Villa Florencia Casa Rural Spain http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk Spanish Sunshine Holidays - Costa Blanca Spain Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:55:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 2014 Sunshine Activity Holidays http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2014/01/2014-sunshine-activity-holidays/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2014/01/2014-sunshine-activity-holidays/#comments Wed, 01 Jan 2014 21:45:50 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6765 2014 Sunshine Activity Holidays The Costa Blanca is more often than not associated with sunshine, beautiful Mediterranean beaches and great memories of summer holidays spent on the coast. And this is a perfectly correct perception of what the Costa Blanca has to offer – but it is very far from the whole story. More and [...]

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2014 Activity holidays2014 Sunshine Activity Holidays

The Costa Blanca is more often than not associated with sunshine, beautiful Mediterranean beaches and great memories of summer holidays spent on the coast. And this is a perfectly correct perception of what the Costa Blanca has to offer – but it is very far from the whole story. More and more people are coming to this part of the northern Costa Blanca in the cooler months of spring and autumn to enjoy the dramatic beauty of the countryside in an area that is often overlooked by the foreign tourist. However, when foreigners do come here “out of season”, they appreciate what makes this a great holiday destination away from the beaches.

The focus tends to be on outdoor activities in the stunning countryside, with an emphasis on walking, climbing, biking and bird watching. The climate is generally mild and bright in spring and autumn, with temperatures in the high teens to low twenties (centigrade), and this makes for a perfect opportunity to get out and about and fully appreciate the mountains and valleys of this part of Spain.

With this in mind, and working in collaboration with a local company specialising in

we have put together a number of “package” options for our guests, based on different lengths of stay, differing interests, etc. These options can be taken exactly as they stand or altered to suit guests’ differing requirements – so for example if someone wanted to come for a longer or shorter period or wanted to take part in more or less activities during their holiday, this could be easily arranged.

Weekend “Escape” Mountain Biking 3 Nights Short Break Mountain Biking 1 Week Mountain Biking

2 nights accommodation dinner on both Friday and Saturday evening.
1 full day of guided mountain biking with local guide, including bike rental and packed lunches.

Only €250 per couple!

Suggested itinerary :
Arrive Friday afternoon. Meet your Mountain Bike Guide and enjoy a “welcome dinner” at Villa Florencia.
Full day of guided mountain biking on Saturday. (We have a wide variety of routes available, to suit all abilities.)
Dinner on Saturday evening at Villa Florencia.
Sunday can be spent at leisure, with late check-out available, allowing you to relax by the pool or to explore the beautiful surroundings.

3 nights accommodation, including 3 course dinner on all 3 nights.
2 full days of guided mountain biking with local guide, including bike rental and packed lunches.

Only €420 per couple!

Suggested itinerary :
Day 1 – Arrive in the afternoon, meet your Mountain Bike Guide and enjoy a “welcome dinner” at Villa Florencia.
Day 2 – Full day of guided mountain biking. (We have a wide variety of routes available, to suit all abilities.)
Day 3 – Full day of guided mountain biking.
Day 4 – Spent at leisure, with late check-out available, allowing you to relax by the pool or to explore the beautiful surroundings.

7 nights accommodation including 3 course dinner on all 7 nights.
3 full days of guided mountain biking with local guide, including bike hire and packed lunches.

Only €855 per couple!

Suggested itinerary :
Day 1 – Arrive in the afternoon, meet your Guide and enjoy a “welcome dinner” at Villa Florencia.
Day 2 – Full day of guided mountain biking (we have a wide selection of routes, suitable for all abilities).
Day 3 – Free day to spend at your leisure.
Day 4 – Full day of guided mountain biking.
Day 5 – Free day to spend at your leisure.
Day 6 – Full day of guided mountain biking.
Day 7 – Free day to spend at your leisure.
Day 8 – Free day with late check-out available.

The emphasis, however, is on making everything as easy and as straightforward as possible for our guests, so they can be assured that everything will be taken care of, from suitable transport for their chosen activity, to appropriate packed lunches on their days out. Evening meals are also part of the deal, so there is no need to search out a restaurant in town after a long and possibly tiring day in the countryside – it is all provided “in house”. We offer a choice of room options (single, twin or double) and we can also quote for those that prefer a self-catering option – we have a self-contained apartment on the premises too.

