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Finest Issues to Do on the Costa del Sol

Trying to expertise the most effective that Spain has to supply? Look no additional than the Costa del Sol. Situated in Andalusia, this area is house to a number of the finest seashores within the Mediterranean. It’s the place Outdated Cities meet luxurious seashore resorts; and sprawling cities like Marbella meet historic fishing villages. There are such a lot of issues to do in Costa del Sol, however that are the most effective? Learn beneath to search out out!

With good climate year-round, it’s no surprise that this stretch of shoreline interprets to “solar coast” in English. There are components which are city and developed and different components which are extra rustic and historic – providing a singular juxtaposition to this high vacation vacation spot in Europe.

Questioning what to do on Spain’s Costa del Sol? Certain, the seashores and golf programs are second to none. However this area additionally has no scarcity of distinctive sights, actions, delicacies, and extra. With a few of these highlights and hidden gems you may make probably the most out of any journey!

The top things to do in Costa del Sol Spain
The Costa del Sol is an extremely particular area of Southern Spain with no scarcity of sights and thrilling actions!

Visitor Submit by Tunco Maclovio

Historical past of the Costa del Sol

Take a few of Europe’s most stunning seashores and mountains, intersperse them with historical cities, sprinkle with trendy structure, and make them pulsate with vibrant nightlife. Then, add one of many richest larders of the Mediterranean weight loss program. Mix in culinary traditions from one of many world’s oldest cities – Málaga.

Subsequent, add 300 days of sunshine a 12 months. Lastly, a great deal of individuals (together with a number of the world’s wealthiest) from everywhere in the world residing and vacationing. Depart all these components to bake within the solar, and also you’ll discover heaven. That is southern Spain’s area of Andalusia and its well-known shoreline, the Costa del Sol.

Aptly named the “The Solar Coast,” the world’s relentless rays are moderated by the deep blue waters and soothing breezes of the Mediterranean. The tourism trade promoted this title to rework the area from its extra sinister historical past.

For millennia, it was often known as the Barbary Coast. Hapless guests and natives—who weren’t inside a walled metropolis—might be kidnapped and bought as slaves in North Africa. That is the destiny that befell Miguel de Cervantes, the creator of the traditional novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha.” 

Inland, roving bandits preyed on vacationers as lately because the late 1800s. Ultimately Europeans realized its quaint fishing villages, ample sunny seashores, and low costs had nice potential for a vacationer mecca. 

Areal view of Málaga city with mountains in background. It's one of the best things to do in Costa del Sol.
One of many world’s oldest cities, dominated by quite a few historical civilizations, at the moment Málaga stays a vacation spot with tons to see and do!

Costa del Sol issues to do for vacationers at the moment!

Beginning with the now upscale Marbella, and the extra pedestrian Torremolinos, rebranding took maintain and tourism exploded. Due to guests together with princes, the Rolling Stones, sheiks and world leaders, the Costa del Sol has change into a best choice amongst Europeans (particularly Brits) for relocation and sunny holidays.

For a lot of of those, a mantra of “no hablo español” is the one ticket they should have enjoyable. And these days, a lot of the kidnapping is completed by timeshare resorts. Hoping to promote weeks of lodging, they aim unsuspecting households wandering about: ’punters,’ as they’re identified within the U.Ok.

Alleyway in Torremolinos, lined with decorative vases, are among the top things to do in Spain's Costa del Sol.
Torremolinos is a extra subdued pedestrian neighbor to the luxurious Marbella of the Costa del Sol.

Prime issues to see and do on the Costa del Sol!

In search of extra sights and adventures in Spain past the Costa del Sol?

Food and drinks of the Costa del Sol

With a lot to see and do alongside the Costa del Sol, you’re positive to be hungry for some native delicacies. Right here you’ll ‘see meals’ all day, a lot of it native seafood. Vegan and vegetarian vacationers could have the most effective luck shopping for their components at native vendor markets. Whereas there was an absence of fine vegetarian eating places, many are popping up. Terra Sana in Marbella is an outdated standby. Some dishes to notice embody ajoblanco (chilly white garlic soup) and gazpacho (chilled tomato puree with olive oil and breadcrumbs).


