Gransnet forums


Get away for winter

(40 Posts)
kissngate Wed 19-Feb-20 11:30:47

We recently downloaded an old series of the above. It's about folk renting property for around three months during the winter period. After our appalling weather these past few months it's got me down so I would be interested to hear from anyone whose done it particularly in Spain, warts and all. We also have a dog to take with us which would be a factor to consider.

Liz46 Wed 19-Feb-20 11:35:33

I've not heard of that before. Which programme was it on? I'd be interested as I've got dodgy lungs and am so much better in a warm climate.

We went to a quiet, unpolluted part of India for three weeks over Christmas and New Year and I was very well. The temperature was over 30 the whole time and no rain at all.

I know of some people who go to India for the winter, renting a flat but I am not brave enough to do that. I want at least a 4 star hotel.

kissngate Wed 19-Feb-20 12:11:53

It was on BBC last month, Gloria Hunniford does the commentary however it was filmed two years ago with follow ups a year or so later.

JuliaM Wed 19-Feb-20 12:16:58

Southern Spain and the Canary islands are quite a polular destination for British people escaping the winter weather, and some tour operators cash in by offering 90nightout ofseason deals, and others bring a touring caravan or motorhome and use that to live in, often traveling in convoy with the help of one of the big organisations such as the Caravan and Motorhome club. You would need todo your research first, as quite a few of the tourist areas completely close down for winter, and apart from.the odd local, they are like ghost towns between the October until the beginning of March. Im.unsure what the situation would be now we are leaving the EEC, but things like pet passport rules, driving licences, and medical insurance could well change, its all very much unsure at the moment. I would suggest however trying a short break of a week or two in the area that you fancy spending a winter in to make sure its really a place that you really like, there would be nothing worse than finding out on your arrival that there is very little to see and do other than the entertainment and small village shop thats out to make a killing on unsuspecting tourists simply becausthey realisethey cannot g et goods locally from.anywhere else!

JuliaM Wed 19-Feb-20 12:23:02

Sorry, ment to say make your own entertainment reading books or playing cards and board games ect, also.worth researching how far the local medical facilities and chemist wouldbe when the place is closed down for winter.

Esspee Wed 19-Feb-20 14:29:08

We spent January in the Caribbean, have been home 2 weeks and already have been through two storms. It has been so depressing we decided to get away again are off to the Middle East at the weekend. Guaranteed sun, blue sky and wonderful food. I can’t see us choosing to spend another winter here as we get older.
I just wonder OP how much medical coverage would be if you went for 3 months. My travel insurance only covers me for up to 1 month each trip.

blossom14 Wed 19-Feb-20 14:47:26

We have done 1 month self catering apartments from February to March in the Canary Islands for the last 10 years. Lots of websites to choose from. You do need to book early possibly up to 9 months in advance and make sure you get flights at the same time or asap. Annual Holiday Insurance usually only covers 30 days.
I can be cheap or expensive depending on type of accommodation. We very rarely booked car hire as taxis are reasonable and we liked to walk. Lots of reasonable places to eat out do research on Trip Advisor.
I used to find it fun to do all the research. Sadly, after my husbands stroke not really viable now. I am missing my escape to sun very much this year.

Liz46 Wed 19-Feb-20 14:49:06

Thanks kissngate. We'll probably look for that this evening.

lovingit Wed 19-Feb-20 23:21:25

I am in the process of doing a winter rent in Spain,October to March at a very reasonable rent. I googled dog friendly beaches and found a wonderful apartment on the beach at La Mata which I am going to see and sign for in a few weeks.
I am so looking forward to it but a bit nervous too ,just me and my mad dog. I'm calling it my pensioner gap year. I'll celebrate my 70th there.
Leaving my house empty is a slight worry and of course I will still have bills to pay here but I want to try a warm winter near the sea.
Luckily I have someone I trust to take on my horse otherwise I wouldn't go but after this winter just the thought of no more mud is joyous.
There is of course the uncertainty of what will happen after December but hey ho I'll worry then.

