The most famous of the Spanish costas is brimming with beaches and bars and surrounded by soaring green mountains, azure blue skies, and great swathes of sand. Add in some of Spain's best weather and plenty of culture and history and you have a perfect beach holiday
Costa del Sol holidays can be enjoyed on miles and miles of soft clean coastline, where the Mediterranean Sea folds soothingly onto gently shelving beaches. Running from Sotogrande in the west to Nerja in the east, the sunshine coast of Spain is blessed with a variety of pleasing villages, towns and cities, from bustling neon-lit resorts such as Marbella and Torremolinos to culture-rich Malaga, and on to the peaceful whitewashed villages that nestle high up in the mountains.
Flights arrive into Malaga Airport (AGP) following a flying time of around two and a half hours from UK airports. On the doorstep of the airport is the charming seaside city of Malaga, where you can explore the history of the cathedral and the Moorish fortifications (Alcazaba), stroll around art galleries, splash the cash in the city's shops, or simply enjoy the sea view as you tuck into some tasty tapas.
Sunshine is a certainty during holidays in Costa del Sol, which makes it a popular year-round destination. Golfers love the lush green courses, while spa-lovers will fall for the excellent hotels and resorts that offer pure rest and relaxation.
Whatever kind of holidaymaker you are, you can find your own little piece of paradise in the Costa del Sol. There is a range of accommodation to suit every budget and taste, from self-catering villas and apartments to five-star, high-end hotels where your every whim is catered for, plus every all-inclusive resort and high-rise hotel in between.
The tourist centres of Torremolinos, Benalmadena, and Fuengirola attract families and groups, while celebrity favourite Marbella draws an upmarket crowd. Mega yachts and designer shops form the distinct flavour of glamorous Puerto Banus, while Estepona positively drips with charm. Other popular destinations on the Costa del Sol include Manilva, Mijas, San Pedro de Alcantara, Nerja, and Torrox.
The kids are spoiled with plenty of water parks and theme parks and party people can dance to a variety of beats in the region's louder resorts. Active types will get a kick out of the walking trails and whitewashed villages of inland Andalusia.
When you fancy a change of scene from the beaches, bars and parks, the Costa del Sol offers a host of day trips to add some variety to your sunshine break. The famous Alhambra Palace will leave you breathless in the Moorish city of Granada, while cliff-top Ronda, with its deep gorges and stunning bridges, is sure to impress. Cordoba is famed for the incredible mosque, or mezquita, that crowns the town, or travel south to The Rock - otherwise known as the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Here you'll find duty-free shopping, mischievous macaque monkeys, and a slice of rather splendid English life.
Wherever you want your Costa del Sol holiday to take you, start planning today to bag a bargain to Spain's sunshine coast. The easy-to-use search tool on TravelSupermarket will help you to get the best out of your budget.
Do you fancy 11 hours of daily sunshine and temperatures topping 25C? Welcome to summer on the Costa del Sol. Winter is also pleasing, with a big dose of sunshine and temperatures that are unlikely to drop below 10C. Rainfall is highest in November and December and practically non existent in July, August and September.
Holy Week - across the area; March/April: Celebrate the Easter week on the Costa del Sol by watching the processions on the streets of the region's towns and cities. Malaga hosts a particularly large and moving event.
San Bernabe Fiesta; Marbella; June: The resort's annual fair lasts for a week and features flamenco, parades, plus traditional performances and piles of delicious food.
Virgen del Carmen fiesta; Estepona; July: The fishing tradition in this charming village is celebrated every year. It seems like the whole place takes to the sea during the festival, with watersports, competitions, and a captivating sea-bound procession that ends with a statue of the saint floating on the waves.
Malaga fair; August: Malaga's 'feria' is one of the most important in Spain. Expect fireworks to round off days of traditional music and performances and evenings spent eating and partying.
Feria de San Miguel; Torremolinos; September: Saint Michael, the resort's patron saint, is honoured in late summer with competitions, fairground fun, a horseback procession and free paella!
Best of Costa del sol holidays for...
Romance: Explore the Alcazaba Fortress in Malaga and take a romantic walk around the fragrant rose gardens. In the evening, enjoy a candlelit meal in one of the town's many tapas or seafood restaurants.
Families: Children will be delighted with a trip out to Aqualand waterpark in Torremolinos. With its huge variety of slides, such as the 100-metre black hole, Boomerang and Kamikaze slide, there are plenty of thrills awaiting daredevils.
Nightlife: Night owls will be spoiled for choice with the Costa del Sol's great selection of restaurants, bars and clubs. Whether you want to strut your stuff to the hottest club tunes, listen to some laid-back jazz, or watch traditional flamenco, there is something to suit every taste in the towns along the coast.