These are beachfront eating places the place native tapas (hors d’oeuvres), wooden fireplace pits, and locals converge. These are the place many households spend Sundays munching, ingesting, and chatting away within the hotter months. You in all probability will discover the attract to do the identical irresistible!

Right here mariscos (seafood), pescaito (fish), and different native specialties are king. Just some of those are: 

  • Calamares fritos (battered and deep-fried calamari rings) 
  • Espetos (skewered recent sardines roasted over an open fireplace) 
  • Ajoblanco (chilled, white garlic soup)  
  • Pescaito frito (combined, deep-fried shellfish and fish). 
  • Jamon Ibérico is a sort of acorn-fed, thinly-sliced and air-dried ham. Whereas not regionally sourced, is a specialty practically inconceivable to search out within the USA. 
  • With Andalusia being the world’s predominant producer of olive oil, its aromatic varieties are all over the place. 

Málaga dulce wine 

The native fruity wine with its aromatic bouquet and velvety-smoothness isa necessity of any journey. With charismatically-named varieties like Pedro Ximen, Moscatel, and Pajarete, you’ll in all probability need to convey house a bottle or 5.

Tasting this wine has been one of many finest issues to do on the Costa del Sol for hundreds of years. Julius Caesar ordered native vineyards to be burned out of undesirable competitors with Roman wine, and Catherine the Nice imported massive quantities to her house nation of Russia. Now you might be the following to check the unbelievable reputation of this locally-produced wine. 

One of the best place to attempt it’s the oldest bar in Málaga, the Antigua Casa de Guardia. The bar could be very unassuming, with large barrels on the wall, sawdust on the ground, and all kinds of wines. Since 1864, locals have come right here to socialize, sip, and gossip. Photos on the wall embody one of many proprietors presenting a bottle to Pablo Picasso, whose birthplace and museum are only a quick stroll away.

Glass of wine on a table at a beachfront bar
Tasting the native wine is likely one of the coolest issues to do in Costa del Sol!

Artwork to See on the Costa del Sol

Artwork runs deep within the soul of Spain. A few of man’s oldest cave drawings come from the caves of Altamira up north. And to the south, the final outposts of the Neanderthal boast artwork from close by Gorham’s Collapse Gibraltar

Whenever you need to take a break from feeding your abdomen you possibly can feast your eyes on superb artworks. A few of the finest stops (which provide free entry some instances/days) embody the Carmen Thyssen, the Pablo Picasso, and the Centre Pompidou.

The Carmen Thyssen is my favourite. It whisks you away to the times of outdated in Andalusia with vibrant colours and highly-detailed portrayals of life way back. Right here you possibly can drink in all of the tradition that runs as deep because the Med by means of its paintings. You might be blown-away by work so outdated and so detailed they appear like selfies and group pictures – from the identical native tradition, however of one other age.

Lastly, there’s the fantastic the CAC, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga. As a former common of this contemporary artwork museum, I extremely advocate it. It’s at all times free and serves as an awesome shelter from the summer season warmth. Right here, you possibly can gawk at ultramodern works and ask your self “¿Qué quiso decir?” (“what did they imply?”).  

View of windows from the inside of the Carmen Thyssen museum in Malaga. This is among the top things to do in the Costa del Sol, hands down.
The Carmen Thyssen Museum is a testomony to Spanish tradition all through centuries of historical past, and makes an awesome cease in Málaga.

The outdated metropolis facilities

The Costa is affected by constructions from its historical previous. This contains remnants of the teams corresponding to Phoenicians, Visigoths, Romans, and Moors that when known as this space house. Málaga was based by Phoenicians, whereas Marbella and Fuengirola have Moorish castles and outposts. Exploring as many of those websites as you possibly can is likely one of the finest issues to do in Málaga, Marbella, or wherever else on the Costa del Sol!

Till the ’Catholic Kings’ Ferdinand and Isabella battled their approach to the Costa throughout the Reconquista in 1492, the world modified arms typically. The Moorish presence is apparent by the slender cobblestone alleys between whitewashed homes, which shelter passerby from the extraordinary summer season solar. 

