Best Areas to Stay in Costa del Sol, Spain

The Best Areas to Stay in Costa del Sol, Spain
The Best Areas to Stay in Costa del Sol, Spain

Where to stay on the Costa del Sol: A Guide to Málaga’s Coast

The Costa del Sol covers the entire coastline of the Andalusian province of Málaga. This coastal area extends over more than 150 kilometres, from Campo de Gibraltar to the border with the province of Granada and is famous for being one of the most visited tourist regions in Spain, its fantastic beaches, white villages and luxury hotels and resorts. In this post, we will explore the best areas to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain.


Why you should visit Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol is an extremely diverse destination. Although it is mainly famous for its beaches and tourist developments, this region also has important cultural and historical attractions, world-class museums, archaeological sites and heritage buildings. Find accommodation in Costa del Sol.

Serving as the capital of the Costa del Sol is the city of Malaga. With over 2,000 years of history and a cultural scene that in recent years has come to rival that of Barcelona or Madrid, Malaga is the perfect place from which to explore the wonders of the Costa del Sol. The second largest city in Andalusia offers attractions such as the Picasso Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum, Centro Pompidou Málaga, the Roman Theater, the Alcazaba, and Mount Gibralfaro, as well as popular beaches such as La Malagueta, La Bajadilla, La Fontanilla and El Pinillo. Find accommodation in Málaga.

Costa del Sol has been, for decades now, synonymous with luxury and glamour. Marbella is considered one of the best-rated jet-set destinations in the world. The second-most important city on the Costa del Sol is famous for its luxurious marina (Puerto Banús), its exclusive beach clubs and its opulent shopping centres, home to the most recognisable European and international high-end fashion brands. Find accommodation in Marbella & Puerto Banús.

As it couldn’t be otherwise, Costa del Sol is one of the most popular beach destinations in the south of Spain. After decades of urban development, most of the coastline consists of urban and semi-urban beaches offering all services. That said, the Málaga coast is also dotted with quieter and secluded beaches. Some of the top-rated beaches on the Costa del Sol include Burriana Beach in Nerja, Torrebermeja Beach in Benalmádena, La Carihuela in Torremolinos, La Malagueta in Malaga, and La Rada in Estepona. Find accommodation near the beach on the Costa del Sol.

Like the rest of Andalusia, Málaga’s coast has a long and complex history that goes back thousands of years. The municipalities of the Costa del Sol have been inhabited since time immemorial by numerous civilizations including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. Some of the most outstanding historical monuments in this region include the Colomares Castle, Sohail Castle, the Roman Villa of Río Verde, the Roman Archaeological Site “Finca del Secretario” and Castillo de San Luis.


What’s the best time to visit Costa del Sol

Thanks to its geographical location in the south of Spain, Costa del Sol is known for its warm climate with constant sunshine and blue skies practically all year long. The best time to visit the Costa del Sol is during the summer (June-September). During these months, low temperatures rarely drop below 22 °C and high temperatures are usually around 28 °C. The sea breeze helps maintain pleasant weather conditions and precipitations are rare, so you can go to the beach and sightseeing.

To avoid the crowds and save some money, the best time to visit Costa del Sol is between the end of April and the beginning of June, or from mid-September to the end of October. During late spring and early fall, the temperatures on the Malaga Coast are warm enough to hit the beach and most hotels don’t have their high season rates.


Costa del Sol: Getting there and around

You can fly to Costa del Sol through Málaga- Costa del Sol (AGP) – Airport. Located about 10 kilometres west of Málaga’s city centre, this important airport, the busiest in Andalusia and fourth in Spain after Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, offers connections to all of Spain, a wide variety of European routes (mainly to the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Scandinavia) and several international medium and long-haul flights (to North Africa, the Middle East and North America). Additionally, Gibraltar Airport (GIB), offering flights to Spain and the United Kingdom, is convenient for the westernmost towns of Costa del Sol, as it is only 45 km from Estepona.

To get to the Costa del Sol by train you can use the many AVE, Long Distance and regional trains connecting Málaga María Zambrano station with destinations such as Madrid, Seville, Córdoba, Granada and Algeciras. Line C1 of the Málaga commuter system connects the capital and the airport with various towns on the Costa del Sol, including Torremolinos, Benalmádena and Fuengirola. Additionally, several bus and coach lines connect the main urban centres on the coast (including Marbella) with other Andalusian and Spanish cities. See train and coach schedules, rates and routes.

