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Visit the Orchid Park – Botanical garden in Estepona

24/04/2015

Orchid Park Estepona

An exciting new botanical garden specialized in orchids has just been inaugurated in Estepona.  The botanical park Orchidarium is located on the outskirts of Estepona town at “Calle Salvador Dali number 22,” and is clearly visible with three distinctive glass domes where one of them is 30 meters high.

The Orchid building is divided into two parts of 1000 m2 and 15,000 m2 separated by a bamboo forest.

Orchid Park Estepona

Inside the glass building there is a waterfall and on the 12 meter high wall there are growing orchids in different heights. There are over 1600 different orchid varieties and 8000 other plant varieties. For instance you will find the flower “Ylan Ylan” (Cananga odarata) used in the perfume industry in famous perfume brands like Dior or Channel.  Or you can see vanilla plant which is a climbing growing orchid plant.

Admission is free and the opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 11-14h & 18-21h. On Fridays and Saturdays the botanical garden is open till 23h.  It is closed on Mondays.
There are parking spaces near by the garden.

Photos: estepona.es/turismo

Tips for Seville April Fair

16/04/2015

Seville fair in April

On the 21st of April at 00.00 hours, the Seville April Fair, also called in Spanish “Feria de Abril” will be officially inaugurated when several thousand lights will be switched on the gateway to the fairground.

The Seville April fair lasts to the 26th of April so you have a whole week to visit it in.

Here are some tips if you are planning to visit the fair.

Where does the fair take place in Seville?
The fair is held in the area called the “Los Remedios” and is divided into a part with small tents (also called casetas in Spanish) and another part with fairground attractions.

Can I visit all the tents? A majority of the tents are private and one cannot enter them without being invited or that you are a member of the association hiring the tent. But there are 16 big public tents which everyone can go into.  At the entrance to the fairground you can get a map and situate yourself where to go, or you can just go with the flow and the beat of the music, an experience in itself, and just walk around the big fairground.

In the streets and in the tents there are people dancing sevillanas and if you don´t have to drive, then try also the typical drink “rebujitos” which is sherry mixed with lemon water or 7-Up.

When is the best time to visit the fair?
We recommend that you arrive around 13:30h where you can see horse carriages, sevillana dancing and the beautiful flamenco dresses the women are dressed in. From 20:00h in the evening there are no longer horse carriages in the streets and the fairground is taken over with young people for partying. If you are a late night rather than early morning person then you should come later in the evening.

Wear good footwear
Comfortable shoes are a must during the visit, and please be aware that they will get very dirty. The streets of the fairground are covered with yellow sand. The same sand sort is also used in the bullring, and makes the shoes quite dirty and dusty.

Parking the car
We recommend you park the car away from the fairground site and use public transport to get there. During the fair week extra buses are running around the clock so you can easily get back and forth from the fairground.

Arrange a specific meeting point
There are over 1000 tents and 15 streets on the fairground so there is plenty to look at and also easy to get away from each other.  Arrange a specific meeting point so you can always meet up at it should you get lost.

Enjoy the party, the music and the atmosphere on the fairground and get yourself a real Spanish holiday experience.

Speed cameras will now be visible in Spain

5/04/2015

Speed camera in spain

There are over 800 speed cameras set up on the Spanish roads, so make sure always to respect the speed limit to avoid being fined on your holidays.

Until now many speed cameras have been hidden, which has resulted in that many have got an unpleasant surprise in the form of a fine after finishing their holidays.

The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) is now moving around on the speed cameras, so the majority will be placed on the roads where most accidents happen and they become visible for the driver.

The location of the cameras can be seen on DGTS website. Click here.

Or you can see the location of the speed cameras in Malaga by clicking here.

Another change which is affecting many drivers is that the DGT has changed the  ”margins of error” for when a speeding ticket is issued.

Where previously it was possible to exceed the speed limit by 12-15 km/h, now it is only 7 km/h at speeds below 100km/h.  At speeds above 100 km/h the limit is set at 7% excess before a fine is issued.

Here are some examples:

Speed limit 50km/h           – speed camera will fine at 58km/h
Speed limit 80 km/h         - speed camera will fine at 88km/h
Speed limit 100km/h     – speed camera will fine at 109 km/h
Speed limit 120 km/h     - speed camera will fine at 131 km/h

We would like to draw your attention to two stretches where the speed cameras often fine many clients.

One stretch is west of Malaga on the A-7 Faro de Calaburras, Mijas Costa.  On the road from km 205.2 to km 200.1 the maximum speed is 80km/h.  The speed cameras will be calculating an average speed over this stretch and if exceeded a fine will be issued.  This applies the direction Fuengirola towards Marbella and vice versa.

