Costa del Sol Holidays
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Holidays In The Costa Del Sol
The Costa del Sol is a popular holiday destination for us Brits, and it's easy to see why. Plenty of sunshine, warm weather, great beaches and lots of hotel options, but with so many options, where should you stay in 2023 and 2024?
In this guide, we'll explore the region, from the quieter coastal town of Nerja in the north east, down to Estepona in the south west including popular holiday resorts like Marbella, Torremolinos and Fuengirola. We'll look at how to get there, the types of holiday on offer, where to stay and some of the exciting things you can do on a Costa del Sol holiday.
Popular Costa Del Sol Hotels
Medplaya Pez EspadaTorremolinos
Globales Los Patos ParkBenalmadena
Hard Rock Hotel MarbellaPuerto Banus
Getting To, From & Around The Costa Del Sol
Airlines & Tour Operators
Malaga is the main city in the region and is likely where you'll need to fly into, although the further south you go, Gibraltar could also be an option. Direct flights from airports like Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast operate year-round, but you might find some holiday airlines like TUI or Jet2 also offer summer seasonal flights from more regional airports.
As such a popular holiday hotspot, pretty much all of the big beach holiday tour operators and travel agents will have Costa del Sol holidays available, ranging from self catering apartments to five-star luxury resorts. ABTA and ATOL protected tour operators like TUI and Jet2holidays often include things like airport transfers and check-in luggage as part of their package holidays, whereas others like loveholidays, On The Beach and easyJet Holidays may not automatically include this.
Getting Around The Costa Del Sol
Once you've arrived, you've got a number of options to get around. Firstly, a pre-booked airport transfer can be one of the best ways to get from Malaga airport to your accommodation, especially if you're in a big resort where getting around by foot is pretty easy.
Public transport is possible, with buses running into Malaga city centre, Nerja, Marbella, Estepona and Algeciras. Bus services also run to resorts like Benalmadena and Torremolinos from outside of the airport (which is a much longer walk away).
Alternatively, hiring a car can be an excellent option here. Book in advance and pick up your hire car from the airport with companies like MalagaCar or Goldcar, or if you only need one for a day or two during your trip, your hotel reception staff can help you book one locally.
Resorts In The Costa Del Sol
Malaga is the main city along the Costa del Sol, with Malaga airport just south of the city and serving the resorts along the coast. As Malaga is a more built up area many holidaymakers prefer to head up or down the coast rather than stay in the city, however a sunny city break here in southern Spain can be a great option if you're only on holiday in the Costa del Sol for a few days. Here you'll find places like the Pablo Picasso museum (Museum Picasso Malaga), the Catedral de la Encarnacion de Malaga (Malaga Cathedral), and the Castillo de Gibralfaro.
While many hotels will offer a swimming pool of some sort so you can sunbathe, Playa la Malagueta is the city's main beach and gets busy in the summer and during school holidays when tourists flock to the area from across Europe.
Torremolinos and Benalmadena
Head down the coast from Malaga and you'll reach the popular holiday resorts of Torremolinos and Benalmadena which offer a huge range of hotels and apartments depending on your budget. While a long stretch of promenade and beach separates the two towns, you'll find that Benalmadena is perhaps suited to those who like a bit more nightlife. Try the Holiday Village Costa Del Sol for a fun, family friendly resort.
When you think of Marbella, you think luxury yachts, expensive restaurants and sprawling villas, but this is the place to see and be seen. Even if you aren't staying in Marbella, a day trip to the town and marina is well worth the visit to experience a little more of the area and spend a day away from the pool. Who knows which of the rich and famous you might spot.
Located around a 10-15 minute drive south of Marbella, Puerto Banus is a popular, upmarket holiday destination along this stretch of the Andalucian coast. With a range of accommodation, beaches, bars and a wonderful marina to gaze at the impressive yachts with a glass of something, this is definitely an area if you love a bit of glitz and glam.
Fuengirola is another resort in the Costa del Sol, popular for its combination of beach resort and traditional Andalucian style. Offering tradition and history with the likes of Sohail Castle, together with modern hotel complexes and the Aquamijas water park, Fuengirola is great for families and those that don't just want to spend the whole holiday in the resort.
About an hour east up the coast from Malaga is Nerja, a much quieter resort, ideal for those seeking a more tranquil and traditional holiday. Heading away from the main towns means you start to see a more authentic side of Spain, and a more traditional Andalucia.
Things To Do In Costa Del Sol
Did you know the region is home to a number of Roman ruins and historic archaeological sites, and that Malaga is one of the world's oldest cities? Or that there are more golf courses in the Costa del Sol region than anywhere else in Europe? Being such a big area, there is heaps to do here, from exploring traditional villages and learning about the local Spanish culture, to hurtling down a thrilling waterslide at one of the water parks here.
