Costa Blanca area info
There are no traffic lights, you can get the keys to the castle for your private viewing and there are no parking meters or paying car parks. What? That isn´t enough?
Sax is so popular because it is far enough inland to be “inland” yet it is only 30 minutes to Alicante Airport and 35 minutes to the beach. Access is by the A31 Dual Carriageway Alicante to Madrid road which runs just outside of the town, by rail and coach from Alicante so you can go to the beach and not have to take your car, and now we are only five minutes away from the AVE station at Villena. The AVE is the high-speed train from Alicante to Madrid which has only four stops and we are five minutes away from a station that on boarding will you have you in Madrid in 2hrs 9mins for as little as 20€.
Let us stick with the town of Sax for now rather than escaping to the beach or the capital city of Spain. Sax is dominated by its 13th century castle known as the Headlight And Guardian Of The Border a landscape of history and rock. When driving back home to Sax after daylight the sight of the castle, fully lit, and seemingly floating in the air is one of the most welcoming sights I have ever experienced.
Commercially, Sax was only affected in a minor way by the economic crash as it is the home of three major international businesses selling “persianas y toldos”, window blinds and sun canopies and a shoe industry that means if you recently bought a pair of shoes in Debenhams for example the chances are they could have been made in Sax or nearby Elda. Recently we have seen the opening of a Consum supermarket, the equivalent of a Waitrose or Marks & Spencer Food Hall whilst there has been a Hiperber and Mas y Mas, both excellent supermarkets for as long as I can remember, and if that isn´t enough there is a Carrefour (Think Tesco) eight minutes’ drive away within a shopping mall complex that has two cinemas one of which is showing films in English with Spanish subtitles.
Sax is served wonderfully well with schools, our son was eight when we moved here and reluctantly we put him into a state school, he always went to a private school in Manchester, and within six months he was fluent in two languages and following five years in a secondary school went on to study Pharmacy at Complutense in Madrid one of Spain´s most famous and prestigious universities.
For health, Sax and Spain in general is far superior to the UK. In the town we have a brand new Health Centre with eight doctors, two nurses, diabetes clinics and a 24/7 Emergency Walk/In centre. Ten minutes away in Elda is the remarkable award winning University Hospital El Virgen De Salud where the surgeons are second to none and the food is atrocious, well it can’t all be good!! Newly opened is the Fibromyalgia centre offering support and therapies for those suffering from acute pain.
There are now four Language Schools in the town and the town hall ran a scheme for language swapping that well may be run again. Learning Spanish is a lot less difficult than it may seem and there are new ways of learning that concentrate are conversational Spanish rather than focusing on grammatically correct Spanish.
There are restaurants and bars aplenty with prices that are at first beyond belief and a three or four course lunch of good quality can easily be found for 10€ or less. For a special occasion there is Casa Mami and La Torreta which are a little more expensive but great food experiences can be had. Nearby Villena, ten minutes or so up the A31, has some excellent restaurants including the very fashionable Tita´s Gastronimo. Coffee and toast for breakfast will cost no more than 2€ and the coffee is possibly the best in Europe.
Alcoy is surrounded by nature and mountains, two natural parks,La Font Roja and Mariola that
have spectacular scenery reminiscent of Italian Tuscan or French Provence.
Although the city is in the midst of these parks and surrounded by nature, it has the advantages
of a city with all the necessary services. It also has an excellent network of highways connecting
to airports and beaches. Valencia and Alicante are almost equidistant giving you a better choice
of flight prices and times.
It boasts of more affordable prices than the Costa Blanca coastal towns and outside the
urbanization. A more authentic Spain. It is a quiet place with many cultural and sports activities.
The fiestas are amongst the very best in Spain and there is a wonderful Fiesta Museum.
More than 90 percent of the population are Spanish which means that learning the language is
so much easier and subsequently integrating into society holds few problems. Also there are
some wonderful schools for anyone bringing children
Pinoso or El Pinós rests on the border between the provinces of Alicante and Murcia. This small traditional town is surrounded by the charming Spanish countryside and beautiful sunny homes.
Pinoso has a population of around 7,500 and was previously focussed on agricultural with a thriving footwear industry, it is now attracting the attention of foreign buyers as an ideal location for a holiday home away from the hustle and bustle of the busy coastline resorts but with the convenience of access to Alicante and Murcia Airports. There are 45mins and 1hours drive away respectively, with routes to all the major European airports serviced by most of the popular airlines.
The origins of Pinoso are a mix of various cultures, including the Iberians, Romans (who probably began the vineyards) and Moors. After the re-conquest Pinoso came under control of the Kingdom of Aragon and at this time was just a small group of hamlets, it gained it's independence from Monovar in 1826. The parish church was built in 1743 in honour of Saint Peter the Apostle.
