The Costa del Sol has been popular with foreign tourists for many years. Although internationally promoted for tourism as early as the 1940’s the Costa then attracted (mainly) native Spaniards. It was not until the 50’s that things started to take off, with celebrities such as Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando, and European royalty visiting. Interest gathered pace and in 1962 the first flight connections were established with several major European cities. By 1968 a new terminal and control tower had been added at Malaga, and that year 100,000 passengers passed through its airport. Many fishermen and farmers became hoteliers and restaurateurs as the Costa’s newfound industry swept southwards from its starting point in Torremolinos.
One of the original draws to the coastline was gifted by nature; the Costa del Sol has just about the mildest climate in Europe, an abundance of golden sandy beaches, and is flanked by a beautiful and varied mountainous terrain. At the time of the initial tourist boom it was also relatively inexpensive, and flights from many European cities had become affordable. In addition an abundance of historical sights have been left behind by ancient races such as the Romans and the Moors.
Today the towns that grace the shores of the Costa del Sol contrast with one another, some catering more for the package tour holiday contingent (Torremolinos), others aiming at a more affluent crowd (Puerto Banus/Marbella), and most of the rest falling somewhere in between. However the Costa is also well known for having some of the most beautiful white washed villages in the world; most of them looking out to sea from their mountain perches. These traditional villages subscribe more to the old (slower) way of life, and as a result are an ideal place to while away your days/take a break from hectic life back home. A great deal of effort is made to preserve these unique villages, and in many it is law that residents white wash the front of their houses and carry out general repairs before the summer season.
It is common knowledge that there are a wide range of activities in place on the Costa del Sol. Whether you are looking for culture, museums and historical sights, an elegant cuisine and vibrant nightlife, or sporting facilities of almost any type, they are here in abundance. However one particular leisure pursuit has taken the lead in terms of market share; and that is Golf. Often nicknamed the Costa del Golf this part of Spain boasts perhaps the highest concentration of high quality golf courses in Europe. There are well over 50 courses in total, many of which have hosted major championships; such as Valderrama, San Roque and Sotogrande (amongst others).
In recent years the Costa del Sol has become much more of an international community. This is largely due to residential tourism and the influx of ex pats from other European countries. However the identity and traditions of the people that live here are still very much alive; with many fiestas (festivals) taking place throughout the calendar, some of which are a real spectacle and well worth a look. The cuisine is another major bonus, with affordable good food available everywhere, alongside the middle to high end restaurants. Plenty of shopping opportunities also exist; ranging from souvenirs, local goods and handicrafts, to designer label fashion and modern shopping centres.
As its name suggests the Costa del Sol (sol means sun) is well known for its mild climate, making it an ideal destination for holiday makers in both the summer and winter months. The coastline is sheltered by hills and high mountains, allowing for a kind of micro climate. This limits rainfall, and as a result the region enjoys sunshine for in excess of 320 days per year. The sun is at its hottest during the summer months, with temperatures rarely falling below 30°C (86°F). Winters are typically very mild with averages hovering around 18°C (64°F).