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Costa Blanca holidays

  • Blue Flag Beach Report

    Tue 03rd June 2014

     Alicante has more than any other province in Spain, with 60 beaches and 14 marinas scooping up one of the coveted annual awards reported by euroweeklynews .

    Valencia's beaches received 28 of the flags for its beaches and the region's third province, Castellon, was given 32 flags for beaches and one for a marina.

    With recognition for six more beaches and two more marinas, this was the best result ever, said Jose Ciscar, the region's vice-president.

    One in every five of the Blue Flags awarded in Spain went to a beach in the Valencia Community, Ciscar pointed out.

    Only the 123 awarded to Galicia in the north of Spain outstripped this region's.

    The Els Molins beach in Denia received a Blue Flag for the first time while Les Marines, also in Denia, and Teulada's L'Ampolla recovered those lost last year.

    BLUE FLAG: Moraig beach, Benitachell, one of the province's 60 best beaches.

    What you should know about this beach and how to get to it on page  http://www.villaspain.co.uk/beaches.php under Cumbre del Sol.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Teulada fiestas

    Tue 01st April 2014

    Enjoy the very little known week long grand firework displays and fiesta during the last week of April in Teualda, which is in celebration of San Vicente Ferrer. 

    Ermita_de_San_Vicente_Ferrer_(Teulada) must be one of the smallest and prettiest in Spain, so well worth stopping off.

    The church is  located close to the entrance of the Go Kart track on the road between Teulada and Moraira itself. There is a lovely tree shaded picnic and BBQ area just up a few steps behind the church, which has toilet facilities and a  modern play area for children.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Wi-fi Internet access whilst on holiday

    Tue 24th September 2013

     Some of our villas provide broadband internet access, and can be found using the extended search, or seeing the wi-fi symbol on the villa details page.

    Where this is not provided, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants giving free access and you can check up on your emails whilst enjoying a lovely coffee on a sunny terrace and watch the world go by.

    If you want more flexibility, and access at the villa, then the other option is pay-as-you-go provided by MOVISTAR and to purchase a specific dongle (46 Euros); a sim card (20 Euros w3hich includes 10 Euros' worth of credit); and costs approximately 3 Euros per week.

    You keep the dongle so you can use it next time you are in Spain, or pass it onto a friend.

    The best MOVISTAR shop is in Benissa, which is the motorway junction you have to come off at, and the shop is to the right, near the large Mercadonna supermarket, so you can do your shopping at the same time. They speak perfect English, as well as other European languages, and are happy to advise.  

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Know the Car Rental Cons

    Tue 14th May 2013

    A common marketing con with online car rental comparison sites is that they state the car hire includes for example third party cover, collision damage waiver and theft cover, whereupon the hirer assumes this package is the equivalent to fully comprehensive insurance cover, when it doesn't whatsoever.

    As such, if the insurance only includes the above cover then the hirer will be asked by the clerk at the destination airport car rental desk for a large deposit of up to 1,000 Euros or more to cover possible damage to the car, should the hirer refuse to allow them to clear this on their credit card then the hirer will be forced to take out additional insurance cover. The extra cost is between 7-10 Euros per day excluding VAT, resulting in an extra 60-85 Euros per week for the cost of the hired car. This additional insurance cover may well include a high excess liability in each of the categories of insurance cover that is taken, so it's vital to check the excess liability before booking.

    Other insurance cover may well then be offered at the destination airport to include protection to reduce ones excess liability and personal accident insurance, along with breakdown cover protection too.

    Quotes given online do not always reveal what they exclude. For example if the quote does not state that it includes breakdown cover then the hirer should assume it does not, which can then result in the hirer being asked to pay an extra charge at the destination airport of around 35 Euros per week, unless the hirer is willing to accept the risk of being responsible for the cost of the vehicle's recovery. Interestingly, personal accident insurance automatically forms part of the protection cover a hirer would normally get when fully comprehensive insurance is purchased, but this is regrettably not the case when the insurance is packaged separately and fully comprehensive cover is not included.

