Best places to stay in Costa del Sol
Known as the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga offers holidaymakers a whole range of attractions from beautiful beaches, water sports, shops, restaurants, bars and stylish hotels through to museums, a Baroque cathedral and a newly restored Roman theatre. In fact with over 30 museums, including the Picasso Museum which was opened in 2003, Málaga has more museums than any other city in Andalucia, making it an ideal destination for lovers of history, art and culture. Whether your interests lie in wine or contemporary art, you'll find a museum to celebrate its existence, plus a plethora of historical buildings such as Baroque cathedral known as La Manquita, and the Alcazaba fortress which was built in 1065 during the Moorish occupation, to explore.
Of course, Malaga is not just about culture and architecture, it also offers a superb selection of stylish restaurants, bars and hotels, some of which boast elegant rooftop terraces complete with cocktail bars, swimming pools and spectacular views across the surrounding area. For shoppers, the Malaga Plaza has everything you could need under one roof, while in the Calle Larios area you'll find all kinds of tapas bars and restaurants serving top class cuisine, plus the occasional teterías or Moorish tearooms.
Beach lovers are not left out either; you'll love the family friendly beach of El Palo or the manmade La Malgueta beach, and water sports aficionados will find plenty to keep them entertained too. So if you're looking for an eclectic mix of history, art, culture, beaches and a vibrant nightlife, a holiday in Malaga should suit you perfectly.
Once a favourite with British holidaymakers, in recent years Torremolinos has thrown off its tacky image to emerge as a very attractive and appealing holiday destination for all nationalities. With its clean, sandy beaches, excellent choice of accommodation and restaurants, and a superb variety of both daytime and night time activities and entertainment, there's something for everyone, especially families, in this vibrant resort.
Shoppers and sightseers will probably want to head to Calle San Miguel, where you'll find boutiques and shops galore in the paved pedestrian area. Once you reach the end of San Miguel, head down the steep steps and through the charismatic old fishing area of El Bajandillo with its al fresco restaurants and colourful market stalls selling all kinds of wares.
Just like the rest of the Costa del Sol, there's a great range of beaches for relaxing, swimming and water sports; from the lively beaches at El Bajondilla, Playamar and Los Alamo to the picture postcard beaches at Montemar and La Carihuela, with its bougainvillea clad houses, making it the perfect location for a lively beach holiday, whether you're a couple, a family or a group of friends.
Very easy to reach from Malaga, Benalmadena has grown rapidly over the last twenty years. From its fabulous beaches to its fantastic nightlife, it's a very popular choice with holidaymakers of all ages. Here you'll find restaurants serving up all kinds of international cuisine, but if you want to sample some of the traditional Andalucian dishes or some of the freshly caught fish you need to head down to the award winning marina, or visit a Chiringuito (beach bar). And don't forget to try some of the local wine or fruity sangria.
Nightlife in Benalmádena is something else; whether you prefer to dance to one of the hippest DJs in a local club, want to salsa the night away, or prefer the relaxing sounds of live jazz, you'll find the perfect venue for you. If pubs and bars are more your scene then you can't go wrong at the Plaza Solymar with its masses of bars and pubs. Families aren't forgotten either; they'll love to visit the Jardin de las Agulas or go and watch the antics of the penguins and dolphins at the Selwo Marina. Plus there's two excellent golf courses to keep golfing fanatics happy.
If you're looking for an upmarket resort with a cosmopolitan atmosphere, Marbella is the perfect choice, especially if you enjoy constant partying and a luxury lifestyle. Synonymous with images of bronzed celebrities, jet setters, extravagant yachts and supercars, and wild and exorbitantly priced nightlife, surprisingly this international resort also has managed to retain its old world charm centred on the Plaza de Los Naranjas in the Old Quarter. Here you'll find quaint cobbled streets lined with elegant shops, art galleries, bars and bistros rubbing shoulders with traditional churches; the perfect place to relax and people watch. Just a short stroll from here you'll come across the splendid, ornate Inglesia Mayor de las Encarnacion, with its peaceful typically Spanish interior, complete with statues dressed in real clothes, and the Sol Mayor organ, the most important 19th century organ in Spain.
Head to La Alameda park and book a horse and carriage ride or stroll down the Avenida del Mar with its collection of statues by Salvador Dali set among refreshing fountains, colourful flowerbeds and palm trees. However, the best place for people watching and partying has to be Puerto Banus Marina with its luxury yachts and sports cars, expensive designer boutiques and upmarket bars, restaurants, beach bars and nightclubs. Favoured by the rich and famous, including royalty such as the Crown Prince of Dubai, be sure to keep your camera handy.
Read more about where to stay in Marbella.