Oct 112013


Property Hunters Galore!

Maybe the title is a slight exaggeration, but it is undoubtedly true that we have seen a significant increase in the number of guests who have stayed with us recently with the intention of looking for a Spanish property in our part of Spain. Some have been looking for a holiday home and others for a permanent residence – or even sometimes with the intention of eventually moving here but only holidaying here to begin with.

Obviously, everybody has different tastes and requirements (and of course budgets!) but at the present time there is a wide choice on the market so it’s a good time to think of buying, whatever your situation. Spanish property is now being recognised once again as representing good value for money – and not only for purchasers from the UK.
An additional consideration for non-EU citizens is the concession that the Spanish government has very recently introduced, whereby residence entitlement is automatically granted in the case of Spanish properties that are purchased for a price in excess of €500,000. Full details can be seen in the article here: Golden Visa to non-EU citizens

Amongst our guests from countries other than the UK, we were recently pleased to welcome a couple from Belgium looking for a holiday home, for example. Guy and Lieve were checking out the area in our immediate vicinity, having already spent a few days slightly further inland. By the time they reached us, they had decided that a property nearer to the sea would suit them better, so spent a few days viewing homes in our area. They were then carrying on slightly further south to check out what was available around Javea for a couple of days before returning to Belgium and maybe making a decision.

Other guests have included a couple originally from Russia (although now resident in the USA) who wanted a home here to use initially as a base for exploring the rest of Europe before possibly retiring here in the fullness of time. Happily, this was their second trip to our part of the country, they found a suitable property and the legal wheels have now been set in motion for its purchase.

Past property hunters have also returned to us for a subsequent trip and felt more able to make a good judgement on what would suit them now that they were more familiar with the area and what was available. Colin and Christine came back to view more houses recently and intend putting in an offer on one that they saw during their visit. Also, Malcolm and Paul returned to us to look at more homes and decided which one was right for them. After going back to the UK they put in an offer on their favourite property and happily it was eventually accepted, so once again the legal wheels have been put in motion for them as well.

Other guests have included a couple from the UK who already own a small holiday apartment considerably further south. They have just sold their main home in England and now want to buy a villa here that would be appropriate for permanent living. They saw several that they liked very much indeed and so have now returned to their apartment near Murcia to make a final decision.

Although it is too early to say that the property market in Spain is hotting up again – and this is certainly not going to happen again in the immediate future – it is nevertheless true that we are seeing not only many more guests staying with us and looking at property for sale, they are also serious prospective purchasers who have come with the intention of finding a good value home if they possibly can. Following the dramatic fall in property prices in recent years and the stabilisation of many other national economies, people are aware that Spanish homes represent good value once again and that now is a good time to buy. Hopefully this trend will continue and we will see more guests during the autumn and winter who come to see what property is on offer here on the Costa Blanca. The weather is holding up well as the year progresses, air fares have dropped from their summer holiday peaks and resorts are less crowded. All this gives the opportunity to prospective house hunters to come out here at their leisure and have a pleasant autumn or winter break at reasonable cost, whilst seeing what is available for their longer term plans.

Sep 222013

Costa Blanca family holidaysFamily Holidays Costa Blanca

We usually have several Italian guests during the course of the summer season, but this year we had not seen any – until we received a booking from Stefano and his wife Elisabetta, who wanted to come to us from Rome in early September for just over a week. They were a family of four, and when they arrived we were pleased to welcome them, along with their two teenage daughters Pamela and Chiara.

They wanted to come to our part of Spain for a family holiday and to see what this part of the Costa Blanca had to offer – it was not a part of the country they knew well, but it is one they thought they would like. They had done their homework before leaving Italy and had a tentative itinerary worked out of all the sights they wanted to see during their visit. The Costa Blanca is a great part of Spain for a family holiday as there is something for everyone, and in the summer of course the wonderful beaches come into their own.


Most days they went on an excursion to one of the towns along the coast, as well as to inland attractions such as the famous castle at Guadalest. Alicante was also on their list of places to visit, especially because of the castle of Santa Barbara which overlooks the whole town. They also went to Valencia city on a couple of occasions – once to look around the historic centre and another time to see the City of Arts and Sciences and specifically to visit the Oceanografic aquarium there, which is the largest of its kind anywhere in Europe. On other days they simply went to one of the blue flag awarded beaches within a short driving distance – Playa de Gandia became a firm favourite of theirs!

