Friday 29 December 2023

Surviving Christmas and the New Year

The presents have been opened, the waistlines expanded, the bells jingled. But there’s a long weekend yet before 2024 begins, and then we have the Three Kings celebration in Spain on January 6th which does mean we basically have a two week festive season…


The Spanish valuation company confirm today that prices are still ticking up across Spain with the average value being 1,767 €/m2, up 4.1% on the last quarter of 2022 and up by 1% on the third quarter of 2023.

They also confirm the there is a general "slow down" across Spain. Hardly surprising when the number of mortgage being issued by banks is down and the number of transactions also down when compared with previous months. However on the Spanish coast, the slow down is still to be seen, suggesting there still exists a lot of demand for first and second residences despite the higher interst rates and inflation levels which are showing signs of coming back down again,

Plan your trip ?

If 2024 will be the year for your new home in Spain, contact us early and start the process. Have you got your NIE number in place? If not, why not apply at the Spanish consulate office in your home country. What about finance? We can put you in touch with banks and or a mortgage broker to find the best mortgage deal for you.

New listings

Altea Hills - 4 Beds 3 Baths - 550,000 Euros

Altea Rustic Property - 5 Beds 2 Baths -  320,000 Euros

Benidorm Playa Poniente - 3 Bed 2 Bath Garage - REDUCED 330,000 Euros

If you're in Altea, how about a "cleanse" to start 2024.

My friends Lee and Sarah own the @Plantshack cafe in Altea and if you want to kick off 2024 on the right track, try their five day juice cleanse starting on January 8th, maybe even see you there? Or even better join us for open water swimming in the Mediterranean (Wednesday and Saturday mornings).

Have a Happy New Year !!!!!!


Friday 15 December 2023

The Charm of Visiting Tabarca Island in Winter

It's as if a piece of the Alicante coastal desert had broken off and, in its escape, had become stranded in the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Flat, parched, centuries-old, and bathed in dazzling light, Tabarca is the only inhabited island in the Valencian Community. A rarity frozen in time that becomes much more appealing and captivating in winter, without the thousands of daily visitors who saturate it in the summer.

Despite its flat and open profile—the Romans called it Planaria—it was a refuge for Barbary pirates until the 18th century. Despite being just over 8 kms in a straight line from Santa Pola, it belongs to the City of Alicante (which is 22 kms away). It is the most atypical, distant, and unreal neighborhood in the capital of Alicante, a coveted destination for thousands of tourists every summer due to its proximity and easy access.

The first thing that catches your attention upon arrival is the transparent blue-green waters surrounding the large island and its satellite islets: La Cantera, La Galera, and La Nao. The well-preserved seabed, partly thanks to the declaration of the area as a Marine Reserve in 1986, is also remarkable. The boat that connects it to the nearby mainland leaves the visitor at the foot of the wall that Carlos III ordered to be built to protect it from Barbary pirate attacks, but which was never completed. A small arch leads to the village, with its cobbled streets devoid of motor vehicles, its houses of lime and adobe, and a snapshot from another time. The ensemble is dominated by the figure of a grand Baroque church. Due to the lack of water and the poverty of its soil, Tabarca was always uninhabited until 1770 when Carlos III ordered the construction of the village and its walls to accommodate 300 Genoese fishermen who were prisoners of the Sultan of Algiers, for whom he paid a large ransom. The Genoese were to prevent pirates from continuing to use the island as a base. They came from the Tunisian island of Tabarqha, so they named their new home Nueva Tabarca.

This idyllic scene is disrupted in July and August, months during which I would strongly recommend avoiding Tabarca. The figures vary depending on the source, but extrapolating them, it seems that between 3,000 and 5,000 people arrive each day on this small island, barely 1,800 meters long by 450 wide, with an official population of 52 residents. They overcrowd the restaurants, souvenir shops, accommodations, and anything else in their path, making the simple act of enjoying a Tabarcan fish stew with a minimum of peace and attentive service an impossible mission.

However, everything changes now, in late autumn and throughout winter. During this time, Tabarca regains its essence as an 18th-century fishing village. The maritime lines operating in the high season from Alicante, Benidorm, and Torrevieja close down. Of those coming from Santa Pola, only one remains in operation. Of the 50 officially registered residents, not even twenty truly live on the island in winter, mostly retirees. Until the December holiday (the 6th and the 8th), there is still some life; after that, there is nothing... a couple of restaurants, a hotel, and another that opens on weekends. There are no shops or supermarkets. And daily tourists can be counted on fingers and toes. The most charming and peaceful corner of the Mediterranean coast!

At four in the afternoon, when the last boat departs, Tabarca transforms into a magical place. The sunny afternoons of autumn and winter here are even more captivating in their golden hue. Silence and nostalgia take hold of its weathered stones, its unfinished walls, its coves of sandstone sharpened by erosion. If there were a time tunnel, it would be something very similar to this. The few locals and even fewer travellers who have stayed overnight let the day pass with indifference, oblivious to the hustle and bustle on the opposite coast, which, despite being only 11 miles away, seems light-years away in time.

It will remain this way until spring when the large boats become active again, and the hordes return to take over the island. Take advantage until then and enjoy that other Tabarca.

Practical Information:

How to get there: In winter, only the Santa Pola-Tabarca line operates. Until December 17, the service is provided by Transtabarca. From that date, the shipping company linking it is Tabarkeras.

Accommodation: The only one open all year round is La Trancada hotel (630 50 35 00). Hotel Santa Creu (684 45 93 59) is open until New Year's Eve. The boutique hotel Isla de Tabarca (965 96 13 28) opens some weekends (check their website).

Article written by Paco Nadal for El Pais and translated from El Pais Viajeros

Tinsa €/m2