Costa del Sol destination guide

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

Some holiday destinations are like a loaf of bread; they go stale over time as the tourist traffic picks up. Not so with the Costa del Sol which is akin to a fine wine – the longer it’s around, the better it gets. Don’t believe us? Just ask the nine million (and counting) tourists who flock to the area each and every year. Your definitive guide to the Costa del Sol starts here…

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Things to do on the Costa del Sol
The three S’s – sun, sea and sangria – are the biggest draws but if you don’t fancy lying on a beach all day, there’s still plenty to see and do. In fact the only problem you’ll encounter is how to cram the Costa del Sol into just one holiday...
While the Costa is nicknamed ‘Costa del Golf’ owing to its staggering amount of golf courses and clubs, it’s also a haven for all sports lovers. Take your pick from tennis (there’s some 20 clubs along the coast including the famous Lew Hoad Campo de Tennis), horse riding and every water sport imaginable – water skiing, windsurfing and scuba diving all feature.
After something a little less active? Wander through the lovely old town of Malaga (birthplace of Picasso), people watch in Puerto Banus, snap up some Spanish souvenirs such as ceramic plates, pots and tiles at one of the Costa’s many markets, catch a flamenco performance, take the kids to the aqua park at Mijas or tuck into some tasty tapas. Costa del Sol specialities include spicy chorizo sausages, queso (cubes of smoked cheese), red peppers in oil and tortilla (Spanish omelette filled with potato and onion and served cold in slices) along with calamares (tiny, marinated squid) and canailles (miniature sea snails). Wash it all down with a glass of chilled fino before checking out the Costa del Sol’s lively nightlife.

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Weather on the Costa del Sol
Not for nothing is the Costa del Sol known as Spain’s ‘sunshine coast’. The holiday destination, which forms the southern fringe of the region of Andalucía, boasts about 320 days of blue sky per year – and a string of sandy beaches where you can soak up the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to slap on the sunscreen though – after all, you want to look like a local not a lobster.
If it’s going to rain, it does so during the winter season (December and March). But even if it does get wet, it’s worth remembering that temperatures rarely – if ever – fall below 10-11C (50-52F) so it’s still short sleeve weather! It’s also the ideal climate for playing golf: Costa del Sol offers no fewer than 70 perfectly manicured courses (see our ‘things to do on the Costa del Sol’ page to find out more).
The bottom line? There’s no bad time to book a break on the Costa del Sol – see you there?

Nightlife on the Costa del Sol
If you’re looking to party you’ve come to the right place! The Costa del Sol is a strip where you can party hearty all day and all night long.
Torremolinos has the biggest concentration of clubs, pubs and bars – most of which are clustered in the neon lit Calle San Miguel. Passion and Palladium are the current talk of the town: expect international DJs, live performances, go-go dancers, singers and swimming pools spread out over two floors! As the gay centre of the coast, ‘Torrie’ has a large gay scene: head to El Gato Lounge or La Nogalera to hang out with the gay ‘in crowd’.
Next door neighbour, Benalmádena, also boasts a buzzing nightlife scene with most of the action over at Arroyo de la Miel – a lively suburb offering late night eats, drinks and dancing. Fuengirola, 18km down the coast from Torremolinos, has more of a family scene and as such nightlife revolves mainly around restaurants.
Finally for a more upmarket night out, make for Marbella – the Costa del Sol’s glossiest resort since the 1950s. Marbella’s glamorous Golden Mile is full of red hot and happening venues patronised by perma tanned models and modelizers, so ditch the flip flops for one night and dress up. Yes the clubs and cocktails can be pricey and you might have to bust out your black Amex for the occasion, but hey – you are on your hols.

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Beaches on the Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol is blessed with beaches although not even the Costa’s biggest fans could describe the grey-brown sands as stunning. Still, we’re willing to bet that when you’re lying horizontal on the sand basking in the sun’s rays after a super short flight, the far flung bounty advert beaches will begin to lose their appeal. What’s more, many of the Costa del Sol’s stretches of sand have been awarded a ‘Blue Flag’ – the ultimate accolade for a beach – by the EU for their high environmental standards.
Most tourists hit the sand at Torremolinos or Benalmadena whose stash of beaches have seen more people that anyone would ever have imagined back in the 1960s, when the former fishing villages were first earmarked for development. However if you want a slice of sand to yourself, you’d do well to head approximately 9km along the coast to Fuengirol – the most family orientated of the three. Fuengirola is much quieter than its neighbours making it a decent spot to lay your towel for those tired of being surrounded by tonnes of fellow tourists. Other standout strips of sand for sun worshipper include Mijas Costa and Marbella.
The Costa del Sol also has a number of nudist beaches for anyone wanting to go commando: you can bake in your birthday suit at Complejo Almayate near Velez-Malaga, Playa de las Yucas at Benalmadena and Complejo Cosat Natura near Estepona.
Fried yourself silly? Cool off in the sea or at one of the Costa’s wonderful waterparks, explore the medieval maze that is Malaga or learn a new sport – the Costa del Sol isn’t just a beach and beer resort.

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