Costa Del Sol holidays

Experience Costa Del Sol

Experience [destination]

Best Places to Visit

It's impossible to avoid mentioning the Costa del Sol's beaches. The area offers 160km of coastline to explore, ranging from rocky coves to the golden sands you see in the travel brochures, along with coastal scrubland teeming with insects and other wildlife. While many people are happy simply to sit on the scorched sand and soak up the sun, as well as to plunge into the waves for a swim, it's easy to take a walk away from the more crowded areas and see what you can find. Most resorts will have some kind of guide book available if you want to know what you are looking for.

Costal Del Sol holidays shouldn’t be limited to the tourist resort - the traditional coastal villages and fishing communities give a taste of the true Spain, while still allowing you to enjoy the sea views and beaming sunshine. Malaga and Mijas are both perfect if you're interested in the history of Spain, while elegant beachfront promenades can be found in Puerto Banus in Marbella and Puerto Marina in Benalmadena. Visit one of the Costa's 11 marinas, with combined capacity for up to 4,000 berths, and you can marvel at the variety of vessels moored there, often including bedazzling yachts that are owned by the rich and famous.

Head inland for a different take on traditional Spain as you journey through Malaga's hinterland on the Route of White Villages. These are the iconic communities with their whitewashed walls, which not only help to keep out the heat of the sun during the hottest days, but can seem to almost mimic its fiery fury as the bright daylight bounces back from their reflective walls. It's a picturesque route by any mode of transport, but get out on foot in one or two of the villages along the way and you get a feeling of the narrow and winding streets that hold these tight-knit communities together.

Finally, for something a little different, take a short 7km journey from the historic centre of Malaga out towards Guadalmar and other nearby residential developments. Instead of travelling to the developments themselves, head to the 67 hectare Mouth of the Guadalhorce Natural Area, called La Desembocadura del Guadalhorce in its native tongue. The river mouth was officially designated a Natural Area in 1989 and incorporates both the flowing river itself and the still lagoons of a manmade complex around it, which combine to attract migrating seabirds.

Top Landmarks

Like much of Europe, the Costa del Sol has the architectural hallmarks of many different former civilisations, and these can make for a great way to explore the region and its different historical sites. For a glimpse of the glory of the Roman Empire, Malaga City's Roman Theatre, one of the Iberian Peninsula's largest Roman sites, and Ronda's Acinipo Archaeological Site both have plenty to offer.

There is also a wealth of Arabian heritage in the area dating back to eight centuries during which the Arabs lived in Malaga and its surrounding area. Their influence is still apparent not only in the architecture, but also in the general culture of the region. Arabian castles still stand at Gibralfaro in Malaga City, as well as Alora, Teba and Fuengirola. Fortresses can also be found again in Malaga, and in Velez-Malaga and Antequera too.

For a more traditional landmark, Spain's religious background makes a visit to the region's churches a sensible way to experience the architecture and culture together - just be respectful of any religious services that may be taking place. In Antequera, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria la Mayor and the Church of El Carmen are among the most spectacular sights, while in Malaga City there is the San Agustin Convent Church and the Basilica of Santa Maria. Look out for religious festivals taking place at any of these venues, as you may want to avoid these busier days, or alternatively you might relish the extra atmosphere this adds to your visit.

Entertainment

Spain has a packed itinerary of festivals, feasts and fiestas, and Costa del Sol is no exception, so check what is on the schedule for your local area during the time you are there. One interesting celebration is the Dia de la Sopa de los Siete Ramales, which is held each February 28th to coincide with Andalusia Day. The name translates as the Day of the Soup of Seven Branches, and it is a heartfelt celebration of the local dish prepared in El Burgo, a town in Malaga province. It's also a great chance to taste the soup for yourself - its name derives from the seven ingredients, which include potatoes, bread, onion, garlic, tomato, pepper and wild asparagus.

In Farajan, the Patron Saint Festival of Saint Sebastian takes place throughout the first half of August, so if you are in the area at that time you will have the opportunity to include a visit in your schedule. There's a complete itinerary of events throughout the fortnight, mostly centred on Farajan's Plaza de Andalucia, and many of these are child-friendly. There are street parties and parades, musical performances to enjoy, and if you want to be more directly involved in the festivities, there is also regularly a foam party too. On a more serious note, there is a strong religious theme to the festival and this reaches its own highlight with mass held at the Nuestra Senora del Rosario Church, honouring Saint Sebastian's role as the village's own patron saint.

Dining Out

Malaga and the Costa del Sol holidays cater for tourists from all over the world. This means that you should be able to get a taste of home if you want it, a quick lunch in the form of familiar fast food, or almost any other world cuisine if you look hard enough to find it. There are also local Spanish dishes, of course, and you may often see groups enjoying contrasting cuisines - one person eating a burger, another enjoying a seafood dish, and a third perhaps dining on fresh pasta, while bathed in the sunlight of a restaurant terrace.

