Spain’s most famous coastline – the glamorous Costa del Sol – is indented with fashionable resorts, championship golf courses and exclusive hotels overlooking well-maintained ‘Blue Flag’ beaches – the perfect honeymoon destination in Europe.
Overlooked by picturesque whitewashed villages and olive groves that dot the massive Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Costa del Sol stretches for more than 150km along the south coast of Spain, from Tarifa in the east near Gibraltar to Almuñecar on the Costa Tropical near Granada.
Easily reached from Madrid, Barcelona as well as many international airport hubs, the Costa del Sol offers all the ingredients you need for a memorable honeymoon in Spain.
The liveliest holiday section of the coast is the 70km stretch from Torremolinos (west of Málaga) to Estepona (towards Gibraltar), with Marbella at its centre.
Each town on the Costa del Sol has a distinctive character: experience the vibrant Spanish city of Málaga; the brash party town of Torremolinos (photo), known for its boisterous nightlife and predominantly budget accommodation; and quiet Fuengirola, with its large British resident population.
Discover the wealthy ambiance of Marbella, linked by the Golden Mile to nearby Puerto Banús, collectively home to deluxe hotels, chic boutiques and exclusive beach clubs. Unwind in traditional Estepona and explore the charming hill town of Ronda, set above a spectacular canyon amid the picture-perfect Andalusian landscape.
Explore a choice of Costa del Sol beaches that are free, clean and well organised. The beaches also offer a wide selection of chiringuitos (beach bars) and restaurants as well as water sport activities such as year-round sailing, fishing, scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing and boating – just perfect for active honeymoon couples.
Over the years, the Costa del Sol has become better known for its range of championship golf courses than for its beaches. For some of the best golfing in the region, head to the premier Los Monteros course in Marbella, Parador de Málaga Golf between Málaga and Torremolinos and Hotel Atalaya Park in Estepona.
As one of Spain’s most stylish resorts, Marbella has long been a favourite of wealthy European aristocrats, the nouveau riche and Arab royalty who maintain summer homes here.
Marbella is best admired along the so-called Golden Mile, a bejewelled stretch of glamorous nightclubs, restaurants and hotels that stretch to nearby ritzy Puerto Banús.
With its choice of clean European ‘Blue Flag’ awarded beaches, numerous water sports, exclusive beachfront hotels, championship golf courses, haute couture fashion boutiques and über-chic nightclubs, Marbella offers all the ingredients you need for the perfect honeymoon in Spain.
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Discover Spain’s answer to France’s St Tropez. Puerto Banus is essentially a plush marina crammed with expensive yachts and cars and fringed by luxurious (and expensive) quayside restaurants, bars and designer boutiques contained within an orange-roofed Andalusian pueblo-style complex.
Sunbathe and swim at Playa Puerto Banús or Playa Nueva Andalucia, a small, fine golden-sand beach with calm water and sun beds and umbrellas for hire and a range of water sports available.
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Famous as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga is also home to the best historic sites on the Costa del Sol, including the 11th century Moorish Alcazba – the best-preserved alcazaba (citadel) in Spain – which offers stunning views across Casco Antiguo (Old Town), the cultural heart of the city.
Discover also the ruins of a 2nd century Roman Theatre, the soaring Málaga Cathedral, a 16th century Renaissance masterpiece built on the site of a former mosque, and the compelling Museo Picasso Málaga, displaying more than 200 paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics that Picasso kept for himself or gave to his family.
Nearby sits the birthplace of Picasso, now a small museum and library of his works, with occasional exhibitions. Art lovers will also appreciate the collection of fine Spanish art held in the Museo Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza.
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Torremolinos – Spain’s oldest, largest, noisiest and brashest resort – offers a lively beach scene and a vibrant and inexpensive nightlife.
More than 6km of beaches lie in front of and to either side of the resort town. A long promenade links all the beaches, with a choice of restaurants and chiringuitos (beach bars).
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The quiet fishing towns of Fuengirola and adjoining Los Boliches sit conveniently between the two famous Costa del Sol resorts of Marbella and Torremolinos.
While Fuengirola boasts a good range of high-rise apartments, hotels, discos and nightclubs to suit all budgets, nearby Los Boliches remains relatively unspoiled.
