The Blairs are back in town!

Tony Blair
I can’t caption this photo without swearing

Ex-Prime Minister and warmonger Tony Blair has been spotted with his with Cherie, apparently soaking up some sun at a friend’s house in the little white village of Benahavis.

Tourists were surprised to see the couple at a restaurant in Puerto Banus having attended Sunday mass at church in San Pedro earlier in the day.

Rumors suggest Mr Blair may also be in Spain to meet with Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy while he is here, possibly to talk about the crisis currently crippling the country.

According to newspaper, The Olive Press, there has yet to be any photographs of the couple made available.

This is the third muppet… I mean, politician to visit the country in the last few weeks. Both Prime Minister David Cameron and his cowardly little wimp of a deputy, Nick Clegg, were here last week.

Cameron went to Mallorca and Clegg visited Valladolid, a few hundred miles north west of Madrid.

I hope Blair isn’t here too long. If I was lucky enough to bump into him I don’t think I could be trusted to be nice.

You need a holiday. You need Andalucia.

'You need a holiday. You need Andalucía.'
‘You need a holiday. You need Andalucía.’

IU tourism boss Rafael Rodriguez has launched a summer campaign to promote Andalucia under the motto ‘You need a holiday. You need Andalucía’.

He argues that if all residents in Andalucía stayed here for the summer they would make a substantial contribution to sustaining the regional economy during the crisis.

“I invite all residents of the region to discover Andalucía,” he said.

“It’s important to get to know the world, but that world starts with what we have to hand’.

It comes as Spain is also set to reduce the entry conditions for non-European tourists.

It will make it much easier for Latin Americans to have holidays in Spain.

Previously any non-European tourist who wanted to enter Spain for an unlimited time had to show a visa, a return ticket, a hotel reservation and enough money to cover the stay.

Meanwhile if they were staying in a friend’s house, they had to supply all the details of that person and the house, including proof of purchase or rental agreement.

But following complaints from Brazil and Mexico tourists only have to say who they are visiting and give the address.

Visit www.allaboutandalucia.com for plenty of good local suggestions

Source: The Olive Press

Spain is Europe’s cheapest holiday destination

The Post Office
Report shows Spain is Europe's cheapest

New figures released by the Post Office show that Spain has overtaken Portugal to become Europe’s cheapest holiday destination, narrowly beating the Czech Republic and Bulgaria and over a third cheaper than Turkey.

The Post Office’s “Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2012” shows that Spain has the cheapest in-resort costs in Europe and is only second worldwide, behind Sri Lanka.

The report looks at the costs of eight everyday items that are common holiday purchases. These include a cup of coffee, a packet of cigarettes and a three course evening meal for two adults.

The total cost of the items in Spain was £37.72 (€45.59) narrowly beating Prague in the Czech Republic with £39.57 (€47.87) and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria with £39.65 (€47.92).

The most expensive in Europe was Sorrento in Italy where the items total cost was a staggering £89.03 (€107.60) while Brisbane, Australia, was the most expensive worldwide with a total of £115.60 (€139.72) for the items.

Spain’s winning prices were as follows: Cup of coffee – £1.09 (€1.31), bottle of local beer/lager – £1.82 (€2.20), bottle/can of Coca Cola – £1.09 (€1.31), 1.5l bottle of mineral water – £0.35 (€0.42), suncream – £4.50 (€5.44), insect repellent – £2.50 (€3.02), a pack of 20 Marlboro Lights cigarettes – £3.64 (€4.39), a 3-course evening meal for 2 adults (incl. bottle house wine) – £22.73 (€27.47) – giving a total of £37.72.

Download the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2012

Holiday makers want more than just a break

Flamenco dancers
Spanish culture attracts tourists

Many people buy a property in Spain with the intention of renting it out to holiday makers and while this market is staying afloat it is changing and property owners need to adapt.

This is the opinion of the founder of Campaya Holiday Rentals, Claus Pedersen. He claims that many properties in Spain are set up for tourists who want a standard two-week holiday on the coast, but he added that travellers’ priorities are changing.