Marbella’s Puente Romano (Roman bridge), Fuengirola’s Sohail Fortress, and Malaga’s Alcazaba, Gibralfaro, and Teatro Romano (Roman theatre) are monuments to today of outdated. Known as Casco Antiguos (outdated metropolis quarters), you’ll find these outdated downtown areas in nearly each metropolis. One other wonderful sight from these instances of antiquity is the hillside city of Mijas.

My favourite city in the entire space is picturesque Casares. It was constructed into the aspect of a mountain in order that pirates couldn’t see it. This hidden gem is likely one of the finest locations to see on any Costa del Sol journey! You possibly can simply attain Casares in a forty five minute drive from Marbella or an hour and a half from Malaga.

Marbella, Puerto Banus, and nightlife.

Marbella is named the ‘Beverly Hills of Spain’. Although now an enclave for each down-home Andalusians and Europe and Spain’s super-wealthy, it began as a small fishing village. Within the ‘60s and ‘70s it started to evolve into the house of the ‘jet-set,’ and now is a superb place to see the most effective of the Costa del Sol!

A push of tourism that included an iconic lodge and a self-promoting mayor, Jesus Gil y Gil (who additionally owned the Atlético Madrid soccer staff) jump-started town’s reputation. Noteworthy figures from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to Sean Connery and Prince, have visited or lived right here. And now you are able to do the identical!

Even now, super-upscale gated communities like La Zagaleta boast a number of the world’s richest and most well-known residents. Together with the wealthy, corruption arrived and affected native politics. In truth, mayors together with Jesus Gil y Gil have been investigated and even arrested for numerous scandals.

Moreover, the true property increase of the early 2000s finally popped, leaving empty homes and skeletons of never-finished resorts. All this apart, it nonetheless retains its small-town really feel. That spirit, plus a seafront boardwalk, make a vacation spot that Spaniards and Europeans flock to in the summertime for the entire finest heat climate sights and actions. 

Puerto Banus is an over-the-top port with supercars, flashy shops, outsized yachts, and dapper guests. So it’s no shock that this hub attracts vacationers and looky-loos alike. Additionally not surprisingly, its nightlife is famous – Spain’s as a complete is unimaginable, however right here it’s on one other degree. 

Yachts in the harbor of Marbella, Puerto Banus.
Yachts should not an unusual sight in Marbella’s Puerto Banus, and its harbor serves as a playground for the sea-bound wealthy!

La marcha –  Nightlife

Nightlife right here, in Fuengirola, Benalmadena, Torremolinos, and Málaga just about begins and ends the identical. That’s, a minimum of pre-COVID-19. Younger Spaniards begin with “el botellón.” That is like tailgating on the street, the place dozens of individuals convey booze and mixers. You’ll additionally discover the omnipresent native drink, calimocho (pink wine and Coca Cola). The locals then proceed to emborracharse (get drunk!). This protects everybody some huge cash compared to shopping for drinks at bars and golf equipment. 

Additionally, many take pleasure in a porro or churro (no, not the deep-fried pastries) which is tobacco combined with cannabis. It’s smuggled in large quantities throughout the Strait of Gibraltar from close by Morocco. Whereas both of those actions would possibly elicit a response from police in international locations just like the USA, el botellón is authorized. Chocolate (cannabis) isn’t, nevertheless it’s just about tolerated. They’re extra strict to vacationers nonetheless, so don’t threat getting thrown in el bote, the slammer! Native and nationwide police and the Guardia Civil are famed for his or her hard-nosed strategy to drug use and drunken idiocy. Plus, that is particularly in the direction of guiris (foreigners.)

So long as you behave your self, golf equipment will go till 4 am or later. Then, some after-hours golf equipment will go to 10am! I at all times thought that this have to be the worst job in Spain. However kudos to those that clock in at 4 am to cope with individuals who have been ingesting all evening and morning! 

Getting concerned within the nightlife is definitely among the finest issues you are able to do on the Costa del Sol!

Los Andaluces

The Andalusians’ world encourages sharing one’s emotions and ideas with all. This can be why they communicate a highly-staccato model of machine-gun Spanish, and at unmatched volumes besides. 

