Autumn Begins in Mallorca

With the end of the long hot summer, comes a new rhythm of life. Gone are the indoor siestas to avoid the midday heat, gone are the early evening trips to the beach. It’s back to school, work picks up again, and activities arise for the next cycle. Mallorca living is all about the seasons.

First, in September, we have the Urban Down Pollensa, where a bunch of crazy mountain bikers drop down the Calvario Hill at terrific speed with some hair-raising jumps along the way. The full day sees children and adults train in the morning while the serious competition kicks off in the afternoon.

Another annual event is the Pujada a Lluc. Not so much adrenaline rush, more a mass meander up from whatever town you live in (or from Inca via the shuttle bus, if you live really far out) to Lluc. This overnight hike is all about community, getting together with your townsfolk and joining surrounding towns on a cool September night. The pujada is growing in popularity year-on-year.

Perhaps an overnight schlep over some distance (and gradience) is not that appealing, but now that it is cooler, take up one of the guided walks in Pollensa. During September and October there are guided walks to Cala Boquer in Puerto Pollensa (Mondays), Coves Blanques in Cala Sant Vicente (Thursdays) and a cultural guide to the Old Town of Pollensa (Fridays). Do all three of these and your knowledge of this beautiful town, and its coastlines will be firmly established.

Hikes can easily become gentle walks and what better way to do this than by taking in the local wildlife? Mallorca is home to a rich bird population. Birdwatchers arrive on the island in their thousands to find the rare and indigenous birds that live or pass through the Balearics. The North of Mallorca is home to a wide array of species thanks to the landscape of sandy and rocky coastline, cliff faces, wetlands, grassland, scrubland and forests, and it is this diversity that makes it such a great home (temporary or permanent) for birds. The area is also located along a main migration route, so it’s no surprise that wildlife lovers come follow the nature trail here too.

If your fitness levels demand something more challenging, then Mallorca has it all. There are dozens of events to keep your holiday a healthy one. For example, the Viking 859 are two swim/run events in Alcudia and Pollensa. There is also the AlcudiaMar Aquathlon either short and long events. Muro has its own sprint triathlon in October as well. For something less watery, Pollensa’s popular run for Alzheimer’s is an annual event. The 7km run takes in the Calvario Steps and is a challenge for the most seasoned runners. But perhaps the biggest challenge is the 5000 Skyrunning event along the Tramuntana, from Soller to Pollensa and the Palma Marathon in October.

For the after party, there are jazz concerts in Alcudia throughout September. There are also classical concerts at the Auditori d’Alcudia and at the Claustre in Pollensa. Check the local town programmes for more details.

If you are more about the cultural side, autumn is the season for Firas (or fairs) and every year, Alcudia is the first to hold theirs. In recent years, themes have included medieval and Roman, and the Fira is a chance for local farmers to show off their livestock, local artesans to show and sell their wares and local trades to demonstrate what they do. The markets—including food, artesan, trade, plants and garden and more—and activities from local bands and dance groups make these fairs a great slice of Mallorcan culture. Pollensa’s is in November as are the smaller towns fairs.

For full-on fiestas, Campanet has its Sant Miquel Fiesta at the end of September. It’s a week-long programme of events. The highlights are community dinners, a health fair, music and dance and plenty more beside.

In October the Festes de Verges is an excuse to eat tonnes of bunyols (little Mallorcan donuts) and then of course comes Halloween. All Souls day on 1st November is a long-standing tradition but Halloween dress-ups and trick or treating is new to Mallorca. In response, the Nit Fosca in Pollensa is becoming a regular occurrence on the autumn agenda. Children from across Pollensa dress up in Halloween style and the party at the Claustre has a timetable of varying degrees of scariness. The later event is for bigger kids who think they can handle it.

The North of Mallorca is so much more than sun, sand and sea. It’s just as exciting in the cooler months.

