Costa del Sol Travel and Holiday Guide. Costa del sol испания

Costa del Sol - Wikipedia

A beach on the Costa del Sol, with Sierra Blanca in the background

The Costa del Sol (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkosta ðel sol]; literally, "Coast of the Sun" or "Sun Coast") is a region in the south of Spain, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, comprising the coastal towns and communities along the coastline of the Province of Málaga.

The Costa del Sol is situated between two lesser known coastal regions, the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical. Formerly made up only of a series of small fishing settlements, today the region is a world-renowned tourist destination.


Map of Costa del Sol - cities, towns, resorts, villages

The Costa del Sol includes the city of Málaga and also the towns of Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara, Estepona, Manilva, Casares, Rincón de la Victoria, Vélez-Málaga, Nerja, Frigiliana and Torrox.

This shoreline region extends from the cliffs at Maro in the East to Punta Chullera in the west. It occupies a narrow coastal strip delimited by some ranges of the Penibaetic System, including the Sierra de Mijas, Sierra Alpujata, Sierra Blanca, Sierra Bermeja, Sierra Crestallina and Montes de Málaga to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The coast shows a diversity of landscapes: beaches, cliffs, estuaries, bays and dunes. The rivers are short and seasonal, while the agriculture is hampered by the lee effect caused by the Baetic System.

Costa del Sol is very similar to southern California for it's huge resemblance in scenery, climate and geography. Both areas have warm weather throughout the year and average sunshine hours rounding 3.000 hours in both cases. Costa del Sol has as well some of the most expensive tourist resorts from Europe.


The history of this coast, shaped by its location and the predominance of Málaga, spans about 2,800 years. The first inhabitants to settle here may have been the Bastuli, an ancient Celtiberian tribe. The Phoenicians founded their colony of Malaka here about 770 BC, and from the 6th century BC it was under the hegemony of ancient Carthage in north Africa. From 218 BC the region was ruled by the Roman Republic and then at the end of the 1st century it was federated with the Roman Empire.[1]

Under the rule of the Roman Republic, the Municipium Malacitanum became a transit point on the Via Herculea, which revitalised the city both economically and culturally by connecting it with other developed enclaves in the interior of Hispania and with other ports of the Mediterranean Sea.

The decline of the Roman imperial power in the 5th century led to invasions of Hispania Baetica by Germanic peoples and by the Byzantine Empire. The southern Mediterranean coast was part of Visigothic Spain from the fifth century until the Muslim Arab conquest of Hispania (711–718) The city, then known as Mālaqa (مالقة), was encircled by defensive walls. In 1026 it became the capital of the Taifa of Málaga, an independent Muslim kingdom ruled by the Hammudid dynasty[2] in the Caliphate of Córdoba, which was conquered by the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada.

The siege of Mālaqa by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487[3] was one of the longest of the Reconquista. In the 16th century, the area entered a period of slow decline, exacerbated by epidemics of disease, several successive poor food crops, floods, and earthquakes.

Trade, dominated by foreign merchants,[4] was the main source of wealth in Málaga province of the 18th century, with wine and raisins as the principal commodity exports.[5] Public works done on the Málaga city port as well as those on the Antequera and Velez roadways[6] provided the necessary infrastructure for distribution of the renowned Málaga wines.

Málaga, as headquarters of the Capitanía General de Granada (Captaincy General of the Kingdom of Granada) on the coast, played an essential role in the foreign policy of the Bourbon kings of Spain. The regional military and the defence of the Mediterranean were administered in the city. The loss of Gibraltar to the British in the Battle of Málaga of 1704 made the city the key to military defence of the Strait.

During the second half of the 18th century Málaga solved its chronic water supply problems with the completion of one of the largest infrastructure projects carried out in Spain at the time: the building of the Aqueduct of San Telmo.[7] The peasantry and the working classes still made up the vast majority of the population, but the emergence of a business-oriented middle-class lay the foundations for the 19th-century economic boom.

Beginnings of the tourist industry[edit]

Having been a relatively prosperous commercial and industrial centre for most of the 19th century, Málaga province experienced a severe economic contraction in the 1880s and 1890s. It led to the end of the iron industry in 1893,[8] and weakened the trade and textile industry. The agricultural sector suffered a deep depression that affected the raising of livestock and all the major crops, especially cultivation of Vitis vinifera, a grape used for the wine industry, which was devastated by a Phylloxera epidemic.

The social disruption caused by the crisis and its aftermath of job loss, business collapse and general decline in economic activity, led many residents to consider other means of livelihood. Even at this early date some of them envisaged tourism as an alternative source of income, but years passed before initiatives were put forward to develop Málaga as a tourist resort. The Sociedad Propagandística del Clima y Embellecimiento de Málaga (Propagation Society for the Climate and Beautification of Málaga) was founded in 1897 by a pioneering group of influential Málaga businessmen who saw the potential of tourism as a generator of wealth, and tried to organise a rational planned development of this sector of the economy.[9] Their promotional campaigns extolled the mild climate of Málaga, attracting enough tourists and winter visitors to help relieve the economic slump somewhat.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Baños del Carmen beach was developed and opened in the east of Málaga. The Torremolinos golf course followed in 1928. According to local historian Fernando Alcala, on October 15, 1933 the "Hotel Miramar" was inaugurated in Marbella. The owners, Jose Laguno Canas and Maria Zuzuarregui (daughter of Agustina Zuzuarregui y Sutton Clonard) promoted this hotel, and the city of Marbella, in English and in French, using the expressions "Sunny Coast" and "Côte du Soleil "in all its stationery and lampoons. According to Estefania Rodriguez Camacho, quoting Fernando Alcala's book, ["Marbella. Years of Tourism. Volume I. The beginning of a long march."] these are the real inventors of the expression "Costa del Sol".

