Sandy shores, stylish shops and family activities all within reach
The most popular resort for holidays in Costa del Sol is Benalmadena, and it deserves this much-loved status. Its long arches of sand stretch for miles, whilst theme parks and buzzing bars ensure the resort is exciting whether its day or night. Its conveniently clustered into a trio of resorts, with the famed Fuengirola and Torremolinos on either side.
In fact, all it takes to visit Torremolinos from Benalmadena is a quick stroll along the seafront, where you’ll start at what is often voted as ‘the best marina in the world’ and end up But beyond the marina, the resort has lots more to offer the form of a waterpark, serene beachfront restaurants and 5 miles of coastline. The nightlife is incredibly vibrant here too! Whilst the furthest south of the three main resorts for holidays in Costa del Sol, Fuengirola has ancient attractions, long golden beaches and one of the best zoos in the whole of Spain.
When it comes to style, holidays in Costa del Sol have it in abundance, especially at the glamorous resorts of Marbella and its harbour Puerto Banus. Here designer boutiques and classy cocktail bars align with radiant beaches and trim golf courses - it’s no wonder the main road between the two resorts is called ‘The Golden Mile.’ Head west from Puerto Banus and you’ll end up in Estepona, a peaceful resort with cotton-soft white sands and many great golf courses nearby.
Offering yet another change of pace, Nerja, the easternmost resort in the Costa del Sol has some simply incredible attractions, ranging from prehistoric caves to unforgettable beauty spots. As you can see, with such a wide range of resorts in Costa del Sol, holidays here are what you make it!
Make the most of must sees in Costa del Sol
Within the waving southern coastline of Costa del Sol you’ll come across every kind of attraction, from ancient wonders to scenic sights, perfectly landscaped parks to professionally developed golf courses. Starting in the east, Nerja has the kind of sites it’s well worth travelling the distance for, even if you’re staying in the more built up resorts of Torremolinos or Benalmadena in the centre of the Costa del Sol.
The Nerja Caves were only re-discovered in 1959 and yet there’s evidence that humans lived here a staggering 27,000 years ago. As you enter the cave, the first thing you’ll notice is its unusual stalactites and stalagmites, long fang-shaped structures that look like molten wax dripping from the ceiling and rising from the floor. Inside, you’ll also see some fascinating exhibits in the galleries, including 20,000 year-old skeletons and what may be the world’s oldest Neanderthal paintings.
Nerja has yet more stunning synthesis between humanity and nature at the Balcon de Europa. This high viewing platform was built into the very edge of a rocky part of coastline overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The name of the beauty spot is said to derive from the King Alfonso XII of Spain, who upon looking out from the point said: “This is the Balcony of Europe.” A glistening bronze statue of the King has since been erected at the site to honour his statement.
Continue west and you’ll arrive in Malaga, the city where it’s likely you’ll touchdown for holidays in Costa del Sol, as the main airport is based here. But don’t dismiss Malaga as a mere gateway city – it actually has some of the best historical sites in the whole region. Rising upon a dusky sun-baked hill, Alcazaba is one of the best preserved Moorish forts in Spain, and dates back from the middle of the 11th century. It’s a sprawling site, consisting of cobbled stone watchtowers, elaborately arched windows and a peaceful courtyard complete with a small pond. Sitting just below the Alcazaba, you’ll see the 1st Century AD Roman Theatre (some of its stone was used to construct the Moorish fortress), whilst the centre also features the Museo Picasso located in the house where the famous artist was actually born.
South along the coast from the city will take you to the trio of Costa del Sol’s most popular resorts – Benalmadena, Torremolinos, and Fuengirola. There’s plenty to take your interest at these towns that have been catering to tourists for more than 50 years now. It also means it’s easy to find fun activities for families here, including the Aqualand water park in Torremolinos, which features ten colourful slides, a wave pool and a Jacuzzi. Also in the area is the Bioparc Fuengirola, often lauded as one of the best zoos in Spain, if not the world. The animals are kept behind glass walls in large, spacious enclosures, meaning you can get up close to tigers and crocodiles with no bars blocking you. While perhaps the best fun in Benalmadena is be had at Tivoli World, a large theme park with river plumes, go-karts and flamenco shows.
Sporty types won’t be bored either, especially those who love a round of golf or two. Estepona offers the greatest riches here, as alongside San Pedro de Alcantara, the whole area is known as ‘Golf Valley.’ There are 12 golf courses nearby, including the famed Club Guadalmina, which has seen PGA Tournaments played across its 18-hole courses of open, wide fairways that arc around the sea.
If you’re in need of some retail therapy after all that action, the shopping centres in Marbella and Puerto Banus will more than serve your needs. La Canada boasts all the international brands you’ll see on British High Streets while Centro Comercial Benabola and Centro Comercial Marina Banus have gleaming designer boutiques.
One attraction also deserves special mention – the Alhambra in Granada. It’ll probably take you around a two-hour journey inland to get there but it’s worth it to see the intricately carved Arabesque stonework and palm tree lined ponds, and fountain soaked porticos.
Ideal for families
The three resorts in the centre of the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola are all fantastic for families. Between them they have enough zoos, water parks and theme parks to keep everyone occupied.
Ideal for friends
Torremonlinos is known for having the liveliest nightlife of all holidays in Costa del Sol. Its clubs stay open right into the next morning for 24-hour partying, whilst Marbella and Puerto Banus have an exclusive selection of stylish cocktail bars.
Ideal for couples
One of the most idyllic resorts in the Costa del Sol is Nerja. Its old town has beautiful low-rise whitewashed buildings and there are several authentic Andalusian restaurants nearby.