For a 2017 holiday that promises sun, sea and sand, it has to be the Costa del Sol. For decades, Spain's 'Sun Coast' has been the go-to destination for vitamin D-deficient visitors looking for some fun in the sun. 300,000 ex-pats have moved to the area from Ireland and the UK, so there’s plenty of familiar faces mingling in the bars and on the beaches. The region’s appeal is obvious the minute the plane lands. After just a three hour flight, you can relax on the beach or by the pool before heading out in search of Spanish culture.
With road trips giving you the option to explore the coast or head inland to soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere in Seville, holidays on the Costa del Sol are a great opportunity to see some of Spain’s best sights. Go on winding drives along the coast. Explore the tasty treats on offer in the tapas bars. Or hit the beach to get to work on that all-important golden tan. Whatever you’re expecting from a Costa del Sol holiday, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. This Spanish treasure’s best gems are waiting to delight you.
Top hotels in Costa del Sol
Torremolinos, Costa del Sol
Fuengirola, Costa del Sol
Roc Costa Park
Torremolinos, Costa del Sol
Vik Gran Hotel Costa Del Sol
Mijas Costa, Costa del Sol
Benalmadena, Costa del Sol
Benalmadena, Costa del Sol
Royal Costa Hotel
Torremolinos, Costa del Sol
Guadacorte Park Hotel
Algeciras, Costa del Sol
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 3h 0m
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When to go
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Taking a holiday to the Costa del Sol is a chance to explore some of Spain’s very best coastal towns and villages. From the rich and diverse culture of Malaga to the smaller villages, such as the picturesque Nerja, every stop-off has its own unique appeal. Glitzy Marbella is the region’s playground for the rich and famous, but thankfully you won’t need a bulging bank account or yacht to visit.
With national parks, beautiful beaches and welcoming waters, the Costa del Sol’s real beauty can be found in its natural scenery. And with waterparks, amusement parks and wildlife attractions, there’s also plenty of days out to enjoy alongside hiking, biking and driving around this beautiful Spanish region. Adventurous visitors will love the range of extreme sports, water sports and activities on offer. With all that and more, the Costa del Sol offers so much more than a fortnight by the hotel pool.
Wine and Dine
You might expect an extensive offering of roast dinners, fry ups and Irish watering holes, but a holiday to the Costa del Sol offers so much more. Foodies will be delighted to find the Costa del Sol’s cuisine is rich in variety and flavours. Michelin-star chefs are serving up delicious morsels in chic restaurants, while beach bars and tapas bars offer a more laid-back dining experience. With the region’s wine industry soaring, vineyard tours are a chance to taste the very best wines.
For a true taste of Spain, the fried fish served in the typical chiringuitos (beach bars) is the highlight of many menus. The freshest catch char-grilled over open coals and served al-fresco – it’s a must when you’re on a Costa del Sol holiday. For families holidaying together, small tapas dishes are a great way to enjoy a shared meal. With familiar favourites on a tapas menu, such as Spanish omelette, to innovative new dishes being created in local haunts, tapas are a real feast you can savour on this sunshine coast.
Families are guaranteed a warm welcome on a Costa del Sol holiday. With a huge amount of child friendly, purpose built attractions alongside the fantastic beaches and natural wonders to explore, every day offers a new and exciting adventure. Nature lovers will want to visit Benalmadena’s aquarium, where the star attraction is the sharks. Children can get close to marine creatures and hold starfish and crabs too.
Don’t miss the nearby Butterfly Park. With 1,500 beautiful butterflies, it’s a tropical oasis of plants, waterfalls and animals. With a huge choice of waterparks, plus water sports on the coast, there are also plenty of chances to take a refreshing swim or enjoy something a little more active. Inquisitive explorers will love a trip to El Torcal Nature Reserve. This prehistoric untouched wilderness is just waiting to be explored.
Action and Adventure
How do you like your action and adventure? Do you love the great outdoors or does crazy golf push you to your limits on holiday? However far you’ll go to get the adrenaline pumping, a Costa del Sol holiday can make it happen. Water parks are a huge draw, with dizzyingly high slides, spills and thrills never far away. With lazy rivers a welcome respite for less adventurous fun-seekers, everyone can enjoy the day.