Oopsadaisy3 Thu 20-Feb-20 08:01:17

We are away in March to Lanzarote, DD2 is house sitting so no worries about home.
The series the OP mentioned is on BBC iPlayer so I’ll be interested in watching that later.
We spent part of November in Lanzarote and temps were around 24 degrees so not too hot, plenty of people around and all shops and restaurants still open. It does get dark quite early ( by 6 pm) but we felt very safe and car hire is very reasonable.
The summer months are far too hot for me to go out in, as I get very bad heat rash which quickly turns to blisters, so winter is the only time I can safely find holiday sun.
We rent a holiday villa from a Company ( with a Mans name) which includes all flights. So no worries about trying to link flights and then find Villas.

DH hates hotels so we have our kindles for books and iPads for contact with family and online games and Gransnet of course. Most villas have books and games for guests to use.

dragonfly46 Thu 20-Feb-20 08:11:26

My parents used to spent all of November and January, February and March in Tenerife. They first went for a month and sussed the places out. They got to know people who had apartments to let and negotiated good deals as they were there so long.
They reckoned they saved money on heating bill etc at home and it was very cheap to live there.
They had more friends over there than they did at home as they did this for over 15 years.

Riverwalk Thu 20-Feb-20 08:30:38

Interesting that this topic has come up - I was recently musing on the same thing as would really love some long-term sunshine.

Later this year when I'm 66 will be getting my government pension and planning to put it to good use!

Riverwalk Thu 20-Feb-20 08:33:48

Lovingit do please report back when you've been on your recce. sunshine

kissngate Thu 20-Feb-20 08:52:46

Thanks everyone for replies so far.
Loving it- that's v interesting. We are looking at mainland spain too because the dog has to come with us. Did you use an estate agent to find the rental, I've googled a few in the Alicante, Malaga, Almeria area but would be interested in others recommendations. Are you driving or transporting dog separately as some companies will bring dog to you overland? Also are your utilities included in the rental price or will you be billed separately? We would prefer to have utilities included.
Leaving the house empty is a worry hopefully a neighbour will check it. Insurance is something to consider for us no doubt increased premiums.

While I've got OH onboard need to get ball

MerylStreep Thu 20-Feb-20 09:15:23

We take the motohome to Spain for the winter. I think of all the towns in Andalusia ( because that's where you have to be for the sun) Estapona is the best place to be. It's a big town, lovely long sea front plus excellent public transport links to many other towns to visit.
We have met many long term renters in this area. What a lot of them did when they first started renting was not to commit to 2/3 months but while they were there looked around to see if there was anywhere better/cheaper.
Many of them did find better deals by being in the town and not through websites.

Framilode Thu 20-Feb-20 09:21:40

If you are looking at the Alicante area I would suggest |Moraira, Javea or Denia, all good resorts that don't close down in Winter.

As for the dog, we always took ours by car. All the Ibi, Camponile etc hotels are dog friendly and there are plenty of places to stop for exercise. We usually went through the tunnel but also did the boat to Caen which has dog friendly cabins.

One thing I would stress is to check anywhere you rent has decent heating. Apartments and villas in Spain can be icy cold inside, with all the tiled floors and very little insulation. It is often much colder inside than out.

pen50 Thu 20-Feb-20 10:22:53

I lived in Southern Iberia for many years. The climate is obviously much more forgiving in winter; however it can be cool and is often damp*, and the vast majority of Spanish housing doesn't have heating. If there's air conditioning it can usually be run in reverse to provide warm air heating. And many villas have fireplaces or woodburning stoves. Do check though, it could be miserable sitting in a damp hovel with no way to warm yourself up.

* The Costa del Sol gets as much rain as London but it falls much more concentratedly, over 40 days rather than 300. And of course most of that is in winter.

Mindy5 Thu 20-Feb-20 10:51:23

Winter away from the UK is a wonderful idea and a great way to escape the weather. However, to stay anywhere in the Schengen area of Europe you can only stay for 90 days out of 180 without becoming resident. So, if you go to Spain lovingit please bear in mind that your stay is limited to 90 days as a non-resident. You would then have to return to the UK for 90 days before you could return for another 90 days! This has always been the case in Spain, it just hasn't been enforced until now! If you spend a total of 183 days in Spain in the year you are deemed to be a resident and must register, pay tax etc.