They were also keen to try out the local cuisine, so often dined out at nearby restaurants and of course managed to sample Valencia’s most famous creation – paella!. On the days when they had been out sightseeing for a long time, however, they made use of our evening meal service– far easier than having to set off again in search of a restaurant! They found this was the perfect combination for their requirements and would let us know each day what they wanted to do.

The whole family – especially Pamela and Chiara – were great animal lovers and thoroughly enjoyed spending time in the gardens with our dogs. They have a small dog of their own in Rome and found that the company of our pets was a great substitute for the one they had left behind! All too soon, however, it was time to return to Rome but they had really enjoyed their time with us, and we in turn had loved having them visit us as guests. They made us promise that if ever we came to Rome, we would visit them – and of course it goes without saying that we would very much look forward to the opportunity. If that does not happen, then hopefully we will see them here with us again in Spain before too long!

Aug 282013

CIMG7868Casa Rural Holidays in Spain

August has been a busy month for holidays on the Costa Blanca, and Villa Florencia Casa Rural has seen a constant stream of visitors, both new guests as well as those coming back to us again. The weather has been perfect for all the activities our guests wanted to take part in, whether it was excursions to nearby attractions in some of the coastal resorts, trips to Valencia city, enjoying the inland scenery on mountain walks or simply making the most of the sunshine around the pool.

Guests came from a variety of countries, mainly Belgium, Holland, the United Kingdom and of course Spain, and stayed with us on both a bed and breakfast basis as well as in our self-catering apartment. As well as guests who were staying with us on a commercial basis, we also were delighted to have family members come and visit us as well, and this made for a great mix of people in the house at any one time.

August is also a great fiesta month in Spain, and one for getting out and about in the evenings and eating outside the many restaurants and cafés in the town. Our guests entered into the spirit of this, and often accompanied us on trips into town or to nearby restaurants to enjoy the al fresco experience. Gandía’s highly successful “tapas route” has been in full swing too and proved very popular with guests wanting to sample an authentic evening out in the way the locals do – moving from one bar to another and enjoying a small drink and snack at each one. These bars have developed this to a fine art now, and put a great deal of pride and effort in providing extremely good value, and often quite substantial, “nibbles” for their customers in the hope they will come back again in the future.

Although popularly thought of as more suitable for the cooler months – and often with good reason – many of our guests also still found it possible to take part in some of the more energetic outdoor activities that the La Safor region has to offer – biking and hiking for example. Although we are only a short distance from award-winning beaches, we are also very close to the mountains here, so such interests can still be enjoyed at a higher altitude where the air is appreciably cooler and many of the tracks and trails are shaded by pine trees and the surrounding mountains. The views are really amazing, and to look down on the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea of the Costa Blanca from the mountain tops on a sunny day is a sight not to miss!

So August has turned out to be the busy month for us that it generally is, and it was great to see so many of our guests coming back to us from the past and enjoying everything that the La Safor region has to offer. September is also looking busy – maybe even busier than in previous years – so hopefully the weather will keep fine and sunny and we will be able to welcome even more happy guests to our Casa Rural in this lovely part of the country.

Jul 292013

Spanish-Property-2Househunters become Buyers!

Back in April, we had the pleasure of having Mark and Rosalyn stay with us on a Spanish property house-hunting trip. They loved the area and saw several Spanish properties that they thought had possibilities, but their visit was greatly marred by a serious car accident they had. It was not their fault – a car hit them on the wrong side of the road in heavy rain – and they were not seriously injured, but it inevitably cast a shadow over their visit. However, when they left they said they were still keen on the area and that we would see them again.

It was therefore a lovely surprise when they paid an unexpected visit a couple of days ago – they were driving past our house on the way to Gandia. The bigger surprise, however, was that in the interim they had purchased a really lovely Spanish property, a villa in the area at a very realistic price! It turns out they had spotted some properties on another estate agent’s website, had viewed them on a couple of day-trips to area (which is why we had not seen them here as guests again), and decided to go ahead with a purchase. They made an offer for the property at what would be a bargain price – and to their delight it was accepted. This just demonstrates yet again that properties are being sold now – and at prices that once again make Spain the attractive prospect it once was.