However, development of the tourist sector was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

Spanish Civil War[edit]

Following the uprising of Francoist forces in July 1936, control of Andalusia was divided between the Republican forces and the Nationalists, with the Costa del Sol remaining in the Republican zone and Málaga serving as a naval base for the Spanish Republican Navy. The Battle of Málaga was the culmination of an offensive in February 1937 by the combined Nationalist and Italian forces under the command of General Queipo de Llano[10] to eliminate Republican control of the province of Málaga. The participation of Moroccan regulars and Italian tanks from the recently arrived Corpo Truppe Volontarie resulted in a complete rout of the Spanish Republican Army and the capitulation of Málaga in less than a week on 8 February.[11] The occupation of Málaga led to an exodus of civilians and soldiers on the road to Almería, who were bombarded by Franco's air force, navy cruisers,[12] tanks and artillery on 8 February, causing hundreds of deaths. This episode is known as the "Málaga-Almería road massacre". A local historian recounted that nationalist reprisals after the province was captured resulted in total deaths of over 7,000 people.[13]

1940s and 1950s[edit]

After World War II, Marbella was a small jasmine-lined village with only 900 inhabitants. Ricardo Soriano, Marquis of Ivanrey, moved to Marbella and popularised it among his rich and famous friends.[14] In 1943 he had acquired a country estate located between Marbella and San Pedro called El Rodeo, and later built a resort there called Venta y Albergues El Rodeo, beginning the development of tourism in Marbella.[15]

Soriano's nephew, Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, acquired another estate, Finca Santa Margarita, which in 1954 would become the Marbella Club, an international resort of movie stars, business executives and the nobility. Both these resorts would be frequented by members of European aristocratic families, transforming Marbella into a destination for the international jet set.[14]

In the 1950s Torremolinos began to become a popular holiday destination and was visited by international celebrities such as Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, Brigitte Bardot and Frank Sinatra.[16] The Hotel la Roca had opened in 1942, with the Hotel Pez Espada opening in 1959.[17]

1960s and 1970s[edit]

The Costa del Sol experienced an explosive demographic and economic expansion with the boom in tourism between 1959 and 1974. The name "Costa del Sol" was a brand created specifically to market the Mediterranean coastline of Málaga province to foreign vacationers.[19] Historically the provincial population had lived in the fishing villages, and in the "white" villages (pueblos blancos) a short distance inland in the mountains running down to the coast. The area was developed to meet the demands of international tourism in the 1950s and has since been a popular destination for foreign tourists not only for its beaches but also for its local culture.

The "Spanish miracle" fed itself on the rural exodus which created a new class of industrial workers.[20] The economic boom led to an increase in rapid, largely unplanned building on the periphery of the cities of the Costa del Sol to accommodate the new workers arriving from the countryside. Some cities preserved their historic centres, but most were altered by often haphazard commercial and residential developments. The same fate befell long stretches of scenic coastline as mass tourism exploded.[21] Torremolinos' popularity as a tourist destination had a domino effect, and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, nearby municipalities such as Benalmadena, Fuengirola and Mijas, also saw a growth in the number of tourists. The 1960s brought a radical change in the appearance of the small fishing villages. Hotels were opened in Nerja and Málaga and promoted by Ricardo Soriano and his nephew Alfonso of Hohenlohe. Marbella became a fashionable destination for aristocrats and the rich.[22] The author Juan Bonilla portrayed the swinging Sixties scene on the Costa del Sol[23] in his non-fiction work of caustic cultural criticism, La Costa del Sol en la hora pop (2007),[24] depicting real-life characters from elderly expatriate Nazis and jailbird criminal politicians to titled aristocratic playboys like Soriano and Hohenlohe.

Late 1970s onwards[edit]

The rebuilding of the Málaga Airport was the decisive improvement to infrastructure that facilitated mass tourism on the coast. Low cost charter flights and holiday packages made it a player on the international market. By the 1970s trips to Spain were the predominant business of the European tour operators,[16] and the Costa del Sol continued to increase in popularity through the decade. This trend coincided with rapid industrial growth in Málaga and the decline of dependence on the agricultural sector,[25] although growth in the general economy of Spain slowed almost to a standstill after 1973.[26]

As rapid development proceeded on the Costa del Sol, and the influx of expatriate retirees from northern European countries,[27][28] notably Great Britain, increased during the late 1970s and 1980s,[29] it has since then sometimes been referred to in the press of the United Kingdom as the "Costa del Crime",[30] because British criminals would escape justice at home by moving there to live their lives in luxury. With tense relations between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar, extradition arrangements were not at that time agreed.[31] This phenomenon has been alluded to in television shows such as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Bad Girls and in the more recent films Sexy Beast and The Business.[32][33] Some of the more famous British criminals known to have fled to the Costa del Sol in the past were Charlie Wilson, Ronnie Knight, Freddie Foreman, Anthony Fraser (grandson of Mad Frankie Fraser) and more recently Andrew Moran. John Disley, nicknamed the "King of Marbella",[34] (not to be confused with the international criminal Monzer al-Kassar whose nickname is the "Prince of Marbella"), masterminded a £700,000 bank fraud.[35] Other European criminal entrepreneurs, including Russian and Dutch citizens, have also settled on this coast for the climate and functional advantages for their enterprises, as well as being active investors in the property sector.[36]

