The Costa del Sol stretches along just over 150 kilometres of Málaga province and is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations.
Andalucia and the Costa del sol, known to many as “the bridge between two continents”, “the gateway to Europe”, “a melting pot of cultures” or “a meeting point of two seas”.
A direct link between Europe and Africa, and the place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean.
It consists of a string of fine sandy beaches, where the average water temperature is 64ºF. (18ºC), (over 300 days of sunshine per year) Picturesque towns have abundant tourist amenities, resorts and high-rise hotels. The area’s mild climate is the root attraction that makes it possible to enjoy the beaches and a wide variety of outdoor activities year round.
The diversity of the landscapes which make up the region provides an entire spectrum: from the warm Guadalquivir valley, to leafy low mountain areas, from volcanic landscapes such as the Tabernas Desert to the white peaks of Sierra Nevada. The queen of heights is undoubtedly the Sierra Nevada, in the heart of the Penibético System, where summits above 3,400 m, such as El Mulhacén and El Veleta, preside majestically over the rest of the nearby ranges.
Andalucia’s main river, the Guadalquivir, from the Arabic, meaning “Great River”, together with its tributary, the Genil, forms a fertile valley which constitutes the fundamental geographical axis of Andalucia. From its beginnings in eastern Andalucia, in the Sierra de Cazorla, to its outlet into the sea in the west, next to the marshes of Doñana National Park, the Guadalquivir is a source of life all along its journey across Andalucian territory.
The most popular resort town on the Costa del Sol is Torremolinos, which retains some elements of traditional Spain, although most main streets are now pedestrianised-thoroughfares filled with souvenir shops and ice-cream parlours.
Within forty kilometres it is possible to travel from the alpine landscape to the tropical shores of the Mediterranean and the Costa del Sol. The Andalucian coast, almost 900 km long, is home to a large number of towns and beaches.
Within this diverse landscape live more than seven million inhabitants, spread out among the diverse habitats which abound. The majority live in the big cities – the eight provincial capitals (Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville) and Jerez de la Frontera head the list with regards to population growth – while many others prefer to live in towns, small mountain villages, country estates and farmsteads.
Nerja is the most important urban centre on this end of the coast and has grown rapidly. Much of the eastern Costa del Sol’s accommodation for tourists is found in Nerja, which is surrounded by tourist pueblos. This town also has one of this area’s main tourist attractions – the Nerja Caves, a spectacular find that is open to the public and that hosts an annual music and dance festival within its famous caverns. At the foot of Nerja town a winding footpath joins several coves and there are some nice beaches to be found in this area.
From Malaga eastwards there are cliffs of up to 200 meters where the Sierra Almijara joins the sea. This section ends at a place called Mara, on a coastal plain. It has an urban landscape surrounded by traditional agriculture.
The lively city of Malaga, on the coast about 80 miles (129km) southeast of Seville, is the gateway to Spain’s popular Costa del Sol holiday resort region. The city was also the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and features several galleries displaying his work. Like most Andalusian cities Malaga has Moorish roots, and its illustrious past has left an imprint on the historic centre, particularly around the fortress of La Alcazaba, dating from 1065, which is now an archaeological museum. The city’s famous botanical garden sited on the Calle Alameda, dates from the days when Malaga was a popular winter resort for the rich and famous, and is worth a visit.
Situated 25 miles (40km) southwest of Malaga, the few miles of coast between Marbella and Puerto Banus. The rich and famous have flashy houses on the surrounding hills, and expensive yachts in the marina. Marbella is the Costa del Sol’s quality resort – the restaurants and bars are more stylish and pricey. The old town is hidden away and retains some of its medieval charm and has some good shops and restaurants. The more exclusive Puerto Banus, six miles (10km) to the west, is where you will find the casino and the seriously large yachts. Those visitors who drive just a few miles inland to the villages in the hills around Ronda will discover a Spain completely untouched by tourism, with village markets and tapas bars to be explored.
Situated on a towering plateau in the mountains thirty miles (48km) inland from Marbella stands Ronda, one of the prettiest and most historic towns in the region. Ronda is a popular day-trip for holidaymakers on the Costa del Sol wanting to escape the beach and soak up some culture in one of the many cafés and restaurants. El Tajo is famous for the plunging river gorge that divides the medieval from the 18th-century parts of the town. The gorge is spanned by a stone bridge, Puente Nuevo, which once housed a prison and now acts as a dramatic view for visitors. There is a superb walkway, El Parador, along the river gorge, which offers superb views of the surrounding countryside. Ronda is also well known for its bullring – the oldest and largest in Spain.
