The Costa del Sol (or the sun coast in English) is the name given to the sun-drenched stretch of Mediterranean coastline found in Southern Andalusia. Enjoying over 320 days of sunshine each year, the origins of its name are clear. It has long been frequented by a diverse international population seeking an escape from the volatile weather conditions found in most parts of the Northern hemisphere.
It is defined geographically as the 150km coastal corridor between Gibraltar in the West all the way through to Nerja in the East, mostly occupying territory of the Malaga province. The coast is made up of several towns and villages, that existed mainly as fishing or agricultural settlements before the tourist boom of the 1950’s. It is now widely regarded as one of the most important tourist destinations in Spain, attracting millions of national and international visitors each year.
As with much of the Andalusian terrain, the Costa del Sol boasts a diverse and impressive landscape. It is of course famous for its beaches, but this is against a backdrop of stunning mountain ranges, lush green countryside, rivers, cliffs and woodlands. It is this environment that makes it ideal for those that enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. There are few places in the world where you can ski in the morning and swim in the sea in the afternoon, and the Costa del Sol is one of them.
In more recent years, the Costa del Sol has become recognised as a world class golfing destination. Boasting over 70 courses, many of which are of championship standards, it is home to the largest concentration of golf clubs in Europe. As a destination, don’t be surprised to hear it referred to as the Costa del Golf!
Aside from its obvious tourist infrastructure, the Malaga province is steeped in history, culture and tradition. Ferias to flamenco, castles, gastronomy, museums and festivals there is no shortage of attractions that appeal to all ages and walks of life.
There is an eclectic international population with around 18% of residents originating from outside of Spain encouraged by the quality-of-life benefits that the region offers. It is no wonder therefore, that so many people chose the Costa del Sol as a base both to visit and to reside.
Owning a property on the Costa del Sol is a dream for many. Whilst everyone’s motivations are different, there is a property to suit all needs and tastes. Whether a holiday bolt-hole, rental investment or permanent home, apartment, villa or countryside finca we’ll seek out the right location and option that delivers on your requirements.
We believe that location is just as important as the bricks and mortar, so let’s start by exploring the different neighbourhoods on the Costa del Sol.
The New Golden Mile
Not to be confused with the Golden Mile, this area stretches from San Pedro to Estepona, and was coined by marketing hype in the boom years for real estate prior to 2008. However, saying that this is lovely area of the Costa del Sol and has a mix of private urbanisations and commercial centres with a sprinkle of Equestrian Centre’s. The New Golden Mile is home to some important Equestrian events as well has having a strong Golfing community.
Renowned for its restaurants Benahavís is often referred to as the dining room of the Costa del Sol, it is situated in the mountains near Estepona, Marbella and Ronda, about seven kilometers from the coast. This area is known for its privacy attracts the rich and famous who want the quieter life, its status is enhanced by the very exclusive luxurious development of La Zagaleta. Benahavís is surrounded by nine golf courses, which are expected to increase to fifteen in the next decade.
Estepona known as the Garden City of the Costa del Sol, this wonderful place has amazing beaches that stretch for 21km’s, a beautiful place mixing old world charm with modern developments. Estepona has a lot to offer, and has an unusual micro-climate that gives 325 days of sunshine per year. Estepona still has a working port and fresh fish are caught daily and served in the many restaurants to be found throughout the city.
Duquesa Port comes under the region of Manilva and is considered to be one of the prettiest ports on the coast. Duquesa is a great port for boating enthusiasts; its charm is the peaceful area that still retains beautiful unspoilt countryside, which is home to the Muscatel grapes, for production of the fine wines in the region. Surrounded by Golf courses this area gives a wide variety of activities, in the evenings the excellent bars and restaurants surrounding the Port allow you to relax of a hard day of boating or golfing.
Sotogrande is spread over 20 square kilometers and is the largest privately owned development on the Costa del Sol. Sotogrande is renowned for its sporting activities, it has 5 Championship golf courses and 6 world class Polo fields, and in addition other activities include tennis, rugby and equestrian. Sotogrande is well known for its architectural styles from Moors to modern day designs and is a showcase for the different designs. The busy marina is flanked by beautiful beaches and in the summer operates a water taxi.
