ve never been before and experience the incredible diversity that we have on the Costa del Sol.

Head along the coast to Nerja, a beautiful area famous for its coves, crystal clear water, buzzing Old Town and incredible caves. During the summer, there’s a programme of concerts in the caves themselves, as part of the annual Nerja Caves Music and Dance Festival and this is an amazing experience.

Another idea is to explore inland and enjoy the beautiful countryside and history of Antequera. This area contains ancient dolmens ruins and the extraordinary El Torcal National Park. In the summer, they hold special events such as stargazing in the park, sunset tours of the dolmens and tours of the old town, as part of the Luz de la Luna festival.

Whatever you plan to do this summer, enjoy the many benefits of renting long term on the Costa del Sol and feel smug that you’re paying so much less for your accommodation than the holiday makers! If you discover any new areas and are thinking about moving, we can advise you on long-term rental options which are available after the summer, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Rules for driving in Spain

If you’re relocating to the Costa del Sol, you’ll need a car to get around. Public transport outside the larger towns and cities is patchy, so you will rely on your car or motorbike to get around. The roads are generally good and modern, with a network of toll roads, as well as the coastal road (N340) which links up the main towns by the sea and then smaller roads heading inland to the towns and villages in the hills.

Here are ten things you need to know about driving in Spain –

  1. We drive on the right here in Spain, take extra care when overtaking if you are in a right hand drive car, as visibility can be restricted.
  2. Alcohol limits are very low – You are allowed to drink less here in Spain than in the UK, with a limit of 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood. In practice, this means a man can have three small glasses of wine or small beers and women only two.
  3. When driving, you should always carry your driving licence, proof of insurance, an ID card or passport and a proof of ownership or rental.
  4. Drivers must carry reflective jackets and a warning triangle and always wear the reflective jackets if you get out of the car onto the road or hard shoulder.
  5. Children must use suitable car seats such as booster seats up to the age of 12, or the height of 135cm.
  6. Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers.
  7. You are not permitted to drive and speak on a mobile phone.
  8. Stop signs are common when you join a motorway or main road, which can be a surprise if you are just used to merging. Joining a fast road from a standing start isn’t easy, but be patient and you’ll find a gap you can safely pull into.
  9. Speed limits are usually 50 kilometres per hour in urban areas, 80 kilometres per hour on the N340 coastal road and in tunnels and 120 kilometres per hour on the toll road. The limits change quite regularly along the toll road in particular, but don’t worry, they are well sign-posted.
  10. Call 112 if you require emergency help.

If you have any doubts about bringing your car over to Spain and the rules around driving on UK plates and changing your driving license, we can put you in touch with our legal advisors for the latest advice.

We can help you with all aspects of living in Spain and find you a quality long term rental which will be the perfect base to start your new life on the Costa del Sol. Browse properties on our website, or contact us with your requirements and we’ll send you a list of properties that would suit you.

Relocating to the Costa del Sol in 2019

Relocating to the Costa del Sol in 2019

If your New Year’s resolution was to leave behind the cold and rain in the UK, Ireland, Germany or Scandinavia and start a better life in Spain, we can help you make it happen.

If Brexit is holding you back, we’ve been receiving reassurances from both Spain, Gibraltar and the UK that expats living in Spain will be protected. In October, Spain’s minister for Foreign Affairs visited Málaga and reassured British people resident in Spain that the Brexit process will not affect us at all. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar is prepared to make a deal with Spain if there’s a no-deal to ensure that those working in Gibraltar but living in Spain will not face any issues. The recommendations are to make sure you are properly registered and follow all the legal processes correctly, to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you won’t face any issues after March. Here is some information on relocating to Spain and what you will need to do to register and start off your wonderful new life the right way.

The first step in making your dream a reality is to think about job options and how you’ll earn enough to have a great life here in Spain. As an English speaker, Gibraltar offers a lot of great employment opportunities, with competitive salaries and no concerns with language. There are also many expat companies looking for English speaking employees, or freelancers, so while it’s beneficial to speak Spanish and a good level of language will increase your opportunities, it is not essential. Many people come to Spain to set up their own business, whether it be a bar, restaurant, B&B, or company which provides services for foreign residents. If you’re dreaming of working for yourself, you’ll be pleased to hear that there have been improvements to the system to make it easier and cheaper to become self-employed. Many people also come to the Costa del Sol as digital nomads, continuing their job remotely and flying  back occasionally for meetings and this is another excellent option. Read our article on the Benefits of living abroad and how to make it happen for more information.

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do for a job, the next step is to find a place to live! Renting long term is the most sensible choice when you first arrive. It is significantly cheaper than renting a holiday let or staying in a hotel, and gives you the real experience of living in the Costa del Sol. There’s much less commitment than buying, so you can try a few different long term rental properties in different areas before you take the plunge and buy.  

We are Costa del Sol long term rental specialists and have been helping people relocate to this stunning area for more than a decade. We can support you with choosing the right area, as well as the right property, guide you through the process of signing contracts and ensuring safeguards are in place to protect your tenant’s rights. Our Helpline means you can ring our office and report any problems with the property to us. We can then talk to the landlord and get the issue resolved on your behalf.

