Are you a mountain biking enthusiast? These THIRDHOME properties are for you!
While some vacationers prefer to relax pool or beachside during their stay, some explorers prefer to be a little more adventurous. Keep reading to view a selection of THIRDHOME luxury properties that are located by some of the most exciting mountain biking trails in the world!
From the Rockies to the Appalachians, the United States offers plenty of thrilling off-road terrains for mountain biking! Check out some of these ideal biking properties in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Colorado.
Sun Valley, Idaho
The spectacular mountain views are just the start to what’s special about this home. The photos don’t do it justice, you must visit and see for yourself! Three sides of the house overlook large ponds, where you are likely to spot bald eagles, elk, moose, great blue heron and other local wildlife. Outside, enjoy the 2.5 acres of landscaped gardens and three smaller ponds with fountains. Offering 4 spacious bedrooms and only 8 minutes from the nearest mountain, outdoor activities couldn’t be closer! Click here for all properties located in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Big Sky, Montana
Spanish Peaks Ranch is as beautiful in the summer as it is exciting in the winter. This fabulous five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 5,400 square-foot ranch offers all guests the cozy comfort and panoramic views that come with Mountain living, as well as the luxury of unique architecture and amenities. Big Sky Resort is just down the road and offers an exclusive spa that is accessible to guests as well as easy planning for outdoor activities. Click here for all properties located in Big Sky, Montana.
This custom Northwest-style home is comprised of 8,000 square-feet with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms! Located in Bend, Oregon, with incredible views of the Deschutes River, guests are able to enjoy a luxurious stay surrounded by beautiful greenery. The expansive great room boasts a soaring stone fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows, giving an ideal spot to unwind and take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Pilot Butte and Tumalo Falls are located nearby to give guests the opportunity to bike and explore some incredible scenery! Click here for all properties located in Bend, Oregon.
Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado
This expansive residence is positioned on Mt. Crested Butte in the ultra-exclusive ski in/out “Summit” area and takes in unparalleled views of the surrounding scenery. From this home, you can look over the Crested Butte Resort, the town and valley! Not to mention, 17 mountain peaks are visible from almost every room in the house. In the winter time, guests are able to ski-in and ski-out, but in the summertime, guests are free to bike the beautiful trails all around wonderful Crested Butte! Click here for all properties located in Crested Butte, Colorado.
This beautiful 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom, 5,500 square-foot family home is located in a lovely neighborhood on a private road just 15 minutes from downtown Aspen! Located right on the Rio Grande Trail, adventurous guests are able to bike or hike their way to downtown Aspen or simply explore the nature-filled trail! Click here for all properties located in Aspen, Colorado.
If you’re dreaming of mountain biking with lake views or in the incredible atmosphere of Vancouver, get ready to reserve a stay in Canada!
This home is located on Lake Archambault, one of the nicest lakes in the Laurentians! This lakefront home is the perfect getaway for any guest wanting to explore the Canadian outdoors. Offering 4 bedrooms and accommodating up to 8 guests, there is plenty of room for the entire family! Saint-Donat is becoming increasingly popular among cyclists, who like to take the challenge of riding along the famous Chemin du Nordet to reach the village of Mont Tremblant! Click here for all properties located in Mont Tremblant, Canada.
North Saanich, Canada
If you’re looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, there’s no better spot than this elegant four-bedroom waterfront home. Nestled on 5,000 square-feet surrounded by the gorgeous natural splendor of Vancouver Island, this home includes access to your own private dock! Explore the nature around the home by biking the nearby trails all around Vancouver Island. Click here for all properties located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Europe is full of unparalleled scenery from historic landmarks, to art, to incredible landscapes! Mountain bike all over Europe with THIRDHOME.
This historic Italian estate, located only 15 minutes from Florence, is situated on 10,000 square-feet and is surrounded by the stunning, rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. Each of the 8 bedrooms is bright and spacious, featuring fabulous interiors and furniture. Bike the surrounding countryside with family or friends! Click here for all properties located in Tuscany, Italy.
Located in the luxurious National Montreux Residences, this high-standing four-bedroom residence features stunning views of Lake Geneva. With miles of peaceful lakeshore and stunning 19th-century architecture, you and your guests will love exploring the charming city of Montreux! Bike the beautiful mountains around Lake Geneva, or take a bike ride down the shore. Click here for all properties located in Montreux, Switzerland.
Enjoy the peace of the Spanish countryside at this spectacular farmhouse, the oldest home in the village of Cadaqués. Just 20 minutes from town, you’ll spend your trip immersed in the stunning Cap de Creus Natural Park, surrounded by gorgeous vistas as far as the eye can see. Offering 6 bedrooms and accommodating up to 12 guests, this magical residence is a dream! Click here for all properties located in Spain.