 

 

Markets: Shop Like a Local

The main markets in the north of Mallorca are in Pollença Old Town every Sunday morning, in the port every Wednesday morning and in Alcudia every Tuesday and Sunday morning. In Puerto Alcudia, there is a fruit and vegetable market every Friday morning. In general, markets are open from 8 or 9 in the morning until 2 pm.

TIP 1. If you want to shop them like a local, get there early. Parking gets tricky, and once you’re walking around, the narrow streets get jam-packed. In the heat, this is not the best experience. Arriving before 10 am can make all the difference. Once you’ve bought your fruit and veg, have a look at the artisanal stalls, you’ll be ready for a coffee and a chance to sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

TIP 2. Once you’re ready to buy your fresh produce—bag-for-life in hand—have a little walk around first. The price per kilo of the same produce can vary from stall to stall, so do a recce. Think about what’s on your list and look out for it on your round of the market. Make a note of the lowest prices and go back to that stall. Note, you don’t have to buy everything at the same stall.

TIP 3. Most stallholders own their fincas where the produce is grown. Talk to the market seller. He or she will be delighted to tell you more about it and, if it’s something you’re not familiar with, how to eat or cook it. Ask them where it is grown, whether they grew it themselves, it’s all quite interesting, and you’ll come away having discovered something new.

TIP 4. As it comes from their fincas, many stallholders specialise in one thing in particular. If you see a stall selling only tomatoes, head there. It is likely they are the best tomatoes in the market and s/he will have products derived from them. For example, sundried tomatoes, tomato chutney. Likewise, a citrus stall, the seller will have brought the best oranges and lemons available. If that is the only thing available on the stall then his/her livelihood depends on it, they’re going to be good. Also, look out for the smaller stalls, this is likely to be the more traditional stall where the seller is trading their excess crops from their own finca. Worth searching out for the friendly chat, if nothing else.

TIP 5. Once you’ve had a good look round, you will have an idea of what’s in season. You might want to amend your shopping list. If you wanted cherries but there are more strawberries around, take them instead. The chances are they will be better and cheaper. Once fruits and veg start going out of season, the price can jump. Likewise, if it is in season, look for the larger quantities, for example, the 2kg wooden boxes or punnets. It may seem a lot but the prices will be better (just make sure you’ve sussed it on your recce first).

One piece of advice is not to touch and press everything as you check for quality and ripeness, unsurprisingly the sellers don’t like it. If you’re friendly to the stallholder, you will be repaid with the same and s/he will likely offer you a sample. S/he will also bag things up for you and give you the best they have. Lastly, don’t be intimidated by the market, most speak enough English to be able to serve you. Add the odd Spanish word from you (dos kilos por favor); then the whole exchange will be a much more fun experience.

Sunscreen Yellowing, How to Live with Sunscreen

A crisp white t-shirt on sun-kissed skin, a brand new swimsuit for your days in the sun, a light and airy summer dress on your honey-coloured cherubs, it’s all part of the holiday daydream. In reality, by the end of the two weeks, that white t-shirt, the brand new costume, the cute summer dress, they are all looking yellow and downright mucky. The culprit? It’s sunscreen, or to be precise its active ingredient, Avobenzone.

Avobenzone is used to stop the UVA rays and these are the ones that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Other chemicals in sunscreen are more concerned with UVB rays and protecting you from sunburn.

Prevention

So, the first thing to do if you want to stop this pesky yellow staining is stop using Avobenzone-based sunscreen all together. You may consider this a crazy idea, but UVA Rays can be stopped by other chemicals that are in fact kinder to your skin. But that’s a whole other story. If it’s too late and your investment in sunscreen has been in the Avobenzone kind, worry not. You can prevent yellow staining by slathering it on before you get dressed. Apply to your skin and only put your clothes on once it’s all absorbed. For some, however, the urge to get out onto the beach can be too much. Waiting for sunscreen to do its thing is 10 minutes too long and if the cream does get to your threads then it’s time to talk about cure.

