Exploring Antequera: 5 must-see sites

Alcazaba

Antequera lies right at the heart of the stunning region of Andalucia, yet this ancient city sits quietly off the tourist track. One of the advantages of holiday homes at the Saydo Park resort is the ease with which you can explore everything this fascinating region has to offer.

Known as the Florence of Andalusia, there’s been a settlement here since the Bronze Age. Now the city is famed for the opulence of its Spanish Baroque style architecture and it’s an amazing place to explore from the comfort of the mobile homes and caravans located at Saydo Park. Why not go exploring to discover the best Antequera has to offer?

The municipal museum in Antequera
It’s estimated that 65% of the artistic treasures of the region can be found in Antequera. The municipal museum is an incredible timeline of the city’s evolution from as far back as the first century AD. Everything about this exceptional museum is highly instagrammable, from the ornate building itself with its beautiful courtyard to its most famous exhibit.

The Efebo de Antequera – depicting a young Greek man – was discovered by a farmer in the 1950s. It’s the greatest example of Roman sculpture found in the whole of Spain and the museum is worth a visit just to see the Efebo alone.

Real Colegiata de Santa Maria
Antequera is home to an astonishing 30 churches, but if you can only visit one, make it the Real Colegiata de Santa Maria. The impressive facade is a Renaissance jewel and the interior has an almost Italianate feel, thanks to the beautifully beamed ceiling, elegant columns and huge windows. Nowadays, Santa Maria plays host to a wide range of cultural events, including classical music and exhibitions.

The Alcazaba
This Moorish palace overlooks the town and is approached through the hugely impressive archway known as the Arch of the Giants. Once the home of the Moorish Emirs, the fortress has a fascinating history and offers breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside towards Peñon de los Enamorados or Lovers’ Rock, that resembles a human face turned towards the sky.

The Dolmens of Antequera
Just a stone’s throw from the caravans at Saydo Park lie the famous Bronze Age megaliths. Considered to be the finest in Europe, they became a Unesco World Heritage site in 2016.

An astonishing feat of engineering, the Spanish Stonehenge consists of dozens of stone slabs that were transported from the nearby mountains. The oldest of the three burial chambers marked by the dolmen dates from 2500 BC and a visit to the site, especially at Midsummer, is unforgettable.

El Torcal National Park
Finally, for nature lovers, a trip to the El Torcal national park is an unmissable treat. Not only are the flora and fauna exceptional – there are 30 different species of orchid alone – but there are some extraordinary panoramic views of Malaga and the African coast.

But El Torcal is world famous for its limestone rock formations that resemble towers made from stacks of stones. Carved by the sea over 100 million years ago, the entire area was thrust skywards to a height of some 1,300 metres above sea level. It’s this unique geology that has created the fabulous landscape – we promise you’ll never have seen anything like it!

How to create the perfect porch on your mobile home

decking

Installing a porch for your mobile home is a great way to extend your living space. Creating outside room for the summer months makes a beautiful entertaining or relaxing space and can add value to your home.

Once you get the go-ahead to construct your porch, you need to start making some clear design decisions. Pinterest is a great place to start searching for inspiration – you don’t need to be an architect to plan a deck, but you do need to know what you want!

Open to the elements?

The first thing to decide is whether you want to keep your deck open to the elements or whether you want to go one step further and add a roof or even some lightweight glazing.

Adding a roof has several advantages, especially if your mobile home is in a country with a sunny climate. It’s an instant way to add shade and can provide a sheltered place to take your boots off in miserable weather. You could even go all the way and glaze the sides to create a conservatory look and feel. But beware, this type of structure can get extremely hot when the sun beats down.

If you love the idea of a roof but don’t want to create a permanent structure, consider a contemporary pergola or an awning that can be packed away during the winter.

Safety first

Whether you have small children charging around or you’re an older couple, there are a few safety considerations you’ll need to take into account. Because your porch will be raised to the level of your front door, you’ll need access either from steps or a ramp – your mobility needs or those of friends and family will dictate the decision you make.

Next, you’ll need sturdy grab rails supported by equally sturdy posts. With children and animals, you might consider adding a knee-high wall or cross rails and putting a gate at the top of any access points. Whether you choose paving or decking, use a material that is non-slip in the wet, particularly if you aren’t adding a roof.

Budget for materials
Your porch will need to be built on a solid concrete foundation, at least 12 inches thick. This is especially true if you’re adding a roof. Hardwood decking is more expensive than softwood like pine, but it’s much more durable. Wood has a unique beauty, but more and more people are opting for low maintenance, long lasting composite decks – however, these are the most expensive option.

Always budget for the best quality you can afford, and don’t forget to add in the cost of fixings and treatments to keep your deck looking its best.

The finishing touches

This is where you can really personalise your deck and give it character. Consider extending a roof so you create a carport or building your deck so that you can create storage below your porch. Even if you don’t opt for a roof, consider screening each end for privacy and think about built-in features like a barbecue or fire pit.