Many guests took advantage of our package options in 2013 and we look forward to welcoming many more in the year ahead. This part of Spain really does have so much more to offer than wonderful beaches and vibrant nightlife and with two airports within easy reach at Valencia and Alicante, it really is very simple to get here from the UK. Not only EasyJet and Ryanair, but also BA, Norwegian and several others now offer extremely competitive fares, so there really is no better time to select one of our activity packages, find a good flight option, and see what surprises Spain has in store before the summer season has even begun!

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Accommodation for Vegetarians http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/11/accommodation-for-vegetarians/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/11/accommodation-for-vegetarians/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 22:31:43 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6725 The Vegetarian Option! We recently received a booking from Graeme and his wife Ruth to come and stay with us for one night whilst they were on their way further south as part of a driving holiday around Spain. During their correspondence and prior to confirming the reservation, Graeme asked if we offer Accommodation for [...]

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Travel Spain! Looking to book vegan or vegetarian accommodation in Spain?The Vegetarian Option!

We recently received a booking from Graeme and his wife Ruth to come and stay with us for one night whilst they were on their way further south as part of a driving holiday around Spain. During their correspondence and prior to confirming the reservation, Graeme asked if we offer Accommodation for Vegetarians, and we of course replied that we are happy to cater for almost all dietary preferences and requirements, given reasonable notification, so vegetarian choices would not be a problem at all.

One of the things we offer our guests is an evening meal service, which many find very convenient – especially the day they arrive. Not only does it avoid having to find a restaurant in surroundings that are still unfamiliar, but there is also the fact that Spanish restaurants tend to open considerably later than northern European visitors are accustomed to – normally not before 9.00pm. As part of our meal service, we ask that guests tell us of any particular requirements they may have and then it is no problem to produce an evening meal that fits the bill. In Spain it is not always easy to find hotels and restaurants that have vegetarian options as standard items on the menu. Nowadays in the UK most restaurants will have at least one vegetarian choice on a table d’hôte menu and probably several on an á la carte one. The Spanish tend to be keen meat and fish eaters and the concept of vegetarianism is not one that catering establishments often recognise.

Graeme and Ruth arrived just before dinner time, and had driven from the north of the country during the course of the day. All they wanted was to be able to relax and unwind with a glass of wine and effortlessly enjoy a dinner that suited their requirements. They soon settled into their room, became best friends with our pets – they are great animal lovers – and felt immediately at home with us. So much so, in fact, that they asked if they could extend their stay for an extra night as they wanted to spend a little time getting to know our part of the Costa Blanca. They had loved what they had seen of the La Safor region when they arrived, and wanted to know more!

The next day the set off in the morning to visit some friends in nearby Oliva, then they explored Gandia (both the main town and the beach area, which they loved), and even managed to fit in a trip over the mountains to see the monastery at Simat. They returned to us in the late afternoon, in time to enjoy a glass of wine before their second vegetarian dinner with us, which they again found wholesome and delicious (their words, not ours!). Our breakfasts were also perfect for them, as we serve a wide choice of cereals, breads, juices and fresh fruit so they always felt well set up for the day ahead.

When they left to continue their journey southwards, they said they had thoroughly enjoyed their all too brief stay with us but genuinely looked forward to returning to us in the future – possibly with other members of their family as well. It was a genuine pleasure to have them visit us and we look forward to welcoming them back again to our Accommodation for Vegetarians, and hopefully for a longer stay when they will be able to get to know the northern Costa Blanca and the La Safor region in particular even better.
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Travel Spain! Looking to book vegan or vegetarian accommodation in Spain?

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Autumn Sunshine Holidays http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/10/autumn-sunshine-holidays/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/10/autumn-sunshine-holidays/#comments Wed, 23 Oct 2013 08:50:30 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6691 Autumn Sunshine Holidays in 2013 We have been delighted to welcome a steady succession of guests this year who have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather we have been experiencing here on the Costa Blanca. The summer this year has been a very long-lasting one with daytime temperatures in October in the high twenties [...]

