Tranquilo – An Introduction to the Hondon Valley

Video by Hondon Villas c2017
Enjoy the sunshine, the views and chill. This video is a short introduction to the glorious Hondon Valley inland to the Alicante Region, Costa Blanca South, Spain.

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The Hondón Valley is a peaceful, friendly, warm place surrounded by mountainous scenic beauty

The main two villages of Hondon de las Nieves and Hondon de los Frailes nest in the beautiful Hondon Valley. The relatively newly built Urbansation of La Montanosa is sandwiched between these two Hondón villages.

For decades they have grown an abundance of agricultural delights such as Grapes, Almonds and Olives (the main economy).

Hondon is surrounded by an expanse of stunning mountain views and traditional arid Spanish countryside. These excellent vistas are a delight in all seasons! Take a walk or drive through the country roads and you will just marvel at the changing light, shadows and picturesque skies.

The Hondon Valley is well known for its mild climate and pleasant summer breezes, which is very welcoming in those hot summer months when temperatures rarely fall below 30 degrees. The region enjoys sunshine in excess of 310 days per year, where the air is very clean and the pace of life slow. Hondon offers a very peaceful and stress free life.

Come take a look at the Valley of the Vines, drink the local wine under the bluest of skies and feel the warmth of the Spanish sun on your face … and you’re hooked! We were! We love it!

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Drones in Hondon Valley. Good or Bad?

As an established estate agent in Spain, Hondon Villas are always keen to use new technology if it helps present and sell our clients houses, improve our real estate services and help speed up our work flow.  [ Published on: 29 May 2017 ]

We did consult an experienced lawyer on the use of drones ( see below). She advised us that in a nutshell: it seems clear that currently in Spain (2016) it is not advisable to fly drones for commercial purposes or anywhere over urban or populated areas, particularly government owned or where security and privacy is paramount. To do so can incur massive fines.

Background: Well we saw some excellent promo’ footage of luxury properties in places like Marbella, Florida, UAE, etc. After seeing these we thought that for some luxury properties with a global appeal, aerial photographs or video would help the prospective buyer in their potential property choices.

But are they of use in Hondon? Does the law allow us? Well,  about two years ago we at Hondon Villas researched the use of Drones for aerial photography as we were unsure of the appetite for such a service, the cost to do it or even if it would help or hinder or business.

Of course it is early days for such technology and because of mass production and a relatively low price entry level, unmanned remote aircraft are now in abundance. Rightly or wrongly, many people already have them. But as a result, there are now numerous reports of some pilots abusing their use with no regard for others. In short aerial photography has become a “wild west”  situation.

So it turns out that the use of retail drones, particularly over private land, government buildings, urban land & housing estates is contentious across the globe. Indeed there are few places you can fly them legally unless the drone and pilot register and get permissions, particularly for commercial purposes.

Indeed, a local Hondon Valley real estate agent has already used a drone to film the area and some of our own clients have expressed to us the dismay they have that their home, location and land layout have been exposed without permission. Did the agent get permission? Well the law would suggest it would be necessary as it’s used for commercial advertising (branded with a logo) and the flights are over populated urban land and critically within the Alicante airport flight paths.

So whilst the use of drones in Real Estate seems a good idea, it is not as straight forward to just buy a drone and willy nilly film whatever you want! Indeed, it is risky in many ways. The Spanish government has collected almost €2 million from drone fines alone since 2015 as they actively looked for breaches of the law. There is a total ban on drones in around the Balearic Islands for instance.

Pro’ versions of drones with high-end UHD cameras can be costly and difficult to fly. So the EU & USA in general are keen to legislate on their use and limit the areas they can be used. The reasons are mainly on safety, privacy and security grounds. After all a falling drone could damage property or hurt someone and people are quite precious about their privacy and can feel spied on.

We think in general, the above reasons for laws on drones have some merit in this uncertain world. And of course many people will and do misuse this new technology for criminal or dubious activities.

So Drone laws make sense to us. And whilst the main manufacturers and retailers pile drones high on shop shelves and sell them to anyone, there are actual laws to govern their purchase, registration, use and permissions. It can be a “red-tape” paper chase, especially in Spain. ( Royal Decree-Law 8/2014 on Air Navigation and Law 18/2014, of 15 October )

We certainly advocate laws on grounds of privacy in built-up areas. E.G. In Spain a property vendor may list their house with many agents, so do we really want those many agents “droning” over properties on a regular basis? We don’t think so. We get the impression that local residents would take a dim view of regular “spies in the skies“.