To move around Costa del Sol, the best thing is to rent a car. If renting a car is not an option, you can move by train through the Cercanías Málaga line C1 or the region’s urban bus network. Taxis and mobile apps such as Uber and Cabify are also widely available.


Where to stay in Costa del Sol

The best area to stay on the Costa del Sol is Marbella. This seaside resort town is renowned for its glamorous lifestyle, historic city centre, Michelin-starred restaurants, exclusive beach clubs and shopping malls. Marbella is also home to some of the best hotels in Andalusia and is well connected by road to the rest of the Costa del Sol. Find accommodation in Marbella.

In any case, choosing the best location for a visit to the Costa del Sol will also depend on what you are looking for on your holiday. While Marbella is a fantastic choice, it is also true that Benalmádena is the best town for a family trip, Torremolinos is the best area in Costa del Sol for nightlife, and Málaga takes the cake for cultural attractions and museums.

Other excellent beach areas with incredible hotels to consider when deciding where to stay in Costa del Sol include Nerja, Estepona, Fuengirola, Mijas, Casares and Torre del Mar.

Keep reading to find out more about the best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol.

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The Best Areas to Stay in Costa del Sol, Málaga

Marbella is the second-most populous city in the province of Málaga and one of the most visited tourist destinations in Andalusia thanks to its beaches, exclusive nightlife and glamorous atmosphere .

The historic centre of Marbella is characterized by its whitewashed houses with red tiles and its many narrow and sloping streets.

This area includes the three historic neighborhoods of the city, Barrio Alto, Barrio Nuevo and San Francisco and is home to the main historical attractions, such as the renaissance Plaza de Los Naranjos, the Town Hall, the Casa del Mayor and the Chapel of Santiago.

Avenida del Mar offers a panoramic boardwalk dotted with palm trees and decorated with sculptures by Salvador Dalí.

The best area to experience the atmosphere of the Marbella jet set is around the famous Golden Mile. This luxurious residential and commercial area, which in fact spans for over a mile, stretches west from the historic centre to the exclusive district of Puerto Banús.

Located in Nueva Andalucía, Puerto Banús is famous for its luxurious lifestyle and exclusive nightlife.

This area is centred around the Puerto Deportivo José Banús, an exclusive marina offering entertainment, luxury shops, exclusive restaurants, and nautical and recreational activities.

The Marina is also the main nightlife epicentre on the Costa del Sol. Here, you can find some of the most exclusive clubs, such as Buddha Beach or Ocean Club.

Some of the most popular beaches in Marbella include La Bajadilla, Venus, La Fontanilla, Playa Puerto Banús, El Duque, Nueva Andalucía and Río Verde.

Marbella is not connected by train. That said, the city has bus connections to practically all the towns on the Costa del Sol and other cities in Andalusia.

Read more about the best areas to stay in Marbella & Puerto Banús.

The best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol -Marbella
The best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol -Marbella
Where to stay in Costa del Sol - Marbella
Where to stay in Costa del Sol – Marbella
Best location in Costa del Sol - Puerto Banús & Marbella
Best location in Costa del Sol – Puerto Banús & Marbella
Accommodation in Marbella – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Marbella – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol:

  • Exclusive atmosphere
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Puerto Banús Marina
  • Luxury shopping centres
  • Beach clubs and nightlife

2. Málaga City

Málaga is the second-most populated city in Andalusia and is considered the unofficial “capital of the Costa del Sol“.

This Andalusian city is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and is famous for its museums, beautiful landscapes and lively nightlife and gastronomy scene.

Most of Málaga’s tourist attractions are located in its Historic City Centre.

Some of the most visited attractions in Málaga include the Roman Theatre, La Alcazaba, the Málaga Cathedral and Mount Gibralfaro.

Málaga also has a very active cultural life including several world-class museums such as the Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum, Málaga Museum, Málaga Pompidou Centre and CAC Málaga Contemporary Art Centre.

In addition to historical monuments and museums, Málaga is known as a beach destination. The main urban beach of the city, La Malagueta, is fully serviced services and offers beach bars and restaurants serving traditional food.

