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Popular Destinations near Costa Del Sol
Favourite Cities and Hotels in Spain

Costa del Sol was a quiet coast lined with sunny shores and fishing villages, not until modern development brought condominiums, villas and high-end resorts to this sleepy section in Spain's Andalucian region. Through the years, the coast morphed into a popular holiday retreat in Europe blessed with the sun-kissed Mediterranean climate!

This strip of resort towns at the southernmost tip of Spain also holds a good reputation as a golfing destination. Gateway to Costa del Sol is Malaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, full of ancient sights while top resorts in Marbella and Torremolinos continue to draw celebrities and the jetsetting crowd. Lastly, the town of Ronda takes great pride in having the oldest bullring in Spain where the toughest matadors reign.

There is so much more to Costa del Sol than fancy resorts. It thrives in a diverse cultural climate spawning from the various settlements which left marks throughout the coast. Be it a Moorish castle, Roman baths or the white-washed villages, these attractions serve as nice little surprises when you crave for more than just sun and sand.

Beaches in Costa del Sol are highly commercialised with recreational perks such as sunbathing areas, parks, playground for the kids and dining places to boot. All the more reason why throngs of Europeans make this destination a bustling haven come holiday-time which is actually year-round!

Malaga serves as the welcome mat to the region. Its historical allure springs from the many influences of the Moorish settlement which once inhabited the coast. In the heart of the city lies Alcazaba, a hotel which used to be a castle. The city also has one other thing to boast of. The great Pablo Picasso was born here which explains the handful of museums offering a glimpse into his life and works.

The rich and famous drop anchor at Marbella where the chic resorts and fancy restaurants are. Celebrities and royals have villas tucked away in the hill sides. Torremolinos is another popular resort area in Costa del Sol. Compared to Marbella, this town bears a more mass market appeal. Hotels, shops, restaurants and cafes occupy every inch of Torremolinos thus creating a chaotic pace. For a more cultural climate, a few miles inland is Ronda. Apart from its jaw-dropping river gorge, the town's bullring, oldest one in Spain, never fails to gain much interest from travellers.

One last marvel from Costa del Sol's attractions is Granada which is a romantic destination in itself largely due to Alhambra. This old sprawling fortress is the finest example of Moorish architecture in Spain with its sprawling gardens, fountains and dreamy courtyards.

Following Spain's religious calendar, most events in Costa del Sol are held in honor of a saint or two. You can join in the merrymaking just like when Feria de Marbella comes in June with its endless dancing parties and feasts in the town square. Granada puts on its party hat for the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance. With riveting performances held in such outstanding venues like the Alhambra, it is hard not to take part in this yearly musical showcase.

In August, enjoy the summer at Costa del Sol with Feria de Malaga, a major festival held yearly. The whole city is geared up in colourful decorations enlivened by dances, performances, and food exhibitions where you can sample the popular local sherry. As an added treat, the bullfighting season kicks off at the same time as well.

  • Winter (November to February) 16 - 19°C; very mild but inland is a bit freezing
  • Spring (March to May) 18 - 22°C; generally pleasant
  • Summer (June to August) 26 - 29°C; hottest days in the coast
  • Fall (September to October) 23 - 25°C; less humid as it gets colder

Costa Del Sol Hotels

Costa Del Sol hotels

Classy Costa Del Sol

The Costa Del Sol or ‘Sun Coast’ is a giant stretch of Mediterranean coastline along the South of Spain – and the location certainly lives up to the name. ... Read more »

Although often ridiculed as a tourist haven for pasty occupants of the British Isles, there is far more to the Costa Del Sol than meets the eye. Comprised of 10 major towns and innumerable smaller villages, the Costa Del Sol is a hideaway for both Spanish and Moorish culture.

The Basilica of La Victoria is one of Spain’s most beautiful baroque churches, whilst the Cervantes Theatre is home to flamenco, musicals, dance and theatre. If you’re a food lover, you’ll have your choice of some of the most beautiful tapas as well as international fare, and as the tourists dollars roll in, so do more and more of the world’s leading chefs.

Chances are you’re there for the beaches and you won’t leave disappointed. Hopefully, though, unlike the aforementioned pasty Brits, you also won’t leave horribly sunburnt. With over 23 stretches of sand, including Torreblancaand Fuengirola, to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice.

But the Costa Del Sol is more about the resorts, sunbathing and water sports you’ll find in the likes of Marbella. Hire a car and trace the coast in search of the White Towns of Ronda, Mijas and Casaraes. Beautiful, charming and sparkling white (funnily enough) on the hillsides, they are the image most associated with Andalusia and the ‘real’ Costa Del Sol.