Cure

Bicarbonate soda, the home favourite and the saver of many things from teeth to silver jewellery, can help in your fight against the yellow. Sprinkle onto the stain and rub it in with and a bar of soap and leave for 30 minutes. Brush off the powder and wash in a washing machine. For bigger stains, Bar Keepers Friend, the traditional cleaning product launched in 1882, will help get rid of the biggest of sunscreen crimes. Just avoid using bleach based products as it will make the stain worse – deeper in colour and more stuck than ever before. But overall, whether you (or your clothes) fall victim to the yellow or not, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Wear sunscreen.

New tax form introduced to control holiday rental income

Hacienda, the Spanish tax authority, has recently published new legislation that will oblige all intermediaries in the rental of tourist accommodation, such us companies like Prestige Villas or holiday portals, to produce periodic statements identifying the owners of the properties being advertised and the amounts for which the rentals are offered to bring into the open all the undeclared tourist rentals by submitting the new Form 179.

Owners who rent their houses in Spain are required to declare rental income through Form 100 or Form 210 depending if the owner is a tax resident in Spain or not.

Form 179 will enter into force in July 2018, and those required to file this return will be required to provide information for the entire 2018 period, including the first two quarters of the year.

This new form must be filed on a quarterly basis during the month following the end of each quarter, as is the case with the quarterly IVA (VAT) declaration. I.e.: the first quarter will be presented in April and the second quarter in July.

In summary, every owner who has rented their property in Spain and do not declare the income, according to the new law from 2018, Hacienda, with the information received through Form 179, will know all the necessary details to claim the taxes for rental incomes to prepare and file the corresponding fine.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice but merely conveys general information related to tax and legal issues. If you are a property owner concerned about any of the information in this blog post, it is advisable that you speak with your Spanish tax advisor or accountant.

A Dream Cycling Holiday in the North of Mallorca

When it comes to luxury villas, Mallorca has them in spades. And, when it comes to your cycling holiday on the island, you don’t have to miss out on the best property Mallorca has to offer.

Here in the north there are plenty of rental villas that can complete your dream cycling trip. So, here is a checklist that will help you make the all-important selection.

Luxury Villa for your Cycling Trip – A Checklist

Check the location. Is it near the main cycling routes? Can you easily get to bike shops and centres for all important supplies and maintenance?

In the north of Mallorca, the ride to Lluc and into the Tramuntana are popular. The cap de Formentor (soon to be exclusive to cyclists and the odd shuttle bus), the road up to La Victoria, as well as the wetlands, coastal routes and country lanes in between are all a happy cyclist’s playground. Choose your villa with the routes in mind.

Whether you travelled with your bike, or you’ve rented one from one of the excellent suppliers here on the island, the last thing you want is for it to go missing or get damaged. When you’re selecting accommodation, look at the security. Can you lock your bikes away, is there a protected area undercover for the bikes to be stored out of any bad weather?

Test the R&R – this is your holiday after all. After a long day on the saddle, you want to be able to relax and your choice of villa can determine how well you do this. Does the villa have a pool or Jacuzzi for those aching legs? Do you have some space for a massage?

If you’re looking at a countryside property, look at the access. Is it a smooth ride or a bumpy track to the entrance?

How about facilities? Make sure there is a decent washing machine. You need to feel fresh every day when you hit the road. Also, for hanging out post- or pre- ride, is there enough to keep you entertained? Games room, satellite TV… the best villas will cater for all tastes and needs.

Our Luxury Villas for Cyclists

Here at Prestige Villas, we have just what you need. Here’s a selection of our favourites:

Can Menut Nou

So often we hear, “I want a villa with countryside surroundings but just a 5 minute walk to the town.” It’s not always easy to work miracles, but with Can Menut Nou, it is. This villa is right on the edge of Pollensa Old Town, round the corner from the road to Lluc. What’s more it has a Jacuzzi, pool and a table tennis table.

Estrella de Calvari

The jewel in Pollensa’s crown are the Calvari steps. Many a wanderer has taken in the stunning properties while also taking in the view of this beautiful old town. Set back from the steps, Estrella del Calvari is away from the tourist trail so privacy is not an issue, and its modern design and breathtaking views will make you feel like the King or Queen of the Calvari (just bear in mind that it comes with a hilly walk — or ride — up, depending on how tired and wobbly your legs are feeling).

