A Guide to the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol region of Spain stretches 159km along the south coast from the town of Manilva in the southwest to Nerja in the east. The southern coast of Spain, also known as the “Sun Coast” is one of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations, attracting visitors to enjoy glorious weather, savour delicious food, explore its natural beauty and have fun in the cosmopolitan holiday resorts.


Andalusian whitewashed houses nestled amongst olive groves and long stretches of golden beaches are only a small part of what the Costa del Sol has to offer. The beautiful region consists of many alluring towns and villages that offer a piece of culture and history along with endless leisure entertainment. Some of the coastal towns of Benalmadena, Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella and the city of Malaga were once traditional fishing villages but today are popular holiday resorts.

Members of eXpectations Holidays could have visited these former fishing villages whilst staying at the Ona Club Bena Vista in Estepona or have spent 7 nights in Mijas Costa at the Crown Resorts at Club La Riviera.

Food & Drink

Long warm sunny days and eating outdoors is a pleasurable experience so trying delectable local dishes is often a must as part of your holiday. Sun-ripened fruit, vegetables, herbs and not forgetting the rich olive oil are important ingredients to the delicious and healthy Spanish cuisine.

Local dishes vary slightly in different areas throughout the Costa del Sol, however, Pescaito Frito, small fried fish is a popular Spanish dish. Fresh sardines, cod or anchovies are deep fried in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and a local white wine or a cool beer accompanies a slight squeeze of lemon juice.

Despite the warm Mediterranean temperatures, the Spanish love their cold soups. Ajo Blanco is a refreshing soup made of crushed garlic, almonds, olive oil, salt, vinegar, water and crumbled bread. This full flavoured dish is often served with grapes or melon. In Malaga, this aperitive is so popular they have created a festival for the Ajo Blanco soup, celebrated yearly on the 2nd September.

Try an Andalusian favourite, the mouth-watering Gambas al pil-pil. Served as tapas or a starter of fresh prawns slowly cooked in garlic, chili, paprika and left to simmer in white wine. This divine dish is served hot with crusty bread to soak up the rich, aromatic sauce.

Top Sights

Discover the Costa del Sol by renting a car to explore the beautiful coastlines and traditional villages in your own time or take a guided tour to visit popular places and learn the fascinating history along the way.

One of Spain’s most beautiful and oldest cities, Ronda, is approximately 100km inland from Malaga. The historical 15th-Century mountain city is situated high above the El Tajo gorge. To enter the city visitors must cross the beautiful 120-metre Puente Nuevo stone bridge that offers breath-taking views of the canyon.

Visit the charming Marbella Old Quarter (Casco Antiguo), stroll through the maze of cobbled streets lined with historical stone buildings showered with vibrant coloured flowers. Small alleyways lead to beautiful plazas, including the famous La Plaza de Los Naranjos, (Orange Square) with its delightful restaurants, café bars and boutiques encircling the 15th-Century Renaissance fountain.

Enjoy panoramic views from Balcon de Europa, “Balcony of Europe” in Nerja. The former fortress was originally built to defend the town from pirates but is now a popular site to admire the scenery of the nearby Calahonda and Burriana beaches and the picture postcard village of Maro.

Family Activities

Many areas along the Costa del Sol offers a multitude of fun leisure activities to suit the whole family.

Aquamijas Waterpark in Mijas is a great day out for all ages. Feel the adrenaline rush on a variety of water slide rides, including the fast and furious “Kamikaze” slide and splash around in the wave pool. Spin at fast speeds on the “Rio Bravo” river and catch your breath in the jacuzzi before joining a Zumba class in the “Lake”.

Visit the Castillo de Colomares, nestled in the hills near Benalmadena. Wander through the beautifully sculptured archways and admire the intricate designs on the tall turrets of this fairy-like castle, it will certainly captivate the imagination of every visitor.

History & Culture

The country boasts a long, fascinating history and the Spaniards are proud to keep their rich culture alive after so many years.

Throughout the year, most villages and towns hold local festivals celebrating old traditions, including beautifully dressed women dancing the “Flamenco” passionately.

In central Andalusia, the 5000-year-old megalith architecture of Antequera Dolmens was appointed a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Each village and town are bursting with history and culture which can be experienced in many ways. Visit museums, stroll through the streets, taste the local produce, and listen to the local people. Experience the real Spain.