    What has happened in the car rental industry is that most car rental firms have replaced or repackaged fully comprehensive insurance with principally third party then added on collision damage waiver and theft cover, in order to ensure that their online quote is kept very low and appealing, thus enabling the rental firm to make up their profit by selling the extra insurance at the destination airport.

    By segmenting the insurance cover in this way means that many car rental firms can apply their own extra charges for each type of cover, thus effectively doubling or tripling the cost of the original car hire quote on insurance alone. Moreover, that this key information is only brought to the hirers attention at the destination airport and not at the time of booking.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Auction for charity

    Tue 15th January 2013

    We are delighted to say that VillaSpain accommodation raised £400 at an auction for the Martlets Hospice in December, which was part of the fundraising for the Brighton Mayor’s charities

  • Bernia mountain walk

    Wed 19th December 2012

     A 30 minute drive from Moraira to the start of the walk is one of the most enjoyable and picturesque B road drives you can take along this part of the coast.

    Travelling south as you exit Benissa on the N332 turn right for Alcalali and then at 100 mts at the junction crossover  to follow the sign for Bernia.  Follow this winding road up the mountain with stunning views at every bend with the Montgo mountain behind you. At the top there is a T junction, so turn left and park under the trees in the little hamlet of fincas. See the sign for the walks and make a choice. The one we took was to the Cave Fort that ultimately takes you through a very low ceilinged cave (one mt high in places, 30 mts long), so a crab crawl is the only option. You exit with a view over the Altea and Benidorm  coastline.

    Going up at around 11am at this time of year ensured you were in the shade all the time and so very comfortable when you're not breaking into a sweat, but then with the sun on you as you exit the cave on the south side...just perfect.  Easy walking on narrow pathways with a small dog ( not ideal for small children).

    Follow the red and white painted track markers, but do check the arrow markers as it is easy to take a more difficult parallel track. Ensure you take good walking boots, a few layers of clothing, water and a snack to enjoy when sitting atop and looking down onto Altea. There's a font (water spring) before you ascend the mountain to drink from.

     A popular Bernia finca restaurant is about 1 km to the right of the T junction mentioned earlier, so worth a stop.

    Descend slowly back and take in again those breath taking views.

     

    Walking time 2 hours returning back to car park zone.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • PCI DSS Compliance

    Tue 02nd October 2012

     Streamline has confirmed that VillaSpain is now PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant! Acquiring this compliance is a significant achievement. Our PCI project took a number of months of diligent work to move all of our payment mechanisms over to DataCash, a MasterCard company.

  • Dramatic improvement on Google Maps

    Wed 22nd August 2012

    Google maps have improved dramatically the images you can see on each of our villa listings.

    Not only that but it now includes a 45 degree angle shot too.

    Take a look at any of our villas.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Safety tips when booking a villa holiday

    Fri 20th April 2012

    • A quick check around the villa upon arrival to your holiday accommodation is useful before you unpack.
    • Gas boilers that are not properly maintained, and exhaust their gases back into the house, will cause carbon monoxide poisoning: a well maintained gas boiler that is properly vented is vital. A gas certificate should also be issued for gas central heating installations.
    • Flexible rubber gas tubes are used in all houses that have a gas hob or a gas central heating system: these rubber tubes have an expiry date printed on them, as they last about 5 years. It is very common for people to forget to renew these tubes, which do become fatigued and can leak gas. Check the date on the tube, which you will find imprinted along the tube that connects the gas bottle to the hob. Inform the appropriate person immediately if you find the date has expired.
    • It is a common practice in Spain for the washing machine to be placed in the bathroom along with the electrical connection socket, but this is dangerous as the bathroom is a wet environment and the user is likely to be wet too. The socket should be in an adjacent room, or be located in its own utility room.
    • Some older villas have very low balustrades, or large gaps between the spindles that a young child can slip through, or that the balustrade is placed on the edge of the plot boundary that happens to have a 10 metre drop the other side. A good agent will have inspected and ensured that such information is in the details.
    • The tiles in bathrooms and around the pool do not tend to be nonslip, as such caution should be advised, particularly if children wish to run around the pool area.
    • Always ensure that an adult is present at the poolside, or that two responsible persons are present, as even 'no diving' warming signs do not necessarily prevent children from diving in. The pool depths range from 1-2 metres, so it's quite easy to dive in the shallow end and bump your head on the bottom.
    • The pine tree caterpillars known as 'Thaumetopoea Pityocampa' give an allergic reaction in the form of a rash and pain if their hairs touch you or your pet. Wherever you see a white fluffy ball in a pine tree, it is their habitat. They are small but nonetheless should be avoided. The only way to kill them is to cut away that branch of the tree into a metal container and burn them.