Using HomeRentalontheWeb reduces the stress of renting long term, as well as giving you access to lots of fantastic long term rental properties. Read our tenants FAQs to answer your questions, or get in touch with us to discuss your long term rental needs. You can also browse a selection of our properties online by clicking on your preferred area on the map.

Best of luck with the move – we’re here to help!

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.

What kind of expat are you?

What kind of expat are you

Many people dream of living in a hot and sunny climate, but few people actually make it happen. We find it takes a certain type of person to start a new life under sunnier skies. Ideally, you should love adventure, change and making new friends. You should be flexible, dynamic and prepared to try new things, learn a new language, be positive, resourceful and always ready for a challenge. If you fit this profile, you should be able to survive the challenges of expat life and really thrive, creating a great new life for you and your family.

As expats ourselves, who have all lived and worked on the Costa del Sol for many years, we were interested to see the results of the Expat Insider survey, which identified 6 types of expats. The most common across all their expat hotspots was the “Go-Getter”, someone who found a job or started a business and pursued their career in the new country. 

Following swiftly behind is what they call The Optimizer – those people who move for a better quality of life. I would say that most people moving to the Costa del Sol would fit into this category, although then they might become a “go-getter” to ensure they can stay for the long term. The quality of life that you can experience here, no matter your age is really a huge benefit. We see all kinds of people move over here, from youngsters looking for adventure and working in the bars and clubs in Marbella and Puerto Banus, young families wanting a wonderful place to bring up their children and help them become bilingual, to retirees wanting to live well for less, stay active and enjoy the sun. There’s something on the Costa del Sol for everyone, including “The Explorer”, someone who is looking for an adventure and a challenge.

The category which 10% of the respondents identified with is “The Foreign Assignee”, where they get sent abroad by their company. You may not think this applies much to the holiday area of the Costa del Sol, but you’d be wrong. This is most common for international companies based in Gibraltar. Most people working in Gibraltar actually live on the Western Costa del Sol, or Cadiz province, as rents are much lower and the quality of life is much better. We find most of our long-term rental clients who work in Gibraltar choose Manilva and Sotogrande to live and then commute from there. 

Last but not least, are two categories which are quite similar in their motivation – The Romantic (12%) where people join their partner back in their home country, and the Travelling Spouse (8%) where the family follows the main bread-winner and sets up a new life abroad. The Costa del Sol is very well set up for these movers, with excellent international education options, where kids can study UK, German, French or Swedish curriculums, or even do the IB to keep their options open, while enjoying an amazing quality of life. Find out more about education on the Costa del Sol  

Whatever profile you fit into, there’s something for you here on the Costa del Sol. There’s also a well developed long-term rental market which can give you a comfortable, affordable, yet flexible base to start your new adventure. Compared to a holiday rental or hotel, they offer you excellent value for money and a home-from-home where you can settle, explore the area and decide what’s best for you in the long term. Many expats will try a few long-term rentals in different areas before they make a decision to buy, to keep their options open while they settle into jobs and the kids settle into schools. This flexibility combined with value, makes renting long-term the perfect solution for all 6 types of expats and we can advise you on the best location and property to suit your individual needs. Contact us and let us help you find your perfect base for expat life on the Costa del Sol.    

Spain recognised for amazing quality of life

Spain recognised for amazing quality of life

 

Spain was ranked in third place out of 68 destinations for its exceptional quality of life in the Expat Insider 2018 survey.  This survey was completed by over 18,000 expats living abroad and offers great insights into the merits of different countries for expat living.

The Quality of Life Index ranked countries based on leisure, health and well-being, safety and security, personal happiness, travel and transportation and digital life. Spain did well in all these aspects, doing particularly well in the aspects of peacefulness (90%) and personal safety (93%). It achieved the top position for leisure options (93%) and climate and weather (96%).

We’re proud to see Spain scoring so highly, but not surprised, as the amazing lifestyle here is one of the biggest reasons we moved here and have chosen to stay and make it our home. “Lifestyle” is a hard thing to define, as it includes so many things, such as weather, culture, activities, food and attitude, but for us the Costa del Sol really has it all and this survey shows we’re not alone.

When we find our clients a quality long-term rental, it’s so exciting to offer them access to this enviable way of life. It’s clear that many of our clients have been dreaming of a life in the sun for so long and that making the commitment to rent long-term, is the first step to making that a reality.

Many of our properties have facilities which are emblematic of the Costa del Sol lifestyle – a pool, tennis courts, terraces and lush tropical gardens. Showing these properties to expats who are fresh off the plane from colder climates is a real pleasure. It’s even better when expats see how much they can get for their money here. The affordable living costs is one important aspect of life on the Costa del Sol, which makes the quality of life even better. You can have a lovely time very cheaply here if you know where to look. When the sun is out, everything is a pleasure and a stroll on the beach is free! Eat and drink where the Spanish do for the best bargains. There are still many places where you can buy a coffee or a small beer for a Euro and a 3-course lunch menu for under 10€ – amazing really, in such a cosmopolitan area.  

For more on why we think the Costa del Sol offers expats an amazing place to call home, read our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol. If you’d like us to help you make the dream of being an expat in Spain a reality, please get in touch. As well as a range of quality long term rental properties on the Costa del Sol, we are happy to share our insider knowledge about what to do and where to go to start to feel at home right away and to make the move as easy as possible. Get in touch today and take the first step to living here and enjoying the third best lifestyle in the whole world!