To really get your heart pounding, head to the El Caminito del Rey. Vertigo sufferers need not apply for this one - rumoured to be the most dangerous path in the world, 4kms of trails take you through a narrow gorge 100m high up in the craggy rocks. Back on the ground, some safer exploits include enjoying a round at Fuengirola’s 19-hole adventure golf course, hiking through El Torcal Nature Reserve and go-karting in Miramar. If you take to the warm, coastal waters, you can enjoy a huge range of water sports including sea kayaking. Or take an unforgettable dolphin-spotting boat trip from Fuengirola port. For an adventure the whole family can enjoy, try the river walk in Rio Chillar. Navigate your way along the shallow flowing waters, taking in waterfalls and river pools along the way.
Life's a Beach
Spain’s sunshine coast has built its reputation on its beaches, and a holiday to the Costa del Sol offers beach fun by the bucketload. With so many different coastal landscapes to explore, there’s a huge variety of scenic spots to build a sandcastle or enjoy a lazy day on the shore.
On the western side of the Costa del Sol, the beaches are renowned for their fantastic facilities and provide everything you need for a fun-filled day on the beach. To the east, things get more rugged. While the west lays on the hospitality, the east’s beaches are more secluded, offering a chance to avoid the crowds and bag a spot on the sands all to yourself.
Malaga’s central beaches are close to the city centre, meaning you’re never too far away from the convenient amenities. With some of the regions best beach bars here, you can also enjoy a cocktail on the sands and the local speciality, espeto de sardinas - chargrilled sardines cooked fresh on the shore.
Each resort on the Costa del Sol has its own unique ambience. There’s a place for wild party nights and laid-back evenings with a cocktail or two on this sunny stretch of coastline. If you’re on holiday in the Costa del Sol to party until dawn, you won’t be disappointed. Malaga is the region’s hotspot for the very best clubs and internationally renowned DJs. With a variety of clubs and bars, Malaga has the perfect cosmopolitan mix. There’s always a lively buzz about the streets, making it perfect for holidaymakers wanting to feel part of the action.
During summer season, the Costa’s nightlife really kicks off. Outdoor discos and huge beach parties set the tone and are a summer highlight. For glitz and glamour head to Marbella, where famous faces hit the clubs before retiring to their yachts for the night.
Nothing sums up a ‘romantic getaway’ better than a holiday spent enjoying the very best a region has to offer. A holiday to the Costa del Sol more than delivers. Whether you’re taking a road trip to discover the delights of quiet whitewashed villages, strolling on warm sands hand-in-hand or browsing in a Malaga art gallery, there’s ample opportunity to enjoy memorable moments together as a couple.
While some of the region’s beaches can get quite busy, the beaches on the east of the costa del sol are usually quiet places where you can enjoy a secluded picnic on the sand. Rugged rocks and beautiful seas create a dramatic, scenic backdrop for those all-important holiday photos. The Costa del Sol was made for spending idyllic days lounging by the pool, exploring the coast’s natural wonders or wandering around a bustling marina. With chic restaurants and tapas to try, candlelit meals are the ideal way to sample the region’s very best cuisine.
This beautiful stretch of Spanish coastline is home to some hidden gems that are well worth digging up. A road trip to some of the lesser known villages unearths culture, heritage and art by the bucketload. Nerja, a picture-perfect town to the east, is an unspoiled resort brimming with sights to see. Don’t let the scenic streets distract you, the real beauty is hidden underground. Stalagmites and stalactites line the walls of a labyrinth-like network of caves. The Cuevas de Nerja’s impressive acoustics see the venue used for a summer festival of classical music and flamenco dancing.
Malaga is another highlight for culture lovers on a Costa del Sol holiday. Recently undergoing a period of renovation, this historic city centre is a must-see. Malaga’s art mile, gourmet dining and mix of urban chic alongside historic architecture is fast making it a contender to Barcelona’s culture crown.