Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol is located in the most southern part of Spain in the provinces of Málaga and Granada. The Costa del Sol covers 300 km from the Spanish coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The entire Costa del Sol has a total area of 87,268 km2, filled with beautiful long beaches, Moorish influences, whitewashed villages, whole blood horses, hot summers and warm winters. Thanks to the 325 days of sunshine a year and an average seawater temperature of 18 degrees you can enjoy the sun and the beach all year long. Here you will also find fantastic golf courses, beautiful marinas and the beautiful inland of Andalusia. In the inland there are many steep hills and several nature parks, which are worth a visit. You will also find the Sierra Nevada, you can ski here in the winter. This is also the highest point of Andalusia.
Málaga is the main town on the Costa del Sol full of history and culture. Besides Málaga, the other touristic cities are: Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella, Estepona, Mijas and Nerja. Pablo Picasso has put a significant mark on Málaga. He was born there in 1895 and the Picasso Museum in Málaga has most of his work.
The Costa del Sol is rich of culture. Everywhere there are historic buildings and ancient ruins, the region's rich history made it into what it is today. The real culture lovers will certainly not be bored on the Costa del Sol.
Málaga is the second largest city of Andalusia and stands at number 5 of the largest cities in Spain with a population of 560,000. It is the capital of the province of Málaga. The city lies on the Costa del Sol and at the Mediterranean Sea, in southern Spain near the Street of Gibraltar. Málaga is surrounded by mountains, called the hills of Axarquía. These mountains provide the pleasant climate in Málaga. The city / province has a subtropical and Mediterranean climate. The temperature fluctuates throughout the year from an average minimum temperature of 7 degrees and an average maximum temperature of 31 degrees.
Málaga has a long history behind it, many different cultures have ruled over the city. The influences of all these different cultures can still be observed throughout the city. This is reflected in the ancient walls and buildings.
Málaga is a port city, the port, along with tourism are the main sources of income. The port is also an important start-stop for luxury cruise ships that sail over the Mediterranean Sea.
In the center of Málaga shoppers can indulge. You will find everything: international chain stores, department stores and boutiques. Besides the shoppers, cultural people are also in their place in the old Málaga. The famous painter Pablo Picasso was born here. You will find the modern art museum and the Picasso Museum here, they have most of Picasso's work. Other attractions that are worth visiting are the:
- The Gibralfaro (The castle was built in the 14th and 15th century on the hill of Gibralfaro, to defend the city.)
- Cathedral de Málaga (The construction of this cathedral began in 1528, after the Christians had conquered Málaga. The construction has lasted two and a half century. The Cathedral has different styles.)
- Plaza de Toros (The Plaza de Toros is the majestic bullring of Málaga. It holds 15,000 spectators.)
- Jardín de la Concepción (This is one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe with over 160 different trees and plants.)
- Cementerio Inglés (The English cemetery is an interesting attraction. The cemetery was built in 1831. If you want to attend a church service, you have to visit the cemetery on Sunday. The church services are held in the St. George Church.)
Alhaurín de la Torre
Alhaurín de la Torre is a big city with a scattering of small villages in the area, located in the Spanish province of Málaga. It is a modern city, yet it still has its traditional heritage. It is located between the mountains of Mijas and the valley of Guadalhorce. Because Alhaurín is not located on the coast, the nearest beach is 15 km away. In recent years the city has grown substantially and currently it has about 20,000 inhabitants. There are parks, ancient squares and playgrounds throughout the city. It is perfect for family holidays. There are a few interesting monuments that you must see when visiting Alhaurín. ¨El Alamillo¨ (this old church was built in 1875) and the ¨ Finca El Porton is a beautiful building where you can stroll through the gardens and enjoy the diverse flora and fauna.
Alhaurín el Grande
Alhaurín el Grande is a city located in the province of Málaga in Andalusia, it lies 240 meters above sea level. In the Guadalhorce river valley, Alhaurín is one of the most picturesque villages of Andalusia. It is soaked in history, Andalusian architecture and has a lot of narrow streets which often cause traffic congestion. Also it gives a beautiful view over the green undulating interior of the Costa del Sol.
Torremolinos is located below the mountains of Mijas. It was once a fishing village and a district of the city of Málaga but since 1988 an independent municipality. The name Torremolinos comes from the Spanish words Torre (tower) and Molinos (mill). Formerly there were many windmills in this region, now there is only one. This windmill serves as a restaurant. Torremolinos is probably the most famous city on the Costa del Sol, this is due to the fact that the city was the first bathed in tourism. It is full of big resorts, luxury hotels, apartments, buildings, colorful flowers and exotic trees. The city can be seen as two separate parts: Torremolinos center, the more tourist area with beautiful clean beaches and La Carihuela, which is the former fishing district of Torremolinos and is rich with small fishing houses and nice little streets. It lies in the west of the town and is the paradise of small fried fish (pescaíto frito). La Carihuela is one of the most famous restaurant districts on the Costa del Sol.
