Enjoying an average of 300 sunny days every year, the 90-plus miles of coastline hugging the Mediterranean Sea that makes up the Costa Del Sol is one region of Spain that undoubtedly lives up to its name.
The holiday resorts that attract many of the 2.5 million Britons who visit the Costa Del Sol each year start in Nerja and go west all the way to Cadiz, taking in the likes of Torremolinos, Benalmadena. Fuengirola and sophisticated Marbella.
It is not just the Costa Del Sol’s abundance of sun-kissed golden beaches, a high proportion of which have been awarded Blue Flag status, that draw holidaymakers seeking winter sun or a relaxing summer break.
The region is also one of Europe’s top golfing destinations, and the Costa del Sol has around 60 top class courses designed to offer something for golfers of all abilities.
The fresh food in this part of Spain will tickle everyone’s tastebuds. From international flavours on offer in many restaurants and hotels to platters of succulent seafood, melt-in-the-mouth-watering Bellota ham, fresh-pressed olive oil and heaps of salad like you’ve never tasted before to traditional tapas mean many people holiday in the Costa Del Sol for the food alone.
And to work off any over-indulgence during meal times, the Costa Del Sol also offers adrenaline seekers a wide choice of activities, from waterparks and watersports to horse riding in the foothills of the mountain ranges that rise up. Immediately inland from the coast, quad biking along dry river beds, canyoning, parasailing, diving, sailing and even skiing and snowboarding in Sierra Nevada, which is just a two-hour drive from the Costa Del Sol.
For those who put rest and relaxation at the top of their list of holiday essentials, why not indulge in a spot of whale or dolphin spotting? The Costa del Sol is not only part of the migration route for multiple whale species, including Killer Whales, three types of dolphins inhabit the recently established Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar – a popular day trip that is on offer from numerous Costa Del Sol resorts.
With so much on offer from a holiday to the Costa Del Sol, it can be difficult to work out which resort is best suited to you and your family.
Here, we’ve picked out some of our favourite Costa Del Sol destinations.
Noted for its clean sandy beaches, wide choice of hotels and restaurants and unparalleled variety of entertainment, activities and nightlife available, Torremolinos was the first Costa del Sol resort to be developed back in the early 1960s when it was little more than a sleepy fishing village,
The town has six beaches and all have golden, clean sands and lots of facilities, including restaurants and watersports.
The 4.5 mile promenade, which runs alongside the beaches, is perfect for an evening stroll taking you through the old fishing village of La Carihuela to the marina at Benalmadena.
The nearest golf courses to Torremolinos are Guadalhorce, Lauro, Alhaurin and Torrequebrada, while the town also boasts its own Aqualand Torremolinos waterpark plus Jardin Botanico Molino de Inca, a botanical gardens on the outskirts of town.
While the nightlife in Torremolinos offers something for everyone all over town, a large number of clubs are found on the Calle San Miguel in the section of town known as La Nogalera.
Sandwiched between Torremolinos and Fuengirola, this area of the Costa Del Sol is a real family favourite due to its three Blue Flag beaches – Torrevigia, Fuente de la Salud and Torrebermeja-Santa Ana – and the fantastic Puerto Marina area.
Here, children of all ages can also visit the Sealife Centre and accompanying crazy golf course, while keen shoppers can visit the boutiques, gift shops and craft stores that line the water’s edge.
One of the area’s leading golf courses is Torrequebrada, while Tivoli World is located in the centre of town. This theme park is a great day out for the whole family, with rides to thrill all ages and plenty of restaurants and ice cream stands to refuel throughout the day.
Alternatively, head inland to Benalmádena Pueblo, which is the original centre for the resort and an authentic Spanish village, complete with cobblestone streets and narrow alleys.
After dark, the compact size of Benalmádena makes the resort an easy one for planning a night out in because a large number of venues are centred round The Square.
With 4.5 miles of golden sand up for grabs, Fuengirola is perfect for beach lovers. The attractions on offer near the town’s seven beaches – Carvajal, Torreblanca, Las Gaviotas, Los Boliches, San Francisco, Santa Amalia and El Egido – range from jetskiing and sailing to simply sipping cocktails under a parasol.
Away from the beaches, there is the Moorish Sohail Castle, which showcases the ancient history behind the town. Built in 956AD as a fortress to defend the coastline, it was renovated and turned into a tourist attraction in 2000.
Other attractions in Fuengirola include the zoo and waterpark. Fuengirola market, meanwhile, is the largest on the coast and is held every Tuesday on Recinto Ferial, the town’s fairground. On Saturdays a flea market is held on the same site, while a smaller Sunday market is held near the Pyramides Hotel.
When it comes to golf, the nearest courses to Fuengirola are Cerrado del Águila Golf & Resort, Mijas and El Chaparral.
After dark, Fuengirola’s nightlife is very lively with plenty of places to choose from. Most of the pubs, clubs and discos, however, are on the seafront by the port.
A holiday to Marbella offers the opportunity to combine a chic city break and relaxing on one or more of the area’s best beaches, such as Cabopino, Las Chapas or Estrella del Mar, which are all found in East Marbella.
Less than 2 miles west of the centre of Marbella and along the Boulevard Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, better known as The Golden Mile, is Puerto Banus. This area is home to some of the world’s most expensive and luxurious yachts. Alongside the impressive vessels, you’ll also find designer stores and many portside bars to sit in and watch the world go by.
Nightfall is when Puerto Banus really comes alive with many of the bars and night clubs open to the early hours of the morning.
The Costa del Sol is also known as the Costa del Golf” and l a mile or so from from Puerto Banus is Golf Valley with world-class courses designed by Robert Trent Jones and Seve Ballesteros.
Back in Marbella Old Town, visitors will discover tightly knit cobbled streets, small boutiques, art galleries and excellent restaurants with local tapas clustered around Orange Square, known by locals as La Plaza de los Naranjos.
Other attractions in Marbella include the Ralli Museum, which contains one of the most important Latin American art collections in Europe.