Casa Lluna

Heading down to Campanet, Casa Lluna will get you right on track for the Tramuntana cycling routes. Whether you’re heading up through Selva and on to Lluc, or looping your way to Soller, this villa is at a superb starting point. Just beware that once you’re in, it will be difficult to leave. The design and quality of this beautiful house will make you feel right at home.

Moscari I

The idea that holiday rental villas need a neutral or blank canvas interior is lost on this holiday home from home. Many a chic boutique hotel screams with character and so does Moscari I. Executed with style, taste and with no expense spared, this luxury villa adds a splash of colour to your cycling holiday. In fact your fitness levels will get a boost just from rushing to get back to it every day.

Moscari II

This luxury holiday home can be connected to its big brother, Moscari I, so your cycling holiday party can get bigger than you thought. Expect more of the same character and chic boutique feel and say hello to the pool table and tennis court. Oh yes, this could make your dream cycling holiday come true.

For more properties in Mallorca, check out our website: villa rentals and sales.

 

 

Renting License Requirements

A current trending and a much-debated topic of conversation right now is the regulations surrounding renting licenses in the Balearic Islands. Take note that before now, owners who wished to rent their property to tourists had to have a permit to do so. Apartments did not, however, comply with the guidelines to get a license and therefore were rented unregistered. Villas could apply and obtain a licence, called an ETV, at the local tourism authorities.
Right now, however, there has been a freeze on granting licenses until 1st August 2018, at the latest. Once this moratorium has been lifted, both apartments and villas alike will be able to apply for a permit, providing they comply with the strict stipulations listed below:
– Council certificate indicating the property sits on a holiday rental approved zone.
Just recently the president of the Consell de Mallorca, Miquel Ensenyat, the councillor of Land and Infrastructure, Mercedes Garrido and the councillor of Economic Affairs, Cosme Bonet presented the provisional zoning project for holiday rentals. You can see more about that in our previous blog post by clicking here.
– Cédula de habitabilidad / Certificate of Occupancy
Spanish law requires this document to control H&S conditions in any dwelling. This also dictates the maximum occupancy of the property.
– Age of building
The building needs to be at least five years old.
– Certificado Energético / Energy Certificate
With a scale from A to G. The law requires at least D for buildings finished after 2008 and F for older ones.
– Water meter
Every house or apartment must have an independent water meter as opposed to shared communal meter.
– Building community authorisation
The majority of neighbours in a community must authorise vacation rentals. This is a sticky point, as these associations change, the stance of the neighbours can change over time. If this authorisation was withdrawn, it would void the renting license, and the owner would have to stop marketing the holiday apartment immediately.
– Insurance
A comprehensive holiday rental insurance with third-party liability coverage of at least 300,000€.
– Data collection
All guests need to be dully logged with the Spanish National Police.
– License limit
There is a limit of 3-holiday properties per owner and sorely individuals as opposed to businesses or corporations.
– Property equipment
The equipment of the property needs to meet at least the minimum requirement as established on annexe 6 from decreet 20/2015.
– Length of the license
5 years after which the permit needs to be renewed. There are rumours that this limit will only apply to apartments whereas townhouses and holiday villas will not need to renew their licenses.
– Number of bathrooms
The property needs to have at least a bathroom for every 4 places of occupancy.
– Residents who wish to rent their home up to 60 days a year
There is a new type of license that allows residents to rent their homes for up to 60 days a year. If you want to apply for this type of license, you will need to include in the application a certificate of residency issued by your council. The period of 60 days must be consecutive and set in advance. This type of license would also allow you to share a part of your home i.e: rent a room to visitors.
– Beds / places
The beds or places of occupancy must be purchased from an island-wide stock shared with the hotels. At the moment there are around 42,000 beds available in this stock. The final pricing per place of occupancy for villas, apartments and 60-day home residence lets will be 3500€, 875€ and 291,67€ respectively per place of occupancy.

