Are you looking for a Costa del Sol Holiday? It is officially the sunniest region in Spain, with an average of 320 days or 2905 hours of sun per annum. Easy to see why it was given the name the Costa del Sol, meaning Coast of the Sun. It is treasured by all nationalities and ages.
Below we answer some of the most commonly searched questions on Google and Pinterest in the search for a holiday on the Costa del Sol.
Why visit the Costa del Sol?
It is fair to say that its former reputation was of beer swilling, topless louts with knotted hankies adorning their heads. Though there are still a few small areas that cater to that cliental, the Costa del Sol is so much more!
As the video below shows, the real Costa del Sol is a place of absolute beauty. A diversity of landscapes beaches and coves, cliffs and mountain backdrops, estuaries, bays and dunes are all found here?
It has miles and miles of sandy beaches, a mild climate and something for everyone to enjoy.
What is the Costa del Sol?
The Costa del Sol is a coastal region in Andalucia in Southern Spain bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
It documents a long history with tourism. In 1954 the Marbella Club opened, and international film stars and nobility were frequent visitors. In 1970, Málaga airport was rebuilt, and this injected new life into tourism. Low-cost flights and package holidays boomed, and it became a significant destination on the International market.
Always popular with visitors who come not only for its beaches but also its local culture. To this day it remains a firm favourite with tourists, who prefer it to the French Riviera or the Portuguese Algarve.
The history of the Costa del Sol is rich and varied. Dating back to the arrival of the Phoenicians who were followed by the Greeks, Romans and Moors. Their influence can be seen throughout the region in the architecture and culture.
Where is the Costa del Sol?
Located between the Costa Tropical and the Costa de la Luz, it stretches from Maro in the east to Punta Chullera in the west. It comprises of the coastal towns and communities of the Province of Málaga. These are Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Mijas Costa, Marbella, Casares, Rincón de la Victoria, Vélez-Málaga, Torrox, Frigiliana and Nerja
What is the Costa del sol known for?
Above all it is known for its great weather and varied landscape. Picasso and Antonio Banderas were born here in Málaga (to our mind the best city in Europe) read our Málaga blog here.
The area is famous for flamenco, fiestas and tapas! It features many striking historical buildings of interest including Roman aqueducts and amphitheatres, castles and Alcazars.
It is also a destination for golf lovers with over 70 golf courses – the largest concentration found in Europe. Considered a top golf destination worldwide, it first came to the area in 1928 when the first golf course was built in Torremolinos.
When to visit the Costa del Sol?
The Costa del Sol has one of the best climates in the whole of Europe. The mild climate attracts year-round tourists looking for sunnier and healthier climes.
When to visit really depends on what you want to do. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday with sunbathing, sea swimming, pool dipping or water parks, then July and August are great. But they can get very hot reaching temperatures of up to 40º.
You will in the media see that some beaches like Marbella and Torremolinos are very busy in high season. But if you head to the east of the Costa del Sol, there are plenty of long wide sandy beaches and intimate coves that are not crowded. All have good facilities, beach bars and restaurants.
In the winter, Christmas lunch is often had at the beach! It is best to choose the cooler months if you want to sight see, walking round a Roman ruin in the mid-day heat can be very tiring. Spring, from March to May is a great time of year for sight-seeing.
Note, many of the popular tourist areas on the coast close down over the winter. There are still coastal resorts open, so make sure to check if that is the time of year you are planning. Or choose an inland village like Competa as they are active year-round. Plus, being just half an hour from the Costa del Sol and an hour and a half from the Sierra Nevada Ski slopes, it makes a great winter destination.
Things to do on a holiday in Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol has a really good road infrastructure, so it is possible to travel throughout it very easily. The N340 offers a very scenic route, whilst the A7 will get you there quicker. There are numerous things to do, so here are just a few of our suggestions: –
Walk the Caminito del Ray/Path of the King
At 100ft, over the El Chorro Gorge it is quite high, but the scenery and views are fantastic. Previously closed as it was known as one of the most dangerous walks in the world. It has reopened with new pathways and safety measures in place.
Check out the street art in the Soho area of Malaga
It is quite simply phenomenal and has recently taken off in the last 5 years.
Hit the Nerja Caves
One of Spain’s major tourist attractions, reportedly the third most visited site in Spain. Concerts are regularly held in one of the chambers which forms a natural amphitheatre. Read more here in our blog.
Visit the Costa del Sol’s best beach Playa el Canuelo
A small cove, with crystal clear, shallow waters, perfect for snorkelling. The beach is protected, so cars stay at the top of the cliff and there is a regular shuttle bus down.