With wonderful blue flag beaches, you might want to spend a day or two away from the pool bar and your hotel, and hit up the beach. Banana boat rides, jet skiing and so much more are on offer at some of the sandy beaches here, or you might just prefer to chill out and enjoy the feeling of sand between your toes. There are a bunch of beach bars dotted along the coastline, and you'll be able to hire sun loungers for the day too.
Many of the big town centres have some sort of nightlife, whether that's bars and restaurants or late night clubs. Marbella is known as more upmarket with various rooftop and bars with terraces, while areas like Fuengirola and Torremolinos offer plenty of budget friendly places to enjoy food, drink and live music.
One of the great things about the region is the sheer number of exciting activities and adventures you can enjoy, whether that's hiking in the hills around Montes de Malaga Natural Park (Parque Natural Montes de Malaga), or going scuba diving in the welcoming waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Theme Parks & Water Parks
For a fun-filled day out, either as a family or with friends, there are a great range of theme parks and water parks to try out. Aqualand Torremolinos and Aquavelis Water Park near Torre del Mar are two of the most popular waterparks, although be mindful that certain attractions may only be option between April and September for the summer season.
There are 21 golf courses in the Costa del Sol, and with year round sunshine and much warmer weather than the UK, it's a popular golf holiday destination. Combine a beach holiday in the sun with a challenging round of golf at La Cala or Sotogrande golf courses, for a memorable golf trip. Head further along the coast to Alcaidesa for a more laid back golf escape.
Food & Drink
You cannot visit Spain without trying some of the traditional cuisine. You might be tempted by the various English cafes and Irish bars along the coast, but no trip to Andalucia is complete without enjoying some delicious Spanish tapas and a local beer.
Holiday Types In The Costa Del Sol
There are so many family friendly resorts here, making a family holiday in the Costa Del Sol a brilliant option. Whether kids' clubs, splash parks with waterslides or children's evening entertainment, many hotels are ideal for families. Take a look at places like the Globales Los Patos Park hotel in Benalmadena, or the Fuengirola Beach Hotel. You can even combine your flights and accommodation with park tickets, like packaging up Jet2 flights, Hotel Puente Real by Torremolinos Playa and Aqualand Waterpark tickets.
Whether your in a large group on a stag do or hen do, or you just fancy a few romantic nights away in the sunshine as a couple, there are a number of popular adults only hotels here. For example the adult only Hard Rock Hotel Marbella (which is actually located in Puerto Banus) is an iconic hotel with live DJs and a lively pool scene, or perhaps the Amare Beach Hotel is more your scene, which has a beach club and yoga classes, and is part of the Jet2holidays Vibe range of hotels.
If you're watching your Euros, an all inclusive Costa del Sol holiday allows you to minimise your spending while you're away, allowing you to enjoy the hotel swimming pools, free food and drink included. However, this is such a great holiday destination that you will absolutely want to get out and explore the local areas.
Last Minute Getaways
With so many flights from the UK and so many hotel options, if you're looking for a late deal, a last minute holiday to Costa del Sol could be the perfect option for you. Bear in mind that flights and hotels will be cheaper during the winter months as it won't be as warm or sunny, but if you're flexible with where you stay and when you travel, be sure to check out cancellation holidays, and late deals with TUI or Jet2 holidays.
Weather In The Costa Del Sol
Spring time in this part of Spain, between March and May, enjoys temperatures in the late teens to early 20s. As the Costa del Sol's main season starts, many hotels, apartments and holiday villas have availability before the summer rush, so there are often some great deals to be had. You can still expect a little rain, every so often, but generally you'll find yourself enjoying plenty of sunshine.
With temperatures regularly in the high 20s and low 30s, the Summer months of June, July and August are the months when Brits flock to the Costa del Sol for their annual holiday. Like other popular destinations in Spain, like the Costa Blanca and Costa Brava, expect long, hot days of sunshine with the odd cloud or two, and be sure to slather on that sun cream.
Like spring, Autumn in the Costa del Sol has temperatures ranging from 16C-24C. Escaping the summer school holidays, this can be one of the best times to go, with good weather and much lower holiday prices.
In winter, many bars, restaurants and hotels in the Costa del Sol close for the season, and you'll find attractions like water parks close too. The weather is still much better than the UK with many sunny days, however, the temperature does drop, especially at night, so maybe try and book a hotel with a heated swimming pool, and take a jumper or two for the evenings.