The area around Pinoso is still mostly for agricultural use and grape vines are the most widely grown crop, the local Monastrell variety being one of the most popular and this produces some excellent quality red wines for which the area is renowned. Pinoso is also important for the production of marble and rock salt.
Pinoso is a popular place for those wishing to purchase rural property away from the busy coastlines of the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida. There are a number of Finca style houses and ruins with large plots of land available to buy in the area.
The town enjoys reliable warm and dry weather all year round, so you won’t be feeling those winter chills if you decide to move here.
With more and more overseas buyers coming to this area the friendly locals have embraced the international and cosmopolitan environment.
Food & Drink
Pinoso holds its weekly farmers market on Saturdays and this is a good place to stock up on fresh produce.
A lot of the local almonds, olives, and grapes go to Pinoso for processing into wonderful fruity oils and the famous wines. You can buy the local wine in all the bodegas in the area from as little as 60 cents a litre! Pinoso also offers a wide selection of organic wines which you can buy by the box or bottle.
A short drive away is the famous wine making town of Jumilla (Murcia region). The wine of Jumilla can be found in most UK supermarkets and the town holds it's famous wine fiesta each August, during which the madding crowd is sprayed with wine while partaking of free local “vino” and the fountain in the main square flows freely with local claret in abundance.
Pinoso has been one of the top five richest towns in Spain thanks to the local production of marble, granite, almonds, shoes and local wines.
Marble is Pinoso's most important economic product and the Mount Coto area is the biggest producer of limestone marble in Spain. The marble, or "cream-ivory" as the locals call it, has been mined since the 1950's. Alicante province produces over 25% of the total marble production of Spain and of this Pinoso produces over 97% of it from Monte Coto.
The School's are fantastic and very welcoming, my 2 children love it here and over the past 8 years have embraced the whole Spanish lifestyle and speak the language fluently.
Things to do
There are many interesting and vibrant towns to explore and and enjoy near to Pinoso include Jumilla, Novelda, Elda, La Romana, Villena, Yecla, Abanilla and Fortuna.
The old town square provides tranquility and relaxation and the local people will make you feel very welcome. There’s plenty to do, from hiking to horseriding, you can even paraglide for a bird’s eye view of the valley.
There are three swimming pools that open just in the Summer months and also an all year round sports centre offering various indoor and outdoor activities that appeal to both young and old.
There are numerous bars and restaurants to suit all tastes, many of which offer a 3 course 'menu of the day', including a bottle of wine, from 8 Euros. We also have some British bars and a British supermarket for those who miss some things from home.
Pinoso, Valencia is situated only 45kms inland from Alicante and the popular Costa Blanca. Benidorm and Torrevieja are within very easy reach, these resorts are full of attractions for the young at heart.
Golf is becoming more popular inland, with several new courses planned over the next few years. There are already a number of established and famous courses which offer players the perfect climat to play in.
From the 1-10 of August the Pinoso fiesta is held in honour of Our Lady the Healer with floral offerings and “vaquillas” (bullfights with young bulls).
There are several excellent, entertaining excursions in and around Pinoso like the Cabezo de la Sal mine with its famous red and white walls, the Sierra del Coto marble quarries and the convent in the district of Encebras.
A section of the “Tour of Spain” cycling passes through and around the surrounding areas of Pinoso. The area also has excellent facilities for horse riding and potholing.
Pinoso’s Clock Tower:
Pinoso’s clock tower is the most emblematic monument of the town and its origins date back to 1887.
Mayor D. Francisco Rico commissioned the project to build the clock tower as the highest point in the town to house the clock, so all the neighbouring villages could behold it.
The clock its self came for Madrid in 1889 and still to this day it still need to be wound every 24 hours to keep it ticking. The chime and it’s bells are unique for their high quality and to this day there operation (they don’t make them like they use to!) The clock tower has two bells, one for the quarter hour and one for the hour.
To visit this monument you will need to make an appointment at the Pinoso Town Hall.
Welcoming and truly beautiful, La Romana is becoming increasingly popular with foreigners looking for somewhere traditionally Spanish, yet open to progression. The village is very well provided for with two small Spanish and one English supermarket, bakers, butchers, hardware, furniture and electrical shops. There is also an excellent Saturday market for fruit and vegetables.
In addition to two chemists, the village has its own surgery and doctor, and in nearby Novelda there is a 24-hour clinic. The main hospital in Elda (just 20 minutes away) gives excellent service. People relocating to Spain can get automatic transfer of all medical services once you have obtained "residencia" which states you are living here on a permanent basis.
