Where is the Costa del Sol? Learn about Malaga’s best beaches, its gastronomy, the weather and its homes for sale

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If you’ve ever imagined a spot where golden beaches seem to never end, where every gust of wind carries the coolness of the Mediterranean Sea and the nightlife shines with enthusiasm and vitality, then you’re picturing the Costa del Sol. This coastal enclave is a sublime mixture of gentle temperatures, enriching culture and authentic Mediterranean hospitality. And if you are wondering, “Where is the Costa del Sol?” you’re about to find out.

This treasure in southern Spain has won the hearts of countless people who are looking for a home that offers a full, unique and fine life. And – although the idea of living on the Costa del Sol sounds idyllic – it’s essential to have a well-informed perspective of everything this destination has to offer.

At Quadratia, we give you a clear and in-depth picture of the Costa del Sol, ensuring that, should you decide to establish your new home here, you will do so with the certainty and the backing of a well-founded decision. The Costa del Sol is ready to be discovered, so what are you waiting for? 

Keep reading!

Where does the Costa del Sol begin and end?

Aerial snapshot of Malaga city in a cloudy sunset with orange sky.

Located on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, the Costa del Sol is a magnificent stretch of more than 150 kilometres of golden coasts. This dazzling stretch is located in the province of Malaga and has become an oasis for enthusiasts of the fine climate, sea waves and Mediterranean flavour.

The trip along the Costa del Sol starts in Nerja to the east, a city known for its impressive caves and panoramic terraces facing the sea. Moving west, the landscape changes and features long beaches, hidden coves and lively villages until it reaches sophisticated Sotogrande, which is at the western end of this wonderful coast.

From small towns to large cities, the Costa del Sol offers a different experience at every turn, immersing visitors in an incomparable tapestry of culture and nature.

What cities are part of the Costa del Sol in Spain?

The Costa del Sol is a large region located mainly in the province of Malaga. Although it would be challenging to name all the towns that make up the Costa del Sol, here’s a list of the most well-known and significant cities and towns that are part of the Costa del Sol:

  • Malaga (capital of the province)
  • Marbella
  • Estepona
  • Fuengirola
  • Torremolinos
  • Benalmadena
  • Nerja
  • Torrox
  • Rincon de la Victoria
  • Mijas
  • San Pedro de Alcantara
  • Velez-Malaga
  • Manilva
  • Casares
  • Alhaurin el Grande
  • Antequera
  • Ronda
  • Sotogrande
  • Calahonda
  • Algarrobo
  • Sotogrande

Along with these, there are many other, more remote towns and residential developments that enrich the essence and diversity of the Costa del Sol. Although some of these places may not have the same international fame, each one exudes its own charm and uniqueness and contributes to the region’s distinctive magic.

How many foreigners live on the Costa del Sol?

To date, the Costa del Sol has a significant foreign population. It is estimated that more than 20% of this region’s total population is of foreign origin, with some of the largest groups being British, German, Scandinavian, French and Russian.

However, these figures may vary over time due to factors such as population growth, migration policies and economic trends. If you need more recent data, we recommend that you check official sources, such as Spain’s National Statistics Institute or the register of residents in the province of Malaga.

Map of the Costa del Sol: Where is the Costa del Sol (Spain)?

When you think of a map of the Costa del Sol, you can picture a majestic strip of coastline that runs along the Mediterranean shore. This strip starts from captivating Nerja in the east, runs through the vibrancy of cities such as Marbella, and ends in exclusive Sotogrande to the west.

However, among these iconic milestones are hidden gems such as Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Estepona, which are testimony to the region’s rich culture and deeply rooted traditions.

At Quadratia, we recognise the importance of having a detailed and accurate representation of this area, so we’ve designed a map of the Costa del Sol. This map not only provides an overview but also focuses on details that allow each of the aforementioned towns and cities to be easily identified. 

So, it’s much more than just a resource; it is an essential ally for adventurers who long to explore the Costa del Sol from all angles, guiding them through their travels and mapping out a path to unforgettable moments, whether under the shining sun of its beaches or in the quiet avenues of villages with histories as old as time.