Argentina is home to some of the most spectacular mountain ranges and exotic landscapes.
Uspallata is a small, delightful town in a valley in between the stunning Andean String! It is a popular destination for the adventurous traveler looking for mountainous excursions. There are 5 private vineyards on the property for guests to enjoy as well as 3 bedrooms accommodating up to 10 guests. Mount Aconcagua Provincial Park is only a few miles away, which is the perfect setting for hiking and biking! Click here for all properties located in Argentina.
Ready to take your travels to a whole new level of elevation? Get ready to book your mountain biking trip today! View all availability by clicking here.
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THIRDHOME members and good friends, Phyllis & Don Feil and Tamra & Charlie O’Hara, embarked on a journey together through Spain and Portugal. This Curated Journey, designed by THIRDHOME Custom Travel, allowed each member to enjoy their vacation without the hassle of planning. These 4 members were lucky enough to experience luxury accommodations in historic Paradores, once lived in by European royals.
Phillis Feil provided a first-hand account of her Curated Journey to Spain and Portugal. Keep reading for her account of this amazing experience.
In Barcelona we picked up the rental car, and began our Spain road trip. First stop was the Rioja wine region. The scenery was hard to believe. One rolling vineyard after another and such an easy drive. The Paradore we stayed in was on the path of the Pilgrim Walk, or El Camino de Santiago, which was an added bonus. We really enjoyed seeing and meeting people from all over the world.
After spending a few days in La Rioja we packed the car and headed south to Toledo. The Paradore was located at the top of the hill, overlooking the historic Toledo UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Paradore restaurant had the best views of Toledo, and served delicious authentic Spanish cuisine. A tour of the famous Saint Mary of Toledo Cathedral was the highlight of our visit. Its a must see if you travel to Toledo. Words can not express the beauty.
After spending a few days in Toledo we packed the car again, and headed south to Granada. The drive thru the Sierra Nevada Mountains was amazing, passing by hundreds of olive tree orchards and vineyards. We had no idea that olive trees lived up to 1,500 years old. We arrived a few hours later and checked into the Paradore, which was located inside the Alhambra, and just steps away from the front entrance. The following day we spent touring the Alhambra, General Gardens, and Moorish heritage. So many beautiful things to see!
Next stop was Ronda, Spain, located around one hour from Granada. This was one of our favorite Paradores. The views from our balconies were like a postcard. Ronda is so picturesque and such a charming place to visit. There were many restaurants and stores to shop within a two minute walk of our location. The town is gleaming from the white buildings and cobblestone streets.
After leaving Ronda, we headed to the Mediterranean coastline city of Malaga, the birth place of Picasso. We stayed at the Paradore Malaga, which overlooked a bull fight arena and cruise port. Once again, we were very happy wth the accommodations, views, and incredible Spanish cuisine offered on property. We got lucky and arrived the day of a large festival celebration. We attended the festivities offered by the Paradore restaurant. What a way to end our journey through Spain….. with fireworks and an amazing five course Spanish dinner.
Amex Travel’s Trend forecast for 2018 has some classics and some newcomers in the realm of international travel; Bali, Costa Rica, Dubai and Vietnam to name a few. But how do the industry-wide trends line up with THIRDHOME users in 2018? It’s looking to be a strong year for cultural immersion trips paired with luxury experiences.
Several of these destinations come as no surprise. Costa Rican properties have been increasingly popular in the club as have Bali homes. The “United States Hot Spots” are longtime favorites of THIRDHOME members. But what sticks out within THIRDHOME’s membership for 2018?
Of our member bookings for 2018, here are THIRDHOME‘s Top 10 Destinations of 2018:
It’s not difficult to guess why over 16% of 2018 bookings end up concentrating near the Rockies and West Coast. World-class ski resorts and mountain homes with stunning views are the main attractions. But year-round outdoor recreation opportunities make Western U.S. Hot Spot cities even more attractive for active travelers. Southeast bookings have unsurprisingly been dominated by Florida stays around the Gulf. These U.S. destinations are definitely worth a Saved Search, given how quickly and often they’re booked. If being more outdoorsy was one of your resolutions for the New Year, consider making a trip out West.
9. Mexico: Cabo San Lucas
Great weather, beautiful beaches and amazing golf. Mexico, particularly the Baja del Sur region, seems to have it all. With all the Affiliate resort properties available, making a trip to Mexico is just so easy. And even if you aren’t looking for a coastal resort town there are so many cultural experiences to be had in cities like San Miguel de Allende. Taking an estimated 11% of 2018 bookings, Mexico is very popular with many THIRDHOME users.
