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During the 1960s and ‘70s, the Costa del Sol (‘Sun Coast’) was the destination du jour, with bargain package deals providing cheap holidays to sun-starved foreigners. Since its heyday as a mass tourism magnet, the Costa del Sol has broadened its scope, adding string after string to its melodious Mediterranean bow. Yes, sun and sand are still the stars of the show, but culture, history and golf are playing increasingly key supporting roles.
Something for everyone
During its lightning-speed development, the Costa del Sol’s tiny coastal fishing villages were swallowed by an explosion of beachfront apartment blocks and hotel complexes, offering cheap Costa del Sol holidays and all-inclusive deals to sun-thirsty Northern Europeans.
Hot on their heels was a wave of older British expats who migrated here to live out their retirement years in the sun.
Cheap holidays to Costa del Sol resorts are still widely available (look for Costa del Sol package deals in resorts such as Benalmádena, Nerja and Torremolinos) but they are no longer the only course of action.
Plan a trip here today and you can choose from all kinds of lodgings, from luxury boutique hotels and rustic-chic fincas to world-class golf resorts. If you are looking for a swankier-than-average luxury Costa del Sol holiday, head for Puerto Banús, where deluxe superyachts moor in the marina and supercars prowl the streets.
For a family holiday in the Costa del Sol, the convenience of a resort stay is undeniable: kids’ clubs, swimming pools, plays areas and nightly entertainment can make all the difference for harried parents.
Authentic Andalusian villages
Even within the most tourist-oriented, all-inclusive Costa del Sol resorts, guests are never far from the traditional Spain of old.
Just a short drive inland is a smattering of unspoiled pueblos blancos (white villages), whose lack of direct coastal access saw them escape the eye of the developers.
Many of the Costa del Sol’s main towns and villages, including Fuengirola, Marbella and Málaga, have retained their photogenic, well-preserved old towns.
*ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) is a financial protection scheme for package holidays: It provides support to consumers in the event their holiday provider collapses. Booking with an ATOL holder ensures that you won't be left out of pocket and you won't be left stranded abroad. All package holidays compared using TravelSupermarket are protected by ATOL.
ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) offers similar cover for packages booked with its members. However, while ATOL predominantly covers flight-based packages, ABTA covers non-flight based holidays (such as rail and cruise) and linked travel arrangements. If you are unsure whether or not your trip is covered by ABTA, check with your provider.
Step away from the seaside charms of the Costa del Sol and you'll discover another side to Spain's beloved ‘sun coast'. Charming hilltop towns, gorgeous lakes and tantalizing tapas await.Read moreabout Secret Costa del Sol: How to escape the tourist trail
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