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CIMG4086Autumn Sunshine Holidays in 2013

We have been delighted to welcome a steady succession of guests this year who have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather we have been experiencing here on the Costa Blanca. The summer this year has been a very long-lasting one with daytime temperatures in October in the high twenties or occasionally even the low thirties. Night temperatures are of course lower now, which means that the swimming pool is only usable by the more hardy of our guests, but there is still a great opportunity for getting a late tan and storing up some sunshine before having to endure the winter months ahead in northern Europe.

There is still plenty to do here during such lovely warm days, and of course the sea temperature is still holding up well for those guests who are beach enthusiasts. And once the novelty of sitting and enjoying the sunshine at this time of year has worn off a bit, the slightly cooler temperatures mean that our guests can take part in outdoor activities which might be uncomfortable during the really hot months of the summer.

Sue and Gareth for example came for a few days relaxation in the sun on a Autumn Sunshine Holidays, but decided they wanted to explore the immediate area around Gandia, so they hired mountain bikes for a couple of days. They are quite accustomed to riding bikes around where they live in London, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience in our beautiful green valley. They spent one day cycling around to the monastery of Sant Jeroni and having lunch at a local bar, and another day was spent exploring Gandia town itself. They cycled to the historic part of the main town, and then headed off to Playa de Gandia to enjoy the beach and have lunch in a seafront café before heading home to the casa rural here for some time round the pool and then evening meal.
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Tony and Angela were another couple who visited us in search of some late summer sunshine on a Autumn Sunshine Holidays, and they also had a great time relaxing and getting to know some of the towns and villages in the vicinity. One day, they also took the opportunity to go to Valencia city using the cheap and convenient train service and spent the day there seeing the sights from the open-top tourist bus. They went on both available routes, and took in all the sights in the historic centre, as well as seeing the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias), the innovative Bio Park – a zoo without visible barriers between the visitor and the animals – and the restored port and beach areas.
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Other recent guests came to us from Holland and Belgium as well as the UK, and many were combining the opportunity of some autumn sunshine with a property hunting expedition, making some preliminary enquiries about homes for sale in the area at the same time as having a welcome break in the warmth of the Costa Blanca. Even October here can be a really lovely month, as so many of our guests have found out. It has been great to be able to welcome so many this year, who have – often at the last minute – decided to take the chance to soak up a bit of autumn warmth and sunshine. Long may the settled weather last!

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Bird Watching Holidays http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/09/bird-watching-holidays/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/09/bird-watching-holidays/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 08:28:53 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6666 Bird Watching Holidays We were delighted to accept a booking some time ago from Lynn and Steve who were planning a bird watching trip to the Costa Blanca and found our suggested bird watching packages on our website.  We offer a week’s stay with us at Villa Florencia with breakfast and evening meals included, as [...]

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Bird Watching Holidays

We were delighted to accept a booking some time ago from Lynn and Steve who were planning a bird watching trip to the Costa Blanca and found our suggested bird watching packages on our website.  We offer a week’s stay with us at Villa Florencia with breakfast and evening meals included, as well as three days birdwatching in conjunction with Valencia Birding – and even packed lunches are included on the bird watching days!  This package suited Lynn and Steve perfectly, as they wanted a holiday in this part of the Costa Blanca that gave them all the birding they wanted but with plenty of time to relax and to do some sightseeing in the area as well.

Mountain-Bird-LifeThey arrived last Saturday, and had arranged to go birding on the Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday – so basically alternate days, interspersed with getting to know the area all around.  The weather has been really excellent for September and was perfect for their purposes – warm and sunny for their whole visit, but not so hot as to be uncomfortable.  They had a really great time on their birdwatching excursions, spending time inland from Valencia, then to the north of the city on their second trip out, and then finally a day in the Albufeira wetlands, which lie between us and Valencia.  The package with evening meal included was just perfect for them too, as after a whole day’s birding they were more than happy to relax in the garden with a drink before dinner on the terrace.

