Luxury villas in Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol is named for its most obvious feature: sunshine. But it’s a gateway to beaches, ancient roots and small villages, too.

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Costa del sol holiday guide

The most famous Spanish coast is named for its most obvious feature: abundant sunshine. Andalucía’s largest coastal city, Málaga, is the gateway to beaches, but the genteel city also has ancient roots and a strong identification with native son Pablo Picasso. Near your Costa del Sol villa, you will still find fishing villages amid the palm-lined promenades and yachts of Puerto Banús, seaside boutiques in Marbella, and elite golf courses in Sotogrande. No matter where you go, though, a Costa del Sol holiday most often revolves around the beach.

Attractions

West of Málaga, the coast stretches for eighty five kilometres along a continuous string of beach resorts. Yet almost all the towns along the coast maintain cascos históricos (old quarters) with narrow streets and Andalusian character. Torremolinos sparked Spain’s coastal development in the 1950s, and one look at its wide beaches makes it clear why. At the western end, edging towards Gibraltar, Estepona is framed by seven watchtowers used to look out for North African pirates in the 18th century.

Torremolinos beach, Malaga province, Costa del Sol

Things to do in Costa Del Sol

Màlaga celebrates Picasso, from the artist’s Casa Natal (birth home) to the outstanding Museo Picasso Málaga. Dig deeper into the city’s past at the 11th-century Alcazaba(Moorish fortress) and Roman Theatre. The coast is at its ritziest in Marbella and Puerto Banús, where the tanned and bejeweled hob-nob and shop. Golf is king in luxurious Sotogrande, and families can leave behind the beach for marine-life parks, the Fuengirola Zoo, and amusement parks.

The Roman Theatre in Malaga

Eating and Drinking

The English invasion has brought plenty of fish-and-chip joints along the coast, but you will also find authentic Spanish restaurants specializing in fresh seafood—perhaps baked in salt, but usually grilled or fried. Dine at upscale ‘scene’ spots in Marbella, international restaurants with photo-emblazoned menus, or simple beachfront places where sardines grill over an open fire. Rice dishes are big, as are the typical Andalusian chilled soups, gazpacho (tomato-based vegetable) and ajoblanco (its white garlic and almond cousin).

Ajoblanco is a traditional cold soup

Nightlife and Entertainment in Costa del Sol

Sometimes the simplest diversions are best: join the paseo—the time-honored evening and weekend stroll along Málaga’s Paseo del Parque or Marbella’s Avenida del Mar, which is lined with sculptures by Salvador Dalí. Animated taverns are chock-a-block in Marbella’s Old Quarter, and Puerto Banús buzzes with luxury yachts, open-air lounges, and discos for partying ‘til dawn. Catch a polo match in Sotogrande or, for traditional Spanish arts, join locals at flamenco clubs.

Málaga’s Paseo del Parque