Both offer long stretches of golden beaches and are less noisy than Torremolinos and less expensive than Marbella or Puerto Banús.
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Escape the more commercial resorts of the Costa del Sol for the quiet seaside village of Estepona
With its old quarter of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed buildings, ancient squares and friendly tascas (tapas bars), Estepona still maintains an authentic Spanish ambiance.
A choice of beaches, sporting activities and neraby attractions combine to offer all the ingredients you need for a relaxing honeymoon in Spain.
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This idyllic Andalusian village is located in the foothills of the Sierra de Mijas at the end of a winding mountain road with splendid views of the coast.
The region boasts several tennis clubs and golf courses including Mijas Golf, rated as one of the best holiday courses on the Costa del Sol.
Situated between Fuengirola and Marbella and flanked by hotels and apartments, Mijas Costa offers some of the best beaches along the Costa del Sol, including La Cala de Mijas, an 800m-long beach that shelves into clean, calm water with a beachfront promenade that hosts a selection of chiringuitos and restaurants serving local seafood.
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The authentic pueblo blanco (white village) of Nerja, with its pretty, white-washed houses sits on a cliff top overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and a series of small coves fringed with a mix of volcanic grey- and brown-sand beaches.
In the hills above Nerja sits one of Spain's greatest attractions – the prehistoric Cave of Nerja, which dates back to 25,000 BC. Here you can wander through huge 60m-high caverns filled with enormous long stalactites and stalagmites that stretch for 5km underground.
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Ronda's spectacular 100m-deep and 64m-wide El Tajo ravine links the Old Town with the New Town (El Mercadillo), which dates from the Christian Reconquest of 1485.
Wander the narrow twisting streets of the picture-perfect old Moorish quarter of Ronda, known as La Ciudad and explore the Old Town walls in El Barrio. Discover the excavated and partly intact remains of the 13th century Baños Arabes (Arab baths) as well as the 13th century Puerta de Almocobar and 16th century Puerta de Carlos V gates.
Read more about Ronda…
Discover a slice of Britain in the tiny British colony of Gibraltar – nicknamed ‘Gib’ or ‘the Rock’. Gibraltar was seized from Spain by Great Britain in 1704 and, despite several heated attempts by Spain for its recovery, remains British to this day.
The 425m-high limestone rock soars out of the sea at the southern tip of Spain and is only 5.8m2 in area. It has become an important offshore financial centre and shopping destination for many British residents of the Costa del Sol.
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The Costa del Sol offers a huge choice of honeymoon accommodation options that cover all budgets, with fine dining restaurants and trendy nightclubs just a short stroll or taxi ride away.
The Costa del Sol is hugely popular with northern Europeans and Spaniards from June to October, so try to make your hotel reservations well in advance.
Discover the best Costa del Sol hotels – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.
The best time for a Costa del Sol honeymoon is during May, June, September and October when the days are long and sunny but lacking the crowds and torrid heat of July and August, when midday temperatures regularly soar beyond 30°C (86°F).
May to June and September to October midday temperatures average 23°C (73°F) to 28°C (82°F). Winter on the Costa del Sol offers bright sunny days with little or no rain, however the water is chilly for swimming.
The Costa del Sol receives more than 320 days of sunshine a year, with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F). The average water temperature is around 18°C (64°F); in July and August it’s around 25°C (77°F).
For more climate info: Costa del Sol Weather Guide…
The Costa del Sol stretches for more than 150km along the south coast of Spain from Tarifa in the east near Gibraltar to Almuñecar on the Costa Tropical, near Granada.
By air, the Costa del Sol is easily accessed via Málaga’s Pablo Picasso Airport, with hundreds of daily flights to and from all the major European cities including London, Paris and Rome. Málaga is only an hour away from Madrid and one and a half hours from Barcelona by air.
The airport is located 10km from Málaga town centre and provides a train link to Fuengirola with stops at Torremolinos and Benalmádena, as well as a bus service to Málaga and Marbella. Typically, the better hotels can arrange your pick up from the airport.
Málaga has a frequent daily train service from Madrid (via Córdoba) as well as to and from Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. A bus service links the Costa del Sol with Granada.
Latest update: Costa del Sol: 18 November, 2018
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