The Costa del Sol, translated literally to the Coast of the Sun, is one of the world's most renowned holiday destinations. Located in the south of Spain, the Costa del Sol lies inside the region of Andalucia and incorporates the province of Malaga, which includes the eponymous city of Malaga and a dozen seaside resorts, including the popular Benalmadena, Torremolinos and Puerto Banus.
With a perfect balance of sandy beaches, glitzy resorts and luxury all inclusive hotels, the Costa del Sol makes an excellent year-round holiday destination thanks to its impressive 325 days of sunshine a year. Although, if you're looking for a super hot holiday, the Costa del Sol is a top pick for a August holiday. The Brits have a special relationship with the Costa del Sol - over 300,000 expats call the region home, and thanks to the cheap flights and deals on Costa del Sol hotels, it doesn't take much for you to find out why we think its one of our favourite cheaper holiday destinations.
Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol
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There are a lot of resorts in the Costa del Sol. We're going to have keep it short and snappy to fit them all in. Here goes.
First on the list in Benalmadena. Home to the Tivoli World Theme Park, the fancy Puerto Marina and over 6 miles of beaches to choose from, plus just a short journey from Malaga airport, it's really no surprise that Benalmadena is such a popular spot. Benalmadena is the best pick for a family holiday.
Next is Torremolinos, which lies just west of the city of Malaga and north of Benalmadena. Known for the sandy beaches El Bajondillo and La Carihuela, Torremolinos has grown into an attractive, clean and family-friendly resort with plenty of hotels, restaurants and beachfront chiringuitos still serving fresh fish from the days of its sleepy fishing village past.
Puerto Banus is the most glamorous spot on the whole Costa del Sol, home to Marbella's millionaires, casinos and mega-yachts. Think cocktails, designer shops and champagne parties on the beach and you'll be close to the level of luxury on show in Puerto Banus. It's easy to get caught up, but for a taste of the more traditional, head to Mistral Beach.
You'll start to notice a trend with Fuengirola. Another stunning stretch of beaches, 5 miles in total, stretches along the front of this buzzing, cosmopolitan resort north of Marbella and south of Torremolinos. Fuengirola has more of a Mediterannean vibe than its neighbours, and the tradtional square and surrounding streets gives you a glimpse of the past.
The Costa del Sol is home to many chiringuitos, authentic fish bars and a cuisine that takes its influence from a complex history of Mediterranean, Spanish and Moorish cuisine. From luxury dinners in Puerto Banus to authentic Spanish tapas in Malaga, the Costa del Sol holidays are a culinary delight.
In the international resorts, places like Benalmadena, Torremolinos and even the smaller Mijas and the Mijas Costas, you'll find a range of cuisine from all over the world. English breakfast will live right next to Asian cuisine, whilst next door there'll be a Mediterranean tapas bar. Mijas is a popular family destination, too, so expect family-friendly restaurants who are ready and willing to make your holiday to the Costa del Sol spectacular.
In Estepona you'll find a real Andalusian vibe with flamenco and tapas restaurants alongside sophisticated restaurants. Fuengirola has a buzzing nightlife with a range of Irish pubs and wineries catering to the British tourist. However, around Fuengirola's main square, the Plaza del Constitucion, you'll find something more tradtional.
Costa del Sol is one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe. With a seemingly endless stretch of 100 miles of generally family-friendly restaurants, over 60 years of catering for British families and a number of brilliant family hotels, the Costa del Sol could be the perfect pick for your 2018 / 2019 family holiday.
Arguably one of the best beaches can be found at Estepona in the form of El Cristo beach. The shallow waters here make it the perfect spot for fun for the kids and relaxation for the parents.
There are two water parks in the Costa del Sol, with the best based in Torremolinos. The aptly named Aqualand boasts numerous pools and slides, providing an enjoyable day of swimming, bathing and sliding. If the kids are craving an amusement park fix, look no further than Tivoli World in Benalmadena. The park is full of thrilling rides and slides that may even get mum and dad’s hearts racing.
Other popular resorts for families include Mijas, with its safe beaches in nearby Fuengirola and along the Mijas Costas, plus local shops, bars and restaurants in the Mijas Pueblo. Nerja provides something a bit more traditional and an excellent beach, the Playa Burriana.
Watersports are available along the coast at all the top resorts, from Torremolinos to Estepona. The 100 miles of coastline menas you can pretty much try any water-based activity you want, from boating to diving.