So, after a lot of questions to legal eagles, near-by flying clubs and asking people in the Hondon Valley, plus taking into account the price of a pro drone purchase, accessory costs and training, we at Hondon Villas concluded that currently using drones in Real Estate might not be the way to go until the laws are changed over these temporary 2014 ones in place now.

So, yes we’d love to offer the service to those that want it but as the Hondon areas are predominantly an urban sprawl we think that many locals would soon complain about noise, nuisance and security issues. In short, we respect the law and our prospective clients privacy and safety. We can’t rule it out for the future of course so we will be keeping an eye on any developments and laws.

Our SOLICITOR spelt out the current stance in Spain:

The matter of private or commercial “drones” is regulated in Royal Decree-Law 8/2014 on Air Navigation and Law 18/2014, of 15 October, approving urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency.

Article 50 of that Law establishes provisions relating to civil aircraft piloted by remote control.

That provision primarily regulates identification, features, possible uses, operating conditions, enabled airspace, security, accreditation of pilots and authorization certificates. An important remark is the obligation to obtain the necessary authorizations and make the flights always during daylight, in good visual meteorological conditions and out of congested areas of cities, habituated towns or settlements and outdoors gatherings of people.

Also, the drones can only be used for technical or scientific works; which in accordance with European standards it includes specialized operations such as research, pest control, photography, surveillance, security, patrol, advertising, fire fighting, rescue and scientific works. So, although the law does not define what is meant by specifically technical or scientific works, it seems clear that in Spain is not currently allowed the use of drones for commercial purposes.

On that regard, State Aviation Safety Agency showed, in his note of April 7, 2014, the following statement: “is not allowed, and has never been, the use of aircraft piloted by remote control with commercial or professional purposes “.

As a final note, it is important to know that this regulatory framework is provisional and will apply until the approval of the regulatory rules laid down in Final Provision second, second paragraph, of the Act. So, it is possible that operating drones in Spain in urban areas and for commercial purposes can be allowed despite that is not what Law has permitted so far.

Update May 2017 …

The Spanish RPAS regulation (Ley 18/2014) is only applicable to flights for commercial purposes and all professional activities.

But for recreational use (hobby) you should comply with the provisions in Spanish Law “Real Decreto 552/2014” (rules of the air), article 15, that allows RPAS flight at low altitude “as long as they do not involve any risk or harm to people or properties on surface

So in particular you should:
– operate at Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) and below 120m height.
– not fly in urban areas and over buildings and people. Overfly of populated areas and crowds is not allowed.
– not fly in controlled airspace (near airports) and avoid flying in areas where flights are conducted at low altitude with manned aircrafts.
– not fly at night or in bad weather conditions.
– please ask your local authorities prior to flying.
– other special restrictions may apply, for example in some special areas like Natural Parks and Biosphere Reserves.

I like the Hondon Valley because…

Living in the Hondon Valley

We asked our Facebook Group “What’s On Hondon” why they liked to live or visit the Hondon Valley… here are some of the answers. c2017

Kathryn says … “I love the laid back attitude along with the peace and quiet of a small Spanish village. Being surrounded by mountains is my favourite thing, it is so relaxing 🙂

Joan : It’s our little piece of Heaven on Earth – our little bit of Paradise ❤❤❤

Mia : Nice people, nice places around, good entertainment. I hope to live there soon.

Pamela : I luv living there. No regrets!

Janni : The weather is sublime. The Spanish are so welcoming and kind. The mountains are stunning and we have Hondon de los Frailes nearby with fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are many social activities and the coast is not far away. We feel lucky to have found the Hondon Valley.

Christopher : Yes a nice place with nice people. But the Indians in the hill are a pain when coming over the mountains, their arrows took out 2 of my tyres last week lol !!

Toni : It’s my little piece of paradise!

Sabrina : I love living in Hondon because it’s a tight community, friendly and beautiful. I am so glad I get to raise my children here! (And that’s from someone who didn’t want to move here! )

Helen : I love living here, who wouldn’t? It is one of the healthiest places around. It’s a laid back friendly area and ideally situated to visit the coast 😃

Duncan : I love it here. We have great friends. The panoramic views of the mountain’s never let you down, it’s a delight to get up in a morning!

