Top Things To Do in Marbella
06 May

Top Things To Do in Marbella

Located in the foothills of Sierra Blanca between Malaga and the Straits of Gibraltar, on Spain’s illustrious Costa del Sol is the city of Marbella known for its unique combination of adventure, luxury beach resorts, designer boutiques and a long chain of sandy beaches.

It’s no surprise that celebrities and jet-setters from around the world flock to these luxury resorts to soak up the sun and get a taste of conventional Andalusia. But apart from its vibrant social life, the town has this glamorous aura with its picturesque alleys and renaissance places.

Here’s a list of the things you could do while you’re vacationing in Marbella:

Old Town – The oldest part of Marbella is a maze of narrow pedestrian streets lined with beautiful boutiques and buildings topped with terracotta roofs, many of them date back to the Renaissance. At the heart of Marbella’s Casco Antiguo, the lively Plaza de Los Naranjos makes for a delightful place to enjoy live flamenco performance or sip a cup of coffee in the shade of fragment orange trees.

Puerto Banus – Situated at only a mere 6 km to the southwest of Marbella is the most modish marina in Spain. Puerto Banus offers everything from sandy beaches and high-end shopping to fantastic nightlife. If you’re a jet-setter or want to get a glance at how the rich and the famous play, this is the place to be. The reason Marbella draws any comparison with French Riviera is because of the boutiques, sports cars, and super yachts that meet your gaze everywhere you look.

Alameda Park – A few steps to the south of Marbella’s old town you’ll find the Parque La Alameda, which gives you the feel of a private garden. This small park boasts a magnificent central fountain decorated in plain Andalusian tiles, tropical plants and benches clad with traditional Andalusian hand painted tiles where you can hide from the sun in the afternoon and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. The park is bounded on two sides by a balustrade and is popular amongst locals and tourists alike as an idyllic place to take a break.

Avenida del Mar – It’s a broad pedestrian avenue with palm trees, meticulously-trimmed hedges and a collection of original sculptures by Salvatore Dali displayed in the open air in the heart of Marbella that present a sight to behold. Shops and bars line the walkway with plenty of welcoming benches to rest your tired feet and commend the remarkable sculptures.

Beaches for Day Trips – With so many exciting things to offer and places to visit, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Marbella is a beach destination. The beautiful town has a glorious 16-mile coastline divided over 24 fine sandy blue flag beaches. All along these beaches are bars serving drinks and typical Mediterranean cuisine right on the sand.

The New York Times on Why the Rich Are Now Parking Money in Luxury Homes
19 Nov

The New York Times on Why the Rich Are Now Parking Money in Luxury Homes

While owning residential real estate is typically part of a diversified investment portfolio, what is different in the last year or two is the role the uncertain economy is playing in making purchasing decisions.

The middle-market buyers are spending $250,000 to $500,000 on single properties, but high-net-worth individuals are spending $1 million or more in many markets, including the Caribbean and Europe, said Ms. Peddicord, the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. “We’re seeing increased interest in Panama and countries where the U.S. dollar is strong,” she said. These include France, Spain and Portugal.

Read full article in The New York Times

Spectacular Ultra Modern Design Villa in Marbella with Infinity Pool and Rare Sea Views. Offered for sale by Marlo Property.

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Search your way towards your perfect property on the Costa del Sol!

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Life as a Solopreneur in Malaga
12 May

Life as a Solopreneur in Malaga

“Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” This is what Sir Henry Royce said, and no more important than for our Malaga foreign Solopreneur Business owners.

Moving to Spain and finding work with an established business can be tough, especially if Spanish isn’t your first language. Many of the foreign residents in the Malaga province have discovered that going solo, or becoming a solopreneur is the only option. The desire to create something new, or “make it better” has won the day. Resilience and the ability to quickly adapt to change, go hand-in-hand with life of any expat and have to be two of the skills you need to survive and thrive as a solo business owner in Spain.