The Costa del Sol’s attractions aren’t all necessarily based around the water. The peaks around Mijas provide some great walking trails and mountain biking opportunities, while rock climbers will find satisfaction in the challenges around Mijas Pueblo.
The Costa del Sol is also an extremely popular golfing destination, with various golf breaks and holidays extremely easy to book in advance and also after you land in Spain. Golf4u Spain is a well-renowned company based around Mijas, an area that boasts no less than seven courses.
Gorgeous sandy beaches are the hallmark of a Costa del Sol holiday. We'll work our way through some of our favourites.
Carvajal Beach in Benalmadena is a favourite for a family day out on the sand and is generally pretty busy. Luckily, rather than being a nuisance, this thriving beach has a magic atmosphere. Dominating high-rise buildings, so many restaurants you'll find it hard to pick and watersports facilities galore. Malapesquera Beach is right next to the Benalmadena Marina and is where the Festival of the 'Virgen del Carmen' is held each July (holiday planning idea?). Both beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag.
Further north, past Malaga and Torre del Mar, lies the rugged Nerja. Characterised by rocky outcroppings, El Playazo Beach is over a mile long and because of its size, and distance from Malaga, means this beach stays quiet even in peak summer months. La Torrecilla is a smaller beach on the western end of Nerja which is accessible by foot. Both beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag.
Estepona is located south of Marbella and offers a staggering 17 beaches over a stretch of 12 miles of coastline. With a mix of sandy, golden and volcanic beaches, Estepona is one of the top picks for a beach holiday in the Costa del Sol. The main beach is located just outside of the town of Estepona and is called Playa el Cristo. Located in a sheltered cove the beach is great for children, Playa el Cristo also offers two beachfront restaurants (chiringuitos) and of course, a Blue Flag award.
That's just a sample of the beaches on offer on a Costa del Sol holiday. All of the resorts, from Fuengirola to Torremolinos, offer stunning beaches. All 100 miles of them.
The Costa del Sol is known for its buzzing nightlife. From glitzy cocktails bars in Puerto Banus and Malaga, to the heaving nightlife in Marbella, Benalmadena and Fuengirola, you can find nightlife to suit any palette.
Most of Marbella's bars and nightclubs can be found in the Puerto Banus area, where the classy beachside daytime fun turns into a swish, sophisticated nightlife scene. The clubs here are open late.
Benalmadena caters to the huge number of British tourists and expats, so expect some familiar sights: Irish pubs and English sports bars. There'll be sport on the televisions, bar games like pool and darts, and definitely a pint of Guinness or two.
Fuengirola tends to have the most diverse and rowdy nightlife. There are some more sedate bars towards the centre of town, while the clubs along the beachfront tend to perk up around midnight, continuing to thrive well into the next morning. The biggest clubs are Millennium and Funk Club.
The Costa del Sol is an inherently romantic place, maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the glorious, sandy beaches, or maybe it's just the warm atmosphere provided by Andalusian charm and friendly locals. Puerto Banus, the glitziest resort, is the perfect place to sample some luxury, whereas Nerja provides a flavour of traditional Costa del Sol. If you're looking for that real magic, book a Costa del Sol all inclusive holiday.
Marbella boasts an impressive Old Town full of romance with restaurants serving artisan food, winding streets and history oozing from the walls of the medieval buildings. Whitewashed squares, shady spots and two historical quarters to choose from, Barrio Alto and Barrio Nuevo, make Marbella an excellent spot to pair lush beach lounging with romantic wandering.
Other picks for a couples holiday to the Costa del Sol include Estepona, which has its own lovely old town, Mijas with its Mijas Pueblo (a historical, inland mountain village) and gorgeous setting, or one of the top resorts Benalmadena or Torremolinos if you're looking for a high octane holiday.
Religious festivals are big in the Costa del Sol and Easter is a big festivity, Passion Week from 9-16th April is a big festivity with processions taking place in the town of Ronda particularly. Easter processions are held all over the Costa del Sol with spectacular iconography and celebrations. If you are travelling in February, the town of Tolox has a fun festival consisting of throwing powder over each other until you are completely covered! The tradition apparently started when local baker boys would throw flour over the girl they liked to show their affection!
For something else a little whacky, the town of El Burgo holds a 19th century reenactment festival, visitors are encouraged to take part in the reenactment which includes bandits and heroes.
The Costa del Sol's history is spread out over centuries of mixed rule, from the Moors to tradtional Andalusian heritage. Visit the old towns in Mijas, Marbella or Estepona for a taste of this cultural mish-mash.
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