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Their excursions included a day spent down at Playa de Gandia where they enjoyed all the facilities of the wonderful beach there but with crowds that are now less intense than in the height on the season.  They also spent a day touring slightly inland and visited the monastery at Simat as well as the picturesque town of Xatva, with its castle and old narrow streets and town squares.

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They were really surprised at how different this part of the Costa Blanca is from other parts of Spain they have visited – and how much there is to do in the way of activities in natural surroundings and lovely scenery.  They are so impressed with the area in fact that they are seriously thinking of returning to us maybe next year with some other family members, and possibly renting our self-catering apartment for their next stay.  It would be great to see them again as it was a real pleasure to have them visit us, and they obviously took a real delight in discovering just how much the La Safor region has hidden just waiting to be discovered!

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Golfing Holidays in Spain http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/09/golfing-holidays-in-spain-2/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/09/golfing-holidays-in-spain-2/#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2013 09:51:40 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6652 Visitors from Holland We recently welcomed Geert and Oda, a couple from the Netherlands, who had booked an eight night stay with us.  Having driven from Holland in their car with a couple of overnight stops along the way, they arrived with us last Sunday in the late afternoon.  They spent some time relaxing in [...]

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CIMG4018Visitors from Holland

We recently welcomed Geert and Oda, a couple from the Netherlands, who had booked an eight night stay with us.  Having driven from Holland in their car with a couple of overnight stops along the way, they arrived with us last Sunday in the late afternoon.  They spent some time relaxing in the garden after their journey before taking us up on our offer of our evening meal service – they found it so much more convenient than having to find a restaurant so soon after arriving.

This was certainly not their first trip to Spain, and in fact they had visited Valencia city briefly in the past, but it was the first time they had had the opportunity to stay for any length of time in this part of the country.  They are golf players also, so they had brought their clubs with them in the back of the car in the hope that they would be able to play a couple of rounds on a course in the area.

On Monday morning they set off for the La Galiana golf club at Aigües Vives near here and spent most of the day there, having a great time.  They returned in the late afternoon, saying it was one of the most beautiful courses they had ever played on.  They had not heard of the course before, and had intended to go to the better known one at Oliva Nova but were very glad they followed our recommendation.  In fact they went back for another round during their visit and again had another great game.  Like most of our guests who have played there, they said it was a challenging course, but well worth the effort and made even more rewarding by the beautiful mountain surroundings where it is located.

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Golfing Holidays in Spain

A trip to Valencia city was also on their itinerary.  They had visited it once before (but only very briefly) and the weather had been very wet and miserable, so they had not had a good impression of what is in fact a very lovely city.  They went by train as they thought this would be the simpler option rather than having to park the car in the city and spent a thoroughly enjoyable day in the historic centre, walking around and getting a good feel for the whole area.  They then hired a couple of bicycles and cycled along the Turia gardens, which follow the route of the diverted river, and came to the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias).  Although they did not go in to any of the attractions there, they spent a good deal of time cycling all around the complex and taking photos from many different vantage points – something they would not have been able to do without the bikes.  They returned to us in the early evening with a much better impression of the city than they had got on their first visit several years ago!

Golfing holidays in Spain - Valencia

On many of the evenings during their stay they took advantage of our evening meal service and dined with us here at the villa, but they also went out to Gandia for meals on several occasions, as well as trying out the Thursday and Friday evening Tapas Route.  This is where many of the cafés and bars in the town provide a small drink and an often very generous tapas for two euros per person.  They agreed it was great value for money, and allowed them to see an authentic side of Gandia life as a large number of local people take part in this “evening out” and Gandia is always busy and lively on these nights.

The rest of their visit was spent visiting surrounding towns and villages in the car and they went to several resorts along the Costa Blanca.  Benidorm was not to their taste, but the old town of Altea  they found to be very charming and pleasant.  On another day they went walking in the mountains behind us, starting at the hiking centre on the outskirts of La Drova and following the marked out trail that passes the famous Parpallo cave, world renowned for its ancient paleolithic art.  The views from these hiking routes are breathtaking, and well worth the effort in following the trails as they climb upwards in the La Safor mountains.