What is life like in Malaga, Costa del Sol?

Image of the port of Malaga, to talk about where the Costa del Sol is.

Malaga is undoubtedly the shining refuge of the Costa del Sol. It’s more than just a tourist destination; it’s a warm home for people who become seduced by its allure. Renowned not only for its life filled with culture and art, the city is known for its bustling port and the majestic Alcazaba that stands as a watch tower, speaking silently of the eras and tales it has accumulated over time.

Living in Malaga, you feel a harmonious fusion between what is contemporary and what is traditional. Life here flows to the beat of the Mediterranean. Its narrow streets, markets full of aromas and colours, and lively squares are the backdrop of everyday life, where Malaga’s warmth is reflected in every gesture and word. What’s more, local festivals and traditions are interspersed with daily routine, offering a constant display of enthusiasm, music and gastronomy.

If you’d like to dig deeper into what this city has to offer, don’t miss our next article: What to see and do in Malaga? A trip through the most emblematic spots and the essential activities that this pearl of the Mediterranean reserves for its visitors and for those who decide to settle here.

Which is better: Estepona, Nerja or Malaga?

Indeed, Malaga, Nerja and Estepona – three outstanding jewels on the Costa del Sol – have unique characteristics that attract a variety of kinds of travellers and future residents. It’s essential to break down the pros and cons of each one for foreigners considering settling in one of them.

Explore more in the comparison chart below!

Comparative table of advantages by city

Foreign ownerCharacteristicsMalagaNerjaEstepona
AdvantagesTransportInternational airport, train and bus stations, excellent transport links to and from other cities.Proximity to Malaga, which allows easy access to the main options for transport and services.Marina and good road links to other points on the Costa del Sol.
AmbienceSophisticated, with a wide range of culture, theatres, museums and festivals.A peaceful and picturesque ambience with a remarkable traditional Andalusian charm.Of the three cities, perhaps the least touristy and therefore the most peaceful and with the true essence of Andalusia.
ServicesA wide variety of services, from hospitals to leisure and shopping centres. Furthermore, the Costa del Sol is the area with the highest concentration of golf courses in Europe.Basic services covered and have a more local vibe.They’re currently investing in expanding sport facilities, hospitals, etc. 
Nature and beachesUrban beaches with good services and proximity to mountains and natural parks.Isolated and natural beaches Of interest for tourists: Cuevas de Nerja.Isolated and natural beaches Of interest for tourists: Los Alcornocales Park nearby.
CommunityA  large international community due to tourism and the university.A notable expatriate community, especially of British.Less tourist-orientated than Malaga and Nerja, but with a number of foreigners seeking areas with quiet and exclusive homes.

Table comparing disadvantages by city

Foreign ownerCharacteristicsMalagaNerjaEstepona
DisadvantagesCost of livingIt may be higher, given its status as the main city.Tourism demand may raise prices in high seasons.Prices can vary, but in general, they’re more affordable than in Malaga.
IntegrationAlthough many people do speak English, integrating may require a more solid command of Spanish.Very international area with no problems with the language.Very international area with no problems with the language.
Noise and nightlifeAs a lively and cosmopolitan city, there may be more noise, especially in areas with nightlife.It’s quieter, but areas aimed at tourists can be noisy in high season.In general, a quiet ambience, but areas near the port can be livelier at night.

Beaches on the Costa del Sol

One of the main golden sandy beaches on the Costa del Sol.

The Costa del Sol is universally acclaimed for its fascinating beaches that stretch for many kilometres and offer a diversity that captivates its visitors. With its unique character, each coast promises different experiences, from vast shores of golden sand to small bays with crystal-clear waters.

For people who value amenities and a variety of services, urban beaches such as Playa de Venus in Marbella and Playa de la Carihuela in Torremolinos not only dazzle with their luminous sand and impressive views but also boast a wide range of gastronomic options and entertainment areas for all ages.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more serene refuge in harmony with nature, the secluded bays such as Playa de Maro near Nerja are the perfect spots for getting away from the hustle and bustle and immersing yourself in a truly authentic seascape.