8. France: Paris, French Alps and Provence
Who doesn’t dream of flying away to Paris for a week of relaxation and cultural immersion? Centrally located Parisian properties have always been popular for club members, but a few new French destinations are gaining popularity. The French Alps are drawing more adventurous skiers this year. Also, more members are exploring Provence and other pastoral Southern regions. Yes, landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport and not leaving Paris makes for a wonderful trip, but don’t be afraid to explore new areas of the French countryside, mountains and coast in 2018.
7. Costa Rica: Playa Flamingo and Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica has emerged as a must-go eco-travel destination over the last few years. With an abundance of luxurious villas available in gorgeous areas like Playa Flamingo and the Manuel Antonio Rainforest, it would be criminal not to make a quick stop in Costa Rica in 2018. Most destinations are easily accessible, usually only requiring one transfer flight when flying from the United States.
6. The United Kingdom: London
Similar to Paris, a trip to London is an easy European adventure. The city is filled with endless activities and experiences, making the city one of our top destinations of 2018. But more members are also venturing out to different U.K. locales. Naturally, more golf enthusiasts have been booking properties in Scotland while others are venturing to smaller towns, such as Cornwall.
5. Italy: Rome and Venice
Holidays in Rome and Venice have remained fairly popular in the club. Historic properties with central access to attractions have kept bookings up in Italy for 2018. A wide range of rural Tuscan properties have also been popular. Smaller coastal cities like Trieste are making for a slightly different Italian experience, more akin to a Croatian holiday. The Italian Alps are also drawing more and more skiers into cozy mountainside chalets. Be sure to explore Italy’s diverse range of destinations this year.
4. Canada: Mont-Tremblant
2017 was a big year for Canadian travel and 2018 will probably see even more bookings in the great North. With urban centers like Quebec and Toronto anchoring huge swaths of national parkland, Canada has the best of city living and natural wonder. Not to mention some of the world’s best skiing at Mont-Tremblant and Whistler. Cozying up by the fire in a timber ski chalet alongside Lac Tremblant is something everyone should experience.
3. South Africa: Cape Town and Plettenberg
With a diversity of landscapes only paralleled by New Zealand, South Africa is a one-stop shop for coastal wonder, safari adventure and serene wine country. THIRDHOME members are mostly booking stays along the coastline in places like Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay. In a country like South Africa, it’s easy to stay on the coast and make day trips to the Franschhoek Winelands or the safari lands alongside the Zimbabwe and Mozambique borders. Or, just play with the penguins at Table Mountain National Park in Boulders Beach. South Africa is filled with out-of-this-world experiences.
2. Spain: Marbella
Surprisingly, large urban centers like Madrid and Barcelona aren’t topping THIRDHOME‘s charts. Spain’s booking numbers are led largely by Marbella properties and other Costa del Sol homes. The Andalusia region’s rich history, Moorish influence and warm weather make Costa del Sol a prime location for a summer vacation with cultural immersion built-in. The luxurious private property selection in Costa del Sol is an attraction in itself. Some of these villas are to die for. If you haven’t already explored the land of Don Quixote, do yourself a favor in 2018 and book an Andalusian property.
1. The U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas
Demand for the U.S. Virgin Islands was hardly diminished despite Hurricane Irma. Private homes and resort properties, mostly The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club St. Thomas, have seen healthy bookings for 2018. Luckily, the Virgin Islands have rebounded from Hurricane season and have been tourist operational since this past November. St. Thomas has always been a THIRDHOME favorite and will most-likely make the Top 10 list for years to come.
THIRDHOME’s Top 10 Destinations 2018
2018 should be a fresh year of discovery for members. So, we recommend trying something new. Whether it’s ecological exploration, cultural discovery or new outdoor recreation experiences, make 2018 a year to remember.
Now that you’ve seen what fellow club members are booking for 2018, where will you go? Click here to browse through all available properties. Remember, you must be logged in to see availability.
EOY THIRDHOME Booking data 2017: Top 10 Destinations 2018 accounts for 45% of 2018 bookings.
Sorelle Amore, THIRDHOME‘s Best Job On The Planet winner, shows off must-do activities while exploring Ronda and Cadiz, Spain. During her trip she stayed at THIRDHOME property El Nido.
Members, want to visit Spain? Click here to browse THIRDHOME properties in Spain, and get ready to plan your next trip or set watch alerts for the homes you love.
Sorelle Amore, THIRDHOME‘s Best Job On The Planet winner, shows off must-do activities while exploring Gibraltar, including a visit to The Rock of Gibraltar. During her trip she stayed at THIRDHOME property El Nido.
Members, want to visit Spain? Click here to browse THIRDHOME properties in Spain, and get ready to plan your next trip or set watch alerts for the homes you love.