The Costa del Sol welcomes millions of tourists annually. Visitors arriving by air can land at either Málaga Airport, Granada Airport or Gibraltar International Airport.[37] and head to one of the many resorts located along this stretch of coastline from Manilva in the west to Nerja in the east.[38][39][40]

Communications and infrastructure[edit]

Since 1998 the Port of Málaga has been undergoing renovation and expansion as part of the project called the Plan Especial del Puerto de Málaga.[41] There are major projects underway or planned which will radically change the image of the port and surrounding areas. The traffic of goods rose from 2,261,828 metric tonnes in 2010 and more than doubled to 5,448,260 tonnes in 2011.[42]

Cruise shipping has become an essential industry at the port and a major driver of investment in Málaga. In 2012 there were 651,517 passengers visiting the city on board cruise ships calling at the port, including those who started or ended their cruise in Málaga.[42] The development of the cruise industry is proceeding with a new passenger terminal, port museum, and environmental education centre planned for inclusion in the cruise ship facilities at Quay 2. A commercial marina will also operate from Quay 1, catering to 24 super-yachts of up to 30 metres, and the Eastern Quay passenger terminal will be remodeled to improve pedestrian access and double existing capacity to 560,000 passengers a year.

The four ports of Marbella are primarily recreational; although both Puerto Banús and the Puerto de la Bajadilla are permitted to dock cruise ships, neither operates regular service to other ports. The port of Bajadilla is also home to the fishermen's guild of Marbella and is used for the transport of goods.

AVE (Alta Velocidad Española, AVE), a high-speed rail service operated by Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, inaugurated the Córdoba-Málaga high-speed rail line, a standard gauge railway line 155 kilometres (96 mi) in length, on 24 December 2007. Designed for speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph) and compatibility with neighbouring countries' rail systems, it connects Málaga and Córdoba.[43]


Native cuisine on the Costa del Sol, as in the rest of Andalusia, has been influenced historically by Spanish, Jewish and Arabic traditions, and emphasises seafood. Pescaíto frito, small fish breaded without egg and fried in olive oil, then served with fresh lemon, is a universally popular dish. Gazpacho is a famous refreshing cold soup made of raw tomatoes, cucumber, onions, green peppers, garlic, bread, oil and vinegar. Tortillas, Spanish omelettes made with potatoes and served cold, are typical, and a plate of thin-sliced jamón serrano, or dry-cured ham, with a glass of sherry or Málaga wine is a traditional combination. The Ir de Tapas (tapas tour), a Spanish expression meaning to make the rounds of bars drinking and eating snacks, is an important social activity for Spaniards. Some bars will serve a tapa for free when one orders a drink. Churros, fried-dough pastries served hot and dipped in café con leche or hot chocolate are a typical breakfast food.

Chiringuitos, small, open-air beachside restaurants, offer respite from the summer heat of the cities in the high holiday season.

Image gallery[edit]


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  13. ^ Beevor 2006, p. 93
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  16. ^ a b Mikael Hård; Thomas J. Misa (1 January 2008). Urban Machinery: Inside Modern European Cities. MIT Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-262-08369-0. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Med Playa. El Hotel Pez Espada y su contribución al desarrollo turístico de la Costa del Sol. Publicaciones Técnicas. p. 123. GGKEY:XYZEDFKQNPE. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  18. ^ "La Bardot en Torremolinos". La Opinión de Málaga. Retrieved May 15, 2010. 
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  24. ^ Juan Bonilla (1 January 2007). Las Costa del Sol en la hora pop. Fundación José Manuel Lara. ISBN 978-84-96824-10-2. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
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  29. ^ Karen O'Reilly (15 April 2013). "The British on the Costa del Sol". In Russell King, Nancy Wood. Media and Migration: Constructions of Mobility and Difference. Routledge. pp. 177–179. ISBN 978-1-134-58405-5. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
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  33. ^ Judy Hobson (2006-12-23). "Hotline puts squeeze on 'Costa del Crime'". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  34. ^ Sara Smyth (17 May 2013). "'King of Marbella' stole hundreds of thousands in asset-stripping fraud and spent cash on private helicopters and a £30,000 PALM TREE". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  35. ^ IAN MacKINNON (5 January 1995). "End of an era for the Costa del Crime". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  36. ^ Georgios Antonopoulos; Marc Groenhuijsen; Jackie Harvey; Tijs Kooijmans; Almir Maljevic; Klaus Von Lampe (2011). Usual and Unusual Organising Criminals in Europe and Beyond: Profitable Crimes, from Underworld to Upper World: Liber Amicorum Petrus Van Duyne. Maklu. p. 240. ISBN 978-90-466-0429-8. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
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  38. ^ Visit Costa del Sol
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  41. ^ "Las actuaciones previstas en el Plan del Puerto siguen sumando retraso". Málaga Hoy. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°47′N 4°29′W / 36.79°N 4.48°W / 36.79; -4.48

Costa del Sol Travel Guide

Over several decades the Costa Del Sol has developed into one of Europe’s premier holiday destinations based largely on its climate which provides around 300 sunny days per year with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Malaga airport is the key gateway to the region which attracts more than two million annual visitors. Most of the tourist development has taken place to the west of Malaga as mega resorts have grown out of what were no more than fishing villages in the 1960s.