    There are many older properties that would not pass building regulation of today's standard in Spain, so do be aware of anything that does not look right for your own piece of mind.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Winter weather forcast for the UK

    Thu 13th October 2011

    Autumn 2011

    The UK can expect a similar theme to continue as we head into autumn (coldest summer), with a notable increase in usual wind strengths for this time of year across many parts of the UK, that will result in frequent and potentially damaging gale force winds and strong stormy features throughout autumn and winter. Although some places further South may see some spells of settled weather at times, the general theme for autumn as a whole looks largely wet and very windy with dominant grey skies. It will be generally unsettled and turn progressively colder with an early start to winter, especially more so in the regions of Scotland, Northern England, and Northern Ireland.

    Winter 2011-12 Update

    As we head towards winter, I expect to see the first signs of some moderate to heavy snowfalls as early as October or November in certain parts of the UK. In terms of the meteorological winter, I expect December, January, and February to experience below average temperatures, with the heaviest snowfalls occurring within the time frame of November to January across many parts of the UK.

    The most important factor within our weather forecasting calculations is solar activity and other major natural factors that it influences. Radiant energy from the sun is the primary influence on both the earth's ocean and atmosphere.

    Low solar activity and ocean behaviour alter atmospheric circulation and block jet stream patterns that create enhanced moisture in terms of snowfall. The UK and Ireland is hit by prolonged periods of extreme cold and snow from the Arctic regions, as cold easterlies or north-easterlies develop. Huge swirly low pressure systems also offer the potential for widespread disruption from heavy snowfall across many parts of the UK including the South, as they clash with the predominant cold air over the UK.

    Coupled with other in depth factors such as recent volcanic activity and changes to the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic drift that we consider, this does not bode well for the severity of the UK and Northern European winter of 2011-12. Frequent and prolonged cold spells with heavy dumps of snow from blizzard like conditions is likely across many parts of the UK. The areas we expect to be worse hit throughout include the vast majority of Scotland and the Scottish Highlands, Northern England, and Northern Ireland. We have particular concerns as to the huge implications that this may pose to the infrastructure of the UK and Ireland transportation systems/economy.

    James Madden (UK Long Range Forecaster - exactaweather.com)

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Simple case of damages or not?

    Fri 16th September 2011

    Damages

    Is the tenant responsible for this damage to two sun loungers, I ask?
    On the face of it, yes, as it looks like they were used as a diving platform possibly by children into the pool.

    The answer is no after further investigation. What has happened is that the plastic polymer resin has broken down because of sun damage, thus making the sun loungers inflexible and more brittle. The marbling effect, which looks a bit like ingrained dirt, gives an indication that the resin is breaking down.
    In such cases we believe tenants should not be charged for something that they break that would have broken anyway.

    Should an item break that is perfectly good and fit for purpose, then it is only fair and reasonable to the tenant to apply the ‘Betterment' legal rule. Which means if the life of say the sunlounger is 5 years when new, but is then broken after 2.5 years then the tenant is responsible for 50% of the cost of replacement and not 100%.

    Key words not sure what get used, so need to use tool?
    Villa damages, sun loungers, damages, fair and reasonable, betterment.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Perils of Booking a villa in Spain direct with owners

    Fri 04th March 2011

    Sunday Times exposes perils of booking direct with owners through DIY portals

    Did you see Found the Perfect Villa? in the Sunday Times Travel section on 20 February? (Visit the Times website to subscribe and view the article in full).

    Unsuspecting holidaymakers booked villas only to discover that the accommodation simply did not exist. Scrolling down these websites to the small print will give precious little comfort, with companies such as Holiday Home Rentals stating that it is:

    ‘unable to give any confirmation or guarantees regarding any of the properties advertised on its website'.

