The Costa del Sol serves up the tastiest ingredients for the perfect holiday recipe: clear blue skies, sun-soaked beaches, mountains and history, great cuisine and intoxicating culture - it's not difficult to see why this sea-side region of Spain is adored by holidaymakers.
Quiet villages soaked in tradition and charm; whitewashed communities secreted away in the forested mountains; secluded beaches surrounded by white cliffs; resort towns with exhilarating nightlife; and cities where history and culture saturates the streets: there is a place for everyone in the Costa del Sol, whatever your idea of the perfect holiday.
Costa del Sol hotels also cater for the varied tastes, budgets and requirements of visitors. You can find rustic appeal in countryside retreats, spa hotels with luxury on tap, village-based budget hotels, and family-friendly hotels and apartments in the resort towns. City hotels, such as those in characterful Malaga, will also run the range from budget rooms to some of the best five-star hotels in the Costa del Sol.
Marbella is one of the top places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you like your holidays with a touch of class and a big dose of glitz and glamour. Millionaire yachts bob on the crystal waters and designer threads hang off bronzed bodies. The Golden Mile, between Marbella and equally glam Puerto Banus, hosts some of the coast's most fabulous top-end hotels.
For a taste of Spain without the hefty price tag, look at hotels in popular resorts such as Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola. Charming Estepona is also worth a look, while other popular areas to look for hotels on the Costa del Sol include Manilva, Mijas, Nerja, San Pedro de Alcantara and Torrox.
Many hotels are locally owned and managed but you can expect to find many international brands on offer too such as H10, Sol, Barcelo, NH Hoteles, Melia, Tryp, Nexus, Paradores, Medplaya and Kempinski as well as timeshare resorts such as Club La Costa.
Top five attractions
This is a stunning palace and fortress complex in the Moorish city of Granada that dates back to 889. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the city of Granada is well worth the journey from the coast.
The historic city of Ronda impresses visitors with a clutch of ancient sites, plus the beautiful and extraordinary bridges that span the canyons.
Open between May and September, this waterpark offers a fun-filled respite from the searing sun with slides, pools and all kinds of water-based antics.
Also known as the Rock, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is a short journey south of the Costa del Sol and the place to head if you're missing England and you fancy a slice of British tradition - as well as hassle from the naughty macaques that roam here.
El Torcal de Antequera
Unusual rock formations dot this attractive landscape in the province of Malaga.
San Bernabe Fiesta in Marbella; June: Journey to the Old Town of Marbella to enjoy flamenco music, parades, traditional food and drink, and funfairs.
Malaga fair; August: Follow the sound of clacking castanets to see the flamenco dancers, fireworks, and all the fun of the 'feria' in Malaga.
Feria de San Miguel in Torremolinos; September: The appearance of horse and oxen mark out this fair as special. You'll find the fairground by following your nose - the food simply must be tasted.