On your next (or first) trip to Spain, you have to put El Nido, a THIRDHOME property, at the top of your list for accommodations. It is a 5 bedroom home with a pool, spacious kitchen and dining entertainment area. There is also a rooftop terrace with direct views of the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance. The sunsets here are absolutely unforgettable!
Who would I recommend Spain to?
Anyone seeking sun, great food, adventure, history and outdoor activities such as hiking.
San Roque, Spain is just minutes from El Nido. It is a high-class area and the boat harbor nearby is a place where you will find evidence of that.
Colorfully designed apartment blocks surround hundreds of stunning, large boats in the harbor.
The cafe scene within this area will also impress, where the patrons are often luxury connoisseurs themselves.
How would I summarize my time in Spain? It’s a place that is exotic enough to satisfy your curiosity and adventure bug, but familiar enough to make you feel comfortable and at home.
It’s a place where you will get acquainted with the sun, incredible food – particularly the Spanish tapas, and you will be greeted by the smiling faces of the locals.
One of my favorite experiences when in Spain was visiting the town of Ronda.
It is a cultural, bustling city, where the streets are lined with shops and cafes. While there, you can see the famous arch bridge, the oldest bullring in Spain and the oldest underground Turkish baths.
Intercept your exploration with stops at cafes to recharge your batteries with some Sangria, where you’ll often find live music to accompany your drink.
Caminito del Rey is also a must-visit. It’s a long walkway up high in the air attached to the side of a canyon. Once a path for workers to get to the water stations nearby, it has now been upgraded and renovated, ready to be enjoyed by those who want to feel a rush.
Dare to cross a narrow bridge with a see through bottom between two canyons high up in the sky? This is the place to do it.
Another recommendation from my visit to Spain is to explore the local villages. A very popular stop for tourists is Setenil de las Bodegas, where the popularity of this area was gained thanks to the town homes all being uniformly painted white with terracotta orange roofs.
From the top lookout, you will be mesmerized by this sight. There is also the overhang cliff where you can sit under the overhang and enjoy some wine and tapas.
Another absolutely must-visit city is Cadiz. The Moroccan influence is very strong in this part of Spain as you can hop on a ferry between the two countries from there. The shoreline is one of the most incredible I have seen. Pastel coloured buildings line the shore and the feature is the grand cathedral, with its large white and gold domes captivating your attention.
This is a great town to enjoy for the day and don’t forget to enjoy delicious local ice cream as you wonder through the city discovering shops and historic spots around every corner.
And finally, do make a day trip out to Gibraltar. Cross the border control and be greeted by a mini replica of Great Britain with a strong Spanish influence.
The homes are all resembling that of Spain, however the food, the currency, the accents, the TV and radio stations are all British.
My favourite stops here included of course the famous rock of Gibraltar and the monkeys at the top and the beautifully lit up St. Michael’s cave within the rock.
I would also recommend a drive to the end of Gibraltar to see the most stunning lighthouse you’ve ever seen. A typically white and red lighthouse like you would expect in a fairytale movie.
I do hope that by sharing in these adventures with me, it’s inspiring you to plan your next holiday with THIRDHOME. The world is a beautiful playground ready to be explored.
During her trip to Spain, Sorelle stayed at El Nido. Click here to view all THIRDHOME properties in Spain.
Sorelle Amore won THIRDHOME‘s “Best Job On The Planet,” which garnered more than 17,000 applications from around the world. In her position as a Luxury Travel Connoisseur for THIRDHOME, she is traveling the world, staying in 12 luxury homes.
THIRDHOME is the exclusive luxury property and travel club that enables second home owners to exchange time in their home for stays in spectacular destinations around the world. Click here for more information on how to become a member.
The kids have been fighting in the back of the car for hours, you’ve already stopped three times, and the humidity is oppressive. You finally check in to your resort, the kids get their bathing suits on, and you run triumphantly to the beach. Next thing you know a gust of wind has blown sand in your eyes and your youngest daughter is crying because the water is still a frigid 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Why can’t the beaches be ready when you are? Well, maybe you’ve been booking the wrong beach vacations.
THESE BEACHES ARE CLIMATE CHAMPIONS YEAR-ROUND: Check out THIRDHOME‘s picks for best beach vacations you can take any time of year
Disclaimer: There’s no one perfect climate for everyone. This list attempts to round up temperatures and climates that remain more consistent throughout the year than other popular destinations for beach vacations.
Climate: Temperature is typically between 68°F to 87°F (20°C-30°C). Rarely below 65°F (18°C) or above 89°F (31°C)
Hawaiian Christmas should definitely be on your bucket-list if it isn’t already. There’s nothing like a tropical escape in the midst of mainland cold. Kailua-Kona is on the western side of Big Island, which is considered the leeward side of the island. The leeward side of any island is the side that’s protected by the island’s elevation. On Big Island, west is leeward and east is windward. This makes Kaiulua-Kona one of the most protected beach sites (from rain and storms) in Hawaii.