    Equally chilling is the statement by HomeAway Holiday-Rentals, which denies any responsibility for:

    ‘the quality, safety or legality of the properties advertised, the truth or accuracy of the listings'.

    HomeAway Holiday-Rentals goes on to clarify that in the event of fraud, compensation is restricted to 50 per cent of the rental, up to a maximum of £700. It's a high price to pay for being misled.

    Booking with ABTA-registered agents

    The article goes on to suggest that it is safer to book with ABTA-registered agents. But is this true? If you read around, you'll discover that the days of cast-iron protection from ABTA are over.

    Check out what ABTA itself says in The Guardian's End of Travel Protection, The Times' Travellers ABTA Protection Under Threat and ABTA Puts One Wheel Back on a Wheel-less Car

    Not only that, but ABTA had its code of conduct withdrawn by the Office of Fair Trading (read the full OFT report here). Or find out what travel industry bible Travel Weekly had to say about it in ABTA Criticised for Code of Conduct Violation

    And there are certainly plenty of disenchanted holidaymakers out there. Hear what some of them have to say on the forums on:

    Holiday Truths

    Holiday Watchdog

    Holiday Watchdog Forum

    Suggesting that consumers should rely on ABTA-registered firms is confusing and flawed. Quite frankly, comments made by ABTA, and the above reports, are scary. The message is clear. In these uncertain times, any company can go into liquidation and any individual can go bankrupt. So, how do you protect your well-earned holiday?

    The only answer is to pay by credit card, such as Visa or MasterCard (not a debit or charge card like Amex or Diners Club). In the event that something goes wrong, you should receive a 100 per cent refund, as advised by Which consumer magazine here

    How to find hand-picked villas in Spain

    Piece of mind is important when booking villas in Spain or anywhere. That's why VillaSpain does not apply a credit card surcharge when you use your personal credit card to book any of our villa Spain options. It's also why you can quiz us on each and every villa in our exclusive collection.

    We offer hand-picked luxury rental villas in Spain. We inspect and rate them regularly and believe that our customers deserve expert advice they can trust.

    Thinking of booking a break? Call us on 01273 623723 and put us to the test!

    Let us have your views on booking villas in Spain. Leave your comments here.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Spring has already sprung on the Costa Blanca

    Wed 02nd February 2011

     Almond blossom is always much anticipated by the locals in this area of Spain, as it heralds the warmer weather. The valleys become a carpet of colour as the blossoms fill the air with the sweet scents and photogenic colour. There are many ways to enjoy the different landscapes, and to drag you away from your rental holiday villa.
    You will see the blossom locally, but for a real spectacle head inland from the coast of the Costa Blanca to the Jalon Valley. It really is a treat, as you drive through these sleepy Spanish towns and villages, not touched by tourism of the Costas, and wonder at the peace and quiet of it all.

    The town of Jalon (Xaló in local Valenciano) itself is very pretty, and perhaps go there on market day on Saturday where the streets are filled with local produce, and they hold a famous antiques' market that goes on and on. If that is not enough to entice you then the many co-operatives sell locally produced wines at local prices!
    Whilst there you might want to drive further to the mountain restaurant 'Coll de Rates', which has stunnings views, and an extensive outside terrace, and you can enjoy typical local mountain food.

  • Romantic Getaways in Spain

    Wed 12th January 2011

     Want to woo your loved one? Book now to secure a hip hideaway for Valentine's Day. We've got so many villas guaranteed to melt hearts, you won't want to restrict romance to February.

    Cosy up for a long weekend, a leisurely week or longer still. Check out our villas in Javea, Moraira villas and apartments in Calpe. Whether you prefer flamboyant fiestas or non-stop siestas, we've researched ways to create the ultimate break.

    Top tips for romantic trips to Spain

    1. Find the perfect location
    For most of us, a trip for two involves seclusion, a drop of nature and utter relaxation. Pick the Jávea peninsula. No distance from Alicante or Valencia airport, it's blessed with authentic Spanish villages, glorious beaches, stunning scenery and easy access to cosmopolitan cities.