We then went to visit them in their new home – initially bought for holiday purposes, but with a view to spending a greater part of the year here once they fully retire. It is a super property on an urbanisation near here, only about 10 or 15 minutes’ drive to Gandia and the wonderful beaches nearby and on the edge of the La Safor mountains – so well located for walks and bike rides there too. It is laid out over two floors, each providing a self-contained living area – a great idea for visiting friends or family! The “main” floor consists of 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a well-fitted kitchen and large living/dining area, all with the most spectacular views out over the tiered gardens and pool to the breathtaking mountain tops beyond – a truly exceptional outlook for a home. The lower floor has a further 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and an open-plan living room and kitchen/dining area – yet another example of the bargain properties that can now be purchased here on the Costa Blanca.

An added attraction for Mark and Rosalyn is the fact that the area is well served by budget airlines to both Valencia and Alicante airports – a fact which helped them in their one-day viewing trips. Within little more than a couple of hours they can be over here enjoying the beautiful climate of the Costa Blanca and reaping the benefits of their astute property purchase here in the La Safor region. They are only over here for a few days this time to take over the house and purchase some extra items of furniture (the house was sold with most of its contents as well as a car!) and they plan to return for a longer visit in September, when they will be able to feel that they can truly make it their own. We are really glad for them that their property-hunting exercise here has had such a great outcome, despite a somewhat challenging first visit, and look forward to meeting up with them again in September to see what changes they are thinking of making to their already lovely new home.

If you are thinking about the benefits of buying a property in this part of the Valencia coast, why not consider visiting us on one of our Property Viewing package offers and see what properties can now be bought in the area at prices that once more represent good value for money in an area of outstanding natural beauty?

Jul 142013

Spanish Property HuntingSpanish Property Hunters return for a second look!

A couple of weeks ago we were glad to meet Malcolm who stayed with us for one night only at the end of a property hunting trip to Spain – but that was enough to convince him that this was the part of the country that would be right to look for a home in a serious way. He found a couple of properties that he liked during that visit, so now he returned to us, but this time with his partner Paul, in order to look again at some of the houses he had already viewed before, as well as to look at some others for the first time.

They had in fact been staying in a hotel in the centre of Gandia for a couple of nights before coming to us in order to get a proper feel for the town they were thinking of making their home. This period spent in the town itself only helped to confirm in their minds that Gandia is indeed the vibrant place they had thought, with plenty of heart and soul to it and well able to supply everything they would want for a comfortable life on the Costa Blanca. By the time they arrived at our door they were certain that the La Safor region was the place for them – it was now just a question of finding the right house to make their home!

Malcolm and Paul both felt it would be a good idea to see some different types of property as well – so not only the standard type of spacious villa set in a garden with a pool, but also maybe some traditional townhouses, which could be easier to close down for short periods – when going away on holiday for example. They viewed several of each type – villas and townhouses, in both modern and traditional styles – but pretty much came to the conclusion that a villa in a garden would be better for them, as there would always be plenty to do in a home with some outside space to look after and be creative with. Townhouses have many advantages, but generally lack the outside area that is so important to many people.

They found several properties that they liked, but – as is so often the case – they were not necessarily in the right location. One Spanish Property that particularly grabbed their imagination is one in our own area of Marchuquera but they felt it was in need of some renovations, which would obviously be a cost factor. When they thought about building these anticipated costs into an offer, which they made via an agent to the owner, it appears that (for the moment at least) there is not sufficient room for manoeuvre on either side for a deal to be done.

After their two night stay with us, during which they managed to spend some time relaxing around the pool to think about their life changing move, it was sadly already time to return to England but they felt their time here had been time very well spent. They now have a fairly firm idea of what they want from a Spanish Property here on the Costa Blanca, as well as having gained a lot of knowledge of the Spanish Property market out here generally. They are aware that good properties at realistic prices are once again to be found here in the La Safor area – it is just a question of finding a home that ticks all the boxes for them. However, they are in no great hurry and now know all the boxes they feel need to be ticked, so we look forward to seeing them again – probably in September – when they resume their search after the busy summer holiday season is over.