Where to stay: Click here to see all properties in the Kailua-Kona area or book a stay at this ocean view Equity Residences home in September.
Climate: Temperature is typically between 45°F to 88°F (7°C-31°C). Rarely below 38°F (3°C) or above 97°F (36°C)
Parts of Southern Spain, such as Costa Del Sol, are notorious for their insufferably hot days in the city. Malaga falls in this category during summer months, but receives welcome gusts of cool wind from the Meditteranean, making the dry heat bearable. The winters in this subtropical-Mediterranean climate are very mild due to the Northern Malaga mountains which block most of the northern cold from reaching the coast. The city has only seen snow once in the 20th century on a February night in 1954. Malaga is touted for being “green” all year round making it a joy to visit any time of year. June, July, and August- the hottest months- usually peak out around 87° Fahrenheit. Many British and German ex-nationals have moved to the area since the 1970’s for the pleasant weather.
Where to stay: Click here to see all properties in the Malaga area.
Climate: Temperature is typically between 43°F to 92°F (6°C-33°C). Rarely below 36°F (2°C) or above 96°F (35°C)
Another subtropical-Mediterranean climate, the island of Cyprus has one of the warmest climates in the Mediterranean Sea. The climate does shift dramatically the more you travel inland, reflected by the snow covered Troodos Mountains, but the coast is a sunny delight. The coast of Cyprus receives 3,200 hours of sunlight per year compared to foggy London’s 1,540 hours per year. So plan your trip to Cyprus today, and play on the sun-drenched beaches of Nissi.
Where to stay: Click here to see all properties in the Cyprus area.
Climate: Temperature is typically between 39°F to 84°F (4°C-29°C). Rarely below 30°F (-1°C) or above 90°F (32°C)
Not quite as sunny as Cyprus, but sunnier than the rest of France, Marseille is the perfect mix of beachside fun and French culture. The coastline is spotted with old fortifications and buildings. If you look out into the Bay of Marseille you can see the Frioul Archipelago, which was made famous in the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Dry summers and mild humid winters paired with the Mediterranean breeze makes Marseille, and the surrounding coastal region, a delightful holiday destination year-round.
Where to stay: Click here to see all properties in the Marseille area or stay in nearby St. Tropez or Nice.
Climate: Temperature is typically between 48°F to 82°F (9°C-28°C). Rarely below 41°F (5°C) or above 86°F (30°C)
Mykonos and the other Cyclades islands of the Aegean all share bright and temperate springs and summers. But many tourists have the misconception that the islands completely shut down in winter. It is true that many of the big resorts and tourist based restaurants are closed in the off-season, but this can work to your advantage. Traveling off-season can help you avoid the tourist traps that would deprive you of a completely immersive island experience. The waters do get cold during the winter months, but the rocky coast is just as beautiful and the views are fabulous. Mykonos itself is too popular to be abandoned during the off-season so most amenities remain open and operational. Several beachside properties in these areas feature hot Jacuzzis as well.
Where to stay: Click here to see all properties in the Mykonos area or stay at Villa Deep Blue in October.
Climate: Temperature is typically between 77°F to 91°F (19°C-31°C). Rarely below 74°F (16°C) or above 93°F (33°C)
Want all of the thrills of the Caribbean without the unpredictable weather? Visit Aruba! Around 20 miles north of the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch island sits right outside the hurricane zone and receives a constant stream of refreshing trade winds from the north. Cactuses thrive in the semi-arid climate though the island is not uncomfortably dry. The predictability in weather has made Aruba a go-to vacation spot for Americans- so much so that three-quarters of Aruba’s gross national product is made up by tourism and tourism related activities. The other ABC Islands (Curaçao, and Bonaire) also have similar climates.
Where to stay: Click here to see all properties in the Aruba area or stay at the Marriott Aruba Surf Club in December.
Explore any of these prime spots for beach vacations on THIRDHOME‘s website, and book today!
“What giants?” Asked Sancho Panza.
“The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, “with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”
“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”
“Obviously,” replied Don Quijote, “you don’t know much about adventures.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Do you know much about adventure? If you do, then you know the Andalusian region of Spain is loaded with it. Filled with architectural marvels, multiculturalism, arts, delicious food and gorgeous coastlines, Southern Spain is an obvious choice for your next European adventure. Journey to the far reaches of the Iberian Peninsula to discover your inner Quijote while staying at some of THIRDHOME‘s beautiful Spanish properties.
LUXURY STAYS IN Southern Spain ARE AVAILABLE NOW! PLAN YOUR TRIP TODAY!