If you’re looking for a Spain away from Spain, a more mysterious and more inviting Spain, head to the Costa Del Sol and begin an adventure you won’t soon forget.

Costa Del Sol's Top 10

10. Casco antiguo Step back in time to the cobbled streets and ancient buildings of the Casco antiguo de Málaga (Málaga´s Old Quarter). Although more expensive to enjoy, the area is filled with beautiful restaurants and shops.

5. Alcazaba From the Arabic meaning ‘citadel’, this 11th century Moorish castle overlooks the city of Malaga and the largest of its kind on the Costa Del Sol.

9. Centro de Arte Flamenco For a history or dancing lesson, this is the place. Learn about the rich and evolving tradition of dance – and then try it for yourself.

4. Bioparc Fuengirola This zoo and plant sanctuary follows a new model of zoology, providing a natural environment unlike any other.

8. Nerja Stretching for almost five kilometres (over three miles), the caves are among Spain’s biggest tourist attractions. Concerts are even held here, with the natural formations providing amazing acoustics.

3. Donkey Sanctuary This voluntary sanctuary, set amongst the beautiful hills of the Costa Del Sol, cares for the rare and beautiful Andaluz Donkeys. An attraction that brings to mind Don Quixote’s Spain. One for the poets, rather than the tourists.

7. Museo Carmen Thyssen With over 1600 paintings in its collection, it forms one third of the golden triangle of Spanish galleries.

2. Museum of Crystal and Glass Situated in a restored palace, the Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Malaga, is home to ancient Egyptian and Roman artefacts, as well as modern glassmaking masters.

6. Malaga Cathedral A perfect example of a Renaissance-era church, the unfinished tower hints at the grandeur the church could have achieved if construction hadn’t halted in the 17th century.

1. La Carihuela Originally a fishing village, this neighbourhood has developed its own distinct flavour and nuances. Everything the Spanish coastline should be and the most beautiful setting on the Sun Coast.

Costa Del Sol History

  • Castillo de Gibralfaro – A Moorish-Magala castle providing incredible views of the city.
  • Castillo Sohail – A Moorish castle situated on the top of a hill in Fuengirola with summer concerts.
  • Church of San Miguel Arcángel – This beautiful monument is a must-visit for the majority of tourists to the Costa Del Sol.
  • Marbella’s Old Town – A Moorish castle and other historic sites can be found here.
  • Catedral de Malaga – This incredible church built in 1528 is located in the city centre.

Costa Del Sol Art & Culture

  • Municipal Auditorium "Principe de Asturias" – One of the largest auditoriums in Torremolinos, featuring classical concerts, ballet and theatre performances.
  • Picasso Museum – Home to exclusive paintings and exhibitions by this well-known artist.
  • Interactive Museum of Music – Malaga’s museum of musical instruments and the largest of its kind in Europe.
  • Ethnological Museum of Mijas – A fascinating Costa Del Sol museum that is popular with tourists.
  • Festival of San Miguel Arcángel – Held during the last week of September, this is a busy, week-long festival.

Costa Del Sol Shopping

  • El Corte Inglés – This is a huge department store in Fuengirola.
  • Torrox Costa Promenade – This beachside promenade offers relaxed shopping and dining.
  • Calle San Miguel – This street in Torremolinos is populated with shops, markets and cafes.
  • Ricardo del Cid Fernandez – Found in Magala, this old-time hat shop is certainly worth a visit.
  • Marqués de Larios – This is Malaga’s stylish, pedestrianised shopping street and home to Costa Del Sol’s most luxurious shops.

Gay & Lesbian Costa Del Sol

  • B Bar – Located in Torremolinos, this gay-friendly straight bar opens early until late.
  • Anfora – This Torremolinos lesbian-friendly bar gets very busy on weekends.
  • Palladium – This vibrant Malaga nightclub is popular with the local gay community.
  • Bar Reinas – This gay-friendly Malaga bar is the ideal venue to enjoy drinks before a night of clubbing.
  • Library Bar – Located in Marbella, this American-style music video and cocktail bar is mixed but attracts a large gay clientele.

Costa del Sol Outdoor

  • Butterfly Zoo – Located in Arroyo de la Miel, this tourist attraction features many different butterflies from several continents.
  • Tivoli World – This is a theme park near the centre of Arroyo de la Miel.
  • Benalmadema Marina – The inner part of the marina is packed with shops and cafes and is pleasant to walk around in good weather.
  • Elviria Mountain – The area around this Costa del Sol mountain is a UNESCO World Biosphere Sanctuary featuring beautiful a Mediterranean forest.
  • Zoo Bioparc – This Fuengirola zoo is open long hours throughout the summer.

