Why buy a home on Costa Blanca?

MOVING to Spain is a huge decision and not to be taken without serious consideration.

Friends and family will be asking you for the reasons that influence you, and you may still be asking the same question of yourself.

It's very straightforward, and there are definitely a multitude of answers, but the question remains: "Why buy a home on Costa Blanca".



Weather

The World Health Organisation recognises Costa Blanca's climate as one of the healthiest on the planet.

It's Mediterranean climate is considered the best in Europe and the third best in the world.

With 320 days of sun every year, the summers are long, hot and dry.

Out-of-season, winter is mild and with very little rain.

Salt lakes have created a special microclimate thanks to the high concentration of minerals in the air.

These help reduce breathing problems, skin conditions, rheumatism and orthopedic complaints.

On Costa Blanca, whole days of rain are few and far between, and heavy storms are a lot less frequent than in the UK.

Snow is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence on Costa Blanca.


Cuisine

Spain, and Costa Blanca in particular, is known for its huge range of delicious food on offer.

Paella, the country's national dish, was invented in nearby Valencia, and is available in every town and village.

The 1000 year old dish began life when rice was first cultivated by the Moors in Muslim Spain around the 10th century.

Originally a peasant's meal, it was made with whatever was local to the area: rabbit, snails, vegetables, herbs and spices.

It became the staple diet for families by the 15th century, evolving into a seafood dish (also) by communities on the coast.

As transportation of fresh fish to inland communities became easier and quicker in the 20th century, the seafood variant of paella grew around Spain - and around the world.

Watch out at large gatherings and fiestas, as a huge paella is often made in a single pan - often measuring a couple of metres wide.

In restaurants, if you're not a fan of bones or shells in your paella, ask for 'Paella del Señorito', which translates literally to "Paella for a young child".


Tapas has an equally rich and varied history, and can be enjoyed almost anywhere.

The word itself comes from the Spanish verb tapar ("to cover"), as pieces of bread were originally used to cover a glass of sherry to avoid fruit flies taking advantage of a cooling drink in the Mediterranean sun.

The small slices of bread were subsequently eaten too, so ways to make it more tasty were developed.

Firstly it was just olive oil, then a variety of foodstuffs were added so that drinkers would eventually have such a dish balanced on top of their glass, that a small stick or fork was needed to keep it all together.

Meats such as ham and chorizo were used because of their high salt content that induced a bigger thirst.

Traditionalists will have you believe that genuine tapas can only be served on bread with a stick (pintxo-style), but it now means 'small serving', typically.

Consequently, drinkers can enjoy albondigas (meatballs), ensalada Russo (Russian salad) or boquerones (anchovies in vinegar) - none of which can be balanced atop a drink.

The beauty of tapas is the taste, the convenience and the price.

If you're curious about one particular dish, you don't have to waste money on an entire course: two or three euros is worth the investment for the chance of discovering something sublimely wonderful, as you sip your well-earned drink in the sun.

Much like paella, tapas is taken very seriously, so watch out for regular Tapas Trails around the region.

Up to 20 or 30 bars and restaurants compete for a public vote to be proclaimed winner of "Best Tapas" - recognition and kudos that lasts an entire year.

Beaches

Costa Blanca has beaches large and small that cater for everyone, even a few that are set aside especially for dog-walking.

Nearly every playa along the coast has a blue flag, signifying the quality of not just the sea water, but the cleanliness of the beaches and the range of facilities.

And in this region, a beach is not just for summer, they are used all year round with local councils providing beach and water-based activities throughout the cooler months, too.

Torrevieja has a beach you can step on to from the city centre, El Pinet is private and secluded and Guardamar even has a couple of nudist beaches.

There are almost too many first-class beaches on Costa Blanca to mention, so it really is best to go discover them for yourselves.


The People

"Mi Casa, Tu Casa" (My house is your house) is a common phrase in Spain, for very good reason.

Spaniards are a welcoming, warm and very tolerant race of people, happy to help you integrate into their country.

If they raise a smile when you're trying to order your first meal in Spanish, they are laughing WITH you, not at you.


You will notice a huge difference in culture from that of the UK, as you get used to Spain.

Families are encouraged to socialise together late into the night, and they LOVE their siesta at 2pm - even in the largest of cosmopolitan cities.

The Spanish have a rich history spanning back a whole millennium to the Moors and Christians - a time that is still celebrated with huge, colourful and noisy street fiestas.

Some quirky customs are likely to raise an eyebrow - especially the festive tradition of having miniature versions of celebrities and world leaders defecating in Nativity scenes.

They celebrate in union with the passionate dance of Flamenco, a genuine must-see for all newcomers to Spain.

Acoustic guitars form a sonic backdrop and ambience that connects you instantly with this relaxed and musical corner of the continent.

Spaniards are very proud of their country, and history tells us they always come together and support each other.

Significantly, "International Workers' Day" on May 1st is the most revered of all bank holidays.

Other bank holidays may take you by surprise, with shops closing almost at will, but that's yet another part of Spanish culture that keeps the country charming, enigmatic and fascinating.

Do remember, you will be welcomed into other peoples' homes, council offices, shops and restaurants - as long as you (at least) make an effort yourself to integrate.

Learn some of the lingo, watch out for certain customs, be open to learning new things and respect the rich culture and people of this truly wonderful country.

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