Joanna Styles, creator of Guide to Malaga APP believes the big advantage of being a solopreneur is that you get to decide everything and are always your own boss. However, this has a disadvantage too because you’re responsible for everything – the buck starts and ends with you.

*source: / photo credit: Cristina Paraschiv

Read full article here:

Dazzling white and authentically Spanish: Mijas and Benalmadena Pueblo
15 Apr

Dazzling white and authentically Spanish: Mijas and Benalmadena Pueblo

Mijas is a scenic trio of neighborhoods, each with its very distinct personality, but all particularly picturesque, dazzling white and truly Spanish. Mijas Pueblo  – carrefully preserved Andalucian White village – steeped in the old Andalucian traditions and customs , is layered in the heart of the mountains, with spectacular sea views, narrow streets between white walls with blue flower pots and local boutiques,  cozy little restaurants and bodegas, a main square with regular flamenco shows, its very own plaza de torros and even a chocolate factory. Las Lagunas de Mijas is half distance between mountain and sea, an extensive, more commercial area, with some local industry and shopping centers, but still white, close to the Andalucian spirit and architecture and covered in green, purple red flowers and palm trees. Mijas Costa – with its central point La Cala de Mijas – covers 12 km along the coast, joining (from East to West) El Chaparral, La Cala, El Combo and Calahonda and takes in the two major urbanizations, Riviera del Sol and Sitio de Calahonda.

 La Cala de Mijas is one of the original fishing villages on the Costa del Sol, a charming place with a restored Moorish tower, a friendly atmosphere and lots of appeal. From its small “fishing village” roots, La Cala flourished into a beautiful beach resort, with a population of 10,000 – mostly British. All the amenities for family life are here: schools, a health center, public library, post office, shops, a cultural center, as well as many excellent bars and restaurants. In the hot summer months of July and August, every Saturday night the promenade of La Cala turns into a fairytale: classical music, flamenco dancing, with the Tower bathed in light and the moon reflecting into the sea.

The area of Benalmadena – Costa and Pueblo – is equally reach in beaches and chirrinquitos, as it is in historical landmarks and unique pieces of architecture. It is home to the Colomares Castle, the 33 meters tall Buddhist Benalmadena Stupa – the biggest Buddhist temple in Europe, the famous Moorish-style Benalmádena Marina, the stunning La Paloma Park – a themed garden with exotic birds and Selwo Marina – a sealife park modeled around different locations in South America. The original village is Benalmadena Pueblo – still with a traditional Spanish appearance – where one can enjoy fine dining in picturesque squares and awe-inspiring views of the coast and across the sea. Having a lot of activities and housing options to offer to families with children, golf-lovers and people in their golden years alike, Benalmadena and Mijas are usually high up on the list of preferred locations for permanent or second home buyers.


Scenic Estepona, Stunning Sotogrande, Unspoiled La Duquesa
24 Feb

Scenic Estepona, Stunning Sotogrande, Unspoiled La Duquesa

Big enough so you can enjoy other people’s company, but well preserved in its spirit so it’s still traditionally Spanish, Estepona is one of the few coastal towns that has maintained its character while all the facilities for tourism, culture, leisure and enjoying life are here: hotels, restaurants, cafes and tapas bars, bodegas, bars and nightclubs, a wonderful marina, a 3 km long promenade, 17 beaches and 8 golf courses. The spirit of the town is friendly and casual, the prices are affordable – with some luxury exceptions, which are nice from time to time, even just for the sake of variety. Estepona has the sea at her feet and the mountains all around, a fine-sandy beach with clear, shallow water, sheltered from the wind (it faces west) and offering amazing sunsets over the rock of Gibraltar, a horse-riding center and its very own impressive Safari Park – Selwo Aventura – where as many as 2,000 animals from all five continents live in semi-captive environments. No wonder its so popular, mostly with families. And whilst it doesn’t have the glitz and glam of Puerto Banus, you will not go to bed at 22.00 out of boredom either: it’s nightlife has enough options to keep you out of the house, from late dinners with Flamenco shows (ore even Celtic music!) to bars and discos (well, yes, karaoke included). The housing options here are practically limitless: detached houses, town houses, apartments in gated communities, all vary in location, price and looks, so one’s tastes must be really particular in order not to be met.

