Transport and Travel
Flying to Spain - With most UK airports already offering several flights per day to Malaga and Gibraltar, the Costa del Sol is much closer than you think. Flight times from London to Malaga take only 2 and a half hours and at prices starting from as little as £1 (excluding taxes).
Malaga airport served over 12.8 million passengers in 2008 (slightly more than London Heathrow terminal 1), which in 1995 stood at 6 million, an example of just how popular the region has become recently. At present the airport operates from three terminals (the third opened in March 2010), and the airports capacity will increase to 30 million passengers per year during 2010. Coupled with this a second runway is due to be in operation during the third quarter of 2010 which will open up the whole region, offering regular direct flights to the Americas, Middle East and beyond.
The expansion will make Malaga the 3rd largest airport on the Spanish peninsula and will be comparable to most major European airports. In addition, the surrounding and connecting infrastructure is also being upgraded with modern facilities to access buses and a new railway station connecting Malaga to Fuengirola. New road links joining to A-7 motorway and a new Malaga ring road are in process too.
Such infrastructural improvements and the ability to receive much larger numbers to the region can only be good news for the Costa del Sol and is expected to have an excellent impact on local businesses, property and tourism in particular. As previously mentioned, new air routes are likely to be introduced which will also boost tourism in Andalucia. In addition it is expected that 150,000 new jobs will be created indirectly.
Car hire - Car hire in Spain is very cheap and easy to organise. Check out Do you Spain (www.doyouspain.com) for prices from any Spanish airport.
Trains - The Spanish high-speed rail network, AVE (Alta Velocidad Espanola), can reach speeds of up to 300km per hour and connects Malaga to Madrid and Malaga to Barcelona and several other destinations are planned for the future. The line will eventually reach Valencia, Galicia and the Basque Country in the coming years and will soon link Spain with Lisbon, Portugal, as well as the French high-speed rail network. It is expected that by 2020 high-speed trains will reach every one of the 49 region capitals, with a 10,000km high-speed network and 90% of the Spanish population living within 50km of a high-speed train station. Please see the Spanish railway website RENFE for more information (www.renfe.es).
Buses - Coastal areas are well served with a network of bus routes. There is also an excellent bus service that runs between Malaga airport and Marbella bus station which takes less than 45 minutes. If you wish to eliminate the costs of airport parking or taxis this is a very efficient service for tourists and residents. It is also very handy for the many friends and relatives who will no doubt wish to visit you in your Spanish property, thus excusing you from many airport pickups and drop offs! Services run regularly from 6am until between 10pm and midnight, in some areas there are night buses after this time.
Taxis - Taxis operate from official ranks within towns and you can also phone for a taxi to pick you up from anywhere. Numbers can be found in the phonebook, restaurants, bars and hotels, and also printed on the taxis themselves. Fares are set according to distance and are inexpensive.
Driving in Spain - Remember that in Spain you will be driving out the right hand side of the road! All roads and the general infrastructure of the Costa del Sol have improved dramatically in recent years. Most of the main roads and motorways have recently been resurfaced and there are several good toll motorways in the area. The tolls are inexpensive and can be avoided once you know your way around. Toll prices do rise during the busy Easter and summer months so be warned!
Driving Rules and Regs - As in all other countries, you need to be driving legally whilst you are in Spain. This means carrying your EU or UK driving license, your passport and insurance documents at all times. If you are stopped by the police and don't have the correct paperwork you can be fined. If you are a non-resident and are stopped for speeding you will receive an on the spot fine. Drink driving laws are far stricter than in the UK so if you are planning to drink any alcohol you are going to be much safer by simply catching a taxi.
Driving License (Permiso de Conduccin) - If you have an EU or British driving license you will be able to drive in Spain, but if you are going to live or are staying for more than six months, you need to register it with the nearest traffic department which is in Malaga.
If you have any questions regarding the above points, buying a car or any driving related issues please feel free to speak to any of us at Chestertons affinity.