Costa del Sol Sport

  • See a baseball game at the Jose Maria Martin Carpena Stadium.
  • Watch a bullfight at Malaga’s main ring, The Malagaueta.
  • Pay a visit to the Estadió Municipal de Aveira to watch football matches.
  • Ride horses at the Rancho El Rengo in Fuengirola.
  • Catch the Tour of Andalucía bicycle road race in mid-February.

Costa Del Sol Local

The Costa Del Sol is made up of various cities, each unique and offering a different perspective and history of the southern Spanish coast.

Malaga

The largest city on the Costa Del Sol and famous for being Picasso’s birthplace, Malaga is pleasant all year-round. Less rushed than Madrid or Barcelona, it is often seen as an escape rather than a stop off on a Contiki or Grand Tour. Aside from art (there are plenty of galleries, including the Picasso Museum and Centro De Arte Contemporaneo), Malaga is famous for its bullring. Spain’s bullfighting tradition of is alive and well at the Plaza de Toros de la Malagueta, with daily and nightly bullfights and festivities.

While the squeamish should probably avoid the main event, the preliminary activities are extremely enjoyable and will give you a taste of traditional culture. The best way to get around Malaga is hiring a bike for the day and cruising around this thoroughly Mediterranean city.

Mijas

Located high on a mountainside, Mijas is a beautiful white beacon of a town – providing amazing views of the African coastline, the Atlas Mountains, and the Strait of Gibraltar. With 12km (7.5 miles) of coastline, Mijas is close to nine separate beaches. The recent influx of affluent tourist dollars to this often overlooked location means that sevengolf courses have sprung up in recent years. Yet the town of Mijas Puebloprovides the biggest attraction within the region, with small artisan workshops and tapas bars lining streets that have not yet corrupted by the evils of the tourist dollar.

Banalmadena

Comprised of three separate districts, the most popular (and rightfully so) is Banalmadena Costa, with healthy beaches and a healthier nightlife. The Harpenny Bridge is an ‘authentic’ Irish pub, set up to catch the best of world football and the best of the coastal beauty.

But if you can tear yourself away from the Guinness and the lager lasses, the best way to explore Banalmadena is by boat, with many extravagant houses (both new and old) lining the foreshore. To get a better view of the surrounding countryside, the Tivoli World Cable Car is as cheap as it is worthwhile – with a steep peak and exceptional views. The local bird life is not to be missed, and you’re likely to see eagles and vultures in their natural habitats if you take the time to look up!

Nerja

Nestled on the foothills of the Sierra Almijara, Nerja is a new kind of resort town – taking its time in finding its footing and its niche rather than rushing into developing as high and as fast as possible. The town manages to maintain most of its Spanish village charm as the tourists who visit are usually Northern Spanish rather than Brits. The Balcon De Europa is built into the natural headland, providing incredible views of the coast and the interior. The Nuestra Senora de las Angustias Hermitage and El Salvador Church are two of the nicest churches on the Costa Del Sol and are well worth investigating. The interiors will make believers out of the staunchest atheist (believers in good interior design that is!).

Torremolinos

Something of a victim of the mass appeal of the Costa Del Sol, the city has been taken over by tourism. During low season its population is 45,000, but during the height of summer it increases to 250,000 – made up mostly British and French tourists.

Torremolinos is also Spain’s top LGBT holiday destination, and the Nogalera Complex is a comfortable haven filled with gay bars, exclusive restaurants and trendy shops. The city offers a lot of touristy activities, including windsurfing and waterskiing, as well as the biggest water park in Andalusia, Aqualand.

To avoid the rush, venture into La Carihuela, which is the traditional home of the local fishing culture. You’ll find the restaurants and bars a little more real and earthy and a lot less tacky.

Costa Del Sol Eat & Drinks

Calabaza Tucked away, this restaurant would be easily missed if not for its trademark cart with fresh flowers outside. The use of traditional Moorish ingredients with Spanish recipes and a modern attitude makes for a unique dining experience.

Liceo Located over two floors and four different bars in a large converted house, this bar is a favourite for tourists and overseas businessmen.

Restaurante Messina Creative cookery is the order of the day, with fresh interpretations of international classics the most interesting feature of the restaurant.

Sollun Ristorante Opening its doors in 2006, Sollun has become a favourite with locals and travellers alike – mostly for the wine menu. Only 16 people can fit in at a time, so be sure to book.

Moochers Jazz Café A bar where you’ll find the staff just as interesting to talk to as the clientele. Although hard to define (is it a restaurant? Is it a bar?), it doesn’t quite hit the ball out of the park with the meals or the drinks, but it’s worth a visit because it’s fun.

Callaghans Bar Callaghans provides something you don’t expect to find on the southern coast of Spain – a great Irish pub. This bar proves that Guinness travels well away from Ireland, and the publican swears by the all-day breakfast as the best hangover cure in Spain.

