New traffic rules came into play on 21 April affecting pedestrians, drivers and cyclists in Spain.
If you’re planning on holidaying in Spain, or visiting your Spanish holiday home, it’s worth making a note of the changes so you’re not caught out with a fine.
Driving in Spain
New speed limits
In some urban areas, e.g. around schools, speed limits have been lowered from 50kph (31mph) to 20kph (12mph).
Children in cars
Only children over 1.35m tall (4ft 5in) can travel in the front seat of a car. Children under this height must sit in the back.
The only exceptions are if other children are already sat in all of the back seats, or if the vehicle doesn’t have any back seats.
Police can now issue fines without having to stop your car or identify you as the driver.
You qualify for a 50% discount if you pay a fine within 20 days of receiving it. You also have 20 days to contest a fine.
Other changes to traffic laws
Helmets on bikes
All children under 16 must wear safety helmets when riding a bike in an urban area, otherwise the parent or guardian faces a fine of €200.
If you commit an offence as a pedestrian (e.g. crossing a road at a non-designated crossing), expect to be breathalysed for alcohol and drugs.
More on traffic laws
Find out more about the changes to the Spanish traffic laws. The AA’s website is a useful source of information on the traffic laws in all countries.
Published: 26 April 2014
‘No-frills’ ferry travel has finally arrived on Brittany Ferries who are now running a low-cost ferry service to France and Spain from the UK.
The new économie service begins on 24 March and comes as a welcome option for both travellers holidaying in mainland Europe and owners of holiday lets visiting their properties.
Costs and journey times
Running between Portsmouth and Le Havre or Santander, the ferry service is 20-25% cheaper than the company’s standard crossings:
- France: the Portsmouth-Le Havre service runs five times each week and is from £79 (journey time 5hrs 30 mins)
- Spain: the Portsmouth-Santander service sails at weekends only and is from £169 (journey time around 26 hrs)
Prices quoted are for a one-way économie ticket for two people plus a car.
What you get
Although the Etretat ferry serving the low-cost routes is smaller than the usual ships, it still offers:
- Deck and lounge areas (with limited reserved seats)
- En-suite cabins
- Movie lounge
- Self-service restaurant
- Small duty-free shop
What don’t you get
Don’t expect the cruise-style experience you’d usually find with Brittany Ferries:
- No carpets and tea and coffee making facilities in the cabins
- No entertainment facilities, specifically for children
- No cash machines or currency exchange facilities
The smaller size of the no-frills ferries means that accessibility is limited. Check with Brittany Ferries before you book to ensure your mobility needs are catered for.
How do I book?
Visit www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/economie to find out more and book your crossing.
Published: 19 March 2014
Spain has more public holidays than most other European countries: 14 national, regional and local holidays are celebrated each year. And as the Spanish are big fans of turning a public holiday into a short break, their busy calendar creates some fantastic opportunities for marketing your holiday let.
When you advertise with Holiday Lettings, your place will also be seen by thousands of Spanish travellers on www.tripadvisor.es (among others). So it’s well worth taking the time to widen it’s appeal (also see our tips for the French public holidays).
Spanish public holidays in 2014-15
- Thursday 17 April: Maundy Thursday (not all regions)
- Friday 18 April: Good Friday – viernes santo
- Sunday 21 April: Easter Sunday (not all regions)
- Thursday 1 May: Labour Day – día del trabajador
- Friday 15 August: Assumption Day – día de la Asunción
- Monday 13 October: Spanish National Day – día de la Hispanidad (Spain’s national day is usually on 12 October, but it’s moved this year to a weekday)
- Saturday 1 November: All Saints’ Day – día de todos los santos
- Saturday 6 December: Constitution Day – día de la Constitución
- Monday 8 December: Immaculate Conception Day – día de la Inmaculada Concepción
- Thursday 25 December: Christmas Day – día de Navidad
- Thursday 1 January: New Year’s Day – día del año nuevo
- Tuesday 6 January: Three Kings’ Day – día de los reyes magos
- Saturday 28 February: Andalusia regional day (Andalusia only)
Public holiday marketing tips
Here are a few tips on making the most of Spain’s long weekends to help fill any holes in your calendar:
- Add public holiday dates to your prices so travellers can easily find and book the correct dates. Go to Properties > Prices in your account.
- Create price periods around the holiday dates – travellers can then see at a glance what you’re charging for the period around a public holiday. For example, for Spanish Labour Day, list a rate for the long weekend from Thursday 1 May to Sunday 4 May.
- Local public holidays in Spain are usually colourful festivities – find out when they are in your area and list these too. For example, Valencia celebrates St Joseph’s Day for a week around 19 March and carnival celebrations (in the run-up to Lent) in Cadiz, Gran Canaria and Tenerife are big tourist attractions.
Published: 3 March 2014
Travellers looking for breaks in the Canaries and Balearics this year could be more likely to book a holiday home after hotels hiked up their prices by up to 12%.
A new study by Trivago has revealed that hotels on the Canary and Balearic islands have increased their nightly rates by 12% and 11% respectively. The rise makes the average price of a night’s stay on the Canaries €122 and the Balearics €113.