The main resorts include Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola which are very close to the airport. Further along the coast lie Marbella with its famous marina at Puerto Banus, Estepona, Sotogrande and finally Gibraltar where the Costa del Sol comes to an end. Tourist developments to the east of Malaga are mainly geared towards domestic tourism until you reach the popular resort of Nerja which attracts mainly foreign visitors.

Marbella Beach Scene – Photo Credit: CC Ashley Buttle

Getting There

Malaga Airport lies 13km south-west of the city centre of the city of Malaga in the south of Spain. With over 14 million passengers passing through its terminals it is Spain’s 4th busiest airport and serves as the gateway to the holiday resorts of the Costa del Sol. The airport has three terminals with flights to more than 100 European destinations and many cities in Spain. The Irish budget airlines Ryanair offer many routes to and from Malaga whilst the Spanish low-cost carrier, Vueling, also have a major presence here. Transport services to Costa del Sol holiday destinations include buses, trains, taxis and a number of private transfer options.

Ryanair Flight Arrival – Photo Credit: CC David Precious

Malaga Airport Car Hire

Best Time to Visit the Costa del Sol

One of the most common questions we’ve been asked over the years of running this is website is “What will the weather be like on the Costa del Sol in MONTH”. Ten years ago I’d have confidently been able to give you a fairly reliable answer but in these days of global warming I tend to sit on the fence if people are visiting during the off season as weather patterns have certainly changed and can’t be predicted with the certainty of not so long ago. Having said that you’re not likely to have any great problems with the weather if you’re heading down to the south of Spain during the summer months.

The tourist brochures don’t lie when they claim that this region gets over 300 days of annual sunshine, so you’d be very unlucky to have anything but great weather during July and August. June and September aren’t necessarily as reliable but again it’s fair to say that you can expect great weather during those months. In temperature terms you can expect it to reach around 30ºC during those peak summer months with little or no rain. The odd summer storm is often a welcome respite from the soaring heat. Personally I’d aim to visit the region in May, June or September when temperatures are still very nice but with the added advantage that places are often more relaxed outside school holidays.

Golfers often refer to the region as the ‘Costa del Golf‘ which isn’t surprising considering conditions for the sport are idyllic and attract players all year round. Certainly May, June and September are great months for golf tourism but the region is also popular during the winter months when daytime temperatures average around 16ºC. For holidaymakers there’s an element of luck involved in what your weather will be like during these off peak months. Daytime temperatures will most likely be very pleasant with a bit of a chill in the evening. As for rain, you never know. Rainy days certainly occur during the winter and are fairly unpredictable though they rarely last more than a few days. Not much use if you’re only there for a week I suppose!

In summary … peak summer (July/August) will most likely be fabulous weather, May, June and September are usually some of the best months to visit, and the winter is generally very mild but rather unpredictable. To get a general picture of what you can expect take a look at these two graphs which show temperature and rainfall figures all year round.

Costa del Sol Resorts

Benalmadena – Lying a short distance south west of Malaga airport between the famous resorts of Torremolinos and Fuengirola, Benalmadena has plenty to offer the whole spectrum of visitor types.

Estepona – Estepona is the most westerly resort of the Costa del Sol. It has avoided too many of the high rise blocks of many of the other resorts and is an ideal choice for those people looking for a quiet holiday.

Fuengirola – The third major high rise resort heading south from Malaga, Fuengirola is especially popular with British tourists of all ages especially families and middle aged groups.

Malaga – Malaga is the stepping stone to the Costa del Sol. Relatively few visitors visit the city as they rush from the airport to their holiday resort. In doing so they miss a gem of a city with a fascinating old quarter next to a Roman theatre and Moorish palace, a commercial centre with first class shopping and a vibrant social life.

Marbella – Famous as a playground of the rich and famous, Marbella is now accessible to many who swarm south to enjoy the Spanish sunshine and the world class golf courses of the Costa del Golf.

Mijas – Mijas Pueblo stands high up the mountain above the coastal resorts and is a popular ½ day excursion from the Costa del Sol whilst Mijas Costa is the resort on the coast below which attracts mass tourism to its many attractions.

Nerja – Nerja is the most easterly resort of the Costa del Sol which still somehow maintains a reputation as a quaint village. This is no longer the case as the inevitable tourist developments have transformed the town into a thriving resort but without the high rise excesses of the western Costa del Sol.

Puerto Banus – Puerto Banus was established long ago as a favourite haunt of Europe’s jet set. Today it is still home to multimillion dollar yachts and flash cars but is also open for business to everyone.

Sotogrande – Sotogrande marina is the first port of call for yachts entering the Mediterranean. It is also home to two of Europe’s finest golf courses including Valderrama which hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup.

Torremolinos – During the 1950s and 60s Torremolinos was converted from a quaint fishing village into the Costa del Sol’s original tourist resort. Today it is a concrete jungle but with fine beaches and ample accommodation it has plenty to offer.