The other stretch is east of Malaga on A-7 at the tunnel of Torrox from km 287.6 to km 288.7. Here the speed limit is set at 100 km/h.

Once again we ask you to respect the speed limits and your holidays will not be ruined with a speeding fine that easily could have been avoided.

Helle Hollis will be testing driverless cars in Málaga

1/04/2015

Driverless car

Today, the 1st of April, Helle Hollis has been selected as Málaga’s first car rental company to the test drive of driverless cars.

Helle Hollis will receive three prototypes of the driverless model during the month of July, and customers who would be interested to test drive these models during their holidays, should forward an email to bookings.

The driverless car model has already been approved in California, Florida and Nevada, and the EU is already in an advanced process to approve driverless cars in Europe. Helle Hollis is proud to have been selected as the first test car hire company.  The selection process has been long, and we have just today, the 1st of April, received confirmation that we as a car hire business on the Costa del Sol have been the chosen company.

There is predicted a large market for driverless cars in the car rental business so you can finally get a 100% stress-free driving experience during your holidays. With the driverless car you can enjoy the views during your mountain drive to the white villages and one should no longer worry about the sharp needle turns. It will become much easier to park and drive around in big cities such as Málaga, Seville and Granada and you will of course not receive any speeding ticket during your holidays.

All in all, a completely stress-free form of car hire which goes hand in hand with Helle Hollis slogan: stress-free car rental.

 

HAPPY APRIL FOOLS! ….  :)

How to book a ticket for the “Caminito del Rey” – the royal walkway in El Chorro, Malaga

2/03/2015

Bridge Caminito del Rey

This is how you book a ticket for the “Caminito del Rey” – try the exciting walk on the royal pathway, if you do not suffer from vertigo.  The Caminito del Rey was opened to the public on the 28th of March 2015.

Procedure to book your ticket for Caminito Del Rey – Malaga

You must book the ticket on the official website  

You can reserve a maximum of five tickets at a time and only two months in advance. Every half an hour a group of 50 persons will be sent off on the trail.

The ticket is personal and non-transferable.  Upon start and end of the hike you must present a passport or other identification along with the ticket.  The same also applies to children who also must show the name of the accompanying adult.  For safety reasons, children must be over 8 years of age to walk the hike.

You must arrive 30 minutes before the booked admission time in order to be organized into groups.

The hike “Caminito del Rey”
The hike is from point A to B as it is linear.  It is important that you have arranged beforehand with transportation to get you back to your starting point.  There are buses that runs from El Chorro and from Ardales (each starting/ending point) and costs 1,55 euros for a ticket. The first bus leaves at 12:30h and the last one 20:30h. The buses runs each half an hour. Please check upon arrival for the exact timetable.  Here you can see the timetable in Spanish .
You can also walk part of the hike and return to the same starting point.

You can begin the hike from Ardales (Guadalhorce water dam) and the walk will go downhill or you can start the hike from El Chorro train station (Álora) and go uphill.

If you start at the Guadalhorce water dam (Ardales) from the restaurant Kiosko, then you should first go 2.7 km to the control centre which is next to the hydroelectric power plant.  This will take approximately 50 minutes.  From there the official Caminito del Rey starts and it will take approximately 4 hours to reach El Chorro train station.

If you start at El Chorro train station (Álora), then you will head on for 2.1 km, passing a campsite and an iron bridge before the Caminito del Rey starts.  The hike goes up hill all the time and will take approximately 5 hours to complete. The entire route is 7.7 km of which 4.8 km is on pathways carved into the mountainside.

Caminito Del Rey

Rules to be observed during the Caminito del Rey hike
Due to the severity, the heights on the route and the narrow path, there are many rules to be respected to make it a safe hike for all visitors.

It is compulsory to wear a safety helmet which will be distributed at the entrance to the pathway, as there may be risk of small stones falling from the mountain.

When you walk on the path, always keep to the right.

If you cross with another visitor you must show consideration so the one walking next to the abyss is not getting into danger.

You are not allowed to make stops along the route to avoid the formation of queues.

You are not allowed to take photos with a tripod or other equipment that may be an obstacle on the path.

Children must be over 8 years and may not be carried by an adult.

You are not allowed to carry a big hiking backpack during the hike.

There is no possibility to buy food along the path and as the hike requires some physical effort, it is recommended to bring water, muesli bar, chocolate, and fruit in a small backpack.

You are not allowed to take a picnic break along the path as there is no dedicated area for this. Therefore, it is recommended that you have a sandwich to eat before or after the hike is completed.

Prepare your hike in advance with a cap, sunscreen and footwear suitable for this walk.

You must use a rain cover if it should start to rain.  It is forbidden to use an umbrella.

If there are strong winds the path will be closed.

There are no toilet facilities on the path.

Smoking is not allowed.

