A Costa del Sol travel guide – sun-soaked beaches, family theme parks and vibrant nightlife
Get your bearings
The Costa del Sol in the south of Spain extends for most of Andalucia’s Mediterranean coast, between Almeria in the east and Tarifa to the west. Its transport and commercial hub is the city of Malaga. Eastwards, the main resorts are Nerja and Torrox while westwards, Torremolinos and Benalmádena are popular spots for Costa del Sol holidays. Further west, Marbella and Estepona are home to boutique Costa del Sol hotels. Inland, whitewashed villages like Ronda and Mijas dot the hilly landscape.
Family fun in the sun
The safe shores and shallow waters of Cabopino beach near Marbella and waterparks like Bahia Park in Algeciras make holidays in the Costa del Sol great for families. Kids love Selwo Adventure Park’s safari-style escapades near Estepona and the marine wonders of Selwo Marina in Benalmádena always fascinate. Nearby, Tivoli World theme park in Arroyo de la Miel has everything from a 60-metre freefall to mini Formula 1. The cable car to the Calamorro Mountains offers impressive views while Nerja’s famous caves make an interesting subterranean excursion.
Sun-seekers and spa lovers
With over 300 days of sunshine days a year, the Costa del Sol’s beaches are the main attraction. East of Malaga, Nerja’s Calahonda and Calas beach is a top draw. Hammocks and beachfront beds are part of the Nikki Beach experience in Marbella, while Estepona’s Laguna Village leisure complex has an infinity pool. Nearby, spa hotel the Selenza has Andalusia’s largest thalossotherapy centre, using only fresh, untreated seawater.
For golfers, holidays in the Costa del Sol mean a bewildering choice from over 80 golf courses. La Cala Resort in Mijas has three courses with stunning views and the championship Valderrama Golf Club in western Sotogrande is a highlight. Walking trails in the Sierra de la Nieves Natural Park near Ronda pass deep ravines and gorges that are home to wild cats and mountain goats. Walks along Puerto Banus’ marina near Marbella are particularly pleasant at sunset. Tennis centres and watersports activities are also plentiful in the area.
Fine wine and food
Tapas, sangria and seafood paellas are a Costa del Sol must. The Moorish mountain village Benahávis, dubbed the 'dining room of the Costa del Sol’, is a particularly special gastronomic treat. At its famous Los Abanicos restaurant, suckling lamb and fresh catch of the day are among the specialities. For a simple alfresco experience, ‘chirringuito’ beach bars serve up cocktails, snacks and meals by the sea. In Malaga, don’t miss sampling fritura malagueña, the city's legendary fried seafood.
The Costa del Sol caters to all, from families to bar-hoppers. Benalmádena’s seafront is popular with families with its ice-cream parlours and alfresco restaurants. In glamorous Marbella, Havana Bar often hosts live Latin bands or head to Puerto Banus’s Golden Mile and sit out on the terraces of the Portside Cafe.
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