For traditional Spanish flavours, tapas is an excellent way to try several different dishes in small quantities, and sharing these tasters is a great social occasion for groups too. You can head to a tapas restaurant for your lunch or evening meal, but you may also find individual dishes served in local bars, which can be the ideal accompaniment to a pint of cerveza, or an ice cold soft drink if you prefer. Seafood is widely available, and a chiringuito, or beach bar, is a convenient way to enjoy pescaito frito, or fried fish, during your day at the beach.

Need to know

Need to know [destination]

Language

The local language on the Costa del Sol is Spanish, but on most package holidays in the area you should be able to cope perfectly well without speaking any Spanish at all. The cliche 'dos cervezas, por favor' stems from how little Spanish you need to know - and will politely order two beers, if you want to try using it. In the main resorts and hotels though, you should easily find fluent English-speaking staff, and independent shopkeepers in the area will usually have a good command of English for the tourist market too.

Currency

Spain uses the euro, although generally the price of most items is comparable to when its currency was still pesetas. It's probably the easiest currency to obtain as a British holidaymaker, too - if you're exchanging sterling for euros as cash, consider doing so before leaving the UK, or avoid the airport and main tourist bureaux de change if you want the best exchange rate. Credit and debit cards may incur fees, so consider a prepaid travel currency card instead; however, ATMs should be easy to find if you want or need one.

Visas

British citizens and British subjects with a 'right of abode' in the UK don't need a visa to enter Spain, including the Costa del Sol. You can stay up to three months, although for very long trips this can be extended at the nearest foreign office once you are there. You'll need a valid passport, which should still be in date when you leave the country too, but you generally won't need any additional period before it expires, such as the extra six months some countries insist on.

Climate

The Costa del Sol is literally the 'coast of the sun', and for good reason. Its year-round climate is bright and warm, with a hot peak summer season and very pleasant temperatures even through the winter months. Summer days can be very hot with little cloud cover, so don't expect to be in the shade for long - take a hat and light long-sleeved clothing to cover up for at least some of the time. Rain, when it comes, can be very sudden and heavy, so be aware of your nearest shelter if you're out in the open and clouds appear over the horizon.

Main Airports

As you might expect from one of the world's most popular tourism destinations, the Costa del Sol is well served by both domestic and international flights. Malaga Pablo Ruiz Picasso Airport serves as the base for more than 60 airline operators. These run routes to 20 cities throughout the rest of Spain and internationally to destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America, often on a daily basis.

Flight Options

The airport itself is busy handling all of the arriving and departing tourists. Officially, Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport is the Iberian Peninsula's third-busiest airport, fourth among Spanish territories overall, and ranked close to 20th for the EU as a whole. More than 10,000 flights arrive and depart internationally each year, making it a crucial gateway into the entire surrounding region. Some 85% of all international traffic into Malaga and Andalusia passes through the airport's terminal, which is now designed to cope with foot traffic of up to 35 million people each year, with good accessibility for those with mobility problems.

Travel Advice

Holidays to Costa del Sol are a popular choice, meaning the area is visited by many travellers each year. It has good tourism all year round due to its mild climate, with summer being the most popular for its summer sun and high temperatures. The cheapest time to travel is in the Spring due to the low season.

Other Transport Options

As well as flying, it’s possible to reach the Costa del Sol by rail. This isn’t the easiest travel option, but train hopping is an exciting way to see more of your destination and embark on a real adventure. The journey can be made in around 21 hours, passing through cultural hubs such as Paris and Madrid.

Getting Around

The Costa del Sol has excellent transport links, including easily accessible public transport throughout Malaga province.

Bus

Connections from the airport to Malaga City include road transfers via the Malaga ring road, with buses leaving every 10 minutes, and there are also bus routes that can take you to Marbella. Taxis are available too, as well as the option to take a train to Maria Zambrano Station in central Malaga.

Train

If you are heading out from Malaga City, a train might be the best option for a day trip, and the strong commuter network should mean there are services that run to nearby towns and to the airport. Alternatively, hop on a bus to make similar kinds of journeys. As these take you from your starting point straight to your destination, there should be little need for a map, but it's still worth investing in one just in case. Always make sure you know what time the last bus or train departs for your return journey.

MAP

COSTA DEL SOL`S WEATHER TODAY

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MONTHS

AVERAGE RAINFALL (mm)

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FACTS

  1. Costa del Sol means 'Coast of the Sun' and with 160km of coastline and as many as 320 sunny days per year—that's more than six per week—it's easy to see how the region lives up to its name.
  2. The Costa del Sol is nestled between the Costa de la Luz (Coast of the Light) and the Costa Tropical (simply the Tropical Coast).
  3. Although it is now primarily a tourist destination, the Costa del Sol was originally home to a string of small fishing villages, and on some excursions away from the beach resorts you can still see signs of these humble and industrious origins.

FACTS

  1. Costa del Sol means 'Coast of the Sun' and with 160km of coastline and as many as 320 sunny days per year—that's more than six per week—it's easy to see how the region lives up to its name.
  2. The Costa del Sol is nestled between the Costa de la Luz (Coast of the Light) and the Costa Tropical (simply the Tropical Coast).
  3. Although it is now primarily a tourist destination, the Costa del Sol was originally home to a string of small fishing villages, and on some excursions away from the beach resorts you can still see signs of these humble and industrious origins.

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