Our team at Prestige Villas will keep a close eye on upcoming news regarding the holiday rental legislation. Keep up to date by subscribing to our newsletter: click here.

Lluna de la Font, new luxury villa to rent in Pollensa

Just outside of Pollença town is la Font, a small residential area built on the hillside offering the properties that sit there an elevated view of the countryside and landscape of North Mallorca.

Among those houses is Lluna de la Font, a new property that we are featuring for the 2018 season. Located right at the end of a cul de sac, the way the villa was designed means that neighbours do not overlook it and you can enjoy the utmost privacy and tranquillity.

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Complementing the high-quality construction is traditional Mallorcan architectural features such as stone walls and beams throughout the interiors. The interior of the house is elegant with a modern feel to it, full of natural light, warmth and beautiful open plan spaces.

The outside has a classic rough stone façade and plenty of terraced areas to sit and relax.That said, the real beauty of this villa lies in the views and many spacious outdoor areas surrounding the house. The main terrace is a suntrap, and with a long 14m saltwater pool it’s easy to cool off in the hot summer sun.

The property is excellent for larger groups and is fully functioning with a very well equipped, tried and tested kitchen. If you’re more of an outdoor chef, there’s a gas BBQ and a BBQ built into the rocks.

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The villa has four bright bedrooms and is perfect for 8 guests. Changeovers are on a Friday at this property, and there are plenty of weeks available throughout the season. It’s a great property at any time of year.

To see more photos or to enquire, take a look at our website by clicking here.

New law for holiday rental apartments in Mallorca

In recent years, villas and townhouses have had it easy to obtain renting licenses whereas apartments, on the other hand, have not been allowed to apply for a renting license for the last two decades.

A way round this used to be the “Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos”, sometimes referred to the tenancy act in English as this law does not set a minimum length of a let. Many owners and agencies were legitimately using this law for apartment rentals. As long as those properties were not advertised as being “holiday apartments” and no additional services were being provided i.e. cleaning, assistance phone, etc., and a lease contract was signed, they were within the law.

Recently, the Balearic Parliament has approved a new holiday rentals’ legislation. In addition to regulating the commercialisation of tourist accommodation, a real ceiling has been placed on the number of beds available in the islands. A balanced solution has been sought between the coexistence of residents and tourists and addressing housing needs.

According to the Government, this new ceiling of beds is meant to tackle the unlimited growth of tourist accommodation capacity of the Balearics. Whereas owners of holiday rentals such as villas or townhouses which are already licensed will be unaffected by the new bill, there is now a one-year moratorium on new permits for new holiday rental properties. The local councils and the town hall in Palma will use this period to determine which zones will be allowed to register new holiday rentals’ beds.

A new aspect of these new licenses is that you will need to buy places of occupancy from a limited stock.

There will also be a new restriction to limit the number of properties that one owner can market: no more than three. Additionally, any property that applies for a new license will have to be at least five years old.

The legislation creates new ways for prosecuting illegal supply by establishing a clear definition of the channels through which holiday accommodation is offered, and requires that a tourism license number is displayed on any advertisements. There’s even an email address so you can denounce your neighbours.

Furthermore, any property to be let for under thirty days will be deemed to be a holiday rental and therefore subject to all the relevant provisions in the legislation. This is the Government’s way of closing the tenancy act loophole on short-term rentals that are in fact for holiday purposes.

Any listing without license number will be deemed to be illegal, leaving websites and landlords liable to hefty fines – ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 euros for owners and up to 400,000 euros for agencies and portals. The Ministry of Tourism has set up an email for residents to denounce other owners who rent their apartments.

The legislation makes provision for the holiday rental of a “habitual dwelling” for a maximum of sixty days a year. This applies to both apartments and houses. These dwellings would still be subject to the zoning.

Our team at Prestige Villas will keep a close eye on upcoming news regarding the holiday rental legislation. Keep up to date by subscribing to our newsletter: click here. If you have any questions about the new law, feel free to contact us, we are here to help.