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Adele : Travelled around a lot and this is our 36th house! We have lived here 12 years…. so far so good.

Percy : It has been said Paradise! In seventeen years we have watched this beautiful place grow from an old Spanish village to an old Spanish village with modern amenities. There are good eateries and friendly people with a weather which is also friendly…most of the time!

Andre : It’s my paradise with nice warm people living here. English Dutch & Belguique and Spanish

Irene : When ever I am there I look at the views and never fail to be impressed. All my visitors from London adore the time they spend in Hondon. It is a little bit of paradise.

Roy : We just love it here! We are living the dream, second best to paradise x

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Spain Info for Tourists, Travellers & Events

Visit SpainWe at Hondon Villas use SPAIN.INFO a lot for tourist information in Spain. It’s a great 0ne-stop place to go if you are planning a trip to to or around Spain. They also have Facebook and Twitter pages if you care to subscribe to them. Well worth the time we think. » Visit the website here| spain.info

This website has some excellent articles and outstanding pictures about Spanish art, culture, museums, monuments, beaches, cities, parties, tours, cuisine and nature in Spain. You can plan your journey with their “Interactive map” and then document your travels with a free online Journal.

The weather is sublime, the Spanish are so welcoming and kind, the mountains are stunning and we have fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are so many social activities too. The coast is never far away. We feel very fortunante to have found this place to live.  : says Janni (Hondon Valley)

2017 was another record year for Tourism in Spain and the projections are that 2018 will be even bigger. We live here so we know the reasons people come to Spain year-after-year, often tempting people the buy a property for emigration or a holiday home. The Hondon Valley is very popular with Expat Brits, Dutch and Belgiques who have made homes in the campo and the upmarket Urb La Montanosa, near Hondon de las Nieves.

Spain Information for Tourists Screen

 

 

Wiki: Hondón de las Nieves

Central Plaza in Hondon

A Brief History of Hondon de las Nieves

Although not officially documented, it is said that the Hondon Valley would have been already populated in ancient Greek times. But records show that in 1246 Christian troops fought with the Arabs & Moroccans in the area.

Copyright ©2016 Hondon Villas.  Based on information by WikiPedia

Hondon was under the jurisdiction of Aspe until 1839 when it became independent and formed a single municipality together with its neighbouring village Hondón of the Friars, which in turn had been segregated from Redován. Nieves still shares many local festivals and amenities with Aspe today.

In 1926 Hondón de las Nieves and Hondón of the Friars (Frailes) separated to form independent municipalities. It reached its peak population in 1900: 3,690 inhabitants, although at that time still included the population of Hondón of the Friars. Today, the Hondon Valley, over the last 20 years, has grown to include mainly northern Europeans looking for an alternative lifestyle from their own native countries. A new urban development of about 400 villas has been built between the two Hondón villages known locally as La Montañosa Villas.

Demographics and Economics

The 2008 figures show a population for Nieves of 2,730 inhabitants, known as hondoneras / hondoneros. The municipality also includes two smaller villages: El Rebalso and La Canalosa, the latter being higher in the mountains and former between the two main villages, close to La Montanosa Urb. In reality the population swells in the summer as foreign property owners and their friends or relatives come for long holidays. It’s a busy time in the villages from May to October.

The traditional economy for Hondon is agricultural based, mainly almonds, vegetables, olives and table grapes (produced under the designation of origin Table grapes pocketed Vinalopó). In the last decade or so the local economy is complemented and probably surpassed by the real estate business (Hondon Villas AIPP registered) An increasing number of foreigners (British, Dutch, Belgium, French) is  now installed in the municipality. As such, there are many sand and gravel quarries, cement and related industries in the Hondon Valley.

Geography & Recreation

Hondon is located in a small valley protected by the Sierra de Crevillente, populated by pine, almond, olive trees and vineyards. It offers 300+ days of sunshine per year, a pleasant climate all year, an al-fresco lifestyle, clean air and a tranquil life. The Hondoneros make the most of the outdoors for both religious, domestic and for recreational needs. There are many public holidays and fiestas to tempt the locals and visitors. Many are based on religious history or holidays, such as Easter. They are always well attended.