Costa Del Sol Events

Families around Spain celebrate the Three Kings of the Nativity. Legend has it that the Wise Men travelled back through Spain after the birth of Christ, so on the Fifth of January, children around the country put their shoes under the tree to receive any leftover generosity from the men who bore gifts to the baby Jesus. You could try your luck, too (although if staying in a hotel, your shoes will probably just be taken away for a shine).

From the middle of June to the middle of July, the Granada Music Festival brings together the best of local and international acts to the Costa Del Sol in a celebration of music from around the world.

The Spanish National Orchestra annual concert is not to be missed, and the passion aroused when they play on home soil is incredible.

In September each year, the local harvest is celebrated with gastronomic fairs across the Andalusian ranges and Costa Del Sol. Celebrating Spanish culinary traditions, the autumn food festivals incorporate larger food events such as Oktoberfest.

In the middle of the Christmas period, the Verdiales Festival celebrates the rich Spanish tradition of dance. Celebrated throughout the Costa Del Sol, the festival shows off the best Flamenco dancers, as well as the finest Arabic music.

When To Go

With an average temperature of 20°C (68°F) and around 330 hours of sun a year, the Costa Del Sol is appropriately named.

Not only is the weather year-round quite steamy, but so is the ocean at 23°C (73°F).

Sheltered by mountain ranges, there is much less rain in the coastal regions than in the nearby western Andalusian region.

What To Avoid

Be aware of timeshare rats lurking outside hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners. Hard to shake, ignoring them is the best option.

Visiting the Castillo Colomares may be cheap, but be aware that when paying your entrance fee you cannot actually enter the castle and can only view the outside from one side.

Keep valuables close in tourist locations. Troupes of trained pickpockets prowl the boulevards of most southern tourist locations, so don’t trust your back pockets!

Getting Around

Car: Getting around via hire car is probably your best option during the winter and autumn months, but as soon as it gets warmer, the motorways become more and more clogged.

Scooters: Becoming a more popular option, motorised scooters are a great way to check out the Costa Del Sol. Just make sure you’re confident riding, as the accident statistics are quite frightening.

Foot: When travelling around the towns, do it by foot. You’ll uncover a lot more down little alleyways and off sneaky paths than you will in a car. If your feet are sore, you’ve done well.

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Fuengirola Beach Aparthotel
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Avenida De La Encarnacion Fuengirola Costa Del Sol 29640

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Pierre & Vacances Residence Estepona
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Calle Hinojo Urbanizacion Bel Air Estepona Costa Del Sol ES-29692

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Hotel El Puerto by Pierre & Vacances
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3.6
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Paseo Maritimo 32 Costa Del Sol Fuengirola

Featuring a sea front location, with spectacular views of the sea and the village, Hotel El Puerto by Pierre & Vacance... More hotel details

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Sahara Sunset Club Apartments Benalmadena
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Avenida Rocio Jurado S/n Benalmadena Costa Del Sol 29630

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Grangefield Oasis Hotel Mijas
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4.1
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Urbanizacion Riviera del Sol Mijas Costa Costa Del Sol ES-29649

Superbly designed with landscaped gardens, tropical trees and waterfalls, the Grangefield Oasis Hotel Mijas offering i... More hotel details

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Plaza del Castillo Hotel Malaga
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Calle Albania (Calle Fedra) 3-5 Pol. La Huertecilla Costa Del Sol 29196

Plaza del Castillo Hotel Malaga welcomes travellers to a medieval-style accommodation fused with modern comforts. This... More hotel details

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TRH Hotel Mijas
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3.4
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2 Urbanization Tamisa Mijas Pueblo Costa Del Sol ES-29650

Offering a unique level of comfort as well as warm welcome in a sophisticated setting, this inviting hotel provides th... More hotel details

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Fuerte Estepona Hotel & Apartments
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Arroyo Vaquero Playa Carretera A-7 Kilometer 150 Costa Del Sol 29680

Fuerte Estepona Hotel & Apartments with its first class location, facilities and services, is ideal for a relaxing get... More hotel details

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Best Benalmadena Hotel
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4.4
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Avenida Costa del Sol S/n Benalmadena Costa Del Sol 29630

Nestled in a beachfront location, Best Benalmadena Hotel makes for a suitable base for holidaymakers looking for a bea... More hotel details

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Sunset Beach Club Hotel Benalmadena
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2.6
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5 Avenida Del Sol Benalmadena Costa Del Sol Malaga ES-29630

Sunset Beach Club Hotel Benalmadena is a beachfront resort offering an abundance of recreational activities and dining... More hotel details

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