The Canaries and Balearics benefit from all-year-round popularity because of their milder winter temperatures compared with the rest of Spain. However the price hike still comes at a time when the rest of debt-ridden Spain is seeing hotel rates either stagnate or fall.
Prices in continental Spain
In continental Spain, the biggest price fall has been in Galicia where prices have dropped by 20%. The regions of Cantabria and Navarra have fallen by 14% and 13% respectively.
Aragón, Catalonia and Andalucía hotel prices have seen minor rises of 1%.
Hotel city breaks
City breaks in Spain paint a similar picture, with higher than average nightly stays in the Canary Islands and Balearics:
- Palma de Majorca (Balearics): €110/night
- Barcelona: €92/night
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canaries): €86/night
- Madrid: €85/night
- San Sebastián: €84/night
Sunny Spain was a favourite for travellers in 2013 : a staggering 56.7 million foreign tourists visited last year, the highest number yet. This was partly due to the lower holiday prices, but also the instability of other usual favourites such as Egypt.
Published: 27 January 2014
Owners of Spanish holiday accommodation will be pleased to hear that a massive 57.6 million foreign tourists holidayed in Spain between January and November in 2013.
According to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, these are the highest numbers yet, with the Canary Islands and Catalonia proving particularly popular.
As we reported last year, tourist spending in Spain was already up by 13.7% by March 2013. The Ministry now reports a marked increase in visits from Russian and Nordic tourists, but British, German and French visitors still lead the way when it comes to booking sun-baked holidays in Spain.
The rise in international visitors is being attributed to several factors. Many travellers seem to have chosen the safety of a Spanish break over more unstable sunny destinations, such as Egypt. And hoteliers and holiday home owners have also implemented reductions in their accommodation prices, which, alongside Spain’s fantastic weather and many other charms, have pulled in more business.
Spain’s not the only market on the up, either. Tourism Review reported a 55% rise in European visitors to Italy over the Christmas period and Travel Weekly reported a bumper 2013 summer for UK tourism. You can read more about Spain’s tourism growth on Euro Weekly News.
Did you notice an increase in visitors from any particular countries in 2013? And how are bookings going for 2014 so far? Tell us in a comment below and don’t forget to add your Home ID!
Spain’s got some great news for its visitors this season. ‘Operation Summer’ was launched by the Interior Ministry on 1 July in the regions of Andalusia, Asturias, Canarias, Cantabria, Valencia, Galicia, Madrid, the Balearic Islands and Murcia. Its aim is to ensure the safety of the millions of tourists expected to visit Spain in the coming months.
The crime rate in Spain remains among the lowest in the European Union, however, the Secretary of State for Security said, “Our ambition is always to improve the crime figures even more, and for that the National Police, Guardia Civil, and other security forces, are working daily with the intention of providing a safer country”.
The ‘Operation Summer 2013 Tourism Insurance Plan’ includes increased surveillance on roads, railway stations, ports, airports, hotels, camping and beaches, and the strengthening of security measures at shows and events involving large concentrations of people.
It will continue until 31 August (except in the Balearic Islands, where it will end on 30 September).
21 May, 2013
According to the Egatur Tourist Expenditure Survey (prepared by the Institute for Tourism Studies of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism), tourists visiting Spain spent 3.28 billion euros in March, an increase of 13.7% on March 2012.
Visitors from France, the Nordic countries and Germany were the main contributors, especially in the Canary Islands and Catalonia. In fact, the Canary Islands had the largest volume of spending between January and March, at 3.16 billion euros (up 7%). Catalonia was second, with 1.99 billion euros and an increase of 14.2% year on year. Andalusia was third with 1.25 billion euros spent in the first quarter, an increase of 10.5%.
UK holidaymakers spent a total of 632 million euros (up 2.2% on March 2012), mainly in Andalusia and Catalonia. French holidaymakers spent the most, a total figure of 400 million euros (a year on year increase of 43.5%), with Catalonia as their favoured destination.
Read the full report on www.kyero.com
17 May, 2013
New financial reporting requirements in Spain have prompted many expat residents to think about leaving the country. The new tax laws require anyone who resides in Spain for more than six months of the year and owns overseas assets amounting to more than 50,000 euros to declare them.
Although this will certainly ring true for many expats, those affected should seek financial advice before deciding to leave as there may be ways of reducing the impact of the new laws.
Read the full story here: www.telegraph.co.uk
26 April, 2013
The Spanish government has relaxed the strict Ley de Costas law of 1988, which was designed to protect the coastline from over-development and erosion, as well as keep it open to the public. The protected land area has been decreased from 100 metres back from the public maritime border to just 20 metres. The land beyond the 20-metre point will now fall under more lenient municipal planning laws.
For more on this, visit: www.spanishpropertyinsight.com
25 April, 2013
If you own a holiday rental property in sunny Spain you should be aware of the Spanish Department of Housing’s new draft law, says the Association of Holiday Rental Managers in Madrid (Asotur). If it’s passed, the regulation of residential rentals in Spain will be handed over to the 17 regional governments, some of whom may restrict short-term residential lets in tourist hotspots to boost business for local hotels.
However, the full details and scope of the law are yet to be released. We’ll post here again once we hear more about it. In the meantime, you can read more by visiting www.spanishpropertyinsight.com