Geert and Oda managed to go on an outing or excursion every day of their visit, but also got in some relaxing time in the gardens and the swimming pool.  They had a really enjoyable time here with us and liked the area so much that they are in fact considering renting a villa in the area for a month or so in the winter in order to escape the worst of the Dutch weather at that time of year.  They viewed one property during their stay and are now giving serious thought to the matter.  It was a great pleasure to have them visit us, and we look forward to the possibility of having them as neighbours in the early part of next year.  If that is not to be, we would of course love them to return to us next year to explore even more of what the La Safor region has to offer.

 

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Pet Friendly Accommodation Costa Blanca http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/09/pet-friendly-accommodation-costa-blanca/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/09/pet-friendly-accommodation-costa-blanca/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 22:11:00 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6630 Pet Friendly Accommodation Costa Blanca Last Thursday morning we received an unexpected phone call from a German speaking couple wanting to spend that night with us as a stop-over on their way down to Malaga, where they were renting a finca for a fortnight’ holiday. They only wanted one night’s accommodation as part of a [...]

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Pet Friendly Accommodation Costa Blanca

Last Thursday morning we received an unexpected phone call from a German speaking couple wanting to spend that night with us as a stop-over on their way down to Malaga, where they were renting a finca for a fortnight’ holiday. They only wanted one night’s accommodation as part of a driving holiday towards the south and they particularly wanted to stay the night at our pet friendly accommodation because they were accompanied by their lovely Golden Retriever/Labrador cross, who was called Pasha.

They arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon, having set off from their home in Switzerland the previous day and received a warm welcome here – not only from us but also from our own dogs, who are always happy to welcome a guest dog! After the initial excitement had died down, Pasha was content to settle in their room for a short time while his owners relaxed in the garden. However, the weather was so warm and sunny that soon they decided to have a swim in the pool and so brought Pasha down to the garden to join them.

He loves playing in streams and rivers where they live, and soon realised that our pool was especially suitable for him, with its wide steps at either side. Very soon he was frolicking around in the shallow water there and playing with Lola and Aurora, who are also swimming pool fans. Pasha was an impeccably well-mannered guest and loved having the freedom to move about in the garden and play in the water after having been in the car all day on the journey. After that, they all went for a walk in the park nearby that adjoins the orange groves here so that he could run around and enjoy the space of the open countryside.

That evening they did not go out to a local restaurant but stayed here, although they did not want to make use of our evening meal service. They had had a sustaining meal on the way so were content to have some snacks that they had brought with them. The next morning it was time for them to set off on the final leg of their journey to their holiday accommodation – although they knew exactly where they were going as it was in fact a return visit for them since they had rented the same finca last year. When they left, they said they had thoroughly enjoyed their short visit to our pet friendly bed and breakfast and might very well stay with us again on their return journey. This will depend on whether they decide at the time to take the same route home but they can be sure they will receive a very warm welcome back from us all – the dogs as well as the owners!
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Family Mountain Biking Holidays http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/08/family-mountain-biking-holidays/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/08/family-mountain-biking-holidays/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 20:03:37 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6558 Family Mountain Biking Holidays A short while ago we received a reservation from Louise and Adam for an August weekend in our self-catering apartment. They were going to be visiting Louise’s father who lives in Alicante, but wanted a few days away in a different environment – away from the city – and where they [...]

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CIMG3959Family Mountain Biking Holidays

A short while ago we received a reservation from Louise and Adam for an August weekend in our self-catering apartment. They were going to be visiting Louise’s father who lives in Alicante, but wanted a few days away in a different environment – away from the city – and where they could enjoy a more rural setting. They were bringing their children Harry (8) and Issy (6) with them, and they hoped that Adam and Harry would also be able to have a day’s mountain biking over the course of the weekend. Louise and Issy intended to make the most of the sunshine and the pool!

