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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Walks around the Costa del Sol

The cooler temperatures but mostly sunny blue skies found on the Costa del Sol during the winter months can combine to create the ideal climate for exploring some different areas, away from the beaches, palm trees and tourist hot spots. Pack a bottle of water and some snacks, pull on your comfy walking shoes and take a hike on a recognised walking trail to see a whole different side to this area of Spain.

In Marbella
La Concha mountain stands proud above Marbella. Its iconic peak may not be the highest in the Sierra Blanca range, but it is certainly the most well known. While most may admire it from the sanctity of Puerto Banús’ bars and restaurants, those who have climbed it say it’s an experience not to be missed.

The View from La Concha
However, equally it’s not an experience to be taken lightly! One of the most challenging inland walks on the Costa del Sol, it is recommended that you climb La Concha in a group, with a leader who knows the way and is confident of the terrain and the route. It can take between four and a half and six hours and is graded “difficult” by local walking guides. A 15km circular walk, this route comprises a climb of at least 500m.
If the walk is too challenging for you and your party, it’s still worth the drive up to the starting point where you can stroll around and admire the view. From Marbella, follow the Ojen road (MA-469) until you see a sign pointing left to Refugio de Juanar. Take this road and keep going along the track until you reach the point where cars cannot access any further.

In Benahavis
There are excellent opportunities for strolling, walking or hiking around the picturesque area of Benahavis. One popular 12km circular route follows the Rio Guadalmina to the source of Benahavis village’s water supply – it’s graded easy so ideal for groups of mixed ages and abilities and usually takes around two hours.
As you arrive on the outskirts of Benahavis from the coast, turn right at the roundabout following signs to the Gran Hotel Benahavis. Once past the hotel, keep following the road until it ends at the large dam where there is normally ample parking. When you walk in this area, make sure that you stay on the western side of the river to avoid encroaching on private land.

In Manilva
West of Estepona and inland of the Port of La Duquesa, is the municipality of Manilva, home to the gorgeous Canuto de la Utrera canyon which ascends from the Manilva Rio to the Sierra de Utrera.
This walk, popular with dog walkers and more serious hikers takes in a variety of sites that you would never know existed unless you’d been forewarned. The smelliest of those is the small Roman sulphur spa which you will undoubtedly smell before you see! Popular with locals who swear that the water is beneficial to the skin, it is said to have been frequented by Julius Caesar himself! The baths can be quite busy, particularly on warmer Sundays, with those bathing or collecting the healing liquid to take home and add to their baths.
From the coast, turn right at the Lidl supermarket in Sabinillas and follow the road inland, underneath the toll road and past the hedonistic Roman Oasis restaurant (open during the Summer months only) and Venta Los Alamos. You will undoubtedly see other cars parked ahead near the Ermita de San Adolfo.
From here you can walk in many different directions but most cross the small stream to the west and then follow the trail to climb the canyon route. It’s a medium grade walk as there are some boulders to clamber over so sensible shoes are required!
For full details of these and other walks, visit the tourist offices in each town to obtain maps and find out times for guided walks. Several books have been published with step-by-step route plans which seasoned walkers may find useful.

Source: Altavista Property
+MJ Liggan
+Altavista Property International 
+Craig Cooper
+Craig Cooper 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The ‘Alps’ on your doorstep – skiing Costa del Sol style

The Costa del Sol reveals just how glamorous it can be when it offers the chance to be on the ski slopes in the morning and on the beach in the afternoon – or vice versa. Just about two hours from Marbella’s palm-fringed beaches and luxury resort hotels lies the Sierra Nevada, home to mainland Spain’s tallest peaks and Europe’s southernmost ski resorts.

The most prominent of these is located on the northern slopes of the Veleta, one of the highest mountains not just in the Sierra Nevada but in all of Spain. Situated less than 30 kilometres from Granada and about 100 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea at Nerja (a little east of Málaga), this is a region of quaint mountain villages set in deep valleys and topped by a natural wonderland of snowy peaks.

Here the season can last from November to April, with over 100 kilometres of runs in conditions that attract large numbers of Spanish and international winter sports enthusiasts as well as international competitions. The growing popularity of skiing and snowboarding in this region has led to the creation of true alpine-style ski resorts, complete with ski schools, children’s facilities, professional instructors, fine dining, shops, nightlife and, of course, luxurious hotels and spa facilities.

Some see this as an extension of the Costa del Sol’s expertise in luxury tourism and hostelry, and while Marbella institutions such as the Marbella Club Hotel do operate exclusive boutique hotels in the ski resorts they have an ambience and appeal all of their own. This being Spain, however, the Sierra Nevada experience is as much about nightlife, good food and socialising as it is about winter sports, so if you go, look out for the fine restaurants, the luxurious spa hotels and the trendy night spots.

The popularity of skiing in the Sierra Nevada has made getting there remarkably easy too, with motorways running most of the way and bringing the ski slopes to within an easy run from the golf courses, beaches and country clubs of Marbella.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Property Buyer's Guide to Marbella

Property Buyer's Guide to Marbella

What Spain is doing to beat the crisis

For the past few years we’ve been hearing a lot about the woes of the Spanish economy, its real estate sector, national debt and banks that have needed bailouts, but fortunately another picture is beginning to emerge.
In the 1960s Spain emerged from recession primarily through the development of industry and tourism. By the time the country joined the European Union in 1986 it had established itself as a major manufacturer of cars, textiles, shoes, furniture and a host of other products, as well as the number one summer holiday destination in Europe.
Then came a period of grand infrastructural projects financed in part by the EU, and before long the economy was driven primarily by construction of airports, roads, railway stations, shopping malls, offices and homes. It is this sector that has suffered heavily in the current economic downturn, and while it and other traditional drivers of the Spanish economy are already showing regionalised signs of recovery, many have realised that the way out of this recession is through export, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
MJ Liggan of Altavista Property says: “If Spain is to prosper in the coming decades it will have to prove itself on the international stage as never before, developing expertise in technology, design, luxury items and other specialised fields, and selling these products and services globally. We are only at the beginning of this restructuring of the economy, but already there are plenty of companies that are leading the way and showing how it can be done – the likes of Iberdrola, Sacyr Vallehermosa, Gamesa, Acciona, Amadeus, Indra and Grifols.”
“Having invested in R&D, product development and the nurturing of both technical and commercial talent, they are now reaping the benefits in the form of important international projects. You see, Spain is already adapting to the new economic reality and moving in the right direction, so while austerity is still biting and much remains to be done there, are also a lot of green shoots coming up all around us.’
Just look at this video and you’ll see that a lot is already in motion to beat the crisis!