The community is friendly and very committed to everything that affects their area. They understand the need for successful integration and acceptance of other cultures, and have embraced the large number or permanent residents from other countries who now call La Romana home. Spanish and foreign residents interact on a daily basis, enjoying the warm climate through alfresco dinning together.
In August La Romana celebrates the Moors and Christians fiesta. It is a spectacular event with the villagers taking a whole year to prepare! In September the Mayor gives a thank-you to all the towns people for their work in the vineyards and offers a Paella in the Park followed by music and dancing.
A communal swimming pool is set in beautiful wooded parkland on the edge of the village, and within 20 minutes drive of La Romana there is the excellent Alenda Golf Course. There are also plans to open 3 more golf courses in and around the area in the not too distant future. The area hosts many beautiful walks and cycling tracks, and there are several horse riding stables nearby.
The larger towns of Novelda and Aspe are only a short distance away, and offer large supermarkets and shops as well as many interesting places to visit. The city of Elche is only 20 minutes away and is worth exploring, with its Palm Culture and a wealth of historic buildings. Alicante is only 30 minutes where there are magnificent beaches and shopping galore, not to mention an active nightlife! Alicante Airport is only 25 minutes away from La Romana
Hondon De Las Nieves / Hondon De Los Frailes
Hondon de las Nieves is a small village, inland, west of the Alicante Region. The nearest city is Elche (City of Palms) to the south east or Crevillente (20 mins drive). Nieves and it is very close neighbouring village Hondon De Los Frailes are typical Spanish, rural villages, quaint, friendly and have changed very little over the years. The local economy relies heavily on agriculture /farming (it is a very fertile valley) and construction / quarrying.
Grapes and almonds are mainly grown in the Hondon area but also many other root crops and fruits. The other dominant industry is construction with many limestone quarries servicing the Costa Blanca building trade for cement products.
Hondon de Las Nieves literally means Gorge of the Snow but not after the weather (there is virtually no snow) It is named for the villages loyalty to their patron... The Virgin of the Snow. This religious effigy and the church is at the heart of village life, the Virgin has her own fiesta dedicated to her.
The Hondon Valley is a beautiful, tranquil, mountainous area in Costa Blanca South, Spain with thousands of acres of vineyards, almonds & olive groves. We typically get over 310 days of glorious Spanish sunshine per year!
Fortuna is set in the mountains of Murcia. This traditional Spanish town, with its hot springs, lets you feel the tranquil pace of Spanish life away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist towns. Set in the north-east Murcia, the atmosphere of this beautiful town offers you an insight into the history of the area with the street and plazas full of atmosphere and history.
Fortuna is probably most famous for its healing water of the historic spa, El Balneario de Fortuna-Leana. it was originally built in 1896, but has recently been thoroughly renovated, keeping its original charm. Its pools and baths take advantage of 52C thermal waters bubbling from beneath the ground. These waters were prized by the ancient Romans and Iberians and water's unique composition became famous for helping with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis. You don't have to be ill to appreciate the wonderful relaxing waters; just enjoy the calming properties of the thermal baths or enjoy a message.
Between Fortuna and El Balneario Romano, within an outcrop of the Sierra del Bano, iis the intriguing site of La Cueva Negra that's linked to El Balneario Romano. As the name suggests, the walls of the cave are black and there are numerous inscriptions known as tituli picti. The most significant inscriptions date from the 1st century AD and detail a cult of nymphs and other divinities, like Bacchus, Esculapio and Cibeles. archaeological work started here in the early 1980's and it is believed that is was a place of worship for both Romans in the 1st century AD and for Iberians during the Bronze Age.
There are two large national parks around Fortuna and hosts a wide variety of wildlife and 50km of hiking trails. Bird life is especially prolific and there are several areas within the parks officially protected to care for certain species. During your walks through the carrasco pines and large oaks, you may see wild boar, foxes,eagles, hawks, owls and also the very rear Iberian lynx.
Costa Blanca (English: "White Coast")
Refers to over 200 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline in the Alicante province of Spain. The name "Costa Blanca" was devised as a promotional name used by BEA when they launched their air service (for £38.16s.-) between London and Valencia in 1957. It has a well-developed tourism industry and is a popular destination for British and German tourists. It extends from the town of Dénia in the north, beyond which lies the Costa del Azahar (Costa dels Tarongers), to Pilar de la Horadada in the south, beyond which lies the Costa Cálida. It includes the major tourist destinations of Benidorm, Alicante, Dénia and Xàbia.
The Costa Cálida (Spanish pronunciation: ['kosta 'kaliða], "Warm Coast")
is the approximately 250 km stretch of Mediterranean coastline of the Spanish province of Murcia. This region has a micro-climate which features comparatively hot mean annual temperatures (and hence its name, "Warm Coast") and a relative degree of aridity (precipitation averaging less than 34 cm annually).