Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Benalmadena - famous places that trip off the tongue. Long time favourite,
the Costa del Sol, still packs more sun-powered punch per inch than most other Mediterranean Meccas. It goes without saying
a lot of people head to the region on holiday solely for the sands and it only takes one look at the beaches here to see why.
From Estepona in the west to Nerja in the east, this scenic Costa is overflowing with them. Fuengirola boasts the longest,
with five miles of sand, Torremolinos follows hot on its heels and in Nerja, picture-postcard coves cry out for your towel.
Most of the resorts are backed by palm-dotted promenades, family amusements and glitzy marinas filled with restaurants and
cocktail lounges. Of course there is a more traditional side to things, too. Turn inland for a slice of authentic Andalucia,
cue fairytale 'pueblo blancos' like Frigiliana and Mijas, together with snow-tipped mountains and rolling hills. Spanish
cities await, like Seville, Granada and Ronda with their Moorish palaces, cobbled lanes and fiery fiestas.
Fuengirola's main attraction is its five miles of Blue Flag beach. Edged
by a spacious promenade lined with palm trees and flower beds, it's the perfect spot for some serious sun time. Then there's
the restaurants, serving everything from traditional Spanish to English, you're bound to find something that tickles your
Benalmadena is a lively seaside town
that's a real hit with the british holidaymaker. Looks-wise it's a bit of a mish-mash - 1970's high rises give
way to a pretty whitewashed marina that takes its cue from Moorish Andalucia. Packed with millionaires yachts, the marina
sits at the very heart of Benalmadena's social scene. With no shortage of bars and restaurants, you'll definitely
be coming back here most evenings to mingle with holidaymakers over a cocktail, or to get ready for a night on the tiles with
the clubbing kids from nearby Malaga.
If you were to land
in Nerja not knowing it was on the Costa del Sol, you might be surprised, because unlike much of this famously tourist-focused
coast, its managed to retain every scrap of its Spanish charm. Perched on cliffs and backed by the dusky Sierra Almijara mountains,
its feel is distinctly home-grown. Yet the nerve centre of Nerja lies elsewhere on the charming Balcon de Europa. Flanked
by lush palms, this picturesque promenade ends in a spectacular view.
Hidden away in the Costa del Sol's wild west, Estepona is one of the area's most traditional Spanish resorts. With
palm-roofed chiringuitos rather than British-style bars lining the beachfront, its held tight to its roots. However, it's
far from being a backwater, and has everything you need for a relaxing and comfortable beach holiday. The main beach is La
Rada, a large expanse of sand and shingle which stretches two miles or so to the marina, and there's also El Cristo beach,
a cove which catches the sun until late in the evening.