If you are interested in Spanish Property in the Costa Blanca region of Spain, why not book one of our Independent Property Viewing Trips. We offer you the opportunity to come and see the area without any pressure or obligation.

We are not property agents, solicitors or vendors – we operate a successful accommodation business, but made the move ourselves seven years ago, and have all the contacts if you decide you need them.

Jul 112013

Mountain Biking Holidays Spain

Mountain Biking Holidays Spain

We were delighted when we received a booking from Rob on behalf of himself, his wife Frances and their friends Brian and Christine who wanted to take advantage of one of our all-inclusive mountain biking short break packages. Our offer of a three night stay with bed, breakfast and evening meal included as well as two days guided mountain biking with a packed lunch supplied suited them perfectly. The fact that we also allow a late check-out for these packages (effectively making it a four day break) was also a bonus for them, as their flight home only left in the evening, so they were able to enjoy an extra day around the pool.

They had begun their Spanish holiday in Valencia, and then came to us by train on the Sunday. We collected them from Gandia station and brought them to our casa rural in time for lunch and then a leisurely afternoon around the pool before dinner. They then were keen to have a fairly early night, in preparation for their first day’s mountain biking that lay ahead. Dave Warrington from Mountain Biking Valencia arrived on Monday morning after breakfast to discuss with them the route they might like to take and then they set off for the rest of the day. They followed a beautiful trail that goes along the route of a disused railway line (once from Alcoi to Gandia), starting near Villalonga. It is a mixture of different surfaces and demands varying levels of skill along the way, but certainly nothing too demanding for an experienced group such as this! For much of the way, the route goes beside the Serpis river and is a truly beautiful setting for a mountain bike excursion, and a real eye opener for visitors who are new to the La Safor region and who are unaware of the superb scenery that lies inland from the resorts of the northern Costa Blanca. They returned to us late in the afternoon, having had a genuinely great time and certainly eager for what the next day might offer.

After a very welcome evening meal, they again felt in need of a good night’s sleep before embarking on whatever might be in store for them on Tuesday. Again, the weather was beautiful and they set off for a trip through the Barxeta valley area, visiting the historic inland town of Xátiva and cycling through some of its winding streets, before returning to us – again having had a wonderful time, but very much appreciating the swimming pool for a welcome cool down!

After a final evening meal with us, they were looking forward to spending most of their fourth day with us before we gave them a lift to the station once again – this time for the train to Valencia and then to take the metro direct to the airport in time for their flight back to England. They had had a great time with us, however, and felt that not only had they benefitted from excellent value for money, but also they had enjoyed themselves on their mountain biking excursions in surroundings far more scenically beautiful than they had expected. As a group, they are all keen and experienced mountain bikers so expressed a strong wish to return to us to do more of the same at some point in the future, so we look forward very much to welcoming them back here again. It had been a pleasure to have them stay with us, and hopefully we shall all meet again in the near future on an All-Inclusive Mountain Biking Holidays Spain

Jun 302013

Family Mountain Bike Skills Training

We were contacted by Dave Warrington of Mountain Biking Valencia asking if we could accommodate a family from the United States who were going to be visiting Valencia as part of a tour of Spain. The group consisted of Bob and his wife Wendy, along with their 13 year old twin boys Mitchell and Griffen, their 15 year old daughter Claire and her friend Andi, and they wanted to spend a couple of days mountain biking in the Costa Blanca. We were happy to have them stay with us, and they arrived on the Tuesday morning from Valencia city, all ready for their 2 day mountain biking skills training course.

Wendy decided she wanted some rest and relaxation, however, so she was happy for the rest of the family to go for their skills course whilst she spent the day taking it easy around the pool. Dad & the teenagers had a great time learning mountain biking techniques in a shady wooded area across the valley from here – a lovely spot and an excellent place to be on a hot and sunny day. They returned during the late afternoon, just in time to join Mom around the pool for some cooling off after their exertions and before joining us for our evening meal service. They had decided this was a much easier option than trying to find a restaurant that would be open rather earlier than most Spanish restaurants – and of course they had not had time to familiarise themselves with the town of Gandia at all.