What to do: This city has changed hand many times throughout history. It started as a Roman settlement, was colonized by Moorish armies, and then was the capital of the Caliphate of Cordoba. In the early 13th century, the city returned to Christian rule during the Reconquista, but still retains elements of its Moorish past. This melding of Muslim and Christian architecture and culture is something that will be seen all over Southern Spain, but one of the best examples is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. A model of Moorish architectural excellence, this Cathedral started as an early Christian Visigoth temple, was build out into a Great Mosque in 784 A.D., and was later converted into a cathedral after the Spanish Reconquista. Decorated with columns of onyx, marble and granite this place of worship is a remarkably well-preserved glimpse into Spain’s cultural past. If you’re a fan of history, architecture, and cultural expression Cordoba is a must-visit destination.
Where to stay: Click here to see all nearby Malaga properties (1-hour drive to Cordoba)
What to do: If you want your Southern Spain adventure to include a bit more family-friendly beachside lounging, than Estepona is the destination for you. As the bird flies, this pueblo-style coastal city is only 23 miles Northeast of Gibraltar, near the start of Costa del Sol. The area is surrounded by beaches (be sure to research the dress code) some of which have a clear view of the African coast. These beautiful views can also be enjoyed from one of the region’s many high-end golf courses. Tennis and cycling are also very popular local pastimes. There’s much to do in this coastal town, and it can be a wonderful jumping off point for other Southern Spain excursions.
What to do: Technically not a Southern Spain destination (while still in the Southern region of the Iberian) Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. The small sliver of land even has its own currency, the Gibraltar Pound. It’s been under British control since 1713 and was a strategic location for British naval operations during World War II. One of the destination’s most recognized features is the Rock of Gibraltar, a nearly 1,400-foot tall limestone headland into the Strait of Gibraltar. The Rock has been used as a military outpost since the early Moorish invasions of the early 700’s but is now primarily known for its history and fauna. Visitors are sure to encounter the playful and mischievous Barbary Macaques Monkeys that dwell on the rock-a long held staple of Gibraltar tourism. It’s rumored that Winston Churchill ordered the repopulation of the monkeys citing the belief that as long as monkeys live on Gibraltar, it will live under British control. They now roam freely and protected on the Rock of Gibraltar, following snack-toting tourists as they climb to view the distant African coast.
What to do: It’s a little overwhelming standing in a room that has had such a major impact on the history of the world. In Granada, you can visit the Castle of the Alhambra and the throne room of King Ferdinand and Isabela, where Columbus requested royal sponsorship for his fast route to India. It was also one of the last strongholds of the Moors during their reign over the Iberian Peninsula. The castle is in remarkable shape and is still available for tours. Aside from the world-turning historical events that took place in Granada, the city is also well equipped with flamenco dancing, street art and delicious tapas. Granada is an essential stop on any Costa del Sol trip.
Jerez de la Frontera
What to do: If you’re anything of an oenophile, especially with an interest in fortified wines, Jerez is the city for you. Considered the world capital of sherry, Jerez has been making wine since 1100 B.C. Since then Jerez Sherry has gone worldwide. In Jerez, you can visit Sherry bodegas such as Gonzales Byass, and vineyard for some hands on viticulture research. In the same visit, you’ll also discover the origin city of flamenco singing. Although many southern cities claim flamenco heritage, Jerez’s flamenco tradition dates back to the 18th century, and even includes a special form of horse flamenco. Grand Prix motorcycle racing also takes place in early May on El Circuito de Jerez. There’s no shortage of cultural exploration to be had in this city of early innovation.
Where to stay: Click here to see a nearby property in Ronda (1.5 hours to Jerez).
What to do: Lovers of art history will quickly recognize this city’s name. Malaga was the hometown of famed artist, Pablo Picasso, and is still home to a museum named for him. Dating much further back than the works of Picasso is the Alcazaba de Malaga, a giant seafront fortification. This fortress was constructed by Moorish invaders, but some of its materials, including remnants of an amphitheater, date back to the Romans. The city of Malaga was founded as far back as 770 B.C by Phoenician traders from Tyre (southern Lebanon) making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Since its early beginnings, Malaga has grown into a thriving cosmopolitan coastal city with plenty of modern amenities to complement its historic appeal. Visit Playa de Burriana for some beachside fun and dine on some of Malaga’s most delicious paella at Restaurante Maria. Dive into the past and relax in the present in the city of Malaga.
Where to stay: Click here to see all Malaga properties.