The nearby Paseo de la Farola is a lively promenade with a historic lighthouse and several attractions.

Soho Málaga, located very close to the historic centre, is a renovated area that concentrates a large number of cafes, bars and alternative shops.

Málaga is very well served by train. María Zambrano station, the main railway hub in the city, offers high-speed services to Madrid, Barcelona and Córdoba, regional connections to most of Andalusia, and commuter (Cercanías) trains.

Málaga also has a very efficient public transport network consisting of a light metro system (Metro de Málaga), commuter trains and dozens of urban bus routes. In addition, the city has taxis and mobile applications.

Read more about the accommodation in Málaga.

Best areas to find accommodation in Costa del Sol, Spain - Málaga
Best areas to find accommodation in Costa del Sol, Spain – Málaga
Convenient area to stay on the Costa del Sol - Málaga
Convenient area to stay on the Costa del Sol – Málaga
Accommodation in Málaga, Costa del Sol – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Málaga, Costa del Sol – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Large city amenities
  • World-class museums
  • Excellent transport links
  • Historical and cultural attractions
  • Shopping, gastronomy and nightlife
  • Popular beaches

3. Benalmádena

Benalmádena is a city located about 20 kilometres from Málaga.

This coastal city is one of the most visited on the Costa del Sol and is famous for its beaches and its wide range of family-friendly tourist attractions. Benalmádena is the best area to stay on the Costa del Sol with children.

This town has a beautiful historic centre, a multitude of natural attractions in its nearby mountains, a theme park, a casino, a cable car, two aquariums and an important marina.

Benalmádena is divided into three main areas: Benalmádena Pueblo, the historical city centre, Benalmádena Costa, where the port and beaches are located, and Arroyo de la Miel, an intermediate district that developed around the train station.

The main attractions in Benalmádena are spread over the three areas and include the Castillo de Colomares, Parque de la Paloma, the cable car, Battery Park, the Benalmádena Museum and the Benalmádena Exhibition Centre.

If you are travelling as a family, Benalmádena is home to several attractions for children, such as the Tivoli World theme park, Selwo Marina, Sea Life Benalmádena and the Mariposario de Benalmádena.

Benalmádena’s coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches, coves and bathing areas. Some of the most popular beaches include Santa Ana, Bil Bil, Arroyo de la Miel, Malapesquera and Torre Vigía.

Benalmádena is also part of the group of towns on the Costa del Sol with railway connections. The C1 commuter line connects the town with Málaga, the airport, Torremolinos and Fuengirola.

More info about where to find accommodation in Benalmádena.

Benalmádena is one of the best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol, Malaga
Benalmádena is one of the best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol, Malaga
Best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol for families - Benalmádena
Best areas to stay on the Costa del Sol for families – Benalmádena
Accommodation in Benalmádena - Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Benalmádena – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Best area to stay for familes
  • Kid-friendly attractions
  • Connected by train
  • Great beaches
  • Golf courses

4. Nerja

Nerja is a tourist town located at the eastern end of Costa del Sol, very close to the border with the province of Granada and the towns of Costa Tropical.

Nerja is mainly known for its fine sand beaches, its caves with Paleolithic rock carvings and the natural landscapes of the impressive Sierra de Almijara.

Its historic centre displays a typical Andalusian coastal town appearance, with whitewashed houses decorated with flowers and steep and narrow pedestrian streets leading to terraces with impressive views of the coastline.

The main beaches in Nerja are Burriana Beach, Carabeo Beach, Nerja Beach, La Caletilla Beach, Playa de la Calahonda and Playa El Chorrillo.

On the other hand, the main tourist attractions in Nerja include the nineteenth-century Aguila Aqueduct, the Nerja Museum, Plaza De España, the Villa de Nerja Cultural Centre and Balcón de Europa.

Perhaps the most prominent tourist attraction in Nerja’s town centre, the famous Balcón de Europa is a viewpoint perched on a cliff with impressive views of the sea and Calahonda beach.

The famous Cueva de Nerja is a complex of underground caves with great geological and historical value including 42,000-year-old Neanderthal cave paintings.

The accommodation offer in Nerja is very varied and includes inexpensive family-run properties, luxurious boutique hotels and many tourist apartments.

