Antequera – “the heart of Andalucia”
10 Feb

Antequera – “the heart of Andalucia”

When you hear the words “Costa del Sol” the mind instantly projects one single thing: Beach. But what if you can buy or rent a charming traditional Finca, with a generous plot of land, maybe even with an orchard of olive trees or avocados, at 45 minutes drive from the nearest beach and airport? More and more people decide this is a desirable alternative, as they can benefit of more house for their money, plus they get to leave in a truly Spanish community.

In the Malaga area, up in the mountains, a chain of beautiful historic villages, each with its own character, are welcoming new residents every year.

Like the famous Antequera – known as “the heart of Andalusia” (el corazón de Andalucía) because of its central location among Malaga, Granada, Cordoba and Seville. Antequera has two claims to fame, historically and from a tourist point of view. The first consists of three fine prehistoric dolmens barely outside the town itself. The second is the Torcal de Antequera, a mountain top covered with huge and wonderfully shaped limestone, formed millions of years ago when the whole area was underwater. Another usual choice is Pizarra, a tiny town lying 30 kilometres upriver in the Guadalhorce valley at the foot of the 350 metre high Sierra del Hacho. Still a largely farming community, it has so far managed to avoid the threat of absorption by the spreading metropolis of Málaga in spite of the recent appearance of the two commuter settlements of Zalea and Cerralba on its western face.

Once you jump in a car and take a joy-ride into the mountains, you soon discover village after village and get to know many communities to pick one from, as your heart desires.

Photo credit: Antonio Martinez

Glorious sunsets – Marbella Town seascapes
01 Sep

Glorious sunsets – Marbella Town seascapes

The weather in Marbella Town since the middle of November has been particularly stunning – clear skies and warm sunny days, drawing to a close with the most incredible picture postcard sunsets.

With the profusion of palms and pine trees and other evergreen trees that surround us, we may not have the breath-taking autumnal leaf-shedding spectacle enjoyed in many other parts of the world but Mother Nature’s autumnal hues, have been reflected instead in Marbella Town’s sunset skies and pond-like shimmering sea.

Burnt orange, deep crimson, vivid pink and streaks of startling yellow; blue and apricot-tinted skies spattered with charcoal grey and strawberry pink clotted cream clouds;he indigo silhouettes of the Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, and the Rock of Gibraltar etched out on a hazy peachy tangerine horizon…

In the midst of all the man-made turmoil and uncertainty in the news right now, it is almost as if Mother Nature stepped up her inimitable artistry a notch, to remind us of the beautiful world we live in, if only we would let it be.


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A dramatic setup above a deep gorge: the unique Ronda
06 Jun

A dramatic setup above a deep gorge: the unique Ronda

Even though Costa del Sol is world-famous for its sea and beaches, the mountains above them hold as many gems to build a serious reputation as the coastline does. Beautiful historical white-washed villages, fincas with olive-trees orchards, wine estates and an incredible landscape, all good reasons why one might consider getting to know the upper part of the Costa del Sol area, and maybe choose to become a resident here instead.

Ronda is by far the most famous town in the area, due to its dramatic setup above a deep gorge. This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule. Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, offers sweeping views. New town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Both Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles were residents in Ronda’s old town – La Ciudad, and wrote about Ronda’s beauty and famous bullfighting traditions. Another famous writer – poet Rainer Maria Rilke – wrote the famous quote “I have sought everywhere the city of my dreams, and I have finally found it in Ronda”, in his permanent room at Hotel Reina Victoria.

Many enchanting small villages are situated in proximity to Ronda, so there are many housing options to choose from, as soon as you take a pleasurable tour of the area to get to know it in detail. More close to the sea – if that’s the preference – Ojen and Monda, two white truly Spanish pueblos, are practically part of Marbella extended residential area, since only 15 km of scenic mountain road is separating them from it.

Another popular option for permanent or second residence is Istán, a village in the region of Sierra de Las Nieves, which shares part of its territory with Sierra de Las Nieves Nature Park a Biosphere Reserve. It is crossed by the river Verde before reaching La Concepción reservoir in the midst of stunning landscapes. Set in this Garden of Eden, the village is full of fountains, viewpoints, and interesting nooks and crannies. The Church of San Miguel and the Escalante Tower are the main tourist attractions in this village known as ‘The Water Spring of Costa del Sol’.

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