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,
Malaga is an ever-developing city with millions spent by the council over the last ten years to enhance the cultural aspects of the city, it now rivals Barcelona and Madrid in terms of arty experience. The city boasts over thirty museums and has a multitude of galleries and exhibitions, ideal for a rainy day or just for something a little different.
Any trip to Malaga is best done when the streets are calmer so September and October are perfect for exploring. Here we look at five of our favourite cultural delights.
- The Picasso Museum – Spread over twelve halls, the permanent exhibition includes numerous classic and famed paintings and is a lovely collection for novices, while aficionados will find enough to keep them engaged long after the visit. Beyond the artist’s more recognisable paintings, and pieces from his various stylistic periods, the permanent collection houses sketches, sculptures and ceramics. Three more temporary exhibit rooms round out the experience.
- The Malaga Museum – Housing some 15,000 archaeological artefacts and more than 2,000 fine arts pieces, this comprehensive museum charts the city’s history from Prehistoric times up to modern day. There’s a rich collection of 19th century Spanish art, including all of the most important painters of the local Malaga school.
- The Carmen Thyssen Museum – Comprising hundreds of works from the personal collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, highlighting the various genres of 19th century Spanish art, from Francisco de Goya to Pablo Picasso. Included is a cannon of the most famous of Andalusian artists, such as Malaga’s own Felix Revello de Toro The Thyssen museum has been a must-see destination for lovers of Andalusian art since its opening in 2011.
- The Flamenco Art Museum – Flamenco art runs deep in Andalusian veins and Malaga itself has an important historical relationship with the art form, in fact, the museum is one of the most important of its kind in all of Spain. The Flamenco Museum of Malaga houses a gathering of more than 5000 pieces, half of those comprising a historical collection of recordings dating to the 19th century, along with centuries old guitars, traditional garb representing the various Flamenco forms and Flamenco inspired art and photography.
- The Contemporary Art Museum – 400 or so permanent works prominently feature some of the most memorable artists of the late 20th century with a focus on North American artists such as Lichtenstein and Stella. Expect quirky works here, and once you’ve had your fill, head into Malaga’s up and coming, artsy SOHO district characterised by its lively café culture.
For all of us that live locally or have holiday homes here Starlite is one of the many fabulous reasons that we do. This glamorous musical event spans across the summer months in Marbella and features some truly phenomenal world renowned and national Spanish artists.
What is Starlite?
It was six years ago, Starlite founders Sandra García-Sanjuán and her husband Ignacio Maluquer, discovered Nagüeles quarry in the heart of the mountains of Málaga. They knew they had found the perfect place to start the Starlite adventure, and began to transform this natural Amphitheatre into the ideal place to bring together the cream of music, spectacle and entertainment, which the public can enjoy over 45 days in summer.
Every year Starlite is becoming a bigger and better multinational feast of the senses. Now in its 6th year in Marbella and 2nd in Mexico. The event allows you mix and match your tastes in music with international and national talent blended for the perfect cocktail of auditory pleasure.
The 2017 line up so far
14/7 Juan Magan
16/7 Sebastian Yatra
16/7 Art Garfunkel
18/7 Juan Luis Guerra
19/7 Anna Netrobko & Yusif Eyvazov
20/7 Elton John
21/7 Manuel Carrasco
22/7 Pancho Cespedes and Pablo Milanes
25/7 Piso 21
25/7 The Bootleg Beatles
27/7 Mikel Erentxun
29/7 Antonio Jose
30/7 Disney in Concert
31/7 Carlos Vives
1/8 Joaquin Sabina
2/8 Luis Fonsi
4/8 Miguel Bose
5/8 The Cranberries
8/8 Ainhoa Arteta
9/8 Ana Torroja
10/8 Eros Ramazzotti
11/8 Dani Martin
12/8 Nina Pastori & Antonio Carmona
15/8 Andrea Bocelli
16/8 Ben Harper
18/8 Noche Movida
22/8 Mago Pop
24/8 Jason Derulo
25/8 Manuel Carrasco
There literally is something to appeal to every musical taste. Of all the fantastic events dotted around the region throughout the year Starlite is one to look forward to. Book your tickets in advance to make sure you don’t miss your favourite act. Over and above these shows there is a gourmet area and a restaurant where you can dine under the stars. Just another reason to love Marbella.