What to do: A part of the Province of Malaga, Marbella covers 45 square miles of coast and Sierra Blanca foothills. Post World War II, the small city became a tourist destination for the ultra wealthy as many aristocrats and nobility descended on real estate in the area. Marbella’s Golden Mile, a stretch of luxury housing, is the embodiment of this pattern of postwar spending. Besides the luxurious properties, Marbella hosts 24 separate beaches across 17 miles of coastline. These elements of foreign investment, beachside property and beautiful views has created a vibrant cultural scene in Marbella. Each year the city hosts the Marbella International Opera Festival, the Marbella Reggae Festival, and the Marvella International Film Festival. Attracting residents such as Sean Connery, George Clooney, and Antonio Banderas Marbella has become a kind of Beverly Hills to Spain.
What to do: German poet Rainer Rilke once remarked, “Nothing is more startling in Spain than this wild and mountainous city.” Other famed artists certainly must have agreed. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles summered often in Ronda, the former basing a scene in For Whom the Bell Tolls on an event that took place there during the Spanish Civil War. Welles had such affection for the destination that he requested that his ashes be buried at the nearby property of a retired bullfighter. But what was it about Ronda that these prolific writers loved? For one, the bullfighting-Ronda is the home of the oldest bullring in Spain, having been built in 1784. The city also has remarkable geography. Perched atop a mountain overlooking El Tajo Canyon, Ronda is a naturally divided city, with sections only accessible by steep stone bridges. Walk in the footsteps of Hemingway and discover the historic treasures of Ronda while staying with THIRDHOME. You can also read more about THIRDHOME CEO, Wade Shealy’s motorcycle journey to Ronda and through Southern Spain here.
Where to stay: Click here to view this chic Andalusian property in Ronda.
What to do: What trip to Southern Spain, or the entirety of Spain for that matter, would be complete without a trip to Seville? Baking under the hot Andalusian sun is a city of romance and bullfighting machoism. The romance of the city is almost palpable, immortalized flamenco tales such as Carmen. Castañetas can be heard clapping around the densely packed corridors as guitarists strum, dancers tap and tourists evade the ever looming sun. Many find shade in the enormous Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic Church in the world, and also where Christopher Columbus is rumored to be buried. The nearby Alcázar of Seville is a monument to Mudéjar architecture and has been featured in productions such as Game of Thrones, Lawrence of Arabia, and Kingdom of Heaven. Discover Spain’s artistry at Sevilla’s Museum of Fine Art, which features work by Velázquez, El Greco, and Francisco de Herrera. Seville’s abundance of cultural and historic exploration could take up an entire trip, and the city serves as a microcosm of the greater Andalusian region. But don’t limit yourself to just one or two cities during your Southern Spain trip. Utilize the efficient network of trains that connect each city to the next. Discover all that Southern Spain has to offer with THIRDHOME today!
Where to stay: Click here to see these Malaga properties (less than 2-hours to Sevilla by train).
Before your first visit to Andalusia, you may think that it’s just like the rest of Spain. But you’ll soon discover that Southern Spain keeps treasures all its own, from its colorful traditions to its astounding architecture. Discover what Southern Spain has to offer with THIRDHOME.
Linda & John Ridgeon are avid THIRDHOME travelers and have been members since 2011. The Ridgeons have managed to visit 17 properties within 6 years, by way of their two properties in Southern Spain. Formerly in the music education business, the Ridgeons are now retired and spend their time sailing, practicing photography and exploring the world. Read below to find out what makes Linda & John Ridgeon such exemplary THIRDHOME members.
How did you get involved with THIRDHOME?
We joined THIRDHOME in 2011 after researching companies which would allow us to do home exchanges with our second home in Spain. We loved the flexible arrangement of the Keys which THIRDHOME offers (rather than relying on direct exchanges) as well as the exceptional quality of homes in the portfolio. We have visited 17 properties in 6 years and have genuinely loved every one. We have another 4 trips already booked! We have greatly appreciated the changes that THIRDHOME has introduced over the years, particularly the seasonal Key values and the huge increase of properties in Europe.
Where are you based?
We live in the UK in (the original) Rochester which is in Kent, 25 miles east of London. However, we spend around 4 months of the year (in month blocks) in our beloved second home in Andalusia, Southern Spain.
Who do you usually travel with?
We normally travel as a couple. Our adult children are in their 20’s (no grandchildren as yet!) and have limited time for holidays at the moment. One or more of them have joined us for a few trips and we sometimes travel with another couple who are close friends and also live in Rochester.
What do you do for a living?
We retired in 2011 having sold our music training business, Access to Music, the day after John’s 65th birthday. We had 10 centres around England (plus partnerships with 10 colleges) and provided government-funded training in contemporary music for young people and adults. Many of our students have gone on to achieve success in the music industry, the most notable being Ed Sheeran, who is now a Patron of the Company.
What are your favorite travel hobbies?