He commented that catering for the rental market “may not be enough to make your property stand out and attract the more niche-minded tourist”.

Campaya noted that cultural tourism is on the increase with many travellers more keen than ever to learn about the area in which they are staying and to have a more authentic or traditional experience.

The organisation has advised anyone considering purchasing a property to let in Spain to try and cater for more than just one demographic.

With so many properties for rent on the coast it is important to remember that if you’re property isn’t exactly right, the holiday maker will have a huge choice of other properties that may be. If you want your rental property to be rented then it must be attractive for the holiday maker – not just in terms of size but location, facilities and of course price.

Puerto Banús, Costa del Sol

Puerto Banus Marina
Puerto Banus Marina

Puerto José Banús, or Puerto Banús is a marina located in Nueva Andaluica, just west of Marbella on the Costa del Sol.

It was built in the late 60’s/early 70’s by Jose Banús and was inaugurated in May 1970 to the sounds of a young Julio Iglesias. The plan was for a luxury marina and shopping complex and it has since become one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Europe attracting over 5 million annual visitors.

Its position on the Costa del Sol means it is protected by the Sierra Nevada mountain range giving it a mean annual temperature of 18°C. Add this to the many beaches and you have a perfect destination for sun worshippers. The beaches are long and wide so rarely overcrowded and water-sports are plentiful. Kite-surfing, volleyball, jet-skis and surfing are all popular.

The small white buildings are typically Andalusian and the many small bars and restaurants located around the marina were built with the Spanish “al fresco” dining in mind. Most, if not all of the restaurants on the marina offer outside or open dining.

To eat and drink in Puerto Banús is an experience. From Chinese to Japanese and Russian to Persian, serving everything from burgers to fresh sushi there is something to suit everyone. Of course seafood is a very popular cuisine on the coast and you will find it fresh and well prepared.

Puerto Banus
Puerto Banus Luxury

Puerto Banús is well known for attracting the rich and famous and the streets are testament to this with the likes of Christian Dior, Gucci, Bvlgari, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and others plying their trade. Meanwhile, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Aston Martins line the streets. Head to the marina and marvel at the size of some of the private yachts there. From 5m to 50m, there are some impressive craft to be seen. You can also buy one as there are a few yacht retailers located around the marina.

There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the Puerto Banús area although not too many in the center. The Pyr is well located close to the marina and the main shopping area and although in Banús, is well priced. Locally there are numerous hotels including several that are listed in The Leading Hotels of the World. These include the Hotel Puente Romano and Hotel Marbella Club. Hotel Marbella Club has been cited as possibly the finest hotel on the Costa del Sol. It consists of numerous whitewashed Andalusian-style buildings, bungalows, and suites set in manicured sub-tropical gardens.

Property is at a premium in Puerto Banús for a few reasons; there isn’t much of it and it’s in high demand. Due to its size there hasn’t been any new development in the port for many years – there is nowhere left to build! Prices are high for property and you could expect to pay over half a million euros for a 2 bed apartment around the marina. Many of the urbanisations in the area are luxurious with all mod cons and unparalleled views of the sea and the mountains.

Pop down to the Costa del Sol for the summer – Puerto Banús has plenty to offer and you will find it hard to get bored. Eat in some of the finest restaurants in Spain, drink in some of the most exclusive bars and rub shoulders with the stars. Head out on the Mediterranean on one of the many organised excursions available for whale watching or dolphin spotting, or just sail into the sunset. Take the family for a picnic on the beach, or leave the kids at the hotel and have a romantic meal by the light of the moon.

Puerto Banús is definitely a destination you’ll enjoy and you’re sure to remember your visit.

Winter getaway to the coast

Costa del Sun
There's no frost here!

As Europe descends into winter many people are looking for some winter warmth.

Each year thousands of tourists flock to the Costa del Sol to grab a bit of guaranteed sun. With average winter temperatures around 18° C you are far more likely to get a Christmas tan on the Mediterranean coast than in most other European destinations.

Right now the weather is good – dry and sunny. During the day the sun shines warm through the clear blue skies. There is a chilly wind gently blowing but you only really feel it when you step out of the sun.