Read more about the best areas to stay in Nerja.

Best area to stay on the Costa del Sol: Nerja
Best area to stay on the Costa del Sol: Nerja
Where to look for accommodation on the Costa del Sol: Nerja
Where to look for accommodation on the Costa del Sol: Nerja
Accommodation in Nerja - Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Nerja – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Nerja Cave
  • Balcón de Europa
  • Natural attractions
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Near Costa Tropical

5. Torremolinos

Torremolinos is a city located about 15 kilometres southwest of Málaga.

This city, which in the past was nothing more than a small fishing village, is currently one of the most visited tourist destinations in Andalusia thanks to its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife and excellent location in the heart of the Costa del Sol.

Torremolinos beaches are one of the most popular on the Costa del Sol and every summer they attract tourists from all over the world. The main beaches in Torremolinos include those of La Carihuela, El Bajondillo, Playamar and Playa de Los Álamos.

Torremolinos is also famous for being one of the most gay-friendly towns in Spain, with a large number of bars, discos, hotels and events especially aimed at the LGBTI community in its central area.

The city centre is also home to Calle San Miguel, the main commercial street in Torremolinos is packed with souvenir shops, boutiques and stores of different categories.

Although it is true that the main attractions of Torremolinos are its beaches such as Bajondillo and Carihuela, it also has cultural attractions such as the Casa de los Navajas, an impressive neo-Mudejar palace.

Torremolinos is 7 kilometres from Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, a ten minute journey by commuter train. It is also possible to reach the city by car or bus.

More info about the best districts in Torremolinos for tourists.

Recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol - Torremolinos
Recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol – Torremolinos
Best areas to find accommodation on Málaga's Coast - Torremolinos
Best areas to find accommodation on Málaga’s Coast – Torremolinos
Accommodation in Torremolinos - Clica sobre el mapa para ver todo el alojamiento en esta zona
Accommodation in Torremolinos – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Best area to stay on the Costa del Sol for nightlife
  • Best area for LGBTI travelers
  • Near the airport

6. Estepona

Estepona is a city located in the south of the province of Málaga.

Estepona is famous for its beautiful and well-preserved historic centre, its beaches and its impressive natural environment, Estepona is one of the most visited towns on the Costa del Sol.

Known as the “Garden City”, Estepona is home to several family-friendly attractions. One of its most visited attractions is the avant-garde Orquidario Estepona, a botanical garden with beautiful orchids and a waterfall set in an enclosure with three modern glass domes.

The charming historic centre of Estepona is considered one of the most beautiful on the Costa del Sol and stands out for its Andalusian white village atmosphere and its labyrinth of narrow streets lined by whitewashed houses with tile roofs. At its heart, Plaza de las Flores offers a peaceful environment with several restaurants and cafes.

The Archaeological Museum offers a small but interesting collection of objects and artefacts dating back to prehistory.

Besides its charming centre, Estepona is a sun and beach destination. The Estepona coast is characterized by its promenade and its fine sand beaches. Among the most popular beaches are Playa de la Cala, Playa de la Rada, Playa Beach, Playa del Cristo and Playa Seghers.

For nature lovers, Estepona is very close to the Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja natural site, which offers forests, hiking trails and viewpoints with panoramic views of the Costa del Sol and the Mediterranean Sea.

Although Estepona is not connected by train, the town has excellent bus connections to Málaga, Marbella, Benahavís, Fuengirola and Torremolinos.

Read more about the best location in Estepona, Costa del Sol.

Convenient area to stay on the Costa del Sol - Estepona
Convenient area to stay on the Costa del Sol – Estepona
Best area to stay in Costa del Sol - Estepona
Best area to stay in Costa del Sol – Estepona
Accommodation in Estepona - Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Estepona – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Beautiful historic centre
  • Orchid House Estepona
  • Wide fine sand beaches

7. Fuengirola

Fuengirola is a town located about 35 kilometres west of Málaga.

This city, one of the most visited on the Costa del Sol, has seven beautiful urban beaches suitable for swimming and watersports, making it an excellent destination to spend the summer or a romantic getaway.

In addition to its beaches, Fuengirola has attractions such as Castillo Sohail, a fortress located on a hill from where you can get excellent views of the Mediterranean Sea and the mouth of the Fuengirola River.