    2. Meander through food markets
    Before you batten down the hatches, saunter down to Jávea's indoor market in the old town and stock up on gourmet treats. Fill your basket whilst wandering around this impressive gothic building next to the Church of San Bartolomé. Head to the port for the freshest fish imaginable.

    3. Lazy lunch
    Enjoy a leisurely lunch. Duck into a pavement café at any of the pretty coastal towns. Eat, drink, people-watch and soak up the relaxed vibe. Tuck into spectacular seafood at restaurants throughout the area. Check out our restaurant recommendations.

    4. Chill out by the pool
    Head back to your villa, shut the doors on the outside world and enjoy peace and tranquility. Loll by the pool, drink in the views and drift away. Check our at a glance villa list for hand picked hideaway havens.

    5. Valencia city break
    We'll always have... Valencia. When you've had enough of your John and Yoko-style love-in, hightail it to Valencia. Packed with sackloads of style, it's the city with broad appeal.

    Tuck into paella (after all, Valencia is its birthplace) and knock back Agua de Valencia (a close cousin of buck's fizz, using those ubiquitous Valencian oranges and local cava).

    In March, join Las Fallas, a five-day festival of flames and fire. Marvel at the giant papier-maché figures (ninots). One ninot is saved from the flames by popular vote each year – visit the Museum of Las Fallas to see these spell-binding creations. Pyromania not your thing? Visit the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias for the breathtakingly futuristic architecture and overwhelming choice of cultural enrichment - opera, cinema, museums and Europe's largest aquarium, it's all here.

    6. Scenery and sunsets
    Wedged between the Montgó nature reserve and the deep blue sea, this area has knockout scenery and sunsets. Take countryside strolls, amble arm-in-arm on sandy beaches or picnic in rocky coves.

    Go on. Book a trip soon. Win their heart. But be prepared to leave yours in Spain.

    What are your top tips for romantic breaks on the Costa Blanca? Where are your best places in Valencia? Email stories and pictures of your favourite way to spend a Spanish holiday to blog@villaspain.co.uk

  • Facebook page announcement

    Wed 22nd December 2010

     

     Our new facebook page has just recently been activated and requires a jump start, so we kindly ask you to simply click on the 'Like' button from the page.

    If you click on the
    'Like' button before 31st December we will plant a tree for FREE for you.

    The Plant a Tree programme serves to offset CO2 emissions (one tree absorbs 0.71 tons of CO2 in its lifetime) and also helps communities in the developing world, for which we have already planted 7,500 since inception in March 2008.
    The intention of the Facebook page will be to have interesting news stories, tips, general info of the area, new listings, changes, offers, and such like.


    For full details about the Plant a Tree programme then click here.

    Compliments of the season.
    From the team at VillaSpain

  • There are a variety of things to do in Moraira, Costa Blanca

    Tue 21st December 2010

    One of the things I like about Moraira Costa Blanca is that it does not have those ugly high-rise blocks prevalent in most tourist destinations and no noisy nightclubs. However you can still enjoy the nightlife with good music and dancing in a number of bars.

     

    There are 2 sandy beaches, the larger one in Moraira itself and El Portet, a small bay, which are both blue flag awarded. You know the photos you see of restaurants right by the shoreline, or on a cliff looking across the sea and you know they are going to be expensive because of the location. Well here you can do that and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. There are lots of bars and restaurants in Moraira dotted along the coast. La Bona Taula, is just 1.5km along the Calpe road from Moraira offers fantastic food and amazing views over the bay. Another favourite is Le Dauphin in El Portet. Delicious food with spectacular sea views. You have to book if you want to sit outside as those tables are very popular as you can imagine. If you love seafood then the restaurant Piscis is the one to try. Stunning glass panels go around the inside of this excellent fish restaurant. Perfectly cooked fish and a free glass of cava for all guests. Our favourite dish sepia a la plancha and shared between 2 (cost 14 € for 2). Monkfish (rape) in green pepper sauce at around 21€. Also try the cocktail bar called Upperclub at the yacht club in Moraira, fantastic views, nice music and great cocktails. There are a variety of restaurants that are good quality and affordable.