The beaches around Marbella are busy but not crowded. The soft sand of Marbella’s coast is always attractive to both tourists and residents alike and at this time of year, after a short lull, start to fill up with winter travellers.

Over the weekend I went for  a bike ride along the beach front from San Pedro de Alcantara to Marbella and it was perfect. The sun kept me warm while the sea breeze gently blew in. The waves lapped at the rocks and the sand and the sun glistened on the surface. I saw many occupied sun-loungers on the sand and even a few daring swimmers. I’m not going to pretend the sea is warm at this time of year, it certainly is not, but it’s tolerable for the hardy (or is that foolhardy?). The “paseo” (promenade) is very popular with walkers, cyclists and runners. It’s wide enough for two-way traffic and is good enough for older folk who enjoy a walk but need a level surface.

Life on the coast doesn’t stop just because it gets dark early (around 7:30pm) and Marbella and Puerto Banus continue to bubble throughout the winter. Some bars and restaurants close a little earlier but the majority do not. There is a huge amount of trade to be had over Christmas as the queues of planes deposit their sun-seeking cargo.

There is always a chance of rain during the winter months. We have already had some. Last week we had a months rain in one day (probably an exaggerated  estimate) causing flooding, and mess. When the rain comes it comes hard and fast and this often has an affect on everyone. The Spanish roads are not very good at coping with the sudden flow (even though it happens every year and is no surprise) and underpasses flood and many become impassable. If it rains while you’re here and you don’t have to go out then I suggest staying inside.

So choose – stay home, scrape the ice of your car before work, wear a scarf and gloves and trudge through the snow OR pack a bag, book a budget flight and come to Marbella. Spend your Christmas warm and relaxed. Enjoy your turkey on the beach front and start the new year relaxed and tanned.

Marbella

Marbella welcomes you
Welcome to Marbella

Sitting at the foot of La Conche Mountain, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea the Andalucian town of Marbella attracts millions of tourists each year.

With a large international community Marbella is the first choice destination for many holidaymakers across Europe. With its Mediterranean climate, traditional food and Spanish culture the region is also popular with Spanish tourists from around the country.

The main pulling power of Marbella has to be its beaches. Miles and miles of sandy beaches line the Costa del Sol. On most of the beaches you will find traditional Spanish beach bars “chiringuitos” serving drinks and food – look out for the barbeque-boats; freshly caught sardines cooked over an open flame in a little sand filled boat.

However, Marbella has more to offer than the beaches. The “old town” is a very small, traditional part of Marbella. Small white homes line narrow streets. The aroma of incense and fresh coffee hangs in the air. Tourists take photographs of the old Spanish architecture. Take a day to wonder around the old town, have a coffee in Orange Square – relax.

All of the towns around Marbella have their own street market once a week. Marbella holds theirs on a Monday morning and this is a great place to pick up a bargain. Clothes, food, plants and more are always on display.

A short stroll from the old town and you’re in modern Marbella – high rise apartment blocks, row upon row of shops, bars, restaurants – everything the tourist needs.  Shopping is always on the list for many tourists and Marbella has a great many shops. La Cañada is a huge shopping mall just behind Marbella town with over 150 shops on multiple levels. You are likely to find everything here from DIY to sporting goods. There is also a huge food quarter providing international cuisine from pizza to paella.

La Conche Marbella
La Conche watches over Marbella

For the sailors amongst you there is Puerto de la Bajadilla – Marbella’s marina. Here you will find shops, restaurants and water-sports. You can hire jet-skis, learn to scuba-dive or take a leisurely snorkel with the fishes. The sea around Marbella gets quite warm around July and August and, with good visibility is very popular with water-sports enthusiasts.

Just down the road from Marbella is the, slightly more famous, Puerto Banus – another marina but with delusions of grandeur. Banus is popular with the elite, the jet-set of Marbella. Gucci, Armani and Boss shops line the marina with numerous bars and nightclubs to keep the port alive 24hrs a day. A very popular nightspot with the tourists – not so much with the locals – there is always somewhere open in the port. Bring your wallet though – nothing is cheap in Banus. Expect to pay 10€ for a vodka and coke (or similar) and around 5-8€ for a bottle of beer.

