And now for some information about the Costa del Sol….
The Costa del Sol means “Coast of the Sun”
The Costa Del Sol is the name given to approximately300 kilometres of coastline stretching from Gibraltar in the West, to Almunecar in the East.
The coast consists of a series of large beaches, coves half hidden amongst cliffs, sports harbours and fishing grounds. It is protected from cold north winds by the mountains and has a mild climate with scant rainfall and sea breezes. This weather results in subtropical vegetation with frequent palm-trees, cypress, oleander and hibiscus and other colourful plants. Oranges, lemons and olives grow in abundance and it is often a surprise to visitors to find streets in towns lined with fruit bearing orange trees! Away from the coast the scenery is largely mountainous but with pretty, typically Spanish, villages, valleys full of orchards and spectacular views.
Malaga, the fifth largest city in Spain is situated practically in the centre of the major tourist area. Like the whole of the coast, Malaga has been influenced by the different cultures which have populated it. Founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th Century, it later became a Roman municipality until it was conquered by the Moors and finally re-conquered by the Christians in 1487. With such a varied history it is no surprise that the City contains a wealth of interesting features including fine gardens, a magnificent Cathedral, the Alcazaba (11 th century Moorish castle) and numerous museums and galleries.
To anyone not familiar with the Costa Del Sol, it may seem that each tourist resort and town is the same as the others. This is certainly not the case and, in fact, each town has a different character dependant on what it was like before the days of tourism and how it has been developed.
The Costa del Sol is situated between two lesser known coastal regions, the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical. Formerly made up only of a series of small fishing settlements, today the region is a world renowned tourist destination.Over several decades the Costa Del Sol has developed into one of Europe’s premier holiday destinations based largely on its climate which provides around 300 sunny days per year with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Malaga airport is the key gateway to the region which attracts more than two million annual visitors. Most of the tourist development has taken place to the west of Malaga as mega resorts have grown out of what were no more than fishing villages in the 1960s. The main resorts include Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola which are very close to the airport. Further along the coast lies Marbella with its famous marina at Puerto Banus, Estepona, Sotogrande and finally Gibraltar where the Costa del Sol comes to an end. Tourist developments to the east of Malaga are mainly geared towards domestic tourism until you reach the popular resort of Nerja which attracts mainly foreign visitors.
Another name synonymous with the Costa del Sol is Fuengirola which has the longest sea front promenade on the coast together with an older lawn centre and all the attractions that you would associate with a good holiday resort. Mijas is another “white” village famed for its donkey taxis and now spread down to the coast as Mijas Costa. Continuing further west is the well known town of Marbella. Unlike many of the other towns along the coast this was never a little fishing port but has always been a thriving trading town. Along with Puerto Banus and Estepona, further to the west, Marbella has been very successful in attracting up market guests with exclusive developments, luxury hotels and five star shopping.
The area to the east of Malaga is less well developed with the main resort town being Nerja, a small town built on a ledge where the mountains meet the sea. Nerja is famed for its protected climate, clear air, famous caves and its magnificent views over the sea. For those who are prepared to travel inland, the area is full of small white villages with their narrow winding streets and each with their own character and history. There are several areas of incredible natural beauty and the two inland towns of Ronda and Antequera are each extremely interesting in their own way. Ronda is a particular favourite with visitors with its deep gorge, ancient bullring and magnificent mansions.
Another outstanding feature of the area is its numerous golf courses. The Costa del Sol with its alternative name of Costa del Golf, is a must for golfers who will find everything they need for just a round or two or a full golfing holiday.
The climate of southern Spain is such that golf can be played all year round which has turned it into one of the world’sgreat golfing destinations. With more than seventy courses to play on, excellent accommodation options first class tourism infrastructure the Costa del Sol attracts golfers from all over the world. The extensive coastline is conducive to many water based activities with every resort catering for its visitors with a variety of activities such as kitesurfing, scuba diving and even dolphin and whale watching. The local markets which take place in different resorts each day always prove popular with visitors.
Finally, of course the Costa del Sol is rightly acclaimed for its way of life, with plenty of small bars to relax in, superb food, wonderful people and, of course its ferias and fairs.