They arrived on the Saturday morning, with the day’s biking planned for the Sunday, so soon settled in to the apartment and enjoyed some time around the pool and in the gardens. However, Adam and Harry thought it would be a good plan if they could possibly spend a short time biking on the Saturday afternoon too, and although Dave from Mountain Biking Valencia was only going to be guiding and tutoring them on Sunday, he had already delivered their bikes here in readiness. Mark therefore volunteered to take them across the valley opposite here to the monastery of Sant Jeroni and the adjacent forest, where there is an area created by mountain biking enthusiasts to practice negotiating natural obstacles. They had a great time, and returned even more enthusiastic about their proposed trip that was scheduled for the following day.

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That evening, they had booked a table at a restaurant in the mountains behind us called La Visteta, which is in a lovely setting on the edge of Barx village. They had a table round the pool and enjoyed a great meal in beautiful surroundings. They returned to us in time for a good night’s sleep for the bikers to store up some energy for the day ahead!

Sunday was a slightly cloudy day, but still warm, but this proved to be a good thing for the biking excursion. Their route started on the outskirts of Villalonga and is a beautiful mixture of tracks and asphalt that follows part of the old railway line that once ran between the inland town of Alcoi and the port of Gandía. It also runs alongside the river Serpis for much of the time too as well as through old railway tunnels, so is a great route to test biking skills, and also a beautiful place to do it in. Mark accompanied Adam and Harry on the ride itself and Dave took his van to the village of Lorcha to pick them up after they had their packed lunch there. They all had a great day and were glad of the opportunity to return to us in plenty of time to enjoy a cooling swim in our pool afterwards.

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That evening they took advantage of our evening meal service as they had thought that after a tiring day it would be so much easier than having to find a restaurant in town. We all had a most enjoyable evening together, but then it was time for them to get a good night’s sleep before leaving the following morning. Although they were going to return to Louise’s father’s apartment in Alicante, they had plans to visit Aqualandia on the way – the famous water park in Benidorm. It had been a pleasure to have them visit us and they had thoroughly enjoyed their stay and said it was their firm intention to return to us during a future visit to Louis’s father. It provided a contrast to time in the town and a great opportunity for Adam and Harry to practice their hobby that they already follow at home in England. We look forward to seeing them again soon!

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Costa Blanca Driving Holidays in August http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/08/costa-blanca-driving-holidays-august/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/08/costa-blanca-driving-holidays-august/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:52:11 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6506 Costa Blanca Driving Holidays in August We were really pleased to receive a booking from past guests Vincent and Kim from Belgium who wanted to return to us for nearly two weeks in August. However, we were surprised when we had a phone call from them the day before their expected arrival, asking if they [...]

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driving-holidays-237Costa Blanca Driving Holidays in August

We were really pleased to receive a booking from past guests Vincent and Kim from Belgium who wanted to return to us for nearly two weeks in August. However, we were surprised when we had a phone call from them the day before their expected arrival, asking if they could check in one day early! Unfortunately for them we were fully booked and therefore not able to help them out in this way, so they had to find accommodation at another hotel nearby for that night.

Rather than flying from Belgium, as we had assumed, it turned out that they had driven here instead and had in fact arrived 24 hours earlier than they had anticipated. They had decided to make the journey itself into something of an adventure and indeed part of the holiday, whilst at the same time giving them the use of their own car for trips to our surrounding area, rather than having to rent a car after arriving. As well as overnighting in France along the way, they also took the chance to stop off in Barcelona and to visit the famous Park Güell, designed by the renowned Catalan architect Anton Gaudi. After that, it was straight down the motorway to the Costa Blanca and a night’s stay in another hotel before arriving with us the following morning.