Torremolinos has plenty of attractions nearby to entertain you. There are numerous water sports and activities available including water skiing, windsurfing, diving and many more. You can also go riding, and there is a beautiful swimming pool with water slides. The Sealife Aquarium and Tivoli World are both fun for a day away. There are also many world class golf courses in the area.
Benalmádena Costa & Benalmádena Pueblo
Benalmádena lies between Torremolinos and Fuengirola and is split into 3 parts. Benalmádena Costa, Benalmádena Pueblo and Arroyo de la Miel. Benalmádena Costa is a seaside town with an 8 km long coastline and is characterized by mass tourism. The marina of Benalmádena Costa is considered one of the finest in the world. There is room for over 1000 boats and yachts of all sizes that arrive and depart daily. The port is also the central point of the city, where the social scene is. In Benalmádena Costa you can find hotels and apartments, beautiful long beaches with fine sand and plenty of dining and entertainment venues.
If you are coming from Benalmádena Costa, you can walk towards the mountains and at about 300 meters up lies Benalmádena Pueblo. Here you will see the real Spain with typical Andalusian white houses with small doors and windows and narrow streets. This village has avoided the touristic developments over the past years, unlike Benalmádena Costa. From the Pueblo, you have a wonderful view of the Costa.
In Benalmádena there is plenty entertainment for young and old.
- Tivoli World: Located in the district Arroyo de la Miel. This Park has Wild West and flamenco shows and many other attractions for young and old.
- Selwo Marina: Also located in the district of Arroyo de la Miel. Dofinarium with many shows such as dolphin and sea lion shows.
- Sealife Centre: Indoor aquarium with many different animals, this center has the largest shark collection in Europe.
- Numerous sports activities.
- Golf courses.
- Torrequebrada casino.
Fuengirola is a touristic town on the Costa del Sol in the province of Málaga. The city currently has around 70,000 inhabitants and has grown considerably over the years. Historically, only a small fishing village but today Fuengirola is one of the most popular villages on the Costa packed with bars, restaurants and chic boutiques. Fuengirola has several sandy beaches and from May, the weather is pleasant enough to sit in the sun or make a refreshing dive into the sea. In the city, there are great restaurants; you can eat in a typical Spanish restaurant, which specializes in dishes like: Ajoblanco (cold garlic soup), Gazpacho (cold tomato soup), fresh fish and shellfish. Fuengirola has a bustling night life. The harbor is full of bars, discos and pubs. What is also worth a nightly visit is the "Plaza de la Constitución". This is the central square of the city and again surrounded with entertainment. In this city also the cultural enthusiastic people can enjoy themselves with various libraries, monuments and concerts. Cultural buildings that are worth visiting are the: "Yacimiento romano Finca del Secretario" (These are excavations of an ancient Roman city where significant archaeological remains where found) and the "Castillo de Sohail" (this is a medieval castle on the west of Fuengirola. From here one has a nice view of the interior and the coast of Andalusia.
Mijas Costa & Pueblo
Mijas is a municipality located on the Costa del Sol, in the province of Málaga. It currently has around 76,000 inhabitants. The municipality is divided into three different areas: Mijas Pueblo, Mijas Costa and Las Lagunas. Mijas Costa is situated on the coast and has a 12 km long coastline with beautiful beaches. The beach offers many water sports: water skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, diving, hire jet skis and much more. Mijas Costa is especially popular among the English people, many permanent residents are English. One advantage is that the most of the population in the city, speaks English. The Costa has many modern influences and in this section you can also find hotels, villas, restaurants, bars, nightlife and shopping centers. For those who want more peace, Mijas Pueblo is ideal. This white Andalusian village has influences of the past that can be seen in the architecture. This is the place to buy souvenirs and there are shops with handmade jewelry. It lies 428 meters above sea level and gives you a beautiful view of the coastline. A real attraction of this village is the donkey taxis.
Marbella is one of the largest and most important touristic cities on the Costa del Sol. It currently has about 127,000 inhabitants and a large proportion of this is foreign. Because of the climate you can enjoy the sunshine all year with an average annual temperature of 19 degrees. The name Marbella comes from the days when Muslims ruled over this city. It is a Muslim name derived from Marbil-la. In 1485 the city was retaken by the Spaniards, and since then the Marbil-la has grown into a beautiful city: Marbella. The city is known for the rich and famous, especially many wealthy tourists stay here in one of the many wonderful hotels, apartments or luxury villas. The port of Marbella, called Puerto Banús, is one of the most prestigious of the Mediterranean Sea. In and around the city, no one will easily get bored. It has a historical centre situated around the ¨ Plaza de los Naranjos ¨. The name already says what it is, this is an attractive square full of orange trees, restaurants and beautiful buildings dating from the 14th century. Along the harbor is a long boulevard with many clothing stores from famous designers, small boutiques and cozy restaurants. The golfers will have a great time in Marbella, in the province of Málaga there are 50 golf courses. Some interesting sights in and around Marbella include:
- The old town of Marbella: La Iglesia de la Encarnación (religious Roman temple), the Arabic wall.