Plan for low energy LED or solar powered lighting, so you can lounge on the deck during those long warm evenings, then add loungers, sofas or a dining table to complete the look.

Ideas for landscaping around your mobile home

If you want to give your mobile home a unique look and feel, nothing beats landscaping. Unlike a brick and mortar home, you’re likely to have a smaller plot. Don’t let that stifle your creativity, but remember that you need planting and landscaping ideas that are minimal maintenance for a maximum wow.

Before you start
– Consider the climate: is your planting suitable for the environment and will it be easy to look after?
– Check the rules: are certain plants prohibited on your park or are there watering or other restrictions?
– Do you want to host parties or have somewhere for the kids to play? Be clear on your purpose and the design will follow.

Fake it
You might love the look of a real lawn, but they’re super high maintenance. Artificial grass has come on in leaps and bounds and is now so realistic, you’ll have to get up close to tell the difference. Buy the best quality you can afford and make sure you install it properly, then wave goodbye to the lawnmower.

Establish your boundaries
Landscaping the perimeter of your plot is a smart way to create a cohesive look. You could use a wood or metal trellis with low maintenance climbers like ivy or honeysuckle to create a quick and scented privacy screen. Or simply lay a ribbon of gravel and larger rocks to create a very zen-like and contemporary look. A pergola will give you somewhere shady to sit, as well as a place to show off a gorgeous wisteria or even a grapevine.

Add a water feature
Something as simple as a solar powered fountain can add peace and tranquility to your mobile home garden. Keep it even simpler with a birdbath and hang squirrel-proof bird feeders nearby for some natural charm. The trickle of water in a fountain is also a great way to mask sounds from the rest of the park or a nearby road.

Raise the level
Raised beds or containers are a brilliant choice for your deck and the rest of your plot. Ask your neighbours what grows well in the climate and seek out some beautiful locally-crafted pots to add colour and interest. Keep to a theme for a pulled together look – stick to all terracotta or all square pots, for example. A pair of pots either side of the front door always looks smart – and you can fake it again with UV resistant artificial boxwood trees.

Keep it in scale
Don’t dwarf your mobile home with oversized features or trees. Dwarf weeping varieties look beautiful, while shrubs are easy to keep trimmed back and can be used to attract birds and butterflies into the garden. When planting, keep the larger plots and plants closest to your mobile home for a layered look.

Beg or borrow
Landscaping your mobile home doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Look out for pottery sales and bargain plants that just need a little TLC to revive them. If you spot a beautiful plant on another plot, don’t be afraid to ask for a cutting or a handful of seeds – it’s a great way to meet the neighbours!

Reasons to choose a mobile home.

CITS Homes

Do you dream of living abroad? Or are you looking for a flexible holiday home? If you’re aware of the tiny home phenomenon, you’ll know how popular an option they’re fast becoming. While a mobile home might not suit everybody, they can be a great choice whether you’re downsizing on retirement or you just love the freedom of living differently.

Low cost, not low quality
The number one reason for most people to choose a mobile home is its affordability. You can get a great deal more for your money than you can in bricks and mortar and, if you choose your location wisely, you’re also buying into a community and lifestyle packed with things to do. While mobile homes might once have had a poor reputation for quality, modern homes are built to the highest standards for energy efficiency, using the latest techniques and materials. You’ll find that you get far more of the quality features you love at a price you can afford when you opt for a high-quality mobile home.

A space of your own
Fed up with noisy neighbours? Dreaming of your own independent home? Then a mobile home will fit the bill. There are no shared walls, giving you peace and quiet, and you won’t have to compromise on the perks of home ownership. When you own your own mobile home, you can paint your interiors whatever colours you like and your pets are welcome.

Downsize to luxury
Do you dream of a kitchen fit for a chef or a deluxe bathroom with walk-in shower? You may not be able to afford such luxury in a standard house, but when you downsize, you’ll have the budget to create the finishes and decor you’ve always dreamed of because of the more compact space. That wooden floor you love, and that granite worktop, become affordable dreams in your mobile home.

Make it work for you
If you’re investing in your mobile home with an eye on future retirement, make it work for you now by renting and building a nice nest egg for the future. Choose a home on a picturesque park near plenty of tourist attractions and you’ll have no problem letting it out throughout the season, often at premium rates depending on the facilities and amenities available at the park itself. Though mobile homes generate a lower rental income than cottages, for example, that affordability can work in your favour, as you’ll guarantee greater occupancy and that’s a definite win-win!

Try before you commit
If you’ve always wanted to live abroad, but don’t know whether you’re 100% ready to commit to a new lifestyle, why not try it out with a mobile home? After all, if you decide it’s not the right choice for you to make a permanent move, you’ll still have a flexible, affordable and low maintenance holiday home. You can enjoy the weather, culture and lifestyle with like-minded people in your community and pick up useful local knowledge that will make a permanent move a breeze.