Virgin of the snows, Hondon

Being surrounded by mountains attracts many walking groups, cyclists and game shooting. Hobby groups are in plentiful supply. You will also observe numerous animal welfare groups, horse and pony trekking and Hondon has a myriad of plant species: pine, juniper, thyme, rosemary for those with a botanical interest. The local fauna includes wild boars, foxes, partridges, hares, rabbits, lizards, owls real, etc. The mountains do attract hawks and eagles too.

Hondon Architecture

The stand-out building in the area is relatively new (and a useful place to visit), that is Bodegas Cerda, a family run wine merchant and museum to Hondon’s vineyard history. The Cerda family have a long history of growing grapes and making wine. It still does and the modern Bodega could grace any city or town. You must pay this building a visit and try its many wines.

Wine Merchant and Museum

The central Plaza, as is typical of Spanish towns & villages, is the central point for most social and official ceremonies or fiestas. The local square is often converted or re-decorated for an event throughout the year. The highlights are usually in the summer (July/August) fiestas when the children are on the main break. It seems like the village comes out then. These are a “must-see” and can both entertain and educate the visitor on the local Spanish culture.

Other places of interest: Rollo Cave, an archaeological site, is a settlement of the Upper Paleolithic.  The Parish Ntra. Sra. De las Nieves. Erected in 1746 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Orihuela D. Elias Gomez de Teran on the chapel of San Pedro, of Baroque style.

In 2007 there have been wall paintings of s. XVIII, that they are being restored.
Ermita de San Isidro. In the area of La Cruz, a small church, typical of this area.

Plaza de la Villa. With City Hall and the Culture Centre. Facade of the convent of the Franciscan Concepcionistas. Mid-twentieth century, today rehabilitated turned into the Chapel of Ntra. Sra. De las Nieves.

Hondon Gastronomy

Apart from the exquisite table grapes included in the designation of origin grape Embolsada Mesa del Vinalopó, we can taste risotto, gazpacho, gachamiga, stew and rice with rabbit and snails. You will often see the older Hondoeros collecting snails from the campo or hear the hunter’s guns early in the morning. Sweets are also well represented with crusty rolls, French toast, the sequillos or embocaos.

Most of the popular restaurants and bars are in the village plaza. As we write to include: Destiny’s, La Font, Bar Central, Bocodito, Vamboo to name a few. The local market is very popular on Wednesday and Saturday.


AUTHOR: This article ©2016 was brought to you by Hondon Villas, the local premier and award winning Estate Agent in the Hondon Valley. Hondon Villas can help you buy, sell or rent luxury villas on La Montanosa Urb, Frailes, Nieves and all surrounding areas. With over 30 years experience in real estate, a local office with mutli-lingual agents, we sell more villas than any other agent in the area. Our extensive network of online portals and collaborators, a call centre and central office ensures a faster route to property sales. Check out our website for testimonials and our professional property services. www.hondonvillas.net | www.hondonvillas.nl

Who needs Agents? Find an Expat instead!

LOL! A recent story (abridged) …
Buyer: “Oh no I’d never buy a DVD player from a random bloke in the pub. Too rissssssky.”

Agent:Very wise! Oh so how did you hear about the house you want to buy here?

Buyer: “Oh the barmaid in that bar showed me it, she was very nice! She says I don’t need a to worry about black money or the paperwork.  And I don’t need an estate agent!”

Thought bubble!  So the biggest purchase of your life, 1/4 of million+ €€€ and you think the … well phhfff… we wish you luck with that one!

We know that a mechanic can fix a car. We  know the electrician will fit new lights. We know a butcher will cut a nice fillet of beef. We know the barmaid will serve ice cold drinks on hot days and the chef will cook that beef…

But a good real estate agent will sit next to you and hold your hand through the long property purchase maze, they will value, photo and video your property, negotiate the deal, sort the deposits and contracts, take you to get the right paperwork like NIEs, find me a good lawyer, open a bank account with you, know the area, the trade people,  help you with transport and the legal notary and always help you after the sale.

Do we also know the estate agent has lots of costs in running an office, employing staff, equipment, computers, websites, tax, insurance, advertising, networking, car / petrol, telephone bills, electric, water, heating, fixtures, fittings and so on… ?

We know the local agent will be part of the community, give to local charities, pay the rates, keep abreast of local planning and events, help the other businesses, create and distribute wealth, introduce people as friends, eat & drink in the local catering establishments and so on.

So a good estate agent is more than just sales person in our opinion. What do you think?