There is very little that we don’t enjoy doing and we welcome the variety that we have experienced through our THIRDHOME vacations. We love being on or near the water (we were previous boat owners), walking or driving through the mountains and visiting historic cities, spending time in museums and galleries and going to concerts.
In your past travels with THIRDHOME, what was your favorite destination and what did you love about it?
It is almost impossible to single out one favourite destination but our week in Guadeloupe on the TradeWinds flagship catamaran, New Beginnings, is right up there. We loved it so much we became TradeWinds members and have just completed our fourth voyage with them in Greece. We have really appreciated the continued increase in European properties as living in the UK these are more accessible to us and we have been pleasantly surprised at how many opportunities there have been to visit European cities through THIRDHOME. So far we have visited Paris, Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Lisbon (from Estoril) and in December we are going to Prague. We have even visited London on three separate occasions! Even though we live less than an hour away, the opportunity to spend a week living right in the heart of the capital within walking distance of all that the city has to offer cannot be beat. Plus, our children all live in or close to London so we have had opportunities to come together as a family in the most amazing homes.
What’s the next destination you are eyeing to travel to with THIRDHOME?
We already have trips planned to Brighton, England (later this month), Prague (December) and Antigua (February) – to tie in with another TradeWinds cruise. We are hoping to find somewhere in Florida or the Bahamas for November/December 2018 to tie in with a TradeWinds cruise in the Abacos.
What do you love most about your property with THIRDHOME?
We actually have two properties with THIRDHOME. Our 5-bedroom villa in Andalusia is 30 minutes from Malaga airport and a great base for a beach holiday with family or an opportunity to visit some of the wonderful historic Spanish cities such as Malaga, Granada, Ronda and even Seville. The house is relatively new (2010) but has been designed and furnished in a traditional Andalucian style with lots of Moroccan features and an internal patio with a wonderful marble fountain to cool the house in summer. It is well equipped for large families with plenty to do: a large salt-water heated pool, cinema room, gym, sauna, table tennis, pool table and community tennis courts. We are very proud of our many 5-star ratings. Our second property is a house which forms part of the highly rated La Villa Marbella boutique hotel in the heart of the old town in Marbella. We have two, two-bedroom suites both sleeping 4 with availability from November-March (excluding Christmas and Easter weeks).
How has THIRDHOME changed the way you travel?
We tend to avoid staying in hotels now whenever possible and we often plan where want to go according to what is available on THIRDHOME! We are very flexible now that we are retired and prefer to travel out of high-season when possible. Because we rent our properties out, they are professionally managed and equipped for visitors and we have found that the same applies to the properties we have visited. This is so much safer than a traditional home swap where there is no way of knowing how well-organized and equipped the property you are visiting might be.
What is the nicest amenity you have encountered while staying at a THIRDHOME property?
We once stayed at a beautiful, architect-designed, riverfront property in Fowey, Cornwall (the village where my grandparents lived and where I spent many childhood holidays). The house was right on the river and had its own mooring and boat which we were permitted to use.
How would you describe THIRDHOME to a friend?
THIRDHOME is a unique and affordable concept which allows you to deposit down time in your own second home in exchange for keys which you can use flexibly to stay in other high-quality properties around the world at a time to suit you.
What’s the most memorable restaurant you’ve eaten at during one of your trips?
Not a restaurant (there have been so many), but our most memorable meal was when we stayed at Brunello Villa in Italy (our first THIRDHOME trip). The owner, Lucia, gave us a cookery lesson using produce from the estate and we ate the meal we prepared in her beautiful garden with her and her sommelier daughter, Alina, who selected a wonderful local wine to accompany it.
Any travel tips for fellow members?
Be flexible and have an open mind about where THIRDHOME can take you.
Check out some of the Ridgeon’s beautiful photography below.
What are THIRDHOME members saying about their luxury home exchange trips (to Spain and Hawaii) this week?
This designer villa offers a supreme location. PGA Catalunya is ranked the number one golf course in Spain. You can play golf at the property, take a 20 minute drive to the beaches at Costa Brava or explore Barcelona, which is only an hour away. This villa has a private swimming pool, 4 bedrooms, an electric golf cart, gourmet kitchen and more!
THIRDHOME member Marilyn says: “We had a wonderful stay at a villa at PGA Catalunya – two beautiful golf courses! Also a wonderful hotel with spa located on the property.” click here to read more of Marilyn’s review
Blue Sky is a spacious 5-bedroom home located on oceanfront property. This house has an open-air concept where many of the exterior walls are retractable windows, which ensures you can enjoy the wonderful ocean breeze. All of the living room and dining room furniture matches the guest capacity of the home, so if you bring a large group, everyone can enjoy time together.
THIRDHOME member Steve says: “The huge fully opening walls, triple water complex and proximity to the ocean are mesmerizing.” click here to read more of Steve’s review
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