Map of the Costa del Sol

Things to Do on the Costa del Sol

The climate of southern Spain is such that golf can be played all year round which has turned it into one of the world’s great golfing destinations . With more than seventy courses to play on, excellent accommodation options first class tourism infrastructure the Costa del Sol attracts golfers from all over the world.

There are so many things to do on the Costa del Sol thanks largely to its extensive coastline which is conducive to water based activities. Every resort caters for its visitors with a variety of pastimes such as kitesurfing, scuba diving and even dolphin and whale watching. The local markets which take place in different resorts each day always prove popular with visitors.

For something more cultural you can take full day excursions to the great Moorish cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada or shorter trips into Malaga and Mijas or to the lovely town of Ronda. Other popular tours include Gibraltar and Tangier in Morocco which is only a short catamaran journey across the the Straits of Gibraltar.

Costa del Sol Hotels

There is hotel accommodation on the Costa del Sol to suit all tastes and budgets. Below we’ve provided links to hotels and other accommodation in the main resorts.

Torremolinos HotelsTorremolinos is the longest established of the Costa del Sol’s large tourist resorts. It lies just a few minutes from Malaga airport and is large enough to be able to offer hotels and apartments to suit all tastes and budgets.

Benalamadena HotelsBenalmadena is the nearby neighbour of Torremolinos with a wide range of hotels you would expect to find in any major Spanish holiday resort. There are plenty budget options as well as luxury apartments on purpose built urbanisations and 5 star hotels with Casino.

Fuengirola HotelsFurther west comes Fuengirola which has experienced huge development such that today the resort extends for some 10km along the coastine with intensive developments of hotels and apartments creating one of Spain’s mega-resorts.

Marbella HotelsMarbella was one of Europe’s first playgrounds for the rich and famous. Today it is less exclusive but still remains a better class of resort town. The central area offers a great number of hotels and apartments near excellent beaches whilst the quaint old town remains intact.

Marriott Hotel in Marbella – Photo Credit: CC Herry Lawford

Estepona HotelsEstepona is 75km from Malaga airport and is the most westerly of the Costa del Sol’s main resorts. Accommodation is plentiful but the town has managed to avoid the worst of large scale property development with less high rise hotels and apartments than further east.

Malaga HotelsMalaga has long been the stepping stone to the Costa del Sol as millions of annual visitors arrive at the international airport there. The city itself is slowly getting itself on the map of Andalucia’s top city destinations especially since the recent opening of the Picasso Museum.

Nerja HotelsNerja is the most easterly of the Costa del Sol resorts and is quite distinctive having prevented high rise property developments. It is a very pleasant, upmarket destination with a good selection of accommodation including some fine hotels and modern apartments.

For a comprehensive list of available hotels all over the Costa del Sol take a look at’s listing.

Costa del Sol Holiday Rentals

Marbella and Puerto Banus have long been recognised as the jet-set capital of the Costa del Sol where many celebrities from around the world are owners of luxury villas. For those of us without the means to buy luxury holiday homes there are plenty affordable villas and apartments available for short-term holiday lets in this area.

A great way to enjoy the Costa del Sol is to arrange a private rental then pick up a hire car at Malaga airport. This provides you with return transfer from the airport and the flexibility to take some great day excursions to the likes of Ronda, Gibraltar, Cordoba and Seville. For othere a private villa rental is an ideal way of staying in close proximity to a range of world class golf courses.

Search for Costa del Sol Villas and Apartments

Costa del Sol Travel Guide

Southern Spain’s Costa del Sol (Sun Coast) is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. The area is famous for hundreds of golden beaches, a perfect climate with 300 days of sun shine each year, the tranquil Mediterranean Sea, a relaxed atmosphere and excellent food.

Boasting the most golf courses in Europe, golf holidays on the Costa del Sol have become increasingly popular over the last 20 years. With over 60 top class golf courses in the area to choose from, golfers have a great time here and the apres golf activities are second to none.

There are three major resorts on the Sun Coast; Fuengirola, Torremolinos,  Benalmadena, and the luxury sun kissed resort of Marbella.




Fuengirola Port


This friendly town  features a long beach front, vibrant bars, excellent restaurants, top class tapas bars, trendy boutiques and eight beaches. There are plenty of sun loungers and sun shades to relax as well as plenty of water sports.

Fuengirola has  numerous beach bars and restaurants (chiringuitos ) located all alone the busy sea front ( Paseo Maritimo)  which is around 8 kilometres long is now walkable from the eastern end of Carvajal to Sohail  Castle ( Castillo ) at the western end.





Benalmadena Costa

Offers  a multitude of beaches ranging from secluded coves to the action packed Blue Flag Santa Ana Beach with a bustling promenade. Visit Benalmadena Pueblo’s quiet streets and marvel at the old town vibe, shop and dine in the Arroyo de la Miel area.

You can also get your adrenaline pumping at Tivoli World theme park or ride the cable car to the top of Calamorro Mountain. The nightlife scene is also popular in Benalmadena as it is filled with pubs, bars and clubs.




Torremolinos is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the Costa del Sol. Most loved for its 9 km of beaches, the popular Playa La Carihuela is packed with beach bars, sun loungers and water sports.

The pedestrian shopping street, Calle San Miguel, is lined with trendy boutiques and chic shops with a variety of restaurants and a favourite of international travellers.







