Spanning over 90 miles of Mediterranean coastline in the region of Andalusia in southern Spain, the Costa del Sol has been drawing visitors from around the world since the 1950s, when stars such as Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery, and Frank Sinatra flocked to the area. These days the allure of the Costa persists, thanks to the abundance of sandy beaches, world-class golf courses and its proximity to fascinating historic cities such as Malaga, Granada, and Ronda. While the glitzy towns of Marbella and Puerto Banus offer outstanding dining, excellent shopping, and vibrant nightlife, it is easy to escape inland to the picturesque pueblos blancos, where traditional white houses are stacked like sugar cubes against the arid landscape.
The Costa del Sol is easily accessible, with regular international flights into Malaga Airport. While the area is busiest from June to August, when daytime temperatures average at least 80°F, the Costa del Sol makes a fantastic year-round destination and is particularly pleasant in late spring and early autumn when warm, sunny weather can be relied upon.
Of course, the main attraction for most visitors to the Costa del Sol is the area’s array of fabulous beaches, and whether you prefer lounging in a cabana with a cocktail or simply enjoying the sun, sea, and sand with family or friends, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect spot. One of the Costa del Sol’s most popular choices is Burriana, in the pretty former fishing village of Nerja. The beach offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, as well as a range of watersports to satisfy active types and a long line of chiringuitos, or beachfront shacks serving up fresh seafood and refreshing drinks. If you’re looking for a livelier atmosphere then put on your most stylish swimwear and head to Nikki Beach in Marbella, where you can swim, sunbathe, dine and drink in seriously upscale surroundings. On the other end of the spectrum, La Rada in understated Estepona is ideal for a relaxing day on a beach that never gets too busy. Afterwards, head to the nearby town for a taste of traditional Andalusian charm.
If you like golf, then it doesn’t get much better than the Costa del Sol. With over 70 courses for players of all abilities, the area is sometimes referred to as the Costa del Golf. Even better, thanks to the Costa del Sol’s year-round sunshine, you can hit the links no matter the season. Frequently mentioned by golf magazines as one of the best courses in the world, Finca Cortesin is an immaculately landscaped 18-hole course offering stunning Mediterranean views and five tee-off positions to suit players of various abilities. Or why not try La Cala in Mijas, one of the Costa del Sol’s largest golf resorts with three fantastic courses. While the oldest of the three, Campo Asia is best for experienced golfers with four par-five holes, Campo America is suited to mid-range players and Campo Europa is the least challenging, making it perfect for amateurs.
When you think of Spanish food, you think of tapas, and the region of Andalusia is its traditional home. No visit to the Costa del Sol would be complete without sampling local specialties such as ajoblanco (a cold soup made from bread, almonds, garlic and olive oil) boquerones (anchovies marinated in vinegar), and gambas al pil-pil (prawns in a sizzling sauce of garlic, chili, and olive oil). Naturally, these dishes are best accompanied with a cold glass of sherry, Malaga wine, or beer. As well as tapas, the Costa del Sol is well-known for its tasty traditional breakfast of churros, fried sweet dough served alongside hot chocolate or milky coffee.
The Costa del Sol isn’t all about sunbathing and food, it is also an area that is rich with culture and history. Indeed, the city of Granada, which lies at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, just under 80 miles from Malaga, is undoubtedly one of Spain’s most fascinating towns. Home to the world-famous Alhambra Palace, which dates from the 13th century, Granada was one of the last Moorish strongholds in Europe, and this has left an indelible imprint on the city’s architecture. Expect to see elaborate mosaics and intricate carvings alongside whitewashed medieval homes and elegant plazas. Granada is also famous for its free tapas, so settle down at one of the many bustling bars, order some drinks and soak up the atmosphere.
Spain’s sunshine coast is the perfect destination for a vacation with family and friends. For the ideal place to stay, check out our selection of Costa del Sol rentals.
The upmarket seaside town of Marbella boasts fantastic restaurants, a stunning marina (filled with fabulous yachts) and a whole host of wonderful properties that are available to rent for your dream vacation. Ourvillas in Marbella can accommodate up to 20 guests and range from the elegantly traditional El Martinete, located right on the beachfront in glitzy Puerto Banús, to the strikingly modern Villa Palo Alto, which offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding mountains.
In days gone by, most visitors would simply pass through Malaga on their way to the Costa del Sol’s seaside resorts, but today it is a destination in its own right. The city is particularly popular among art-lovers, who come here on the trail of Pablo Picasso, who was born here. As well as the Picasso Museum, which is home to over 200 of the artist’s painting and sculptures, be sure to check out the cutting-edge Contemporary Art Centre as well as the recently opened Pompidou Centre, the first outpost of the celebrated Paris museum to be located outside of France. If you’re looking for a place to stay while exploring the city, don’t miss our selection ofluxury villas in Malaga . With sun terraces and fantastic pools, they are ideal for basking in the Spanish sunshine.