This historic coastal town is split into three distinct areas; Benalmádena Pueblo this is the original village, Benalmádena Costa this is the modern urban area and has many attractions including the marina and lastly Arroyo de la Miel (Honey Stream) which was originally a village in between the two Benalmádena’s. The whole area is steeped in history and dates back to the prehistoric times, mainly occupied by the Moor’s the name is said to originate from Arabic translations. Benalmádena’s claim to fame is it has the largest Buddhist Stupa in the Western world and the only real ice skating rink on the Costa del Sol.
Fuengirola is steeped in history originally called Suel and then Suhayl, Sohail Castle, was built by the Arabs and has been fully restored and now holds festivals each year. With 8km’s of beach Fuengirola is a popular tourist destination for all the family from a Biopark Zoo to massive water parks, plaza’s and food from all round the world. The Feria ground is host each year to the multi culture fair where different nationalities display their countries and cuisine for people to experience.
La Cala de Mijas
This must be one of the very few towns on the Costa del Sol that still retains a village feel, they have some amazing fish dishes and sardines are still grilled on the beach. The town has an international flavour and has a quiet opulence, with modern and old architecture merging seamlessly together. La Cala de Mijas (the bay of Mijas) still retains its historical roots which can been seen in the old watch tower, in its ancient history La Cala de Mijas was one of the defence towns and has one of the four towers set along the coast dating back to the 16th century.
After the Second World War Marbella was just a small jasmine-lined village and was discovered by Ricardo Soriano who brought all his rich friends with him and started a new era in the tourist area, his cousin opened the Marbella Club and the 1980’s saw Marbella as the popular destination for the ‘jet set’ and over the decades it has continued to attract the wealthy. Nowadays the Old town is a popular destination for good food and tranquil plazas, whilst the Marina showcases yachts and speedboats.
This traditional White Andalusian village nestled in the mountains, has the most stunning views over the coast and out to sea. As you wonder around the streets you will come across several attractions that make it a lovely day out. Mijas Pueblo has the smallest chocolate factory in the world which they are very proud of and you can actually make your own chocolate bars in the little factory, great fun for all the family. In addition to the fabulous views Mijas Pueblo has a very old church carved in to the rock dating back to the 12th century, lovely restaurants and whilst you dine in the evenings you can listen to live music in the main plaza and dance the night away.
Nueva Andalucía is just tucked in behind Puerto Banus and ten minutes away from Marbella, as the name suggests it is new part of the coast, you enter the area just past the Bull Ring and the area has been developed to reflect the traditional Andalusian architecture. Also referred to as Golf Valley, Nueva Andalucía is surrounded by world class golf courses to suit all levels. A ten minute drive gives you access to the beaches and restaurants of Puerto Banus and Marbella.
Puerto Banús compared to the rest of the coast is a new comer to the scene; the land was originally bought by José Banús in 1970 hence the name, he built a luxury marina and shopping complex and it has since become one of the largest entertainment centres in the Costa del Sol and very popular with international celebrities. Puerto Banús is renowned for its expensive designer shops and luxury cars parked in the streets during the summer months.
San Pedro de Alcantara
This is still the most typical Spanish town left on the Costa del Sol, but over the last few years San Pedro de Alcántara has benefited from investment and many parks and natural environments have been developed. Surrounded by rugged hills San Pedro de Alcántara is situated on a fertile agriculture plain, which the produce from this is reflected in the local cuisine. San Pedro de Alcántara has beautiful wide beaches and a newly constructed promenade.
The Golden Mile
This is actually called Marbella’s Golden Mile and is in reality four miles long (6.4km) and joins Marbella with Puerto Banus. The term for this could also be millionaires row, due to the fact this stretch of land is populated with Marbella’s luxurious Villa’s and Estates, Michelin star Restaurants and five star hotels. The Golden Mile was developed during the tourist boom of the 60’s and has amazing sea and mountain views.