Marbella is well known as the playground for the rich and famous, Marbella has a cosmopolitan vibe and a well preserved Andalucian history along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

This chic resort is a favourite among the wealthy who frequent the world-class restaurants, luxury hotels, championship Costa del Sol golf courses, fashionable boutiques, opulent marina and vibrant clubs.

Be impressed when you stroll along the quayside in the famous Puerto Banus Marina where million dollar yachts bob in the harbour.


5 Interesting facts about the area

»   Andalucia is one of the world’s premier wine producing areas and to add to all that great  vino there is a choice of food like you will find nowhere else.

»  Dolphins are a major feature of the waters along the Costa del Sol and there are many options to see these wonderful creatures from going out on a boat to heading out to the end of one of the areas many piers.

»  Malaga is home to Antonio Banderas, one of Hollywoods top movie stars.

»  Fashionistas will have the chance to shop ’til they drop in the Costa del Sol thanks to a huge choice of designer outlets in some of the best shopping malls in Spain.




Top Costa del Sol activities

Malaga City


Soak up the rays

Relax at one of the many top beaches with soft, golden sand stretching for miles backed by promenades full of bars, restaurants and shopping. Immerse yourself in culture.

Spend a day in Malaga, Picasso’s birthplace, with an influential contemporary arts scene, museums, and historic old town.

Spot Celebs in Puerto Banus: Wine, dine, and celebrity watch at the Costa’s most luxurious port, filled with million-dollar yachts, world-class restaurants, energetic bars and high fashion boutiques.


Get in touch with nature

There are the many national parks around Malaga province where visitors can go hiking, caving, wild swimming, ATV driving and horseback riding.

On the Costa del Sol, golf can be enjoyed year round amid views of the Mediterranean Sea and mountains on some of Europe’s most celebrated Costa del Sol golf courses. La Quinta, Marbella Golf, the Parador de Malaga Golf, Los Naranjos, Santa Clara and many more, each offer excellent golfing possibilities.


Party all night

The Costa del Sol has a huge selection of bars and clubs with a vast and varied night-life scene. Each town has its own flavour ranging from laid back and fun, to chic and sophisticated. Regardless of your idea of a night on the town, you will find the right venue on the Costa del Sol.

Boasting a wide range of world class activities and drawing the attention of international jet setters and family holidaymakers alike, there is truly something for everyone on the Costa del Sol.



Driving in Spain


Driving in Spain – Eye on the Costa del Sol

Driving on the Costa del Sol  is a great way to experience all the wonderful but hidden Andalucian villages that may be difficult to reach any other way. Public transport can be sometimes unreliable inland so driving is always a good option.

Driving just ten minutes inland from the coast will mean experiencing a beautiful view of both the hills and a backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.

There are so many different little towns to explore, each one offering their own unique character.

It would be easy to spend a whole day discovering a little town, and it would be much easier if public transport doesn’t have to be relied on in order to get back down again.

Car Hire on the Costa del Sol is easy to book and affordable and will give you complete freedom to discover the wonders of this beautiful area of Andalucia.




The unbeatable climate of the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is an amazing coastline and includes some of the most beautiful beaches that Spain has to offer.

The region extends along 150 kilometres of the Mediterranean coastline, but has lots more to offer than simply sunbathing, although if that is what you are after, this is the place to do it.

Tourism is one of the primary industries in the Costa del Sol with 10.6 million people visiting the region last year in 2015.

The Costa del Sol gets some of the hottest weather in the nation with an average temperature of 26°C in August for example.

Of course there is no controlling the weather, so tourists travelling to the region should check the monthly weather averages to help them plan ahead and choose the best month for their visit that suits their expectations.

Have a look at this cool infographic which gives a snapshot of the weather in the region, of for a more detailed breakdown, read this guide which has been produced by Sunsearch Holidays.




Looking for a hotel on the Costa del Sol?


Luxury Hotel:

Try the amazing 5*  Hotel Bahia Kempinski located in Estepona around a 10 minuted drive from Marbella. Situated right on the beach this world renowned hotel looks after its clients very well indeed. Large comfy rooms and a stunning spa and wellness centre plus amazing food are just some of the possitives.


Mid Range

The 4* Hotel Fuerte Marbella is a popular choice hotel in this range. Located just a two minute walk from Marbella’s old town and situated right next to the beach with superb views looking across the bay and the town. Close to lots of bars, cafeterias and eateries to suit everyone.


Budget Friendly

For a budget stay on the Costa del Sol try the 3* Hotel Itaca in Fuengirola.  The rooms at around £35 are well worth every penny, or Euro in this case. Located the the western end of Fuengirola just a 3 minute walk to the beach. Plenty of shops, bars and restaurants close by, so many in fact you are definitely spoilt for choice. This hotel is also very secure, situated right next to the main national guard police station!



Check out this video of the renowned Holiday World All Inclusive Resort in Benalmadena.



Check availability for hotels on the Costa del Sol and save up to 50% on your booking.

Best places to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain

In the 60s the Costa del Sol was the Spanish package holiday destination. While it's still has the sun, sandy beaches, friendly Mediterranean climate and lively resorts, these days the Costa del Sol has also begun to promote its culture just as much as the idyllic weather. And there's definitely light under this bushel. The Costa del Sol's accommodation options have also expanded beyond package resorts and these days some of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol include chic boutique hotels, eco fincas and charming guesthouses.