Pets are not allowed.

You are not allowed to shout or listen to loud music on the hike.

If you suffer from vertigo, have a heart disease or other illness that may be an obstacles to complete the trip, you should of course not walk the path.

If you are into mountain climbing, and want to climb under the Caminito del Rey, then it is possible to do so.  You will have to register with the control centre and present a civil liability insurance that covers mountain climbing.  Furthermore, you are not allowed to use the iron structure from the Caminito del Rey for the climbing.

Valle del Hoyo Caminito del Rey

Practical information:
Opening hours
Winter period (01/11 -31/03) from 10-14 pm.
Summer Period (01/04-31/10) from 10-17 pm.

It is closed on Mondays.
It is free to visit the Caminito del Rey the first six months.    Click here to read our other blog article about the royal walkway in Málaga.

Photos: Diputación de Málaga

Pompidou Centre opens in Málaga

2/03/2015

Pompidou Malaga

The French Pompidou Centre in Paris opens its first branch up in Europe.  You will find the Pompidou Centre Málaga in the characteristic “glass cube” which is located at Muelle Uno near the waterfront.

The art centre opens to the public on the 28th of March and will have a permanent exhibition of the collections of the Pompidou Centre in Paris and a temporary exhibition with works from Joan Miró.  This temporary exhibition can be seen from May until September month.

In the permanent exhibition you will find more than 80 works, among others, from Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst and Rene Magritte.

The admission price is 9 euros for the permanent and temporary exhibition and every Sunday afternoon after 4 pm the admission is free until closing time.  The Pompidou centre Málaga  is closed on Tuesdays.

The normal opening hours are from 9:30 am – 8:00 pm. During summer season from the 15th of June until the 15th of September the opening hours are from 11:00am – 10:00pm.

How to get there?
Head for Málaga city and enter along the Avda. de Andalucía. Continue to Paseo Parque and in the roundabout turn right onto Paseo de la Farola.  There is a large public car park under the Pompidou centre at the corner of Paseo de la Farola.  That is, on the waterfront of Muelle Uno.

As the Pompidou Centre Málaga is centrally located in Málaga city, it is a great chance to also go shopping and to have something to eat at one of the many restaurants at Muelle Uno waterfront after a visit at the art center Pompidou.

The official website is not launched but we will you inform when it is ready.

The Russian Museum opens in Málaga

21/02/2015

Tabacalera Malaga

Málaga is becoming more and more known as a culture city with exciting art museums. We already have the Picasso, CAC and Carmen Thyssen Museum.
During March month another art museum will be inaugurated, which is called “Collections from the Russian Museum“.

The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg has one of the largest collections of Russian art.  It is the first time that a bigger collection of its artworks are permanently exhibited in Europe.

The permanent exhibition is called “Russian art in the period XV-XX” and contains amongst other icon paintings from the XV period.  From the avant-garde art period there will be shown paintings from Kandinsky and Chagall. This exhibition can be seen until November 2015. The temporary exhibition is called “Russian art on Diaghilev’s time” can be seen until September. Diaghilev was the founder of the Russian ballet and arranged also art exhibitions.

The Russian Museum is located in the old renovating Tobacco factory in Málaga, also called “Tabacalera”. It is next door to the Automobile museum “Museo Automovilistico” so why not visit both museums on the same day.

The address is Av. Sor Teresa Prat, 29003 Malaga and it takes only 10min. by car from Málaga airport.  The admission price is 8 euros for both the permanent and temporary exhibition and there will be free admission every Sunday afternoon from 4pm until closing time.

The opening date for the museum is set for Wednesday the 25th of March 2015.

Click here to see the Russian Museum website in Malaga.

The famous orange trees in Seville – did you know that…?

21/02/2015

Seville

Seville city is amongst other things famous for its many orange trees throughout the city centre and when the trees bloom in spring, it smells wonderful in the streets.
Here are some fun data that  you probably did not know about the orange trees of Seville.

-There are 25,000 orange trees in Seville, which makes the city the world’s only city with the most orange trees.  The Seville orange tree produces a bitter orange so the fruit is not suitable for juice.

- The orange tree originally came from China, where it was thought to bring luck to the owner. This was one of the reasons why the orange tree was so quickly widespread in Seville.

Oranges from Seville

- It was the Moors who introduced the orange tree in Seville.

- Until the Middle Ages the oranges were exclusively used as a medicine.

- The Spanish name for orange tree is “naranjo” and for the fruit orange “naranja”.

- The Indian name for orange tree is nâranga which means “fragrant”.

- The Seville orange is used for perfume, wine and jam. The most famous brand is the “Seville Orange Marmalade” which is sold in England.

