With endless sunshine and beautiful beaches, the resorts of the Costa Del Sol offer something for everyone. Torremolinos and Benalmadena are always a draw for holidaying families, whilst the famous Marbella is frequented by celebrities, enjoying the non-stop nightlife and beach events. Home to 300,000 expats, the culture here is an exciting melange of different influences, whilst the city of Malaga still retains a traditional Spanish atmosphere as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. For thrill-seekers, watersports are always on offer from jet-skiing to the humble banana boat, and the Malaga coastline is a little-known hot-spot for paragliding. Here, we take a look at some of our favourite Costa Del Sol destinations.
Sandwiched between Torremolinos and Fuengirola, this area of the Costa Del Sol is a real family favourite due to its three Blue Flag beaches – Torrevigia, Fuente de la Salud and Torrebermeja-Santa Ana – and the fantastic Puerto Marina area.
Here, children of all ages can also visit the Sealife Centre and accompanying crazy golf course, while keen shoppers can visit the boutiques, gift shops and craft stores that line the water’s edge.
One of the area’s leading golf courses is Torrequebrada, while Tivoli World is located in the centre of town. This theme park is a great day out for the whole family, with rides to thrill all ages and plenty of restaurants and ice cream stands to refuel throughout the day.
Alternatively, head inland to Benalmádena Pueblo, which is the original centre for the resort and an authentic Spanish village, complete with cobblestone streets and narrow alleys.
After dark, the compact size of Benalmádena makes the resort an easy one for planning a night out in because a large number of venues are centred round The Square.
Perched along the southern Costa del Sol coast, this port city packs in over 3, 000 years of history, stylish reinventions and endless charm. More than just the home of Picasso, Málaga offers a taste into traditional Spanish life, alongside a growing gastronomic scene and diverse nightlife.
Plus, with miles of golden sand, this classic beach destination has long been a favourite with Irish holidaymakers. So, whether you want to soak up the Málaga of the past or dive headfirst into the present, you won’t run out of things to see and do.
A trip to Málaga is not complete without seeing the Roman Catholic Cathedral. Start your morning wandering through this majestic building, built between 1528 and 1782. Influenced by both Renaissance and Baroque design, the Cathedral is breathtaking and has an adjoining church, Iglesia del Sagrano. After you’ve admired the main buildings, explore the gardens surrounding them which contain monuments and a café, or climb the 200 steps that lead up to the rooftop.
As well as sampling some of Spain’s best tapas, Málaga has a hanfful of colourful local markets, fried fish shops and seafood restaurants to enjoy too. A must-visit for lunch is Atarazanas Market or ‘Mercado Central de Atarazanas’, just a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral. Here you’ll find all manner of seafood, meat, cheese, fruits and veg.
At night, the city is vibrant with crowds streaming in and out of sophisticated wine bars and disco clubs. The heart of the nightlife can be found around Plaza de la Merced, Plaza de la Constitucion, Calle Granada, Calle Alcazabilla, Calle La Malagueta and Calle Larios
With 4.5 miles of golden sand up for grabs, Fuengirola is perfect for beach lovers. The attractions on offer near the town’s seven beaches – Carvajal, Torreblanca, Las Gaviotas, Los Boliches, San Francisco, Santa Amalia and El Egido – range from jetskiing and sailing to simply sipping cocktails under a parasol.
Away from the beaches, there is the Moorish Sohail Castle, which showcases the ancient history behind the town. Built in 956AD as a fortress to defend the coastline, it was renovated and turned into a tourist attraction in 2000.
Other attractions in Fuengirola include the zoo and waterpark. Fuengirola market, meanwhile, is the largest on the coast and is held every Tuesday on Recinto Ferial, the town’s fairground. On Saturdays a flea market is held on the same site, while a smaller Sunday market is held near the Pyramides Hotel.
When it comes to golf, the nearest courses to Fuengirola are Cerrado del Águila Golf & Resort, Mijas and El Chaparral.
After dark, Fuengirola’s nightlife is very lively with plenty of places to choose from. Most of the pubs, clubs and discos, however, are on the seafront by the port.
A holiday to Marbella offers the opportunity to combine a chic city break and relaxing on one or more of the area’s best beaches, such as Cabopino, Las Chapas or Estrella del Mar, which are all found in East Marbella.
Less than 2 miles west of the centre of Marbella and along the Boulevard Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, better known as The Golden Mile, is Puerto Banus. This area is home to some of the world’s most expensive and luxurious yachts. Alongside the impressive vessels, you’ll also find designer stores and many portside bars to sit in and watch the world go by.
Nightfall is when Puerto Banus really comes alive with many of the bars and night clubs open to the early hours of the morning.
The Costa del Sol is also known as the Costa del Golf” and l a mile or so from Puerto Banus is Golf Valley with world-class courses designed by Robert Trent Jones and Seve Ballesteros.
Back in Marbella Old Town, visitors will discover tightly knit cobbled streets, small boutiques, art galleries and excellent restaurants with local tapas clustered around Orange Square, known by locals as La Plaza de los Naranjos.
Other attractions in Marbella include the Ralli Museum, which contains one of the most important Latin American art collections in Europe.
Noted for its clean sandy beaches, wide choice of hotels and restaurants and unparalleled variety of entertainment, activities and nightlife available, Torremolinos was the first Costa del Sol resort to be developed back in the early 1960s when it was little more than a sleepy fishing village,
The town has six beaches, and all have golden, clean sands and lots of facilities, including restaurants and watersports. The 4.5 mile promenade, which runs alongside the beaches, is perfect for an evening stroll taking you through the old fishing village of La Carihuela to the marina at Benalmadena.
The nearest golf courses to Torremolinos are Guadalhorce, Lauro, Alhaurin and Torrequebrada, while the town also boasts its own Aqualand Torremolinos waterpark plus Jardin Botanico Molino de Inca, a botanical gardens on the outskirts of town.
While the nightlife in Torremolinos offers something for everyone all over town, a large number of clubs are found on the Calle San Miguel in the section of town known as La Nogalera.