Written by Richard Way,
Last Modified: 30th December 2022

For most of us, the main appeal of a second home is being able to spend hot summers chilling by a pool or on the beach. But trips to your holiday home out of season should be just as fun, not to mention useful! Spanish property-owner Richard Way shares reasons why his home in the Costa Brava merits as much attention in the quieter months…

This gorgeous six-bedroom Costa Brava home could be yours

Rub shoulders with the locals

Winter trips to my corner of the Costa Brava have a very different feel to summer holidays there. From late June till early September, the local prom, the beaches and the pretty old town swarm night and day with a mix of European and Spanish holidaymakers. But once the Continental holiday season is over, a mass exodus occurs. The locals breathe a sigh of relief, hang up their over-worked paella pans and most of them shut up shop until next spring (some open for the Easter break). While the effect of seasonality happens to varying degrees up and down the Costas, it is very pronounced in the northern Costa Brava due to the longer, cooler winters.

Without the tourists, those local amenities that stay open throughout the year have an authentic relaxed vibe. People tend to be less stressed and friendlier than during the crazy summer season, when their home patch is over-run with holidaymakers. Not forgetting, there is much less traffic and no queues to have to deal with. For me, this variety and change in pace is something to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Richard’s old gate was begging for a revamp

The maintenance mini-break!

Low season is the obvious time to crack on with those odd jobs that accumulate over time, both inside and out. It’s also the time to give the garden a good once-over. You should have plenty of time to get everything tickety-boo in time for the following holiday season. This is especially important is you rent out your property and want to max out bookings in the most lucrative months of high season.

Even if it’s not you doing the work, the quieter months are ideal for heading out to your property for a mini-break and organising someone else to do it! During a brief trip to my place in September, I found and appointed a local builder to replace my ancient front gates, which had rusted away and in places were held together by wire! I have also asked ‘Marco’ to give my

wooden shutters a coat of varnish, preserving them for another year or two. His latest WhatsApp was asking me to choose a colour for the gates – I went for a shade of green (like the colour of the sea at the local beach, I told him!). I’m planning a brief trip back over before Christmas or early in the new year, to settle up, check the place over and enjoy some local gastronomy…

Now, that’s better Richard!

Keep on top of admin

Are you up to date with all your local taxes and bills? Perhaps you need to visit your local bank branch? Have you got any post waiting for you at your property? These sorts of things are can be taken care of during quieter periods and certainly warrant a mini-break. In Spain, non-resident property-owners must submit an annual tax form called the Modelo 210, even if you do not earn income from rentals. This must be submitted to the Spanish Tax Authority (Agencia Tributaria) by 31st December each year. You don’t need to be in Spain to do it, but it needs to be on your radar. Or for a small fee, you can pay a property agent to do it for you and they will usually contact you in October/November.

Use off-season time to visit nearby sites, like Girona, Catalonia (picture above)

Explore new places

Out of season trips provide the perfect opportunity to explore new places and do fun activities outside of your resort. These are things you wouldn’t dream of doing in the summer when it’s too hot to go traipsing around and your priority is to be horizontal on the beach or terrace. Research the local area and find a festival or event somewhere, or head into a historic town that’s always intrigued you. Foodies should never get bored, picking new restaurants to try.

The sorts of things we’ve enjoy as a family include lots of walking, cycle trips along the local ‘Vies Verdes’ – a network of scenic cycle trails. We’ve also trekked up a local hill with tremendous views and a fort on top, trips to local towns like Figueres, home to the mind-boggling Salvador Dalí museum. There’s also historic Girona, with its beautiful old town. One Christmastime we drove a couple of hours up into the Pyrenees, where we found snow!

Pyrenean town Richard stumbled upon one Christmas

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