Costa del Sol - Overview

The Costa Del Sol is one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations © stockphoto
The Costa Del Sol is one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations

Explore the Costa del Sol By Interest

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The Costa del Sol stretches along 150km of Málaga province and is one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations, with its wide sweeps of golden sand. The area's mild climate is the main attraction – visitors and residents alike can enjoy the beaches, as well as alfresco dining plus a wide variety of outdoor activities, all year round.


The area is famous for its hundreds of beaches to be enjoyed along this coast, from quiet, hidden coves to trendy stretches of sand with fashionable beach clubs populated by celebrities and beautiful people from all over the world.

One of the most popular pastimes on the Costa is golf – there are over 50 golf courses in the area, with stunning mountain and clifftop locations, offering spectacular views over the area’s varied landscapes, and down to the sea.

Less well-known, but definitely worth a visit, are the many stunning national parks around Malaga province, often located just a short, easy drive inland. You can go hiking, caving, wild swimming, four-wheel-driving, horse-riding and countess other adventurous activities. For a less strenuous day out, the villages of the Axarquia region are some of the most picturesque in all of Spain.

If night-time is your time, then you’ll find a huge selection of bars and clubs along the coast, especially around Marbella and Puerto Banus, ranging from the fun and easygoing, to the chic and sophisticated.

The Costa de Sol can be divided into two sections, with Malaga city at its centre. The eastern Costa del Sol is much shorter, stretching from the provincial capital as far as Nerja, where it meets the Costa Tropical of Granada province.

The western Costa de Sol is the section of coast which curves round southwards towards Gibraltar, and includes all the major resorts such as Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmadena, plus of course, the ritzy celeb-magnet of Marbella. This section has a very international feel, with visitors and residents from all over the world.

But if you’re coming to the coast on holiday, don’t miss Malaga city, which has reinvented itself in recent years as a cultural and gastronomic centre. It has an unparalleled offering of museums, including the Picasso Museum, a buzzing contemporary arts scene, and top-class tapas bars and restaurants.


The eastern part of the Costa del Sol is less developed; it starts at the border with Granada province, whose own coastal area is called the Costa Tropical.

This part stretches for 54km to the east of Malaga city, and is less developed than the section on the other side of the provincial capital. From Malaga eastwards there are cliffs up to 200m high where the Sierra Almijara joins the sea. Nerja is the most important town in this part of the coast, and while it has grown substantially, providing much of the eastern Costa del Sol's holiday accommodation, the town has still managed to retain plenty of character.

This town also has one of the area's major attractions - the Nerja Caves, a spectacular site well worth visiting to see the spectacular caverns – here you can go to the annual international music and dance festival with its unusual location – inside the caves! Below Nerja town, a winding footpath joins several coves, and there are some good beaches to be found in this area.

The western part of the coast has a different vibe to it – it’s very lively in terms of nightlife and beach clubs, and has a buzzing atmosphere all year round, with many expat residents choosing to make their home here.

This section begins at Malaga city and stretches westward all the way to the border of Cádiz province. This part of the coast is highly developed in terms of both property and infrastructure, with excellent transport and many investment opportunities. This part of the Costa del Sol attracts a large proportion of Spain's international holiday visitors, both beachgoers and also cruise passengers, who arrive in increasing numbers at Malaga port.

In addition to the Costa del Sol in Malaga province, a short section of this coast is, in fact, located in Cadiz province – the southernmost part, near Gibraltar. This stretch includes the exclusive port and residential developments of Sotogrande, where Spain’s most expensive real estate is located, as well as Alcaidesa which has set strict limits on any further development of its town.


The main gateway to the Costa del Sol is still Malaga International Airport (8km west of the city), while the N340 local coast highway, and the fast toll road, the A7/E15, take people up and down the coast. In terms of heading inland to discover the nearby delights of Malaga province, the spectacular road from San Pedro de Alcantara winds up to the historic town of Ronda, while the A45 to Antequera provides an essential link to the A92 Seville-Granada motorway, as well across to the Axarquia and many natural parks.