European Day. Hondon de los Frailes

A special charity night in the Hondon Valley was held on 15th July 2017. This has been an annual event in the area for a few years now and brings together many residents and their visiting friends to enjoy what is a street party with live music. Organised to raise moeny for the Fiestas and local people this event fills the main plaza of Hondon de los Frailes.

This is a popular community night for all nationalities to enjoy food, drink, live bands and a disco. This year the bands were “The Hardest” (a classic rock tribute band) and “Stone Control” from Alicante who perform as a Rolling Stones tribute act. Proceeds started at 8.30pm to a very late finish … 3am +.

The village plaza was jam packed with excited and party-mood residents and holiday makers of all ages who enjoyed singing and dancing in the street. Those that booked a table were allowed to bring their own food and beverages so the atmosphere was very jovial.

A great night that the whole Hondon Villas team attended to support our local community. Thank you for a great night!

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All proceeds go to the Frailes Fiesta’s Collection.

Brexit? What Brexit, we love coming to Spain

Business Premises and Warehouse for Sale / Retail UintSpanish Tourism Minister Alvaro Nadal told a news conference to present tourism figures for 2016 that the number of arrivals last year was up by 9.9 percent over the 68.1 million foreign visitors who flocked to the country in 2015. It was the fourth consecutive year of record numbers of arrivals.

There was no Brexit effect in 2016, it did not affect British tourism in our country,” said Nadal, before adding this trend should continue this year.

Tourism represents some 11 percent of Spain’s gross domestic produc.

Already advance reservations as well as requests for landing slots at Spanish airports are going very well which confirms that the tendency for British tourism remains the same.

Each foreign tourist to Spain spent an average of €1,023 ($1,078), a 3.75 percent increase over the 2015 figure.  They spent a total of €77 billion in the country in 2016, an 8.3 percent increase over the previous year.

So Brits LOVE IT! We at Hondon Villas can’t predict the future but we do echo that 2016 and so far 2017 would suggest Brits (Dutch and Belgiums) are still keen to buy property in Spain. We are as busy as ever and had the confidence to open bigger premised earlier this year.  We are cautiously optimistic of Spanish Real Estate, despite prices being fairly static to showing slight growth.

Costa Blanca Villas For Sale
A property on the Costa Blanca is a dream for many people and once you’ve visited the area, you’ll understand why. As well as an excellent climate, the Costa Blanca boasts many beautiful Blue Flag beaches, superb sports opportunities, lots of festivals and lively nightlife. No wonder so many people are choosing the Costa Blanca for their Spanish holiday home! Here in the Hondon Valley we are surrounded 360 with glorious mountain views bathed in sunshine for over 300 days a year.

On the Hondon Villas website, you can find hundreds of Hondon area properties (Southern Costa Blanca region), from secluded rural houses and villas to town houses, land and apartments. Our property lists are frequently updated and our informed staff can help you understand the local market and make an informed decision when buying any type of Hondon Valley home or property.

Spain’s public holidays in 2017: Official List

Enjoy Easter in AlicanteThat’s right Spain get a lot of bank holidays and unlike the UK a lot of them are not on a Monday.  The Local.es has listed them for you.

Spain will have a total of 12 national bank holidays in 2017 but also there are many regional / local holiday. So get organized and start planning some weekends away.  Here is the official list of all the public holidays across Spain, as published in Spain’s BOE official state bulletin.

The nine national public  (Red Days) holidays in 2017 across all of Spain are:

January 6th: Dia de los Reyes Magos, Three Kings Day, Epiphany. (Friday)
April 14th: Good Friday
May 1st: Workers’ Day
August 15th: Assumption of Mary, (Tuesday)
October 12th:  Spanish National Day, (Thursday)
November 1st: All Saints’ Day (Wednesday)
December 6th: Constitution Day (Wednesday)
December 8th: Immaculate Conception, (Friday)
December 25th: Christmas Day (Monday)

Apart from these national dates, all regions have additional holidays. See below for the full list. Here is our own Valencia, Costa Blanca South / North.
April 13th: Maundy Thursday
April 17th: Easter Monday
October 9th: Valencia Day  (Monday)

You may also find that some Town Halls or Regions have even more extra days or half days for special occasions. And further that if a bank holiday is close to the weekend that in rural areas, like the Hondon Valley, the locals will extend their break.

So that Manaña feeling is very real … if you can’t beat them, join them eh?