Goodbye Roaming Charges!

You may have heard the news already that roaming charges within the EU will be abolished, as of today – yippee!

Although some networks are already offering roaming free contracts, that’s not the case for everyone nor the case across all countries so this European law will be welcome news for many.

The new law means that EU phones will be able to call, text and browse within the EU without incurring the hefty charges and it will just be as if you are in your home country.

This law has been a long time in the making, as the EU have been negotiating with the mobile phone networks for ten years to get this agreement. One warning from the mobile phone networks was that this would only push prices higher to take out your phone contract in the first place, regardless of if you intend on going abroad.

Although a statement was released saying:
“The EU has managed to find the right balance between the end of roaming charges and the need to keep domestic mobile packages competitive and attractive,”

“Operators have had two years to prepare for the end of roaming charges, and we are confident that they will seize the opportunities the new rules bring to the benefit of their customers.”

One word of warning though, if you exceed your contract limit then you will be charged, just like you would at home. So if you’ve not got all you can eat data, then watch how much you use up while abroad as anything beyond your contract could be pricey.

This spells the end of needing to go place to place to find a wifi hotspot. Roam free and roam far!

La Coma – family villa for rent in Pollença, North Mallorca

If you’ve been on our rentals website, I’m sure La Coma would have been one of the listings that stood out. Just a short distance into Pollença old town, the villa is so well located that if you fancy you could easily walk into town for dinner in the evening, or even hire bikes and ride into town whenever you like. Split across two floors; the villa can conveniently accommodate two families travelling together or a large family. 

As you walk in, you’ll find a large covered terrace with views right across the Colonya Valley. Whenever we’ve met with our guests staying here, they always comment on how wonderful it is to see the sky lit up with a blanket of stars and just how many you’re able to observe from this property.

If it’s entertainment for the children you’re thinking about when holidaying in Mallorca, then be rest assured that the children will be plenty entertained here. If it’s outdoor activities they like then there’s ping pong, a large field to play football in or of course the swimming pool. During the hotter hours of the day and for a bit of downtime then there’s always the chance to catch up on the latest things on the Apple TV or DVD collection.

Get to know it, see our virtual tour here:

Virtual Tour La Coma
Have a digital walk through and get to know the place. Click here to go on a virtual tour.

 

The villa is rented in the peak season months from June – September. If you are looking for a property to sleep ten guests, then we highly recommend giving this one a look.

It’s not just us that raves about it, check out a review from some guests last year:

“Thank you, Prestige Villas, for our relaxing week at La Coma. We knew from the moment we arrived the holiday would be everything you promised. We were greeted with a thoughtful welcome pack and great information booklet that explained all the necessary things about the house, plus useful information about the local area with restaurant recommendations as well as other places to visit in Mallorca. The villa was clean and comfortable. It had obviously been recently decorated and we really liked the relaxed, personal style of the villa. There was all the necessary equipment in the kitchen and it was of the best quality you could have expected from this type of rental property. The exterior of the villa was lovely. There is a lot of outdoor space, with an excellent pool and plenty of shaded areas on the terraces. The villa is in a quiet area and the views are great, excellent for star gazing at night! We had BBQ´s for dinner on most of the nights and decided to use the brick BBQ. Although it was tucked away from the views of the mountains, it was very good. There was also a smaller portable BBQ that could have been moved into a position to enjoy the views. An unexpected bonus for us was to find there was lots of toys for children a kitchen, tent, table and chairs, jigsaws, DVD´s etc. which our three year old loved! The villa was easy to find and very close to Pollenca. Although it would be possible to walk to town, I would not recommend it as the roads are quite narrow. It also only took us about 5 minutes to drive to two decent size supermarkets and 10 minutes to drive to the beach. We loved our holiday here and could not have asked for anything more. I would certainly recommend this villa to families and larger groups. There is lots of space, plenty of parking, and the separate annex by the pool is very private.”