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They much appreciated the opportunity to dine on the terrace, and then to relax in the garden before heading for bed and a well-deserved rest. The following morning they were up and ready to go for their next mountain biking trip – this time giving themselves the opportunity to put some of the skills they learned the previous day into practice. Wendy again took the chance to relax in the gardens, however, and had a light lunch with us during the day whilst the others set off to the start of their designated route for the day.

The trail begins on the outskirts of Villalonga and follows the route of the disused railway that used to run between Alcoi and Gandia, for much of the way also following along beside the river Serpis. It is a great route, and scenically very beautiful, and the group thoroughly enjoyed their day and were able to test themselves and their new-found techniques. There is a mixture of tracks and trails along the way, with different surfaces and levels of difficulty so by the end of the route they felt they had learned a lot – and had a huge amount of fun of course too.

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They returned to us in the late afternoon, in time to spend a while in the pool before leaving for the next leg of their trip. As a complete contrast to their time they spent here with us on an adventure break in the northern Costa Blanca, they were heading south to Benidorm for a couple of days’ fun at the water and theme parks there. After that, the youngsters were intending to take part in a week’s football camp under the auspices of Valencia football team, whilst their parents spent the week relaxing in Majorca. They felt they would have liked to spend more time in this part of the country, however, so maybe we shall see them back with us at some point in the future. It had been a pleasure to have them visit us, so we shall look forward to the possibility.

Jun 292013

Costa Blanca Property Viewing TripsCosta Blanca Property Viewing Trips

They came; They saw; They bought!

We recently received a booking from Colin Mason and his family, wanting to take up our offer of a Property Viewing Package of three nights’ accommodation with a late check-out on the afternoon of the fourth day. They had already made some appointments to view property in the area, and wanted some friendly accommodation for their stay – possibly with some suggestions and advice thrown in at the same time!

Colin was coming with his wife Christine and grown-up son Mike, and they were looking for a holiday property that would be easy to lock up and leave during the time when they would be in the UK. They only wanted a modestly sized home, although they were well aware that much larger properties could be purchased for only a small amount of extra money. However, what really suited them would be a villa with about three bedrooms and a pool, and preferably situated not far from the beautiful beaches of the northern Costa Blanca. It had to be near amenities that would suit them and their three grown-up sons and mutual partners for daily requirements, as well as being within striking distance of airports and the attractions of Valencia City itself.

They booked in for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, with their return flight departing on Monday evening, and their original intention was to look at some properties with the idea of assuring themselves that this area was to their liking, but without any real intention of committing themselves to anything at this early stage. They had already spent some time eliminating other parts of the country further south – mainly because of arid landscapes or a lack of any authentic Spanish “feel” – and wanted to see if this area lived up to its reputation of being a part of Spain still largely undiscovered by the foreigner, but where many Spanish people come for their own holidays.

After arriving at lunchtime on Friday and settling in to our self-catering apartment they met up with their estate agent and began viewing properties in the area, spending the rest of the day seeing a cross-section of what was on offer. Like all property hunters on the Costa Blanca now, they were aware that prices have fallen throughout the country and have reached levels that make buying Spanish property a much more attractive proposition than during the latter years of the boom. Houses can now be bought for prices similar to the time when Spain was seen as good value if you wanted to either move abroad or buy a holiday home. Colin and his family arrived back in the early evening and seemed to be very impressed with some of the properties they had seen – it was a question of deciding if the right property was also in the right location!

Saturday was more of the same, with more villas to look at, but also with some time set aside to explore Gandia town itself as well as the beach area. When searching for a property, you have to make certain that the general area fits your criteria as well, and they soon came to the conclusion that the La Safor region met all their requirements. Sunday was spent with some time allocated for relaxation around the pool, but also with a couple of viewings booked as well – second viewings of homes they had seen earlier in their visit. They had in fact decided that two properties would suit them very well indeed, and they were particularly keen on one of them, so decided to put in a verbal offer to the owner during their second viewing. However, this was refused – but Colin had thought he might as well try and see what the result would be. They did like the villa very much indeed though, so then submitted a slightly higher offer – and heard later in the day through the estate agent that this second offer had been accepted.