     

    This area and the surrounding areas are steeped in history so plenty to see there too. We visited Guadalest , which was amazing. It’s a castle on a mountain and it really was like time stood still.

     

    Costa Blanca Golf Courses, Theme Parks, Water Sports, Cycling, Hiking, Rock Climbing …. The list goes on and on. I always stay in a Moraira villa and always book with Villaspain. They rent apartments too but I would go for a villa as you have your own space and privacy, which you appreciate after being out all day. Their page on things to do helped me plan our trip and also their customer forums had  a lot of personal reviews on Costa Blanca. 

     

    Posted by Jack Grogan

     

     

  • 11 Days off for the price of 3

    Thu 02nd December 2010

    Royal wedding date sparks holiday rush

     Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding day of Friday 29 April is set to spark a holiday booking spree as the date adds a fourth UK public holiday in the space of two weeks during 2011.

    Next year's Easter holidays (Good Friday 22 April and Easter Monday 25 April) and the Early May Bank Holiday (Monday 2 May) were already expected to create a surge in bookings as employees make the most of the extra days available in quick succession.

    With the addition of a public holiday on Friday 29 April for the royal wedding, it means that a typical employee finishing work on Thursday 21 April can take just three days holiday allowance and not return until Tuesday 3 May. Alternatively, a break beginning on Saturday 16 April will use up just seven days holiday to last until Tuesday 3 May.
    Check out our availability page showing a calendar view of which villas are available over the two month period in 2011.

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

  • Christmas Holidays in Spain

    Tue 12th October 2010

    Christmas holidays in Spain

    Ditch the commercial frenzy in Britain. Celebrate Christmas in Spain - Spanish style. With deeply religious foundations, there are breathtaking church services, elaborate nativity scenes and a genuine family feel. And some fabulous Christmas holiday deals.

    But don't imagine a country bound by staid, austere tradition. You'll find it hard to match the number and range of spectacular fiestas spilling onto the streets of Javea, Denia, Moraira and Calpe this season.

    Spanish Christmas traditions

    Get in the mood with a visit to the Nativity Scene Museum (Museo de Belenes) in Alicante. This quirky little treasure trove on Calle San Augustin houses hundreds of nativity scenes and figures from around the world.

    Christmas Eve/ Nochebuena - 24 December

    For everyone
    Follow the sound of the church bells at midnight summoning you to the local church for the Misa de Gallo, the Mass of the Rooster. Join in the raucous revelry on the route home as churchgoers sing and make music in the street.

    Christmas Day/ Día de Navidad - 25 December

    For families
    Relax at your luxury villa, sipping cava beside the pool whilst lunch cooks. Rent villas in Javea, Moraira or Calpe for a great escape. Visit Benidorm if access to non-stop entertainment is more your style.

    Holy Innocents/ Día de los Santos Inocentes- 28 December

    For jokers
    Watch out for pranks on this day! Youngsters light bonfires and order villagers to carry out civic duties such as sweeping the streets. Anyone refusing to comply must pay a fine, handily funding the celebration.

    New Year's Eve/ Nochevieja - 31 December

    For youngsters
    The party tends to start at midnight and go on until sunrise. Street parties abound. Tradition has it that wearing new, red underwear brings good luck, as does eating twelve grapes as each chime for midnight strikes.

    The calvalcade/ La Cabalgata - 5 January

    Three Kings day or Epiphany/ Los Reyes Magos - 6 January

    For children
    Processions snake through on the evening before the Epiphany and three wise men in sumptuous costumes throw sweets to wide-eyed children and crowds lining the streets. Children wake the next morning to discover their shoes crammed with presents.

    Christmas holiday deals

    The good news? Christmas getaways are incredibly good value. Find cheap flights and book your villa now. Let the celebrations begin!

    Have you enjoyed celebrating Christmas in Spain on the Costa Blanca or discovered any other Spain Christmas traditions? Email stories and pictures of your favourite Spain Christmas to blog@villaspain.co.uk

    Posted by Bruce Gibson

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