While away some time in the Bioparc in Fuengirola
Formerly an unpleasant Zoo, Rain Forest took over in 1988 and created a Bioparc. Educational as well as amazing, their aim was to create a full immersion zoo concept recreating the tropical forests of the several regions. They now have over 1300 individual animals and 140 species. There are no cages, instead they use elevated walkways. They work to protect animals, for example they rehomed crocodiles rescued from handbag factories. In July and August, the park is open until midnight.
Járdin Botánico Molino de Inca in Torremolinos
A tranquil botanical garden with a Moorish flour mill. It has over 300 trees and 400 shrubs, a Japanese garden, an aviary and a small museum. It sits on a source of natural springs that feed the garden’s fountains and ornamental rivers.
Water sports with our friends at Titan Aventura
If you’re a thrill seeker then try Barranco (Canyoning), sliding, and hiking your way down canyons whilst jumping into beautiful clearwater pools. Or perhaps you prefer to be on the water Kayaking. Titan Aventura are leaders in their field.
Stop off at the Alcazaba in Malaga
This Moorish fortress is high on the hillside overlooking the city. It is a great example of architecture from the 11th century. Málaga has over 30 museums, so add one of those to your visit. We particularly recommend the Glass museum and the Pompidou. It also has a fabulous modern Mediterranean port perfect for lunch or sunset tapas.
Take a tour on a Harley Davidson with our friends Nerja Harley Tours
Explore the Andalucian coastline on a guided tour on a motorbike – what a great way to see it, find our more here.
See a Flamenco & Equestrian show at the Club Hipico El Ranchito – Equestrian Centre
Performing since 1992, every Wednesday at 5.45pm enjoy the magic of horse dancing at the spectacular ‘Ritmo a Caballo’ Show.
What do they eat in the Costa del Sol?
As you can imagine with so many ports along the coast, seafood and shellfish feature heavily. Of course, tapas are also on every menu, Habas con Jamon (broad beans and ham), Albondigas (Spanish meatballs), Gazpacho (cold tomato soup), blended cucumber, garlic, onion, pepper, tomato and stale bread, served with a sprinkling of the fresh ingredients on the top.
There are many rice dishes, the most well-known being Paella, which comes with various combinations of seafood, rabbit and vegetables. Or try the Arroz Negro version made black from squid ink.
Pescaíto Frito, fried fish is available in many of the restaurants – it will vary day by day depending on what the local fishermen have caught. Usually sardines, anchovies or dogfish and sometimes squid. The fish is lightly coated before being shallow fried in olive oil.
Gambas Pil-Pil is devoured all along the coast, prawns cooked with garlic, paprika, white wine and chillies. We always recommend stopping off at one of the many seasonal pop-up Chiringuitos. Beach shacks with tables and chairs on the beach, often a boat filled with coals for the barbecue. Here you can choose your selection of fish, from prawns, sea bass, dorada, squid and octopus. Nothing better than Espetos, sardines with salty crispy skin and a side of lemon, with a glass of chilled white wine in as you gaze out to sea.
Which airports should I choose for the Costa del Sol?
Malaga Airport (AGP) is the only airport on the Costa del Sol, it is the main international airport on the Costa del Sol. It lies 8km west of Málaga city.
The airport is the 4th busiest in Spain and has connections to over 60 countries worldwide. Once you arrive at the airport there are good links by train and bus along the coast.
It is also possible to fly into Granada (GRX) or even Gibraltar, but these then have a more complicated journey to the Costa del Sol.
Where to stay in the Costa del Sol?
This really depends on your budget and what type of holiday you are after. Torremolinos and Fuengirola are all at the lower end of the budget. They are the towns with reputations for being party towns and less Spanish. Marbella and Puerto Banus are at the higher end of the spectrum, but again have party town reputations.
A great choice is to base yourself East of Malaga, the hotels and resorts are quieter in areas like Nerja or in the Mountains.
Our collection of townhouse villas with private pools are in Competa, less than 30 minutes from the Costa del Sol beaches. Competa with its stunning mountainside views and numerous bars, restaurants, boutique shops and galleries make the perfect base to explore Andalucia and the Costa del Sol. Find out more about Competa here
We hope you have enjoyed our blog, find much more about the Costa del Sol on our Pinterest page HERE.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your next holiday to the Costa del Sol!
Nicki and Paul – Competa Escapes Holidays
Our thanks to Debbie Metcalfe for our title photo