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They then took a couple of days to relax and unwind after their journey, so spent time around the pool and in our garden making the most of the August sunshine. After that they decided to make day trips to places of interest along the Costa Blanca and one of the first of these was to the Fuentes del Algar (in English the Algar Waterfalls), an area of great natural beauty where you can swim in pools and under waterfalls – a great day out in nature!
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Also on their list of excursions was a trip to the Aitana Safari Park just inland from Benidorm, which they found to be a great experience and they were able to get up close to many big game animals in a natural environment.
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In the same part of the Costa Blanca is the castle of Guadalest, which provided them with another day trip. This is a really beautiful castle set on top of an imposing mountain and with a picturesque town winding up the hillside. At the top you are rewarded with spectacular views down to a turquoise coloured lake and reservoir – truly beautiful! Other excursions included trips to Denia, Calpe and Javea – all famous Costa Blanca resorts well known for their beautiful beaches and visitor facilities.
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As well as drives out in their car, Vincent was also keen to have a day mountain biking – a sport he practices in Belgium, but obviously in very different surroundings to the La Safor mountains of the Costa Blanca! He rented a bike from Mountain Biking Valencia and Mark accompanied him along a truly beautiful route that starts near Villalonga and follows part of the old railway line that ran from Alcoi to the port of Gandía. It goes through old tunnels and along beside the River Serpis too, so is not only in a very beautiful setting, but also provides a range of tracks and trails to test your biking abilities.
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Vincent & Kim’s stay with us also coincided with Vince’s birthday so to celebrate the event we had a barbecue in the gardens that evening and invited the other guests along, some of whom were also from Belgium and already known to Vince and Kim. Everybody had a really pleasant and relaxing time and Vincent was able to enjoy his birthday dinner without having to worry about driving home or looking for a taxi!
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Their stay with us passed all too quickly, however, and soon it was time for them to start the long drive back to Belgium. They had in fact decided to begin their journey at night, rather than in the heat of the day, and they phoned us from Belgium to say that their trip had passed uneventfully and that they were already looking forward to their next visit. They were thinking that they might return to us towards the beginning of next year in the cooler weather and take advantage of the opportunity to do some more mountain biking. Vince told us he had bought himself a new bike after getting home, so it could well be the case that we will see them arrive here next year with their bikes on the back of their car, all ready for an active Spring sunshine break! We certainly look forward to seeing them again and are glad their return visit to us was such a success.

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Mountain Biking the GR-236 Monastery Route Part 3 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/07/mountain-biking-the-gr-236-monastery-route-part-3/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/07/mountain-biking-the-gr-236-monastery-route-part-3/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 17:53:36 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6446 The Completion of the GR-236 Monastery Route On Saturday, we decided to take out our mountain bikes and complete the traditional “Monastery Route” – a pilgrims’ route linking five monasteries in the area. We had already covered the first four, but had not reached the final one which is located in the Valley of la [...]

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The Monastir de la Murta near Alzira was founded between the 15th & 16th centuries. Especially noteworthy is the tower known as the Torre dels Coloms and also the renaissance style gate, above which a coat of arms is still to be seen. This belongs to the Vich family who were owners and benefactors of the monastery for many years. In 1989 the Town Hall of Alzira acquired the property and began the restoration of this historic monasteryThe Completion of the GR-236 Monastery Route

On Saturday, we decided to take out our mountain bikes and complete the traditional “Monastery Route” – a pilgrims’ route linking five monasteries in the area. We had already covered the first four, but had not reached the final one which is located in the Valley of la Murta near the town of Alzira and is known as the Monastery of Santa Maria de la Murta.
We started from another of the monasteries along the route – at Simat de la Valldigna – as it is a great route to follow on mountain bikes, with a mixture of tracks, trails and conventional roads. We were accompanied on our day out by a friend of ours, Carolina, who had expressed an interest in joining us for a biking expedition, and so we all drove to Simat and set off from there at about 11.00am.

The first section of the route was a beautiful stage through valleys of orange groves with a beautiful backdrop of dramatic mountains and took us to our first main stopping off point, which was in fact the next monastery site along the route. This is at Aigües Vives, and is a former convent that is now in use as a hotel. We had already visited here back in May on our last attempt to reach the monastery in the Murta valley – an attempt which was unsuccessful due to misleading signposting further along the way! This was the first time here for Carolina, however, who was very impressed with the imposing building, and it was also a convenient place to stop for a breather and a welcome cool-off in the shade of some trees from temperatures which were in the mid-thirties. Then it was onward to Alzira, but this time we followed our instincts rather than the faulty signpost, and arrived there without any unintentional diversion – and in time for a more than welcome refreshment in a café! The tracks and trails are in fairness generally very well indicated, but it only takes one mischievously re-positioned post to send you in the wrong direction!

