Costa del Sol Holidays
Basking in over 320 days of sunshine a year, the Costa del Sol is part of the aptly-named ‘Sunshine Coast’. Once famous for vibrant nightlife, Costa del Sol holidays can now be as up-tempo or as laid back as you want them to be. Family-friendly resorts, such as Benalmadena, offer everything you could possibly need if you’re taking a break with the kids, while couples might prefer the tranquillity of resorts such as Marbella and Pueblo Quinta.
There’s also the opportunity to enjoy a slice of old-school Spain, with a visit to the cobbled streets of Malaga’s Old Town and the Andalusian charms of Nerja. With almost 200 beaches to choose from, holidays to the Costa del Sol are ideal for sun-worshippers, while those who’d like to get some sightseeing done will find plenty to see and do.
Costa del Sol is best for…
Families: The Bioparc zoo at Fuengirola has faithfully recreated a series of environments, so wild animals can live in habitats that are as close to the originals as possible. Take the kids to see a wide variety of exotic beasties.
Golfers: Practice your swing at Valderrama, rated one of the best golf courses in the world.
Celebrity spotters: Be dazzled by the enormous yachts in Puerto Banús near Marbella. Celebs, such as Hugh Grant, Mel Gibson and Eva Longoria have all been spotted in the area.
Fast facts about the Costa del Sol
Language: While the official language spoken here is Spanish, the locals have a good command of English. However, an attempt at the basics is always appreciated, so pack your phrasebook or download our useful language app and try out a few simple phrases for yourself.
Currency: You’ll need to exchange your pounds and pence for Euros before heading off on your Costa del Sol holidays.
Local time: Costa del Sol is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Malaga Airport. Transfers to Torremolinos take 30 minutes, to Benalmadena it’s 45 minutes, to Nerja and Fuengirola it’s 1 hour, and it takes 1 hour 15 minutes to Marbella.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Costa del Sol is 2.5 hours.
Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at www.visitcostadelsol.com
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Costa del Sol.
Costa del Sol Weather & climate
Temperatures: 17°C – 31°C
If you’re planning on hitting the beach and topping up your tan, book your holidays to Costa del Sol between May and September. During these months, the mercury hovers between the high twenties and the low thirties °C, with up to 12 hours of sunshine a day. Spring and autumn offer slightly cooler conditions, with temperatures in the low-to-mid-twenties. Even the winters are warm, with the temperatures only going as low as the mid-teens.
Getting around the Costa del Sol
By train/bus: Getting around is simple thanks to a network of trains and buses that connects Málaga with the main resorts.
By taxi: Taxis are plentiful and can be flagged in the street. Just look out for the word “libre” or a green light.
By car hire: The most practical way of seeing the best places here, including the inland villages, is to hire a car.
Costa del Sol Events
Carnival: With Lent on the horizon, the Andalusians like to cut loose with the biggest party in the country: Carnival! Depending on where you’ve booked your Costa del Sol holidays, the celebrations will last either for a weekend or an entire week! Expect colourful costumes, flamboyant floats and plenty of drinking and dancing.
Semana Santa: Easter’s traditional celebrations during “Semana Santa”, or Holy Week, fill the streets with parades and processions.
Santa’s Day: Throughout the year, towns and villages honour their patron saint in typical Andalusian style. Marbella goes wild every June as it celebrates San Bernabe with a week of dancing and entertainment.
Flamenco: Fireworks herald the start of five days of feasting and flamenco during Málaga Feria every August. In September and October, it’s the turn of Fuengirola and Nerja to join the fiesta frenzy.
Where to Stay
Head west of Málaga for some of the best-known resorts in Spain. Bustling Torremolinos and its family-friendly neighbour Benalmadena share some of the most exceptional beaches in the Costa del Sol. Further west is Fuengirola with its Blue Flag beaches and ancient castle.
