Popular, glamorous or quiet, choosing the right resort on the Costa del Sol is the key to a successful holiday or relocation on this world famous stretch of the Mediterranean.
Claiming over 160 km of coastline and 2500 hours of sunshine a year, the Costa del Sol is a destination for all seasons. Dark or golden sands may be grainy at times but the water is beautifully clear, warm and safe, and a number of beaches are regularly awarded the European Blue Flag for cleanliness.
The largest concentration of resorts is to the west of Malaga, the provincial capital, with a long string of lively family-friendly beaches and the most glamorous jet-set venues in Andalusia. But the Malaga province also claims some quiet beaches mostly in the far west and eastern reaches.
Popular Torremolinos, the Lively Costa
Torremolinos, the original high rise resort, spruced up its image in recent years with lush greenery and parks and a good choice of restaurants and hotels. Water sports and nightlife attract the younger generation but the lovely sands of La Carihuela are for everyone to enjoy.
Benalmadena draws crowds with myriad activities on land or water. Families love the sands, the fabulous Aquarium and the cable car ride to the hilltop while others come for jet skis, nightclubs and cosmopolitan restaurants.
Twenty-five km from the airport, Fuengirola claims the longest promenade on the Costa, a vibrant harbour and colourful summer feria. The broad sands of Los Boliches are great for children and offer the usual family-friendly facilities.
Malaga is ideal for those who like beach and city all in one. This bustling town has lots of attractions, including two castles, a Picasso Museum and La Malagueta, one of the most popular beaches in Andalusia. Expect crowds in summer and a range of amenities, including children’s play area and lifeguard.
East of Malaga, La Burriana Beach in Nerja is framed by lush vegetation and scenic rocks. It’s popular, clean and close to the white city where steep lanes and leafy squares have retained their Andalusian character.
Marbella, Jet Set Glamour in Andalusia
Beyond the gleaming marina, Marbella has golden sands with plush loungers and an attractive old town with cobbled lanes and a pretty Orange Square. There are cool shaded parks and glimpses of the Sierra, dwarfed by modern developments. Marbella is the town where apartments and villas for sale in Spain have one of the highest price tags, so this is probably not the place to come if you are looking for a budget holiday or second home.
Next door, Puerto Banus is the place to see and be seen, all extravagant yachts, fine sands and al fresco bars open until dawn. There are fashion houses and classy restaurants where sporting their dark designer glasses, members of the jet set sip exclusive cocktails.
Quiet Estepona and Secluded Beaches in Malaga Province
To the far west, away from the busy Del Cristo beach, Estepona boasts some quiet spots where sometimes the sands are almost deserted, even on a summer’s day.The long Arroyo Vaquero welcomes the nudist community who have their own purpose built complex.
Among the secluded eastern coves tucked below the Maro cliffs are Cala de Pino, accessed only on foot, and Alberquillas, a nature reserve and favourite haunt of scuba divers and bird watchers.