There are around 70 golf courses on the “Costa del Golf” which can be played all year round as well as a whole range of other activities available such as sailing, scuba diving, horse riding, dolphin safaris, etc.
Attractions include zoos, bullfights, water parks, casinos and amusement parks, like the renowned Parque de Attractions Tivoli.
Andalucia has a rich history, and many ancient civilisations have left behind a legacy of ruins and historical sites. Many of these make for good day trips from the Costa del Sol.
Acinipo in Ronda – Roman theatre, large enough to seat 2,000 people and in good condition – complete with an orange tiled orchestra pit and actors’ changing rooms. It is suggested the theatre was started in 65 AD and completed about 200 AD. A modern steel stage has been constructed.
Bobastro near Alora. – an ancient village located in the El Torcal National Park.
Folk Museums – Most towns along the coast have a “Museo de Tradiciones y Artes Populares”. These are worth stepping into as often the locals have put a lot of work into recreating the traditions of the past.
Malaga – Spain’s celebrated painter, Pablo Picasso was born in 1881 in the corner house of an elegant yellow-toned block on Plaza de la Merced.
Málaga, Fuengirola and Marbella all have theatres worth visiting. However, Málaga’s Teatro Cervantes is considered to be a genuine historical monument.
Nerja Caves – annual music and dance festival within its famous caverns. At the foot of Nerja town a winding footpath joins several coves.
How to get there
BY AIR ;
Choose from many uk and European airlines. The airport is situated between Malaga, the main city on the Costa del Sol, and the large resort of Torremolinos.
Travel by Car, all cities and coastal resorts are easily accessible. The national road N340 connects all town and resorts along the coast.
There is an electric train between Malaga and Fuengirola along the coast. A train also connects Ronda to Malaga.
Bus services link the coastal towns as well as the inland towns of Ronda and Granada to each other
Traditional Festivals – There is no better way to get to know the Andalucians than through their many and fascinating feast days. The local fiesta is the moment when every town and village strives to put on a splendid show, not only for themselves but also for those who come from afar to admire and enjoy.
Eating Dining Shopping
The cosmopolitan community on the Costa del Sol needs a wide selection of places to eat – and the Coast has got it all. Top quality international cuisine, professional standards and beautiful locations makes eating out a pleasurable experience!
As one would expect, Marbella is a wonderful shopping centre with several large shopping complexes, as well as hypermarkets, specialty food shops, designer boutiques, interior decor stores and much more.The best way to explore Marbella’s shops is by simply strolling through the streets.
It was the Romans who as part of the ongoing struggle against Carthage invaded the Iberian peninsular, and after a time, unified rule over what is now modern Spain.
Malaga grew in importance becoming a major colony, which in turn led to the Romanisation of the surrounding lands. Aqueducts, bath houses, temples, fortifications & government structures were built along much of the Costa del Sol, some of which still exist today. In fact Julius Caesar himself was once a governor of Hispania Ulterior is said to have spent time enjoying the delights of the Costa del Sol.
By 476 AD the Roman Empire was in decline and pressure on Germanic tribes by the expansion of the Mongol population led to escalating incursions into Roman territory. This intensified as time went on and eventually Spain was invaded by the Vandals, Alani & Suevi peoples. They in turn were quickly overthrown by the Visigoths, another tribe of Germanic origin, who completed their conquest of the peninsular.
The Moors (Arabs) brought about the next major change in the history of the Costa del Sol, and much of southern Spain.
In the 8th century AD they invaded the region after defeating the Hispanic-Visigoth army of Theodomir. Malaga then became the main port for the kingdom of Granada.
Much progress was made during the years of Islamic rule. They brought with them advances in art & architecture.
Oranges, palms and rice, where imported, additionally the irrigation techniques needed to transform the arid landscape into fertile agricultural land.
Some of Spain’s most beautiful buildings & monuments were left behind by the Moors.
Though a successful power for hundreds of years, civil strife gradually wore down the Moorish kingdom of Granada, resulting in a loss of power and tradition. They were largely tolerated by the growing Christian population within Spain, but by the time Granada was taken in 1492 the mood had changed and over time many Moors were expelled or forcibly converted to Christianity. Thus the Moorish empire in southern Spain vanished.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number 112
Airport Information 952 048 484/404
Train station: 0990 848848 (+44 990 848848 from outside the UK).
Tourist Office: Costa del Sol Tourist Board Tel: (+34) 95 221 34 45
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line