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After catching our breath and cooling down in the café, it was time to press on to our final destination of the Monastery of Santa Maria. It is located in a breathtakingly beautiful setting in a lush and fertile valley, but close to dramatic mountains and crags that rise up almost vertically all around. The area immediately surrounding the monastery is a designated area of natural beauty and as such we had to leave our bikes at the entrance and walk the remaining kilometre to reach the monastery itself.

The effort was more than worth it, however, and we were rewarded with a tranquil and secluded spot in the grounds, with running water and lots of shade in which to have our picnic lunch. After a truly restorative lunch in the deep shade of the trees there, it was time to return to Simat, largely following the same route back. Because of time restrictions, we spent more time on conventional roads as far as Aigües Vives but then reverted to the tracks for the remainder of the route back to Simat and the car. We reached there at about 5.30pm, and all agreed that it had been a truly great and thoroughly enjoyable day out. A great mixture of tracks, trails, roads and gradients, and all in beautiful surroundings leading to a place of exceptional peace and beauty – what more could anyone ask of a mountain biking trip in the La Safor mountains?

Totals for the Day:-
Trip :- 49.8km
Max Speed :- 38.3kmph
Ride time :- 3:10:00
Odo :- 1326km

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Self Catering Holidays in Spain http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/07/self-catering-holidays-in-spain/ http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/2013/07/self-catering-holidays-in-spain/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 08:44:37 +0000 http://www.villa-florencia.co.uk/?p=6416 Self Catering Holidays in Spain Some months ago we received a booking from Macarena, who wanted to reserve our self-catering apartment for a week’s holiday for herself and her family.  They live in Madrid, but were planning to spend some time to the south of here on holiday, before enjoying a week with us in [...]

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Self catering holidays in SpainSelf Catering Holidays in Spain

Some months ago we received a booking from Macarena, who wanted to reserve our self-catering apartment for a week’s holiday for herself and her family.  They live in Madrid, but were planning to spend some time to the south of here on holiday, before enjoying a week with us in the La Safor region.  They had in fact been to Gandia several years ago, when their children were very young, and were interested too in revisiting some of the places down at the beach that they remembered from that earlier visit.

Macarena, her husband Rafa and sons Rafa, who is twelve and Manuel, who is nearly nine, arrived last Monday and soon settled in to the apartment and made friends with our dogs and cats.  Sons Rafa and Manuel are particularly fond of animals and so were delighted to find that they were able to play with our pets as much as they wanted!  The weather was beautiful for the entire length of their stay and so they were able to make the most not only of the pool and the gardens, but also took every opportunity to go to one of the wonderful beaches that are all within very easy reach of our casa rural.

Our self-catering apartment suited their requirements perfectly as they were able to come and go exactly as they liked, sometimes dining out in Playa de Gandia, sometimes preparing their own meals in the well equipped kitchen in the apartment.  A typical day for them would be to have breakfast in the morning before going to a beach around 10.30 and then returning to us around 3.00pm for a cool dip in the pool before siesta.  They would then often go out again in the early evening to spend the rest of the time until the early hours enjoying the restaurants and cafés of Playa de Gandia.

Rafa and Manuel were also very keen to use their English with us and their enthusiasm for putting their classroom lessons into practice did them credit.  Their vocabulary was more than impressive, as was their ability to construct sentences with ease, so they were really pleased to see their hard work in school paying off with conversations and everyday interaction.  Their parents were delighted that what they had thought would be a straightforward self-catering holiday on the Costa Blanca turned out to have unexpected benefits for their sons’ English skills as well!

After their week’s stay with us, it was sadly time to say farewell to this really lovely family as they had to return to their home in Madrid and their normal everyday lives.  However, they had had a really enjoyable time with us and loved the whole experience from the rural setting to the pet-friendly environment, so there is a good chance we will see them with us again in the future.  We would certainly love for them to return, and of course to see Rafa and Manuel’s English skills improve still more!

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If you think you might be interested in a Self Catering Holidays in Spain, consider our self-catering apartment, which has plenty of space for a family of four, please check our availability calendar and e-mail us for further details and information.

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