If you want to experience Seville when the orange blossoms, then you must visit Seville in March and early April.
Read more about Seville here

Source:  www.visitasevilla.es

Reaching new heights walking the “Caminito del Rey” – a great nature experience!

9/02/2015 | 1 comment

Caminito Del Rey

Want to get a little adrenaline in the blood during your next visit to the Costa del Sol? Forget it if you suffer from vertigo….
Then we can recommend a visit to the newly renovated path called in Spanish “El Caminito del Rey” in the El Chorro area of Malaga.

The path “Caminito del Rey” is located about an hour’s drive from Malaga a little further inland from  Alòra and was built in 1905 by the Hydroelectric company El Chorro as it needed to have an access between its two hydroelectric power plants lying in the mountain gorge Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. The path was to make easier access for the maintenance workers overseeing the hydropower stations and transport material between them. The pathway was carved into the steep mountainside and a suspension bridge crosses the several hundred meter deep gorge.

Bridge over Caminito del Rey

As time passed by the lack of maintenance made the path deteriorate but despite of that as the area is famous for mountain climbing, it was continued to be used by climbers.  After several fatal accidents happened due to the poor state of the path, it was closed off.

A year ago, the regional government began to renovate and reconstruct this path. It has been a very complicated work to get the pathway reconstructed, but now it is finally set for opening.

The trail is 3 km long and made of wooden beams which are drilled into the mountain with iron bars. Some places along the path have glass floor so you can see the gorge and the river hundreds meters below you.
Work on Caminto del Rey

To get an idea of the heights where the path goes, then take a look at this beautiful video. We are sure that even with the worst fear of heights you want to take the walk or perhaps, not …?

Watch here the video how the royal path was reconstructed.

The official opening is being planned so that it is open for Easter, but so far the set day has not been published. In order to visit the path you must reserve online (the website is still not published), as it only allows groups of 25-30 people at a time to go on the trail with a guide. The first 3 months the entrance will be for free.

As soon as we hear where and how you can reserve online for a visit to El Caminito del Rey, we will let you know via our newsletter or Facebook.

Caminito Gossip! The trail was named the “royal pathway” after the king Alonso XIII went along the path during his inauguration in 1921 of a water reservoir.  It also featured in the 20thCentury Fox film called Von Ryan’s Express and until its repair was known as one of the world’s most dangerous hikes!  Antonio Banderas has already been to see it with the Mayor of Malaga.  Day 2 of the Cycling Tour of Spain will wiz around the Caminito area on  the 22nd of  August!

Click here to see the official website of the El Caminito del Rey.

How to get to El Chorro:
From Malaga take the A-357 towards Cartama and at km 22 follow the signs for  El Chorro, Embalses. Here you can either stop at El Chorro – or continue and follow the directions for a walk along the trail Sendero de Gaitanejo which is a circuit of 5.5 km.

Photos: Diputación de Málaga

Castellar Zoo, a different zoo in the province of Cádiz

26/01/2015

Zoo de Castellar

 

How about a visit to Castellar Zoo, a zoo that differs from others you have seen?  This is a great day trip for all animal friends and families with children.

 

Castellar Zoo is in reality an animal rescue centre for exotic animals and is one of the great unknowns of Andalusia.  Partly because it does not advertise as much as other larger zoo´s, however everyone who has visited it will recommend that it is worth their time.  It is just a small zoo which opened to the public in 2002.

Castellar Zoo began as a private initiative where it took care of exotic animals that had been confiscated by the authorities or animals that have been kept as illegal pets.  The animals were cared for and given the best conditions of life possible, considering that they had already been removed from their natural habitat.   A few years after the rescue centre opened up, the owners decided to open it to the public so that people could enjoy and learn from these animals.

The big difference between Castellar Zoo and others is that, being a small zoo and born as a rescue centre, it is a very familiar zoo.  People can touch and play with the animals and even feed them – always with the guidelines from the animal keepers. This makes the experience for both children and adults, so much richer.  In the Zoo de Castellar you can amongst others see Adon (a white tiger), Sasha (a Bengal tiger), Bambina (Baby antelope) and Daniel (a white parrot).

The opening hours of the Zoo de Castellar is from 10.00 am to dusk (closing time is later in summer than in winter), and is open every day of the week.

The ticket price is 9 euros for children and 15 euros for adults (11 for pensioners).

Coming from Malaga airport, then take the A-7 and head for Estepona.  At Sotogrande take the exit 130 Guadeira/Castellar, and follow Crta. De Arenillas/A-2100.  After about 11km from this exit you will find Zoo de Castellar.

The address is Cerro del Moro s/n -  11350 Castellar de la Frontera The trip from Malaga Airport will take approximately 1hour and 40 minutes if you take the toll motorway.

 

Read more here about the Zoo el Castellar  and we wish you a great day out.