Top tips for decorating a small kitchen

CITS Kitchens

Whatever the size of your kitchen, you don’t have to sacrifice style for functionality. In fact, a small kitchen is often more space efficient than a larger one, with everything within handy reach. Start by decluttering and organising your drawers and cupboards then try these simple design tricks to make the most of your space.

Play with colour
Try painting the walls and the cabinets the same colour to trick the eye into erasing any physical boundaries, so the room looks bigger. The safe choice is a neutral palette of creams and off-whites, which will reflect the light – but don’t be afraid to go darker.

Navy is very on-trend and charcoal grey has a timeless elegance that’s hard to beat. Both will actually create the impression they’re receding – add a mirrored splashback and LED lights underfloor and wall cabinets for instant glamour.

Keep it sleek
Do away with any fussy ornamentation and keep your design sleek and minimal. Recess storage if possible and bleed into a larger room to borrow light and space. Sleek, clean lines give a greater impression of space, while irregular nooks make a great place for dining – using built-in storage benches for seating is a smart use of space.

Try under mounting your sink, or invest in a worktop that incorporates the sink for a streamlined look. An induction hob sits virtually flush with the worktop to give an uninterrupted visual flow, but if you prefer gas, invest in a hob cover to maximise your worktop space.

Open up
With a little imagination, anywhere in your kitchen can be used for storage. Ends of cupboards? Add heavy duty hooks and hang your pans. Wall space above a countertop? Open shelving looks smart, modern and is very practical. A hanging rack on the ceiling or behind your hob can accommodate kitchen implements and favourite pans.

Create a cart
Just because you don’t have space for a kitchen island, doesn’t mean you can’t invest in a kitchen cart on casters. Storage, worktop and even a breakfast bar in one, a kitchen cart can be easily created from an old kitchen cabinet or boot sale find. It’s worth its weight in gold and will wheel out of the way when you’re finished in the kitchen.

Keep it in proportion
It’s actually easy to repurpose a windowsill or the edge of a worktop as a breakfast bar by adding a narrow board and slimline stools. The key to getting the look right is to keep everything in proportion from narrow tables to streamlined chairs. Keep furniture light so it doesn’t clutter the space and you’ll create the look you want without sacrificing style.

Use glass
Keep window treatments to the bare minimum to allow natural light to flood the space. Replace light fittings with energy efficient LEDs and use them inside drawers and under cupboards. You could even add a dramatic element like a chandelier for visual interest. Think about replacing the solid doors of your wall cupboards with glazed ones to give that light and airy look and feel that makes even the most compact kitchens feel spacious.

Vive la caravane! Key benefits of mobile home ownership in France

View Of Sited Mobile Homes

Do you want to focus on your lifestyle and not home maintenance? Or become part of a lively community and live each day to the full? Then why not consider buying a mobile home? This inexpensive way of getting a toehold in France allows you to experience the lifestyle and enjoy your time abroad, without the commitments of a holiday cottage.

La Belle France
Whereas with bricks and mortar holiday home, your budget may limit you to certain areas, with a budget of just £30,000, you can afford a getaway on the Cote d’Azur. The advantage of the southern regions is that your chosen park is likely to stay open all year round, but do consider other factors like park facilities and transport links before you shortlist. You may prefer to be closer to the Channel ports in Brittany, so you can get away most weekends.

A bespoke Pied à Terre
Who wants to spend their precious holiday time labouring to get their holiday home in shape? One of the great benefits of buying a mobile home is the level of customisation that’s possible. Buy from new and you’ll soon find yourself unable to choose between all the great options.

If you intend to use your mobile home year round, then double glazing is something to look out for. If your mobile home is going to be used by a family, then make sure you have your own washing machine. But try not to get bogged down in the specifications, as you’ll spend most of your time outside enjoying the park pool or visiting the tourist attractions, markets and historic buildings in the area.

A lively social life
For many of us, taking the plunge to buy property in another country can seem intimidating, thanks to the language barrier. A park home can be a great way to enjoy a full social life and create strong friendships while allowing you to experience the French lifestyle in nearby towns and markets.

The flexibility of the low maintenance lifestyle means you’ll have plenty of time to fully explore the surrounding region, rather than spending your time in DIY stores.

Easy to budget
If you buy from a British company, you’ll enjoy another benefit of mobile home ownership – the ability to pay for your lodge and your ground rent in sterling rather than Euros. That means you won’t have to follow the currency markets but can deal in a familiar currency, giving you full control over your budget.

Many parks will also rent mobile homes on the owner’s behalf, to offset your running costs, or you can organise rentals with family and friends. The important thing to remember is that you’ll pay no French taxes and you don’t have to pay the high fees involved in bricks and mortar transaction, so there are no nasty surprises.

Safe and secure
There’s always a worry when you lock the door of your holiday home. With a mobile home, you’ll have complete peace of mind, knowing that your home is being well looked after by the park management. Better yet, the next time you manage a break, you know your home will still be immaculate – ready for you to pour a glass of wine and relax!