In a totally different register form the casual Estepona, Sotogrande is the largest privately owned residential development in Andalusia, and it is where some of the richest and most powerful families of Spain have summer homes. What was originally a gated community in the municipality of San Roque, turned into one of the most luxurious urbanizations – in 2006 it was featured in The Times, as having the most expensive homes in Europe. Layout-wise its a 20 square kilometers stretch from the Mediterranean Sea, back into the foothills of Sierra Almenara mountain range, providing contrasting views of sea, hills, cork forests, the Rock of Gibraltar and Morocco. Built like a port – or more like a city on the water – Sotogrande is a wide display of up-market houses and apartments with mooring places under the windows and it is well-known for its architectural diversity: with styles varying from the traditional Andalucian to mid century modern, all the way through 21st century design and even more unusual designs, including moorish/mudejar style homes and even a Swiss chalet. If that wasn’t enough, it has a river – Guardiarro – an Estuary, artificial lakes, a Natural reserve wild park with wildlife, a top class Marina, a Polo club, incredible beach bars and restaurants and 5 golf courses, including the world famous Valderrama. A true magnet for the jet-set families – with their children usually enlisted in Sotogrande Internaitonal School –  Sotogrande is an unique experience for residents and visitors alike.

To say that La Duquesa is low profile would not be at all far from the truth, since people who only visited the coast never heard of it, and this applies to some of the permanent residents as well. But in fact, it has one of Costa del Sol’s best marinas – Puerto de la Duquesa –  vast amounts of unspoiled natural scenery and authentic local character, while sharing the fantastic climate and all the excellent services and infrastructure of the rest of the Costa del Sol. Easily reachable in just an hour drive form Malaga airport, La Duquesa feels like miles away from the busy resorts packed with noisy holiday makers. Closer to the Ocean, it benefits from a more dramatic landscape with Mediterranean vegetation mixed with the oceanic one and its practically surrounded by wide beaches, fully equipped with fine sand, sun beds and many chiringuitos. Less traffic than in the rest of the areas, attractive promenades surrounding the port with a variety of restaurants, bars and cafes, an extensive range of spacious apartments, residential complexes with shared pools and gardens, modern villas, highly rated international schools and the charming La Duquesa Golf and Country Club. Add the bonus of still being able to find half-deserted beaches in proximity – a rare treat considering all the touristic hype, and maybe La Duquesa deserves a second look (and thought) when looking for a place to reside, be it permanently or part-time.

The ‘dining room of Costa del Sol’ vs a place where it’s no need to dress to impress
01 Feb

The ‘dining room of Costa del Sol’ vs a place where it’s no need to dress to impress

From “the dining room of Costa del Sol” (Benahavis), to a place where you don’t need to dress to impress (San Pedro), going through a peaceful and idyllic setting of a chilled-out area (Nueva Andalucia), the West part of Marbella is diverse, stunningly pretty nature-wise and ready to accommodate any lifestyle.

Benahavis enjoys the status of the richest municipality in Andalucía – since it’s boundaries include La Zagaleta, one of the most exclusive residential gated communities – but its equally reach in many other ways. Because of its amazingly beautiful location, on the southern face of La Serrania de Ronda mountain range, traversed by three rivers and surrounded by a natural park. Because of its breath taking sea views and beach proximity – even though is mountainous, its only 7 km away from the coast. Because even though it has little over 2000 residents, there are over 35 restaurants and 22 bars offering all kinds of gastronomic delights that are predominantly of an Andalusian style – practically there is one gourmet place at nearly every corner. Because it holds 9 of the 60 golf courses on Costa del Sol and last – but clearly not least – the properties here are a delight to look at, since many affluent families choose Benahavis as their permanent or secondary residence.