- Almeda Park (park from the 18th century, full of flora and fauna and ceramics).
- The bronze sculptures of artist Salvador Dalí.
- The luxury marina of Marbella, Puerto Banús.
Seville is the capital of Andalusia. Seville is the most important and largest city in southern Spain and is famous because of its culture, economics and art. The population has grown considerably in the recent years and currently has about 700,000 inhabitants. It is a city with a rich history and is also called the outdoor museum of Spain. Many different cultures have ruled over the city and this reflex clearly in the many different architectural styles of the buildings. Seville is a wonderful travel destination with multiple activities. You can find culture, history, warm weather and a lively outdoor and nightlife. In the center are also the main attractions of the city: the "Torro del Oro" (tower of gold from the 18th century), "the Alcázar" (Royal Palace) and the "cathedral of Seville" (gothic cathedral and the main church of the Archdiocese of the city) The main Spanish music and dance, the flamenco originated in the Triana district of Seville. They also speak a different dialect in Seville, this is very difficult to understand, even for other Spaniards. ¨Sierpes or Tetuan¨ (Kalverstraat) is the shopping area of Seville. The Seville cuisine is known for the many sweet dishes as ¨Mantecados¨ (biscuits with almonds), "pestiños" (honey cakes) "The tortas aceite" (thin pastry made with olive oil), ¨roscos fritos¨ (sweet fried donuts). Some interesting sights in and around Seville include:
- The Cathedral Maria de la Sede (after St. Peter's church in Rome, the largest church in Europe).
- The Museo Arqueológico and the ¨Museo de Bellas Artes ¨ are the most important museums of Seville.
- The Plaza de España (architectural monument just outside the historic center with 52 frescoes).
- La Maestranza largest bullring in Spain.
Córdoba lies 120 meters above sea level on the Guadalquivir river at the foot of the Sierra Morena. It currently has about 322,000 inhabitants and this number makes it the third largest city of Andalusia. Córdoba has a Mediterranean climate and the temperature is several months a year over 35 degrees, the average annual temperature is the highest in Europe. Cordoba is the hottest city in Spain. The winters are mild. Cordoba was once one of the major cities in the world. In the 10th century it was the largest city in the world. Through its influential history, today about 1000 places are named after this city. The most important example is the Argentine city: Córdoba. The Plaza de Potro and the Jewish Quarter Juderia are the places where you can eat the best. Many recipes that are offered in these restaurants are from the Jewish and Moorish era.
You can also do great shopping in Córdoba, especially in the small boutiques where typical Spanish souvenirs are sold. In the more modern and more commercial part of the town there are modern boutiques and shopping centers. Following streets are crowded shopping areas: ¨ Cruz Conde ¨ Avenida Gran Capitán ¨ and ¨ Ronda de los Tejares ¨. In the evening there is plenty to do in Córdoba. The city has many tapas bars where you can eat and can enjoy a nice wine. There are many flamenco bars. In this beautiful town there is also plenty of culture and history to find. Some interesting sights in and around Cordoba include:
- The Mezquita: impressive Mosque of 23,000 m2, this is the 2nd largest mosque in the world.
- Judería: this is a Jewish quarter and has an old synagogue.
- Impressive bridge over the Guadalquivir river.
- Alcazar de los Reyes Católicos: a 15th century castle with beautiful gardens.
Granada lies in the south of Spain and is one of the cities which dates from the Moorish era, this is still clearly visible in the beautiful architecture. The city has a population of about 240.000 and this number makes it the fourth largest city of Andalusia. Granada is located 738 meters above sea level between the hills and at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. The city has a Mediterranean climate, but also tends to a continental climate. The summers are very dry and hot and the temperature rises over 36 degrees in the summer. The winters are unlike other cities in the area, very cold. The temperature then drops below zero regularly. Granada is full of culture, beautiful architecture and nature. Because the city was once ruled by the Moors, this reflects everywhere. The main attraction of the city therefore dates back to Moorish times: The Alhambra, this is a magnificent historic palace with a beautiful garden with relics from the Moorish and Catholic period. Besides the Alhambra, there are plenty of other Moorish buildings in the town that are worth a visit. You will also find plenty of monasteries, churches and cathedrals, dating from the late Christian era in the city. Granada can be divided into the old and the new part. In the older districts of the city (¨Albayzín¨ and the ¨Alhambra¨) you can breath in the Spanish atmosphere, see the narrow streets and visit the small shops that sell handmade goods. The new section has modern shops and shopping centers and the University of Granada. Because so many students live in Granada there is a lively nightlife scene with many bars and nightclubs. You can also find the flamenco dance and music back in Granada. A nice place to go see this dance is in the caves of Sacromonte, here the Gypsies keep this dance tradition alive. Some interesting sights in and around Granada include:
- The Cathedral of Granada, this is one of the largest churches in Spain.
- The Albaicín: Arab neighborhood with narrow streets and houses from the 14th century.
- The many Bañuelos: Arab Baths where you can relax.
- The Alhambra: historical palace with a beautiful garden with relics from the Moorish and Catholic period.