Janetashbolt Thu 20-Feb-20 10:58:03

Be sure to check your home insurance if going away for any length of time we had to drain water system for instance.

Hebdenali Thu 20-Feb-20 12:24:46

My partner bought an apartment on the island of La Palma in September. We went out at the start of November and I have just returned last week after almost 4 months. The weather was fabulous and there wasn’t a day when I couldn’t swim in the sea. The climate is fabulous and it was lovely to get away from the British winter. My partner speaks fluent Spanish and few of the locals speak English. The food and wine and relaxed lifestyle was lovely.
However I was dreadfully lonely, I missed the day to day banter in the shops and with local friends. I missed my family a great deal and didn’t find that Skype made up for it. On return my house was damp and cold despite a friend looking after it. I have vowed not to do this again for such a long period away. One month at a time would be lovely but for me no longer. The chilling out and relaxing with a book on a sun bed is fab for a short holiday but not as a lifestyle choice.

Willynilly Thu 20-Feb-20 12:35:08

Spain and Portugal are lovely to over winter in, although we found that Spain tended to be cheaper cost of living wise. If you are taking a dog it pays to do your homework on the seasonal caterpillars (processionaries) that are problematic for dogs (and humans) just so that you are aware of them and can avoid any unpleasant encounters.

Gingergirl Thu 20-Feb-20 12:51:09

My son and his family were able to spend three months not far from Alicante last year, and I have a friend who has an apartment in the same area. We stayed with our son for a bit and I’m not a fan of Spain but I did like Alicante (out of season). I could also see that everything was a bit cheaper, they are dog friendly and quite welcoming to brits (good custom I guess). Benidorm even at that time of year, was (to me) dreadful...and full of drunks in the middle of the day, although there were some attractive bits to it. My friend has pointed out how volatile the weather can be there through the winter, sometimes rainy, or stormy, and they can even have snow...I would choose your area carefully, maybe go further south than that.

Grannytomany Thu 20-Feb-20 13:45:09

Up until this year we’ve spent a couple of winter months in either Tenerife or Lanzarote and it has been wonderful. Of the two islands we prefer Tenerife because there is generally less wind. A constant, strong wind did mar our last stay in Playa Blanca somewhat.

Over the years we learned that it was important to find a ‘home from home’ apartment or villa because long stays are more like just living somewhere else for a while rather than being on holiday. It’s also important to find a property which gets some sun - not only for the basking in but also so that the property benefits from the warmth. Evenings can be cool and some means of ‘just in case’ heating is a must. We often took a small fan heater and although we didn’t often use it it was good to know that it was there.

And unless you’re normally quite happy without a TV or plan to go out every evening, a TV with English channels (and not just Sky news!) is a must.

Another thing which was important to me is the longer daylight hours in the Canaries than in Spain. It’s so good to know that when you’re still enjoying a bright sunny day, it’s already been dark in the UK for a couple of hours.

We found that, to get a long rental of a good property, we had to book a year in advance, generally booking while we were there for the following year. Which also meant that we could usually view the property before making a booking decision.

It’s only poor health which has kept us at home this year.

Llamedos13 Thu 20-Feb-20 14:38:17

We Canadians head south to Florida for the winter months. They call us snowbirds.Its bliss to be away from snow and ice for a few weeks ❄️☀️

DDOR Thu 20-Feb-20 14:57:07

Kissngate and all lovely helpful advice from you all. I am like many solo traveler. 75 years healthy and active (thank god ) but like many at my age hate cold and sore bones☹️ Have booked 3weeks Torremolinos April 6th until 27th Hotel Cervantes ,I do the same around October another sun spot . have been doing this each year as 3weeks enough at a time for me . Ladies or Gentlemen if any out at that time would love to meet up for coffee r glass vino The offer from Hotel excellent and includes flight from Belfast , don't mind on my own like many am used to this and as Costa can go train each day if I wish to so many places This is first time to post so would be delighted to hear from any other gransnet members Take Care DDOR