Nueva Andalucia is the perfect example of “best of both worlds” choice of a residential community. Located just 10 minutes’ drive from the volcano that is Puerto Banus, it offers easy access to all the glam and the beat, while it is quiet, graceful and fantastic for a healthy outdoor lifestyle. One can taste and enjoy here the benefits of living on Costa del Sol, drawbacks-free, even in the high tourist season. Rightfully called “The Beverly Hills of Marbella” Nueva Andalucia charms in equal ways by its authentic Southern-Spain white villas, tall palm-trees, majestic mountains and cascades of purple flowers over the stone fences, in peaceful paradise-like setting. Many of the highly regarded quality restaurants on the coast are located here, offering a range of selective cuisine, alongside the numerous bars and cafés. A pleasure for all the senses, comfortably remote but perfectly connected, with all you really need close by and select neighbors, Nueva Andalucia is ideal to raise a family or spend the golden years. (more to read after property search)

Search your way towards your perfect property on the Costa del Sol!


San Pedro de Alcantara – together with Guadalmina (Alta and Baja) – is known for the vibrant nightlife but with a relaxed atmosphere, which the 26,500 residents enjoy on a daily basis. Exclusive mansions, villas and flats with spectacular sea or golf views, are sprinkled with local Andalucian-style restaurants with delicious menus, laid back bars and pubs and a 2 km tiled promenade along the wide sandy beaches. Upmarket areas but not ‘stiff’ ones combine organically with more down to earth places (people too), making the whole San Pedro experience a very livable one. A quick historical fact: founded in 1860, by General Manuel Guitiérrez de la Concha and Irigoyen (the first Marqués del Duero), San Pedro still hosts several monuments and churches as major points of interest: La Torre Vigia Las Bóvedas, Basilica de la Vega del Mar and Plaza de la Iglesia ( XIX century) – with a white colonial style church built by the Marqués del Duero himself in 1866.

Luxury Apartments and Penthouses with amazing sea views!

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Luxury Apartments with stunning views of the Mediterranean, the Rock of Gibraltar and Africa!

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Spectacular Apartments and Penthouses in Marbella – great location, amazing views!

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A trio of prosperous communities: Elviria, El Rosario, Cabopino
01 Dec

A trio of prosperous communities: Elviria, El Rosario, Cabopino

Ideally fit for a socially-reach, activity-diverse family life, Elviria, Rosario and Cabopino, each have their own character and unique charm. Cost-line located, mostly up-market and featuring some of the best beaches on the coast, Elviria and Rosario are two ‘full package’ urbanisations with beautiful villas and apartments, countless restaurants and chiringhitos, international school, plus many facilities for outdoor lovers and water enthusiasts. Some of the most posh-crowd magnet beach clubs are also located here, for those days (or nights) when this kind of socializing is on the agenda.

Only 10 minutes drive away, the cozy Cabopino marina – a pretty little port surrounded by apartments, bars and restaurants – is an attraction in his own right, both to be a resident, with a terrace overlooking the boats and the sea or to come for eating out, listening to live music and enjoying a view of the yachts moored here. A full week buzzing nightlife, a beach with a very relaxed atmosphere – relaxed enough to host a nudist beach – and a fantastic natural park of sand dunes, with a wooden walking track along the beach are all trademarks of this charming Cabopino area.



Family life: Marbella Style – Zoriana Benhamou
06 May

Family life: Marbella Style – Zoriana Benhamou

Zoriana Benhamou and her family love life in Marbella so much, they wrote a whole website to share their experiences.  Having previously survived life in chilly Moscow, the sunshine of Andalucia was clearly a big attraction, but I wondered what particular factors drew them to the town that they have called home since 2005?

“Marbella is special because it has lots of features of a large city (cosmopolitan, infrastructure of hospitals, schools and international airports…), yet gives you all the benefits of a small city – no traffic, friendly service, knowing your butcher, mailman and shopkeeper… This big city/small city combination in a warm climate is hard to find elsewhere.