Other tourist attractions to see in Fuengirola include the Bioparc Fuengirola, a safari-type park with wild animals, Costa Water Park, the boardwalk and the marina.

Another excellent reason for choosing Fuengirola as the best area to stay on the Costa del Sol is that it is connected by commuter trains. Fuengirola station is located in the centre and connects the town with the Málaga-Costa del Sol airport and the AVE station (Málaga María Zambrano).

Fuengirola’s centre is home to the largest number of hotels, tourist apartments, restaurants, shops and supermarkets in the city, which makes this area an excellent option for both weekend getaways or long stays.

Read more about the top areas in Fuengirola for holidays.

Best location in Costa del Sol - Fuengirola
Best location in Costa del Sol – Fuengirola
Accommodation in Fuengirola - Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Fuengirola – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Connected by train
  • Wide accommodation offer
  • Beautiful urban beaches
  • Family-friendly attractions

8. Mijas

Mijas is one of the westernmost towns on the Costa del Sol.

The historic centre of Mijas, known as Mijas Pueblo, is located inland, on the side of a mountain, and is known for its charm and typical white village architecture.

Some of the most important attractions in this area include the Hermitage of Virgen de la Peña, the Carromato – Museum of Miniatures, the Plaza de Toros, the Mayan Monkey chocolate shop, the Historical-Ethnological Museum, the Contemporary Art Centre, Parque La Muralla and the Hermitage of Calvario. Find accommodation in Mijas Pueblo.

On the other hand, about 13 kilometres to the southwest of the Historic Centre, lies the area known as La Cala de Mijas and Calahonda.

This area, known as Mijas Costa, stands out for its beautiful beaches such as Calahonda, El Bombo, Playa de La Cala, El Faro and Cabo Rocoso. Find accommodation in Mijas Costa.

The area between the town of Mijas and the beaches of Mijas Costa is home to some of the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol.

Mijas does not have a train station, but it has excellent bus connections with Málaga capital, Marbella, Benahavís, Fuengirola, Torremolinos and other points on the Costa del Sol and southern Andalusia.

Read more about the best areas to stay in Mijas, Málaga.

Where to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain - Mijas
Where to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain – Mijas
Accommodation in Mijas - Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Mijas – Click on the map to see all the available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Peaceful atmosphere
  • Golf courses
  • Historical and kid-friendly attractions

9. Torre del Mar

Torre del Mar is a town located in the municipality of Vélez-Málaga.

It is located 33 kilometres east of the provincial capital, on the axis formed by the A-356, A-7 and N-340A highways.

This tourist and fishing town, whose history dates back to Phoenician times, is known for its peaceful atmosphere, its beaches and its many attractions.

Among the tourist attractions of Torre del Mar are the castle, the Sugar Museum, the lighthouses of Torre del Mar, the Manganeta Tower and the Casa de Las Palmeras.

Puerto de La Caleta is home to the largest fishing fleet on the Costa del Sol.

Torre del Mar is connected with Vélez-Málaga and Málaga by buses.

Torre del Mar is one of the best towns on the Costa del Sol for a quiet holiday
Torre del Mar is one of the best towns on the Costa del Sol for a quiet holiday
Where to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain - Torre del Mar
Where to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain – Torre del Mar

10. Casares

The small town of Casares is located between the Serranía de Ronda and the Mediterranean Sea.

With a small Andalusian town atmosphere, with whitewashed white houses, the town centre, known as Casares Pueblo, sits on top of a steep cliff.

Some of the most important tourist attractions in Casares include the Muslim castle, the Church of the Incarnation, the hermitages of San Sebastián and the Virgen del Rosario, the Carlos III fountain, the Torre de la Sal, the Roman ruins of Lacipo and the Blas Infante Birthplace Museum.

Sierra Bermeja is a protected natural park known for hiking trails and birdwatching.

One of the main reasons for choosing Casares as the best place to stay in Costa del Sol is its tranquillity.

Zona tranquila donde alojarse en la Costa del Sol - Casares
Zona tranquila donde alojarse en la Costa del Sol – Casares

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Costa del Sol, Spain:

  • Peaceful environment
  • Mountain village
  • Natural attractions

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