Imagine a fantastic evening of fine dining and dancing under the star then heading back to your own slice of home in Marbella. We have some truly enticing properties and one might just be your dream home so contact one of our team today on 34 952 939 460 .
Semana Santa is one of the best times to be in Spain as the festivities held around Andalucia are breath-taking. It is a brightly coloured celebration of Spain’s culture and religion, it also heralds the start of Spring in this part of the world when those chiringuitos open and life flows into the coastal resorts after winter.
Semana Santa is a magical time in Spain and one of the most lavish and exuberant celebrations of the many fiestas held throughout the year. The nazarenos in the parade cover their faces in shame and mourning for the sins committed throughout the year. Clowns and criminals are a manifestation of this shame and the residents behind those costumes are upholding a religious tradition that is an amazing sight to behold.
There are parades and festivities during holy week in most towns across the region, but the most popular places to see Semana Santa parades are Sevilla and Malaga. If you have never been in Spain during these festivities then put it on your to do list. It certainly is an experience you’ll never forget with thousands of people celebrating in the streets.
Spring on the Costa del Sol is simply beautiful. Warmth emanates throughout the day and into the early evening, nights become lighter and more lively and bars and restaurants become fuller particularly at weekends. Coastal resorts like Marbella, Estepona, Calahonda, Benalmadena and Mijas get a new breath of life into every aspect of them as holiday makers start the season. Beaches start to see swathes of people flocking to enjoy the balmy weather. This is the real Spain full of sunshine, laughter and outdoor living.
There are some truly amazing golf courses dotted around the Costa del Sol and although they attract players throughout the year these wonderful international hubs for fun and networking kick up a notch as Spring arrives.
Here in the property market new developments are being launched every week as interest in Spain rises nationalities and in particular British. Such are the range of properties available that you can find anything from a small holiday home on a prime golf course, a frontline beach property or a top of the range luxury villa as a main or second home in Spain. Whether you are looking for an investment property or a new life in sunny Spain our team can help you find the home of your dreams.
You’ve heard us boast about Marbella time and time again and hopefully we’ve managed to convince you that Marbella property has the potential to be a great investment. Yes, Marbella is the centre for all that’s wonderful on the Costa del Sol. It’s a coastal city with a rich and vibrant culture, fantastic architecture, stunning surroundings and a fabulous night life.
Today we’re going to explore little known gems, that extend inland from the Costa del Sol. Located just a few kilometres inland, you can easily take a drive or find a great tour company to take you on an adventure.
Located just a few miles past San Pedro, midway (approx. 20kms) between the towns of Estepona and Marbella, and only a 7 minute drive off the motorway, you’ll find Benahavis. At its heart is a charming whitewashed hillside village, virtually bursting with colourful character. As you head up the narrow winding road, following dramatic curves and twists, you will be captivated by the breath taking mountainous terrain.
Benahavis has its place in history, dating back to the era when the Moors controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula. That said, today it is more famous for its cornucopia of eateries – often referred to as the ‘kitchen of Andalucia’ – with restaurants and tapas bars of all shapes and sizes on every one of its tiny streets and plazas. Tourists tend to make a beeline for the stylish Amanhavis Hotel and restaurant, and art lovers can visit David Marshall’s gallery.
Besides the gastronomic delights, you can explore numerous hiking trails snaking around the edge of the village. The gorge for example is a great place to visit in the summer, but you will need to get there early. This is a great place for the entire family to enjoy; streams, cork forests, and hiking trails are just the tip of the iceberg.
There is a lovely mix of new and traditional homes for sale in and around Benahavis. The expansive area of land surrounding the village is considered to be one of the most private and luxurious residential areas in Spain – La Zagaleta. Grand estates are protected from prying eyes, making it the number one choice for foreign dignitaries, socialites and celebrities. Exactly who owns property in La Zagaleta is a closely guarded secret….
Ronda can be described as historical, beautiful and it is also as good as located in the clouds. The town is primarily accessed via a long and winding road that seems to get steeper every minute. However, once you arrive you will be instantly rewarded for your efforts. Sitting above a ravine, surrounded by river valleys, Ronda is situated in an area called the Serrania de Ronda, and has a population of 35.0000. It also just happens to be one of the most beautiful and most visited towns in Spain.