Of course for any expat considering life in Spain, the question of school is a vital one.

“When we moved to Marbella friends have recommended our children to avoid the Spanish system for when our children enter secondary, because they said the standards were not as high. That being said, I personally think the standards are just as high in a Spanish private school as in any other international school. But that’s just my opinion.

I think choosing a Spanish school is beneficial for small children, because they learn languages so quickly. It’s a great way to integrate with the local community and gives both children and their parents an introduction to Spanish culture and language. What better way to learn about the country we live in?


Read full article here:

Top things to do in Marbella
26 Feb

Top things to do in Marbella

Located on Costa del Sol, in the picturesque Andalucía, Marbella was one of my favorite experiences in Spain, alongside Ibiza, Mallorca, Barcelona and Madrid. You already know from my former articles, how much I love this country and how attached I feel to each of its regions, that’s why I can’t decide accurately which of them was my number one. Every single city, village or region in Spain has its own distinctive character, depicting a piece of my favorite puzzle, so none of them is replaceable.

With a shade of melancholy for not being there right now, I would like to share with you my amazing experience in Marbella by laying down my thoughts and my memories in this post about top things to do in and around Marbella.

First of all, I would like to mention that it was something so special about Marbella that it actually made me write a book, which I have never finished, but whose outlines I still keep somewhere inside of me.

I didn’t know anything about Marbella, except what a friend in Madrid had told me: “Marbella is very expensive; you should go somewhere else in Andalucía. Only rich people go there.”


Read full article here:

Malaga. Birthplace of Picasso and the southern most large city in Europe
01 Feb

Malaga. Birthplace of Picasso and the southern most large city in Europe

The southernmost large city in Europe. One of the oldest cities in the world (2.800 years). The birthplace of Picasso. As many ways to briefly introduce Malaga, from a long list of qualities that make this quick-thriving city get under your skin in unexpected ways.  Two massive hilltop citadels solemnly loom over the city’s skyline – the Alcazaba (dating back to the 700s!) and ruined Gibralfaro, remnants of Moorish rule – along with a soaring Renaissance cathedral, nicknamed La Manquita (“one-armed woman”) because one of its towers was curiously left unbuilt. Its modern port, Muelle Uno – frequently shadowed by huge ferries, sometimes 4 at the same time – is buzzing with life, as malaguenios love to hang out at one of the many restaurants and bars with views to the boats moored there. Its yellow-sand beaches and long promenade with palm trees, sprinkled with a chiringuito in all the right spots, are constantly attracting a mix of sporty or chilling-out crowd. The old center – beautifully renovated- is a pleasure to walk, shop, visit one of the Museums – Malaga has 30 all together! – or Picasso’s own birth house and listen to local bands playing on the outdoor terraces or in the streets. Food is fabulous – with many options to choose from – the weather is practically urging you to stay outdoors and the cheerful noise from the rooftop terraces of the nearby hotels invite you to come up and have dinner with a breathtaking city and sea view.

Málaga’s colorful market, the Mercado de Atarazanas, is one of the most appealing in all Andalucía. The stalls sell fresh fish, meat, spices, deli items, fruit and vegetables, and it is common for shoppers to have a break at one of the food places located inside, for fresh oysters and cava. The city is wonderfully rich in architecture with a mix of styles – as it was founded by Phoenicians, then got under the hegemony of Carthagina, followed by the rule of Roman Empire, by the Islamic empire to finally be regained by the Crown of Castille in 1487. Add the luxurious exotic vegetation, the colorful parrots, the easiness of getting around both by car of by foot, the affordable bills and the always smiling relaxed people, and Malaga might allure you to make it your next permanent address. Housing options are many, from beautiful villas up the hill, with stunning views to the port and sea, to charming apartments in historic buildings, walking distance to all the action and the fun.