Getting to Marbella is easy with Malaga airport and Gibraltar both around 40 mins away. Once in Marbella there is a good bus service with regular pickups and numerous stops throughout the town. Marbella’s taxis are also well priced and reliable. All taxis in Spain must be registered and all have fixed prices (This is due to change with the introduction of meters to all taxis expected by the end of this year). If the vehicle doesn’t have a small plate on the front showing “SP” then it is not an official taxi – do not get in. There is no railway service in Marbella yet. In fact Marbella is the only town in Spain with a population over 100,000 that doesn’t have a train station. Plans are in place for a coastal line but this is many years away.

The economic crisis in Spain has made a difference to Marbella. It’s a good deal quieter than a few years back. Prices here are not as low as they used to be but are still considerably cheaper than the UK. Smokers will enjoy cigarettes at around 4€ per pack. Drinkers will be amazed at the choice of wine available and the gourmet fans will enjoy the selection of reasonably priced fresh meat and fish available.

If you’re looking for a winter getaway Marbella is a pretty good choice. Winter temperatures average around 10-20c, considerably warmer than UK winters. It’s not unusual to spend your New Years Day recovering on the beach. Marbella has one of the best year-round climates in the world thanks, in part, to the mountains that sit behind it, protecting the town from the cold north winds.

Costa del Sol is the cheapest

Costa del Sol still pulls in the crowds
Costa del Sol beaches still pull in the crowds

The Costa del Sol has been named as the cheapest holiday destination for British families during October.

The Post Office Travel Money carried out a half-term survey comparing the total cost of 10 items commonly purchased while on holiday in the 12 top destinations for half-term holidays

The total cost of items, including toiletries, drinks and eating out, was £59.58 on the Costa del Sol, compared to £86.28 in Turkey.

Sarah Munro, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: “Price is bound to be a big consideration so it is good to report falling prices in five of the destinations that attract UK families.

“… in these uncertain times people would be wise to plan their trips carefully and make sure they are fully protected. A package taken with a well-established and ATOL-protected tour operator, together with comprehensive travel insurance, is probably the safest bet.  Families can also avoid wasting cash through expensive last minute airport currency purchases and can cut costs abroad by using a credit card like the Post Office card with 0 per cent commission on purchases overseas.”

The survey found that although prices for some of the items had increased in Spain by as much as 15% in the last year it was still the cheapest destination in Europe.

The most expensive Eurozone destination, according to the survey, was Tenerife where the 10 items cost £111 (€127), 86% higher than the Costa del Sol. Miami topped the list overall with a cost of £138.87 for the 10 items.

Full details and results can be found here: RoyalMailGroup.com

5 Bed Villa For Rent – Puerto Banús

5 Bed Villa For Rent – Puerto Banús – Ref: R261409

5 Bed Villa For Rent - Puerto Banus

LOCATION!!!!! Charming finca style of villa ONLY 1.5 KM FROM PUERTO BANUS, By the Golf Course Dama De Noche. It consist of independent living areas with bedrooms and kitchen, what makes it perfect for big families and group of friends. The villa has stunning panoramic views from the garden and terrace. Also has a big barbeque area with table tennis and pool bar .Good Sized Swimming pool .

Price: 3,500€ p/month

Setting: Close To Golf, Close To Port, Close To Shops, Close To Sea, Close To Town, Close To Schools
Orientation: South East
Pool: Private
Climate Control: Air Conditioning
Views: Mountain, Panoramic, Garden
Features: Fitted Wardrobes, Near Transport, Private Terrace, Solarium, Satellite TV, Games Room, Guest Apartment, Storage Room, Ensuite Bathroom, Marble Flooring, Bar, Barbeque
Furniture: Fully Furnished
Kitchen: Fully Fitted
Garden: Private
Parking: Street
Category: Holiday Homes

Ref: R261409

View this and other rental properties in Marbella

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