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A taste of Spanish culture will have you hooked

A taste of Spanish culture will have you hooked

Spain offers culture by the bucket load, from Renaissance palaces to fine art museums, there’s enough here to keep even the most impassioned culture vulture occupied for a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for a pleasant interlude on a beach holiday in Spain or a whistle-stop tour of the Spanish art scene, put these destinations on your wish list in 2018.

The Prado Museum, Madrid: Immerse yourself in the elegance of art’s classical era with the ultimate permanent exhibition of old masters. The gems displayed at the Prado include works by El Greco, Rapheal and Rubens, as well as Goya and Velasquez. This sparkling mix of painting and sculpture are the aesthete’s dream – and if you’re looking for a bumper dose of culture you can buy a discount ticket that also includes entry to the nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofia Arts Centre.

The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao:You could spend half an hour admiring this building without even venturing inside it, thanks to the architectural genius of Frank Gehry. The Basque Guggenheim is hard to describe without seeing it for yourself, but think a futuristic collision of spaceport and titanium ocean liner and you won’t be far off. Inside, a series of eclectic galleries displays one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art. There are also plenty of interactive exhibitions, so it’s a great place to take family of all ages.

The Alhambra Palace, Granada: If your taste in architecture trends towards the ancient rather than the modern then Granada’s glorious Moorish palace will give your heart strings a good thrum. It’s one of the most beautiful Arabian palaces in existence, and the design blends the grandeur of a sultan’s residence with the impregnability of a fortress. Time your visit to coincide with the annual International Festival of Music and Dance, which takes place within the palace walls and features some of the world’s top orchestras. It’s also possible to stay within the grounds in the Parador Hotel – although you’ll have to book several months in advance to secure a room.

The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia: If one museum isn’t enough to sate your interest in art, then how about a whole city packed with museums and galleries? Valencia’s City of Arts and Science is packed with buildings dedicated to art and entertainment, including the Principe Felipe Science Museum and the Palau de les Arts, Valencia’s opera house. There are also plenty of less serious attractions for kids and easier-going culture vultures – check out the beautiful aquarium at L’Oceanografic Park and the Planetarium at L’Hemisferic. As the birthplace of paella too, you need to try one of the beachfront restaurants providing this traditional cuisine,

Spain becomes second most-visited country in the world

Spain becomes second most-visited country in the world

5.1 million passengers welcomed by Malaga airport last year.

Latest figures show in 2017 Malaga was the second most popular airport in Spain, welcoming 5.1 million travellers, beaten only by Barcelona who received a staggering 10.3 million passengers.

Some 15.7 million visitors from the UK arrived in Spain on a budget airline between January and November 2017, a 10% increase on last year, making them the largest group of foreign visitors. Germany was the second largest group with 5 million visitors, followed by Italy with 4.9 million. It is not hard to see why tourism thrives in our Andalusian hotspot. Even with the collapse of Monarch other airlines like Jet2 are stepping up and increasing flights into Malaga and several other Spanish airports ensuring those numbers stay.

Spain is the second-most visited country, behind the USA, and relies heavily on international and local tourism. The tourist industry accounted for 11% of Spain’s GDP in 2016 and around one in eight jobs were tourism related. That doesn’t look likely to change as Spain invest in its infrastructure with new rail links and an extension to Malaga port to house more super yachts.

By the end of the third quarter, tourist numbers reached 75.3 million and according to John Kester, the director of statistics and trends at the United Nations world tourism organisation (UNWTO) tourist numbers are on track to be 10.5% higher than 2016.

The real draw to the Costa del Sol through the gateway of Malaga is of course the climate, where even in winter you can see temperatures of 20 degrees….perfect for a game of golf, a walk on the beach or even a hike in the countryside. You could be having tapas in the arty streets of Malaga at lunchtime and in the snowy mountains of the Sierra Nevada by early evening. Where else could you find this combination of seasons?

The luxury outdoors lifestyle is what keeps drawing tourists back to this Andalusian paradise, so how would you feel about living here year-round? Browse through our extensive property list – your dream Spanish home could be right there waiting for you.

Ten years of high speed rail travel to Malaga

Ten years of high speed rail travel to Malaga

The infrastructure in Spain is key to boosting sustainable tourist numbers and the AVE ends 2017 with 2.4 million passengers proving high speed train travel is popular for tourists and locals alike. Plans are also under way for new services such as a connection to Granada and faster service to Seville.

