Christmas on the Costa!

Marbella christmas altavistapropertyFor many of the vastly cosmopolitan town of Marbella, Christmas without cold and snow is a welcome change. Many of the visitors and full-time residents from Northern Europe are used to having to wrap up warm in December and seeing the sun at this time of year can be somewhat of a revelation. However this doesn’t mean that Christmas must be cancelled! In fact, Marbella can be a magical place to spend Christmas with the added advantage that it is pleasant to step out of the house and wander around without worrying about frostbite. Although if you feel it’s not Christmas without icy fingers, the ice-rink outside El Corte Ingles in Málaga is definitely the place to head for.

Festive illuminations are always the best indication that Christmas is around the corner, and we are in for a treat from the end of November when San Pedro, Marbella and Málaga turn on their lights. Málaga in particular has become famous for the Christmas decorations that provide a breath-taking ceiling to Calle Larios, the main pedestrianised area of the city. They display choreographed shows at set times every evening set to music resounding around this beautiful city centre. If you intend on going to see these shows, confirm first which time suits you best and go early. The centre gets packed with sight-seers and while it is a convivial atmosphere, going early ensures the best vantage point without having to push through crowds.

Christmas markets are always a great way to pass the time while picking up seasonal treats, and Puerto Banús has one of the best. Held every year in the main square of Puerto Banús, plaza de Antonio Banderas, this market sees lots of stallholders offering everything from Christmas baubles to warming scarves. There are usually games and toys to keep the little ones occupied as well as the bars and restaurants that surround the square for when the grown-ups need a break.

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Santa to tell him what gifts you’d like to receive, so head to Marbella’s largest shopping centre, La Cañada, with its enormous Christmas tree and see the gentleman himself!

This is just a small selection of the exciting treats ahead for this festive season in Marbella, a magical time with or without snow!

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What to Eat at Christmas in Spain?

marbella-restaurantsAs small children we can’t wait for our Christmas gifts and the selection boxes and tins of chocolates that were only seen around this time of year. As we get older, however, we come to look forward more to the traditions and special foods that we only have at this time of year and that get us into the Christmas spirit. Here we present an overview of the seasonal specialities to be enjoyed in Spain.

Christmas Eve or La Noche Buena
Like many Catholic countries, Spain celebrates on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, with the main feast usually held in the late evening of 24th December. The privileged classes of yesteryear would have enjoyed pavo trufado, or turkey stuffed with truffles as their main course. These days this dish is less likely to be seen, however, the emphasis is definitely on indulgent feasting, with delicacies such as lobster, langostines, lamb or suckling pig often being the star attraction. Seafood soup, many types of cheese and cured hams will also play a part in this great banquet. Often not starting until as late as 22.00hrs, this meal can continue late into the night. Many people will also attend Midnight Mass, less popular than it was, but still quite an important part of many family celebrations.

Sweet Treats
By far the most popular sweet treats to enjoy over the holiday season are polverones and mantecados. A type of crumbly Spanish shortbread made with flour, sugar, milk and almonds, these are usually presented as individually wrapped biscuits. Polverones are known as such due to the dusting of icing sugar with which they are covered – polvo meaning dust in Spanish. Mantecados are made from manteca (lard), but are delicious nonetheless! If you are offered a rosquillo de vino, make sure it is accompanied by a glass of red wine, as these aniseed biscuits are made for dipping! Turrón nougat is also a favourite, with Turrón de Alicante a type of hard nougat filled with almonds not unlike nut brittle. Turrón de Jijona meanwhile is a softer version and kinder on the teeth!

This is just a small taste of the Spanish specialities you definitely need to try when in Marbella this holiday season!

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More New Property Builds Completed

avs01133-apartments-penthouses-05-webThe number of new properties completed in Spain during the period January to August 2017 totals 36,000. This is quite an exceptional figure, and represents an increase of 39.7% on the same period in 2016, according to respected property information website Spanish Property Insight.

This is something of a turn around for Spain. For example, in 2007 there were 641,419 properties completed, and this dropped by 94% over the nine years to 2016, which is when we first saw the cranes and return to action.

This remarkable new trend in the number of new properties being built reveals that the demand is there for Spanish properties. It also points to the fact that any excess in the number of resale residences for sale has been removed and that the resale side of the market is back to stable conditions. Everyone is aware that there was a glut of older properties for sale following the recession, but now that this issue is resolved, new homes are filling the rise in demand for properties on the Costa del Sol.

Of course, it is not just the fact that more properties are being sought; another important factor in this explosion of new builds is the design. New buyers are often seeking the contemporary architectural style, which one only finds in the new builds of the past two years. It is evident that where there were once only a handful of villas available that incorporated the open-plan layouts with Scandinavian-styling and an emphasis on light-filled interiors, now there are a significant number of luxury villa, and most importantly, apartment complexes, providing the latest in both exterior and interior design, plus the most up-to-date finishes.

Private developers built the majority of new homes built in 2017 – 97.8% in fact—with local councils constructing the rest. These statistics show that private developers are feeling more confident this year and have increased their commitment to new builds by 38.4%. And with good reason, because the value of the homes built this year has increased by 44% to reach €4, 736.5 million.

If you would like to see any of the new Marbella property developments Altavista Property has in its portfolio, we will be happy to show you them. Just contact us!


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