You possibly can solely perceive 30% of their tradition till you perceive Spanish nicely sufficient to hold with them. Then, add 15% extra in case your spoken Spanish is sweet sufficient. At this degree you possibly can spend time conversing fortunately with anybody from politicians, gypsies, barflies, taxi drivers, and fish retailers. 

Lastly, add a couple of extra proportion factors when you possibly can dwell, dance, and revel with them. With this ability you possibly can come out awash of their joie de vivre shared with household and pals.

Solely then, can you start to see the true richness of this legendary piece of Spain. And moreover, you possibly can admire the position it has performed in its historical past.

Remember to benefit from this chance irrespective of how a lot Spanish you communicate! Chatting with Los Andaluces is a singular and thrilling factor to do within the Costa del Sol.

Wish to apply your Spanish? Spend extra time in Spain in one among these superb Airbnbs!

The Festivals

What’s the ultimate step to understanding extra in regards to the Andaluces? Effectively, wanting marrying one… go to the Feria de Agosto or Málaga Honest. This can be a week-long riot of colours, aromas, flavors, and fancy costume. It embodies the true spirit of Andalusia and is amongst Europe’s largest gala’s. In truth, tons of of 1000’s come from throughout Spain and Europe to have a blast. It has been going because the 1490s, impressed by the arrival of the Kings. If you may make it, it will likely be a spotlight of any journey and presumably the most effective factor you do!

Right here, funding bankers in flip-flops meet bearded-hipsters in blue-suede footwear. In truth, they rub elbows and shoulders whereas dancing the ever present and complicated Baile de Sevillanas. For one week, all are equal and legitimate, relying on temper and selection of drink. 

Most sip candy wine (Cartojal) from a shot glass hanging round their neck (hey, no downtime). In the meantime, others simply quaff ice-cold beers to stave off the oppressive warmth. In fact, these dressed within the conventional Feria gear command respect and awe; these sorts are dialed into the centuries-old costume and politesse that the Honest evokes.

Watch tons of of native {couples} dance collectively to the advanced Sevillanas, (no, not Flamenco). Most of them have identified it since childhood! This sight to me the best spectacle of Andalusia that I’ll always remember!

Attending the Feria de Malaga is among the many finest issues to do within the Costa del Sol.

Honest mentality

Whenever you do go to one among these occasions, don’t over plan… simply let the circulation of sudden friendships and impromptu dance companions whisk you away into what’s the Feria mentality. However keep in mind – count on plenty of warmth!

That is the true essence of Andalusia. Its informality, superb sights, oversized-personalities, and its ardour, at all times taken to the following degree. It’s simply among the finest issues to see and do on the Costa del Sol!

There’s a lot to maintain you busy right here. First, admire the Baile de Sevillanas. Then odor the perfume of the Biznaga flower. Lastly, pattern the Vino de Málaga. The candy wine fuels the Feria’s frenzy and helps vacationers think about the Ferias de Agosto from way back.


For those who take any recommendation, let it’s this: take pleasure in your self on the Costa del Sol! The sheer numbers of Europeans from Scandinavia, Germany, and the U.Ok. guarantee you’ll meet individuals who communicate English. Nevertheless, make sure that to fulfill an Andalusian or many. Take time to be taught the fundamental phrases and be courteous to all.

The Andaluces are tolerant and respectful, so act the identical approach to them. Respect their centuries – outdated traditions and life-style – as rustic or anachronistic as they might appear to a few of us Westerners. They embrace wholesome meals and life-giving olive oil, in addition to admire pals, household, artwork, music, and dance. These virtues permit a lot of them to dwell to ripe outdated ages stuffed with plenty of pleased recollections.

Benefit from the countless sunshine, loosen up, and floor your self on the attractive seashores that dot the Costa del Sol. Take a guided tour of this magnificent area or cowl this unique locale at your personal tempo. You’ll shortly see why this is likely one of the high locations in Spain.

We will be taught loads from them. In ten years of residing there, I definitely did – and hopefully you’ll too!

Most unique things to do in Costa del Sol for all types of travelers
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