Car and Leisure
Car and Leisure – Owning a Car
Sun, sea and so much to do! From golf to days on the beach, the Costa Blanca’s balmy climate and fantastic scenery enable it to offer all kinds of leisure activities. So, if you’re planning to relocate or make frequent trips to a holiday home there, to help you enjoy all the fun things available around the region, you might consider keeping a car. Read on to find out more about all the activities to do on the Costa Blanca and having your own transport there.
Beaches, Marinas and Fairways!
The beaches of the Costa Blanca, which together have more EU rated Blue Flags for quality than any other European beach destination, are what the region is famous for, hence, ‘blanca’ referring to ‘white’ sandy beaches.
The calm, warm Mediterranean sea combined with gently sloping beaches are typical, making property on the Costa Blanca especially popular with families and anyone who enjoys water sports, including windsurfing, jet skiing, snorkelling and sailing to name but a few!
In the southern part, Torrevieja has its own selection of beaches, with the especially treasured beaches of La Mata and Guardamar del Segura a few minutes north. Heading south from Torrevieja, along the Orihuela Costa, a string of family friendly sandy beaches can be found at Punta Prima, Playa Flamenca, La Zenia and Cabo Roig.
North of Alicante, Benidorm’s long sandy beaches need little introduction, but further north still just as enticing beaches, some with picturesque mountain backdrops, can be found at Altea, Calpe, Moraira, Javea and Denia.
When the family fancies a change from the beach, you could spend the day at one of the exciting water parks on the Costa Blanca, including Aquopolis in Torrevieja and Aqualandia in Benidorm. Another option could be to treat yourself and the family to a ride around one of the region’s go-kart tracks.
Marinas on the Costa Blanca offer a selection of aquatic activities, including diving and boat excursions, as well as plenty of moorings for private boats. Resorts with a marina – and nearby property for sale – include Denia, Javea, Calpe (Greenwich), Altea, Alicante, Santa Pola (Miramar), Torrevieja and Cabo Roig.
Back on land, golfers are spoilt for choice. At Villamartin on the Orihuela Costa, there is a triangle of excellent golf courses all within five minutes of each other, namely Villamartin Golf, Las Ramblas de Orihuela Golf and Campoamor Golf. And just 10-15 minutes north of there, you’ll find two more quality golf courses, namely La Finca Golf in Algorfa and Vistabella Golf. Golf courses on the northern Costa Blanca include those at Denia and Javea, and two 9-hole courses around Moraira and Altea, not forgetting those near Alicante. Unsurprisingly, golf homes on the Costa Blanca are highly sought after.
Car and Leisure – Running a Car
To be able to get around and make the most of the activities on the Costa Blanca, you could bring your car from the UK out to Spain.
As a non-resident this is fine, however if you move out to Spain, once you are resident and your UK licensed car has spent more than six months in a calendar year there, it should legally be registered with Spanish number plates. You would also have to pay an import tax. Often the bureaucracy to import a car leads relocating British to sell their car in the UK and then buy a left-hand drive vehicle once they arrive in Spain.
If you do want to bring and register your car from the UK, it is advisable to employ a local ‘gestor’ to take care of the paperwork for you. The whole process begins with informing the DLVA in the UK of your plans and applying for a Certificate of Permanent Export.
In Spain, cars are required to pass an MOT, called an ITV, every other year and only once a car is four years old. These cost from €45 to €80. Every year, town halls set a two-month window when car owners registered in the municipality are expected to pay their road tax (IVTM), the cost varying with the size of car engine.
Car and Leisure – Driver´s Licence and Insurance
With regards to driving licences, anyone from the EU, including British people, has the right to use their existing licence in Spain when they first arrive, but they will be subject to Spanish law governing when it must be renewed. More specifically, all Spanish residents, including expats, should renew their licence in Spain every 10 years until the age of 65, after which this must be done every five years.
When it comes to insurance, UK insurance companies will cover UK registered cars or motorbikes in Spain for up to six months at a time only. When insuring a car or motorbike in Spain, it often helps to choose a company with English speaking staff or go through an English speaking broker – premiums are no more expensive than in the UK for cars or smaller motorbikes, larger motorbikes attract higher premiums than in the UK.
Good luck, and remember, at A Castle in the Sun we’re here to help you not only find and buy your ideal property on the Costa Blanca but also to help you enjoy your new life there.