If you fancy harking back to a bygone age, Ronda is definitely the place to visit, as it has retained its unique rustic olde worlde Spanish charm. You can either drive, or take one of the many organised tours leaving from the Costa del Sol. The town’s history is extremely interesting and there are plenty of opportunities to learn more by visiting its monuments, such as the world famous Puente Nuevo bridge overhanging the insanely dramatic ravine, the bull ring museum Real Masestranza de Caballeria de Ronda or to follow in the famous footsteps of Ernest Hemmingway and Orson Welles by taking a Writer’s Tour of Ronda. Alternatively, soak up the atmosphere over a leisurely lunch in one of the many fine dining restaurants or take a tour in a horse drawn carriage.
If you’re willing to head to the other side of Malaga, Nerja should be right at the top of your must-see list. Most tourists exit Malaga airport and head straight towards Marbella, keen to start their holiday or to simply relax in their beautiful beachfront Marbella villas. Yet, if you head in the opposite direction to the most eastern corner of the Costa del Sol, you’ll find this gem of a village.
Nerja was once a small fishing village; today it is a quaint coastal village known for its lack of high rise apartments and the world famous Nerja Caves. The ‘Cuevas de Nerja’ was first opened to the public in the 1960s, and since then they have hosted an annual music festival, boasting names such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Spain’s very own Jose Carreras.
One of Nerja’s most popular attractions is the Balcon de Europa (the Balcony of Europe), an incredible promenade that stretches along the edge of a cliff! This was once the location of a Moorish castle and the platform has amazing views of the Mediterranean coastline.
What’s more, it’s only an hour and a half drive to the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada. It is considered to be one of the most popular tourist resorts on the Costa del Sol….and with good reason!
Weather forecasts in the UK are suggesting an extremely cold December with blizzards but it is not all doom and gloom as there is the possibility of snow on Christmas Day. Yet canny travellers and those who have already invested in Marbella real estate and are familiar with the Costa del Sol have already sussed that within a couple of hours flying time they can leave the chills behind in favour of some much needed winter sunshine.
So what is December like in Marbella? In a word, it is marvellous. After a couple of weeks of much needed rain in November, December blossoms again into a sun-drenched destination, warm enough for the beach, if not for full-on immersion in the sea. If you haven’t yet visited the Costa del Sol during December, you may be surprised at just how festive the place feels, particularly the beautiful festive lights lining the streets. Here is a cross section of what you could be getting up to if you are planning on visiting Marbella in December 2016.
Malaga Christmas Lights (http://www.malagaweb.com/blog/events/christmas-in-malaga/)
Let’s start with the Christmas lights in Malaga which are deemed to be one of the best in the world with over 4 million lights, concerts and shows. If you fancy going on an organised tour, you can catch a bus directly from Marbella to Malaga town centre to enjoy the lights on the main high street Calle Larios. They were switched on 24th November until the 6th January 2017.
Christmas starts in November in Marbella
Marbella also rings in the festive season on the 24th November with a parade through the Old Town before the lights are turned on, followed by a children’s Christmas party in La Alameda Park.
Skiing in Sierra Nevada
If you fancy doing something a bit more energetic, there is the option of taking a day trip to Sierra Nevada. Check out the choice of organised trips such this one offered by local agent Marbella Adventures which sets off from Puerto Banus, Marbella and Calahonda.
Mundo Mania (family venue)
If you’re looking for an all-round family friendly attraction, Mundo Mania is due to open on 3rd December in Cancelada (close to our new development Le Mirage de Santa Vista). Billed as a centre to encourage play and learning, with everything from table tennis and pool for teenagers, playpens for toddlers and café bar and restaurant for those who just want to relax and chill out. Visit www.mundo.mania.com for more information.
Nikki Beach Marbella
At the other end of the spectrum, you can rely on Nikki Beach to provide entertainment of a more sophisticated nature. In addition to their programme of glamorous events they will be open Christmas Day and serving a traditional Christmas lunch of roast turkey and all of the trimmings. Find out what’s on at Nikki Beach here: http://www.nikkibeach.com/destinations/beach-clubs/marbella/events/
El Gordo Christmas Draw
Last but not least we couldn’t mention Christmas and December without including El Gordo Christmas Draw. Although this is nothing to do with the Costa del Sol, it is a Spanish institution that has taken place since 1812 and is the largest lottery in the world. But it’s the tradition of school children singing out all of the winning numbers and prizes (it used to be sung by orphans) on the 21st December that makes it really festive. Just imagine how much luxury Marbella real estate you could snap up with your winnings….