On 23 December 2007, a high-speed train arrived for the first time at Malaga’s main railway station, María Zambrano. The arrival of a Series 103 at about 12.30pm was a historic moment in Malaga province with the commercial service beginning the following day.

The service is marking its first major anniversary in fine form, with 20.5 million people having travelled between Madrid and Malaga during that time, and it has reached a new record this year with more than 2.44 million users. That is about 3.8 per cent more than last year.

Rail is the perfect way to travel, it allows for you to see the natural beauty of the country as you travel through it. Timeless and romantic, yet modern and high speed, if you haven’t enjoyed a journey by train we would highly recommend it.

Over the past ten years more direct connections have been added, with cities such as Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia, and next year there will also be a service to Granada. The journey to Seville from Malaga is also expected to become much faster in 2020. Lines are being built to other destinations as well, so the AVE high-speed services will continue to expand in coming years. The whole rail network with its epicentre in Malaga has been used by 27.5 million people since 2007.

The AVE has brought Malaga and Madrid closer together with an optimum journey time of just over two and a half hours, especially impressive for the inhabitants of the Spanish capital, where any journey within the city can take around an hour. From a business perspective, it can be said that the Costa del Sol has already become a technology park and hub for investment which is accessible from Madrid, and from a tourism point of view, it has become one of three major destinations for those seeking sunshine and beaches, together with Valencia and Alicante.

Christmas Markets on the Costa del Sol

Christmas Markets on the Costa del Sol

You don’t need to go far to get into the spirit of Christmas here in Andalucia. Whether the sun is shining or there are a few raindrops you can enjoy a little Christmas shopping and purchase a few novelty gifts at some of the loveliest markets from Malaga to Estepona.
Alternatively, we are blessed with some great places to shop for Christmas. From the upmarket shops and boutiques of Marbella to the sprawling shopping centres of Miramar and Centro Plaza. You can also take a trip into Gibraltar for a few VAT free goodies and excellent prices on gold from one of the many jewellers on Main Street.
If you love the idea of a Christmas market here’s a list of some places you can find them.

MALAGA
One of the most popular in the whole province, the capital’s market runs from November 24 to January 7 at the Pier One in the port.

FUENGIROLA
Find food stalls, popup restaurants and more at the Plaza de la Constitucion. Open from November 15 to December 14 (10.30am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 9pm)

TORROX
This year’s Torrox market runs from December 5 to 10 (from 5pm) and from December 6-10 11am to 9.30pm at Restaurante Horto-Malaga

MARBELLA
This is a one day event at the La Virginia on December 8 so catch it whilst you can.

BENALMADENA TRADITIONS FESTIVAL
This too is a one-day affair on December 9, at Plaza de la Mezquita, Arroyo de la Miel
BENALMADENA MARKET
Running on the Avenida de la Constitucion from December 1-10.

ESTEPONA
In the centre of town there is a huge Christmas atmosphere with performances by choirs and nativity scenes and a Christmas concert, Christmas sweets contest and a Christmas market until January 5. The start date of the market has not yet been confirmed.
Further along the coastal highway in Manilva, this year there is a Gastronomic Fair being held this weekend. You can try and buy local produce and watch the lights switch on.

Property completions are on the up

Property completions are on the up

More residential properties are being completed now than any other time since the crash.
Between January and July, 33,085 homes, mostly apartments were finished according to the Ministry of Public Works. This represents a 39% increase from this time last year.
In 2007 there were 641,419 properties completed, in the following year that figure plummeted by 94%.
This year private developments have gone up 37.4% with the total amount of money spent on finishing these buildings rose as well to just under €4.4 billion. There is a real confidence in the market again now with recent legislation regarding off plan properties boosting that too.
As a long-established estate agent on the Costa del Sol we know what to look for in new developments and this is why we choose our exclusives and the developers we work with carefully.
Always looking for the best location, facilities and broad range of properties to suit all our clients tastes and budgets. Meanwhile property prices are reported to be 4.3% higher in October according to property valuation firm Tinsa.
The market has made great progress throughout this year hopefully starting 2018 on a positive note. Spain still remains one of the most desirable places to purchase property whether you are looking to relocate or have a holiday home here.
You can still get excellent value properties on the Costa del Sol compared to many of its European neighbours and this teamed with the climate and lifestyle you have here make for a desirable combination.
Whether you are looking to buy or sell the time is right. Your dream property in the sun is here waiting for you and our team will guide you around the best areas to find the right property to suit your lifestyle.

image: Designed by evening_tao / Freepik

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