Capital of the region, Málaga is one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you're here for the culture and history as well as the sunshine. Don't be put off by the 'airport hub' first impression, at Málaga's heart is a beautiful historic centre and all the wonderful history you might expect from an old Mediterranean port city.

There has been a lot of investment in recent years and this has meant the opening of several new museums and extensive restoration of 'the pretty bits'. Málaga also has some of the region's best tapas bars.

Top Spots

It's not just Málaga, many of the Costa del Sol's resorts have charming old town centres - much maligned Marbella included. Once a whitewashed fishing village, Marbella's Old Town is a fascinating blend of Andalucían and Moorish cultures which is especially obvious in the colourful floral displays and narrow streets.

This part of Andalucía is also known for its numerous, pretty, white hilltop villages, including the old 'white village' of Mijas. All these villages and old town centres have fantastic regular markets, one of the most notable at Benahavis.

If you're looking for a glitzy break, Puerto Banus is marketed as Spain's St. Tropez. The area around a luxury marina, just south of Marbella, this is the best place to stay in the Costa del Sol if you want to be wowed by super-yachts and sports cars. This is the patch where the wealthy, famous and royal have been papped. They're here for the sun, endless rows of high-end designer boutiques and the endless supply of excellent restaurants and strip of famous bars and clubs.

What Not To Miss

  • If you want to appreciate the area's natural beauty beyond the coastline take a trip on the Benalmádena Aerial Cable Car, which takes visitors 800 meters over Costa del Sol, soaring through the air to Mount Calamorro.
  • Or visit the El Torcal Natural Area, a striking landscape of bizarre limestone formations from 150 million years ago.
  • If you're looking for some of the Costa del Sol's more unique cultural offerings, the Picasso Museum in the Los Condes de Buenavista and the Royal Riding School of Ronda are two institutions worth visiting.
  • And if you're looking for something even more unique you're only a short drive from the monkeys of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Just don't forget that this is a very popular destination, especially during the peak summer months. So if you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol during July or August, you'll need to get organised and book well ahead.

For a Sunny City Break

  • The Hotel Carabeo is a decadently decorated hotel overlooking the Mediterranean sea. There are some lovely antiques, as well as four poster beds. And several of the seven rooms have private terraces. The food is excellent, and very Spanish.
  • The Town House is one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you like things whitewashed and unfussy. It's very close to Marbella's Plaza de los Naranjos and the Old Town.
  • Room Mate Larios in central Málaga is a lovely townhouse with a sunny outlook and a fantastic rooftop terrace and bar. It's a short stroll from all the highlights and consistently excellent.

For a Beach Break

  • The Hotel Puente Romano is a Grand Andalucian seafront luxury hotel, with pretty much everything you need for the perfect beach break: a private beach, tennis courts, a spa, a kid's club and a choice of restaurants. And of course bright, but luxurious interiors.
  • The Posada del Patio is a good five star hotel close to all Málaga's highlights. It also has rooms with private balconies and a fabulous rooftop terrace and an excellent restaurant. So you have great views and great beach access.

For Luxury

  • Hotel Claude is a beautifully restored 17th Century townhouse converted into just seven suites. One of the first really nice boutique-y hotels in Marbella, the Hotel Claude is also one of the most romantic places to stay on the Costa del Sol.
  • As well as having its own golf course and spa, the Marbella Club also offers tennis and horse riding. And it has its own beach, so this is one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you're looking for the perfect resort holiday. In the summer there's a kid's club.
  • Finca Cortesin is a truly magnificent stay - boasting gorgeous accommodation, a golf course, extensive spa facilities and wonderful cuisine (including one Michelin-starred option).

For those on a Budget

  • Room Mate Lola in Málaga is fresh and funky. All minimalist, white leather and zebra print, this 50 room hotel is in a great position close to the beaches, the markets and the nightlife. And rooms start from just £42 per night.
  • Casa de las Mercedes in Málaga is a simple Andalucían guesthouse with lots of charm and a family-friendly atmosphere. Walls are white-washed, tiles are mosaic and floors are of stone flags. And rooms start from £46 per night.

For Families

  • Casa la Concha is a set of chic, little B&B cottages set on a hilltop above Marbella. Quiet, relaxed and green, with lovely views of the Mediterranean, this is a great place for families because you have your own cottage to yourself.
  • The Petit Palace Plaza in central Málaga is a lovely old townhouse on a charming cobbled street, but inside its rooms are modern and brightly decorated. And its got views of the cathedral.
  • Hotel Palacio Blanco offers whitewashed suites furnished in a contemporary style - ideal for family getaways. Plus, there are a range of spa treatments on offer and an outdoor pool by which to relax during the day.

For A Rural Village Stay

  • Located in the hilltop village of Benahavis, Amanhavis Hotel offers 9 charming rooms with wooden four posters and rustic decor. With an outdoor pool and restaurant serving up lovely regional cuisine, it's a top choice for a quiet retreat.

For an apartment or villa

  • If you're travelling with a larger group of friends or family, the best option might be your own villa or apartment. For a wide range or properties to rent, visit our online partner

Travel Information

  • The Costa del Sol's obviously nicest weather-wise in the summer, with the average daily temperature reaching 26°C in August.
  • This however is peak season, so if you fancy the beaches to yourself then consider coming in May, September or October (when things are generally quieter).
  • Visitors can fly into Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport before taking public transport on to their final destination.
  • Ryanair fly direct from Stansted to Mâlaga, Norwegian Air and easyJet go from Gatwick whilst British Airways go from London City and from Heathrow.
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.

