With an impressive 320 days of sunshine per year, the Costa del Sol really does live up to its name. Whatever time of year you visit, sunny skies and an equally sunny atmosphere is pretty much guaranteed, and it’s holiday mode 24/7. As is often the case in Spain and the Mediterranean, the pace of life is much more relaxed than in the UK; locals and expats alike seem to have got everything down to a fine art, and are here to have a good time.
Culture might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the Costa del Sol, but in fact, the area is home to some fascinating historic and artistic gems. When you’ve had your fill of sunbathing, be sure to spend an hour or two exploring some of the museums and galleries. Highlights include Málaga’s Museo Picasso, Museo Carmen Thyssen, and of course, the magnificent cathedral.
Top up Your Tan
With so many hours of sunshine on offer, you’d be hard-pressed not to devote at least part of your holiday itinerary to catching some rays. Spain’s Sunshine Coast has so many resorts to choose from that you’re only trouble will be deciding exactly where you want to lay down your towel. Marbella boasts 25km of soft golden sand, while Benlamadena combines a cosmopolitan atmosphere with charming historic architecture.
Known as the gateway to Andalucía, the Costa del Sol is renowned for its strikingly beautiful pueblo blancos – whitewashed villages that decorate the areas hilltops and hillsides. When you visit this part of Spain, one of the best ways to see these beautiful inland towns is to take a road trip, be it a guided tour or a self-drive exploration. A far cry from the buzzing resorts that the Costa del Sol is known for, this offers a truly authentic insight into how the locals live.
Anyone in need of a culture fix would do well to pay a visit to Málaga. There are a whole host of fascinating museums to explore, but Museo Picasso is an absolute must. Opened in 2003 after more than 50 years of planning, the building houses an extensive collection of more than 200 of Picasso’s works, either donated or loaned to the museum by Christine Ruiz-Picasso, wife of his son Paul. Chronologically, the paintings from Picasso’s ‘Blue’ and ‘Rose’ periods are missing, but otherwise the exhibits offer a pretty comprehensive account of his creative output.
Situated next to a Roman amphitheatre, this carefully restored fortress is surrounded by lush foliage, colorful bougainvillea and leafy palm trees. Dating back to the 11th century, this castle’s Moorish roots are instantly recognizable – particularly the old courtyards, horseshoe arches and ornate fountains. Often described as the little cousin of the much larger Alhambra, this should definitely be on your itinerary if you’ve no time to visit Granada.
A marvel of Mudéjar architecture and design, this historic building was once owned by António Navajas, a local sugar baron. Constructed in 1925, this is without doubt one of the most beautiful houses in Torremolinos, modeled in a similar style to the Plaza de España in Seville. Although there isn’t a museum on site, there are some gorgeous terraced gardens, and the views from the upstairs balconies are very pretty too.
Known for its 320 days of sunshine each year, Costa del Sol enjoys a fantastic Mediterranean climate with the average temperatures rarely dropping below double figures – even during the winter months. While average highs are around 29 degrees in July and August, some summers can reach up to 40 degrees. Costa del Sol is truly an all-year-round destination.
If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Spain but you must have a valid passport. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements.
The currency is the Euro (EUR).
The main language spoken is Spanish.