Chichi Marbella attracts the wealthy and famous to its beautiful beaches and upscale port. Estepona combines fun on the beach with a delightful old town of cobbled streets and narrow lanes. The Costa del Sol’s capital, Málaga, has an elegant traffic-free old town and seafront lined with some of the Costa del Sol’s top restaurants.
Benalmadena: One of Costa Del Sol’s prime spots, holidays to Benalmadena are perfect for all ages, whether you’re looking for an active or relaxed holiday. The nightlife scene is thriving and is perfect for getaways with friends, whilst there’s the Selwo Marina marine park and Tivoli World theme park for families. A Benalmadena holiday wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of the Blue Flag award winning sandy beaches.
Fuengirola: Set against a backdrop of picturesque mountains, holidays to Fuengirola are sure to provide traditional Spanish charm. One of the region’s leading resorts, which was once a tiny fishing village, is loved for its eight kilometres of golden sandy beaches. Home to a towering medieval Moorish fortress, you can enjoy the vibrant promenade and take a gentle stroll as the sun sets. The nightlife here is brilliant, there’s beachfront bars and dance clubs are open till late.
Torremolinos: As one of the region’s largest resorts, holidays to Torremolinos come highly recommended.?With a reputation for having the best beaches on the Costa, the two golden beaches are perfect for catching some rays or taking a gentle stroll along the promenade as the sun sets. Torremolinos holidays are an ideal getaway for both families and couples alike, take a trip to the waterpark or spend some quality time together as a couple at the seafront restaurants.
Marbella: Holidays to Marbella are known for its sophistication and glamour. This resort is without doubt one of Costa Del Sol’s major tourist centres, largely thanks to its high-quality facilities and reputation. Marbella has the finest nightlife in Andalucía so sip on a cocktail in Puerto Banus and party like a celebrity. It’s also a paradise for golf lovers, as Marbella has some of the finest courses in Andalucía.
Things to do
Those with a head for heights will enjoy the awesome views from the cable car up to Monte Calamorro. Overlooking Benalmadena, the journey takes you up into the clouds, and on a clear day you can even see the coast of Africa! If you’d prefer something a little less vertigo-inducing, relax in Marbella’s whitewashed old town before checking out the eye-wateringly expensive yachts in the marina.
Alternatively, head to the foothills of the Almijara mountain range to the neighbouring resorts of Nerja and Almuñécar, with their long beaches and palm-shaded promenades. After a day at the beach at Torremolinos, drive into the hills to visit some of the most picturesque “white towns”.
Beaches: The shores of the Sunshine Coast are blessed with some of the best beaches in the world. All Fuengirola’s beaches have the coveted Blue Flag status; the only municipality in Spain to do so. For white-knuckle water sports, head to the powdery sands of Playa La Carihuela in Torremolinos. If you’d like to give your family or better half a taste of the highlife, make for Marbella and spot celebrities sunning themselves on the sandy beaches. Alternatively, kick back and relax on the 5km of palm-fringed beaches at San Pedro de Alcantara, home to a popular weekly food market and one of the few places in the Costa del Sol to have Roman ruins.
Family Attractions: It’s very easy to keep the children entertained, as there’s so many exciting things for kids to do in the Costa del Sol. They’ll love the creatures on display at Sea Life in Benalmadena as they walk through the underwater tunnel. Give them a glimpse of the jungles of Africa and Asia as they get close to the exotic animals at Bioparc in Fuengirola. Crocodiles are the stars of the show at Cocodrilos Park, one of the most fascinating attractions here. Tivoli World is one of the best places in the Costa del Sol for an adrenaline-pumping day on some daredevil rides.
Natural Attractions: Head into the hills north of Málaga to explore one of the most extraordinary natural attractions here. The limestone rocks and peaks of El Torcal nature reserve feel like something from the set of Star Trek. What’s thought to be the world’s longest stalactite hangs in the Nerja Caves, one of the most popular natural attractions in the Costa del Sol and a cool place to escape the heat. In Nerja itself, is the high platform of Balcón de Europa, one of the best places here to take in the fantastic views.