The Costa del Sol is found in the province of Malaga and stretches along the coastline for 159 km from Manilva to Nerja. Most of this coastline is composed of beautiful beaches of all types. Malaga is the capital city, with a metropolitan population of about a million.
The Costa del Sol has Spain’s best climate. The average temperature throughout the year is 18.5 C. There are at least 300 days of sunshine, and thus the title of Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun). The winters are the mildest in Europe and there is plenty of tourism then, when northern Europeans want to escape their snow clad countries. There is little rain in winter, and even if it rains, the skies clear afterward and the sun shines again. Truly the climate is ideal in the Costa del Sol. Two cities on the Costa del Sol, Marbella and Torrox Costa, have the best microclimates in Europe, with surrounding mountains protecting these cities from cold, northerly winds. The mild winters are appreciated by those who come to live here permanently, or those who want to spend winters here and return to their countries in spring. So winters are mild and summers are cooler than inland Spain.
2. Friendliness of Malagueños
The native Malagueños are a very friendly people who enjoy the company of all types of visitors, whether they are Spanish from other regions, other Andalusians, or foreigners. They are probably the friendliest of all Spanish and they have a custom of hospitality that is ingrained. They are used to having all types of guests, from the earliest centuries of their history. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Vandals, and Moors came and stayed. This land was alluring to all visitors, and the Malagueños are a mixture of all these people. The tourist boom that started in the 1970’s continues and keeps bringing tourists to the beaches and resorts of the Costa del Sol.
The Malagueños are innately charming. The majority are outgoing and optimistic about their future. They like to talk and they like to party and have fun. They enjoy eating good food and they have a long history of culture associated with their food. They always try to help visitors, no matter where they come from. The visitor is really welcomed with open arms.
Everyone connected with the tourist industry speaks enough English to be understood, so the language problem does not exist in the Costa del Sol.
The Malagueños are amazingly tolerant of all people, no matter what color they are, what religions they have, what country they come from. There are Muslem mosques, Protestant churches, Jewish synagogues, and a Buddhist shrine. They are also tolerant of people with different types of gender orientation. Malaga is now one of the best gay destinations in Europe, with many gay bars.
3. Malaga Airport
Malaga Airport is the third largest in Spain, after the airports in Madrid, Barcelona. Connections to other Spanish and European cities is easy and there are many low cost airlines that are now coming to Malaga, so it is getting more inexpensive to travel to Malaga. Work is now going on to build a second runway and a new passenger terminal has just been inaugurated, so the capacity of the airport has doubled. Easy access to Malaga is very important for tourism, because tourists lose enthusiasm when they have to make too much effort to reach a tourist destination.
4. New AVE Service from Madrid
Madrid is the transportation hub of Spain for both national and international flights. At the end of 2007, the new AVE route from Madrid to Malaga was inaugurated and passenger traffic increased tremendously to Malaga from Madrid, especially on weekends. Many Madrileños want to spend their weekends on the beaches of Malaga, instead of in their big city of Madrid, to relax and decompress from high pressure jobs. The AVE now takes only 2.5 hours each way. Malaga is also connected with high speed trains to Seville and Cordoba. Work on the AVE to Granada is continuing.
5. Great Beaches
With 159 kilometers of coastline, one expects to find good beaches in Malaga. The beaches of Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella, and Torre del Mar are world class. They are clean and have many facilities, such as bathrooms and beach showers. Blue Flag beaches are beaches that meet quality standards and the Costa del Sol has very many Blue Flag beaches.
6. Golf Paradise
The Costa del Sol has at least 40 beautiful golf courses, many of them designed by the most famous golf course designers of the world. There are many more golf courses that are nearing completion or are starting construction. The good news is that most of them are being watered with recycled water. The few that are not using recycled water are in the process of converting to recycled water because there is a new law forcing all golf courses in Malaga to use recycled water. So ecologists will be satisfied regarding this matter.
Few tourist destinations in Spain have as many cultural offerings as the Costa del Sol. A very large number of artists, both Spanish and foreign, live in the Costa del Sol because the light is marvelous, which makes painting appealing. There are a large number of cultured people, again both Spanish and foreign, who enjoy the arts in the city. Among the major cultural offerings are:
a. Picasso Museum – Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga and this museum shows his work. It is one of the few museums that show representative work from each of his seven different work periods, from the Blue Period to Cubism.
b. Picasso Birthplace Museum – Located in the Plaza de la Merced.
c. Cathedral – Started during the Renaissance. This is one of Spain’s most beautiful cathedrals.
d. Alcazaba and Roman Theater – The Moorish fort on the hill overlooking Malaga is the best preserved Moorish fort in Spain. At the bottom of the fort is the Roman amphitheater.
8. Beautiful Gardens
There are some exceptionally beautiful gardens in the Costa del Sol.
a. Malaga Park – In the heart of Malaga, adjacent to the port is the Malaga Park, a hundred year old park that has been recently remodeled. This park is known for its semi tropical plants and is 800 meters long.
b. The Garden of Pedro Luis Alonso is located by the Town Hall and has a beautiful rose garden that contains 10,200 rose bushes, with 70 different varieties.
c. The Botanical Gardens of La Concepcion – On the outskirts of Malaga are these huge semi tropical gardens, the biggest garden of this kind in Europe.
d. Villa Padierna Hotel – In Estepona is this new Tuscan style hotel with beautiful gardens and some of the best Roman statuary in Spain.
e. Puente Romano Hotel – This Marbella hotel has wonderful gardens that border a stream.
f. Kempinski Palace Hotel – This hotel in Estepona has lush gardens around many waterfalls and cascades.
9. Transportation Hub
Malaga has a big transportation interchange building, called Vialia (Maria Zambrano Station), where one can take the AVE, the Cercanias train, and the bus to other cities in Malaga or to other provinces. Vialia is one of the biggest of its sort in Spain, making transportation connections easy. Malaga is also building a Metro system that will also be connected to Vialia. The bus system in Malaga is easy to use and it goes everywhere one wants to reach in the city.
10. Good Roads
The A7 motorway parallels the coast of Malaga. It has parts that one needs to pay tolls, but these toll roads make journeys faster. The main roads in the Costa del Sol are very good, but many have a lot of traffic. More ring roads are being built to alleviate the traffic.
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