With pretty-as-a-picture panoramas, gorgeous beaches, a mountain, lively social life and a fabulous range of properties to suit most budgets, it’s no wonder Jávea and surrounding towns on the Costa Blanca North is a popular choice for people moving to Spain. We spoke to Michelle Hughes, owner of VíllaMía, a real estate agency in Jávea. Michelle moved to the area with her son in 2008. With a beach-front office, the agency covers long-term rentals, winter lets, sales and property management. Michelle and her team can also organise international removals, car hire, buying a car in Spain and selecting the best insurance, so your relocation goes smoothly.
I took a risk and gave up my career as Head of Communications for a company in South Wales and moved to Jávea with my 8-year-old son. It was difficult at first and I think everyone should give it at least one year to settle into a new country. A few years later I had the opportunity to buy VíllaMía, an established estate agency which only really dealt with long term rentals at the time. It was the best decision I have made and I have grown the business so we now have a sales department and I can oversee everything rather than do the day to day administration. I have made my life here and have a built a great team to work with and a fantastic circle of close friends. I get to enjoy what the area offers with lots of weekend breaks, walking, painting classes, yoga and more. I own a villa and in the process of getting some investments apartments. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Michelle, Owner VíllaMía
Located in the heart of the Valencian Community, Jávea and the surrounding areas have something to appeal to everyone, from larger coastal towns with lovely beaches to small traditional Spanish inland villages.
Whether you want a beachfront property or a home with views overlooking the Mediterranean, Montgó mountain or superb golf courses, all set amidst a spectacular rugged scenery of hills and valleys, you’ll find it here.
Jávea benefits from a superb all-year-round climate with around 320 days of sunshine. Indeed Jávea and Costa Blanca are considered to be among the healthiest places to live, according to the World Health Organisation. Jávea’s coastline is stunning, add a golf course, excellent restaurants and an incredible quality of life, and Jávea ticks the ‘Yes’ box for many expats looking for a new life in a top location on the Costa Blanca.
Located at the southern base of the spectacular Montgó Mountain, Jávea is midway between the cities of Alicante and Valencia. It takes just over an hour to drive north to Valencia airport or south to Alicante airport along the fast AP7 motorway.
About 27,000 people live in Jávea, of whom around half are Spanish and the other half are foreign nationals.
A large number of Brits live in Jávea – about 29% of the population – and you’ll find many expat groups including dramatic arts, rugby club, bowling green and Overseas supermarkets stocking Iceland and Waitrose products.
Children in Spain generally go to school from the age of three (although compulsory education is from 6 years old) until they are 16. There are 3 types of schools:
The school hours vary. Some schools run from 9 am to 5 pm with a long lunch break. Others run from 8 am or 9 am until 2 pm. Students can leave school at 16 or stay on for another two years to study the Spanish Bachillerato. Once they pass the Bachillerato, they can sit the university entrance exam or opt for vocational training.
Many expats send their children to the State schools, including colegios concertados, because they integrate better and become fluent in Castellano and also Valenciano here on the Costa Blanca.
On the Costa Blanca, there is also a wide range of international schools, such as The Lady Elizabeth School in Cumbre del Sol, and Xabia International College in Jávea. Students, aged two to 18, can follow the British and/or Spanish curriculum although you will be paying fees every term.
You can get by with little or no Spanish but it is important to try. There are various private and group classes available. If you join a group class, you will get to meet new people and, once you have some understanding, it will make everyday life easier when shopping, banking, asking for directions, etc. Also, it is worth contacting the Town Hall for information on subsidised lessons.
Some people find it easier than others but trying is what counts and apps such as Duolingo are something everyone can do from home in their spare time. Once you know the language you can interact with the Spanish and a good starting place is Spanish bars.
Children will learn Spanish super quickly when they start school. Most become fluent in months but they will feel less tongue-tied if they can hold a basic conversation before they start school. There are online apps for teaching Spanish to children such as Spanish School Bus, Gus On The Go and DuoLingo for Kids as well as face-to-face lessons. They can also watch their favourite movies or cartoons in Spanish. Watch the movies over and over again in Spanish with English subtitles to begin. They’ll soon pick up the vocabulary because they already know the storyline in English.
“Rent before you buy” is the advice you’ll get from many people when you’re moving to Spain. Renting is your flexible friend. As a tenant, you can switch homes, neighbourhoods, and towns every time your lease expires.
It makes sense. If you are unsure of where you want to live in, you can rent in different areas before finding the perfect home for you. Even if you have chosen your ideal place, renting gives you a chance to check out different neighbourhoods.
Even if you have decided to move to Costa Blanca, each resort has its own distinct character. VillaMia covers Jávea, Benissa Coast, Benitachell, Cumbre del Sol, Dénia, Jesús Pobre and Moraira so contact us to discover how different they are.
Invite neighbours and families from school to a housewarming party. You could keep it simple by having a barbecue or paella party. Get the kids to play games in the pool or play other games so they have to talk to one another.
If they’re young, take them to the nearest playground to play on the swings or slides. Introduce them to other children there and encourage them to play together. Often you will see the same people there, so it’s easy to build up friendships. Living on the Costa Blanca means you enjoy 320 days of sunshine – plenty of opportunities to play outside and integrate.
Whether they’re into sports, drama, arts or science, children will find clubs to join and meet like-minded people of all nationalities.
For instance, Studio 23 is a performing arts school and dance studio based in the Lady Elizabeth School in Cumbre del Sol. In Star Studios, in Jávea, there are dance classes and a stage school for budding performers. Sports-mad children can join FC Amigos Inter De Jávea International football club, Xabia Aguiles Rugby teams or Academia Tenis Ferrer run by Javea’s very own superstar tennis player David Ferrer.
Most other towns will have football, tennis and basketball clubs for children to join. For instance, in Dénia there are also rugby, basketball and football clubs as well as the Diverbot computer training school.
You can read more about Living in Javea
For more in-depth information about making Javea your next home, visit our MumAbroad Ultimate Guide to Moving to Spain.