Still not sure?

Costa del Sol Destinations |

Costa del sol - destinations

Take me to Costa del Sol Home

The Costa de Sol can be divided into two sections: East and West, with Malaga city at its centre. The eastern Costa del Sol is much shorter, stretching from the provincial capital as far as Nerja, where it meets the Costa Tropical of Granada province.

The western Costa de Sol is the section of coast which curves round southwards towards Gibraltar, and includes all the major resorts such as Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmadena, plus of course, the ritzy celeb-magnet of Marbella. This section has a very international feel, with visitors and residents from all over the world.

West Costa del Sol

This section begins at Malaga city and stretches westward all the way to the border of Cádiz province. The area is very lively in terms of nightlife and beach clubs, and has a buzzing atmosphere all year round. 

Map of West Costa del Sol.

In addition to the Costa del Sol in Malaga province, a short section of this coast is, in fact, located in Cadiz province – the southernmost part, near Gibraltar. This stretch includes the exclusive port and residential developments of Sotogrande, where Spain’s most expensive real estate is located, as well as Alcaidesa which has set strict limits on any further development of its town.

Torremolinos has thankfully long outgrown its Monty Python spam and chips image and, over recent years, has evolved as an attractive and appealing resort.More > Covering an area of almost 30Km2, and with an official 30,000 inhabitants, Benalmadena is just 19 kilometers from Malaga Airport.More >
Fuengirola is probably most famous for its five miles of sandy beaches, flanked by high-rise hotels with magnificent views of the Mediterranean.More > The area governed by the Town Hall of Mijas takes in three very different neighbourhoods.More >
In 45BC, the Roman civil war, was brought to an end in Caesar's favour at the Battle of Monda.More > Ojén, like Istán, has somehow remained relatively unspoiled in spite of its accessibility and closeness to Marbella.More >
Marbella's motto is "A Way of Life" and, certainly, this luxurious resort town seems to have it all.More > Located just west of Marbella, Puerto Banus is known for its glamour and the luxury yachts that are moored there.More >
An ancient farming community, once famous for sugar cane, today San Pedro is a refreshingly unspoilt pueblo with an appeal all of its own.More > Benahavis has the highest concentration of high class restaurants in the region and draws visitors by the thousand who come simply to savour the cuisine.More >
Estepona is a coastal town that has retained its' individuality and character. More > Casares is a picture postcard village with a population of just three thousand.More >
One of the most charming aspects of Manilva is that there is a refreshing lack of anonymous sky-scraper construction.More > The present day fishing village is a new settlement having been developed in the last hundred years.More >
Puerto de la Duquesa really is the Costa del Sol's best-kept secret.More > Within the municipality of San Roque is Sotogrande, one of the most luxurious sports and residential developments in Europe.More >

East Costa del Sol

The eastern part of the Costa del Sol is less developed; it starts at the border with Granada province, whose own coastal area is called the Costa Tropical.

This part stretches for 54km to the east of Malaga city, and is less developed than the section on the other side of the provincial capital. From Malaga eastwards there are cliffs up to 200m high where the Sierra Almijara joins the sea.

Map of East Costa del Sol

It is here that you will find Nerja, which is home to one of the area's major attractions - the Nerja Caves. The inside of the caves are also the location of the annual international music and dance festival!


Costa del Sol in Cadiz

Alcaidesa is a special creation in that it's traditional Andalusian charm is set to remain as it is forever.More > Within the municipality of San Roque is Sotogrande, one of the most luxurious sports and residential developments in Europe. More >

The Costa del Sol is the most developed and densely populated coastal strip in Andalucia, packed with resorts such as Fuengirola and Benalmádena, which have busy beaches and high-rise apartments. But each place still has its own unique appeal, such as the beautiful old quarter in Marbella and its swish restaurants, good for a bit of celebrity spotting if you´re lucky, an attractive long expanse of beach in Estepona and, if you´re after a lively nightlife, Torremolinos. If you want a rural quick-fix away from the Costa, head north of Marbella to Sierra Blanca, to the pretty villages of Ojén and Monda. Just north of Fuengirola are Mijas, Alhaurín el Grande and Coín.

The Costa del Sol also includes the less spoilt coastline east of Malaga, with the resorts of Rincón de la Victoria, Torre del Mar and Nerja, the latter offering a delightful promenade and a famous cave, the Cueva de Nerja. Just east of Nerja is a small but beautiful stretch of coastline, the most spectacular in Malaga province, which is protected. The Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Area are magnificent cliffs with secluded coves and sandy beaches covering part of the shore between Malaga province and La Herradura in Granada province. The drive along the coastal road gets increasingly dramatic as you head east from Malaga city, because the mountains of the Axarquía to the north meet the Mediterranean at this point, plunging directly into the sea in steep, rocky cliffs.

Explore the Costa del Sol by Interest

The Costa del Sol stretches along 150km of Málaga province and is one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations, with its wide sweeps of golden sand. The area's mild climate is the main attraction - visitors and residents alike can enjoy the beaches, as well as alfresco dining plus a wide variety of outdoor activities, all year round.... More>

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