Sunday night was therefore something of a celebration – a tentative property viewing trip had turned into a decision to purchase, and one which seemed likely to go ahead! We therefore joined them on taking part on the fiesta of San Joan which coincidentally was taking place that evening – a celebration of the solstice down at the beach during the evening, with a real party atmosphere. Families build bonfires on the beach and have barbecues there, before fireworks at midnight and a general celebration of the true start of the summer season. Colin and his family were really pleased to be able to see another aspect of Gandia life at first hand, and experience the delights of an authentic Spanish fiesta for themselves.

Because of their quick decision, it was possible for them to set things in motion properly for their purchase to proceed before their flight left on Monday evening, so they saw an English speaking lawyer on Monday morning to give her instructions concerning the contract for the purchase. It is anticipated that they will be returning to us sometime in August for the next stage in the buying process, with a view to the property becoming theirs in early September – a timescale that suits them as well as the vendors. We very much look forward to seeing Colin and Christine again at that time, and of course to meeting the other members of their family, who are also intending to make use of the new home as a holiday base for many years to come.

If you are interested in Spanish Property in the Costa Blanca region of Spain, why not book one of our Costa Blanca Property Viewing Trips. We offer you the opportunity to come and see the area without any pressure or obligation.

We are not property agents, solicitors or vendors – we operate a successful accommodation business, but made the move ourselves seven years ago, and have all the contacts if you decide you need them.

Jun 172013

Mountain Bike Skills Training

Mountain Biking Skills Training Week-end

We were delighted to welcome Raul and Eva to our casa rural in Gandia last weekend. They had booked one of our all-inclusive mountain biking packages which we offer in conjunction with MountainBikingValencia.com . These are available as a weekend break of 2 nights with one day’s guided mountain biking, a break of 3 nights with 2 days’ biking, or a week’s holiday of 7 nights with 3 days’ biking. Of course, if guests wanted a different length of stay, or more or less biking included, we would be only too pleased to tailor-make a holiday to their specifications. In any event, breakfast and dinner are included every day and packed lunches are provided on mountain biking trips, as well as the services of a qualified and experienced guide.

Raul and Eva had previously used the services of Dave Warrington for single day excursions whilst they were already in the area for professional reasons, but this time they had decided they wanted to spend longer enjoying the surroundings in this lovely part of the country. They drove down from their home in Catalunya, arriving late on Friday evening, with the intention of spending the day on Saturday out biking. However, in accordance with our undertaking to tailor-make a break to our guests’ requirements, they had specified that they would prefer to have 2 days’ Mountain Biking Skills Training during the weekend. With this in mind, we had arranged for them to bike not only on the Saturday, but also on the Sunday before having the usual late check-out from the casa rural.

Raul is a keen biker and sportsman generally and had already arranged to have a road biking ride with a friend of his who lives nearby. He was therefore up very early on the Saturday morning to meet up and go for a road ride of over 60kms on his own bike that he had brought for the purpose, before setting off with Eva and Dave Warrington after breakfast for a mountain biking trip of another 40kms which also included an element of technical skills training along the way! They all had a really great time and a thoroughly enjoyable day before returning to us for dinner and a very well-deserved early night to recharge their batteries for Sunday’s trip!

Sunday was a less strenuous day, however, as their plan was only to bike during the morning in our valley here, taking in the monastery of Sant Jeroni, as well as practising considerable technical skills in the safe environment of a wooded area nearby. Although they would of course have been welcome to spend the rest of the day here enjoying the gardens and pool, they reluctantly had to leave in the early afternoon – Raul heading to Madrid for work reasons and Eva driving back to Catalunya. However, they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves here with us and very much want to come back for more of the same. We look forward to welcoming them back to us here at our casa rural when they can take advantage of one of our all-inclusive mountain biking packages again. Maybe they will be able to stay with us for longer the next time and see even more of what this beautiful part of the Costa Blanca has to offer the outdoor enthusiast.

Please contact us for more details if Mountain Biking Skills Training might be of interest to you, and we will be delighted to send you full details of what we have to offer.