These coasts are not only an Eden for people who wish to relax in the sun but also the ideal backdrop for a host of water activities, from diving to sailing. What’s more, numerous beaches on the Costa del Sol have been recognised for their quality, cleanliness and sustainability, and have received awards of distinction such as the Blue Flag.

Take a look at this detailed guide where you can discover the best beaches on the Costa del Sol. And, discover soon in a new post, the best coves of the Costa del Sol.

What sea bathes the Costa del Sol? What is Malaga’s beach like?

Malaga's Malagueta beach, to talk about where the Costa del Sol is.

In case it hasn’t been made clear, the Costa del Sol – located in southern Spain – is bathed by the refreshing waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This sea is famous for its mild weather, calm and clear waters and rich biodiversity that attract both tourists and residents.

As for Malaga, its most emblematic beach is La Malagueta. This beach is especially popular and has a stretch of golden sand that goes on for more than 1,200 metres. Due to its location near Malaga’s historic centre, La Malagueta is easily accessible and has become one of the main meeting points for both Malagueños and visitors.

One of the most attractive features of La Malagueta is its wide seafront promenade, where you can find numerous beach bars and eateries that offer everything from sardine skewers to international dishes. The beach is well maintained, has regular cleaning services and is equipped with showers, sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, as well as play areas for children.

On the other hand, its lively and cosmopolitan ambience is ideal for people looking to combine relaxation on the beach with social and cultural activities. This beach combines the essence of the Mediterranean with the vibrant spirit of Malaga, making it a must for any visitor to the Costa del Sol.

Weather on the Costa Sol

As we mentioned at the beginning of this text, the Costa del Sol – favoured by its geographical location – enjoys more than 320 days of brilliant sunshine a year, making it one of the sunniest destinations in Spain. On average, temperatures range from 15°C during the coldest months and exceed 30°C in the summer season, ensuring the ideal climate for enjoying its beaches and other spaces throughout most of the year.

Although rains are not common, when they do occur, they tend to be more frequent in the autumn. However, humidity on the Costa del Sol remains at pleasant levels, avoiding that feeling of suffocating heat during the summer boom.

In addition, the fusion of gentle sea breezes with the mild Mediterranean sun not only favours outdoor activities but also is notable for its health-related advantages, helping to improve respiratory and joint ailments.

In conclusion, the Costa del Sol’s climate not only seduces visitors but is also an invitation to people who wish to find a home with a harmonious combination of summer’s warmth and winter’s mildness. It is, without a doubt, a place where the splendid climate is the main star.

Gastronomy on the Costa del Sol

Espeto of sardines on fire, typical gastronomy of the Costa del Sol.

Likewise, the Costa del Sol is not only renowned for its magnificent beaches and perpetual sun but also for its diverse gastronomy. This region of Andalusia is famous for fusing the finest from the sea with the flavours of the land in its recipes. While pescaíto frito is an iconic dish, the Mediterranean Sea provides an abundance of fresh seafood and fish that delight residents and tourists alike.

Most important dishes from the Costa del Sol’s gastronomy:

  • Pescaito frito: a variety of small fish that are battered and fried until crispy
  • Sardine skewers: sardines skewered on wood canes and fire-grilled on the seafront
  • Salmorejo malagueño: a cold soup made of tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar, usually decorated with chopped egg and ham
  • Porra antequerana: similar to salmorejo, but thicker and often with additional ingredients such as capsicum
  • Ajoblanco: cold soup made of almonds, garlic, bread and olive oil, often accompanied with grapes or melon
  • Boquerones en vinagre: anchovies marinated in vinegar and seasoned with garlic and parsley
  • Migas: a dish made of breadcrumbs cooked with olive oil, garlic and a variety of add-ons such as chorizo, capsicum and sardines

As far as beverages go, we can’t disregard Malaga’s wines, which range from the sweet nuances of Moscatel to intensely flavoured reds. The culinary offer of Malaga represents a tapas of traditions and delicacies that, without a doubt, should be enjoyed and accompanied in the best way during every stay in the Andalusian region.

Homes for sale on the Costa del Sol: Find your Mediterranean oasis

To conclude, for people who dream of settling in a destination full of charm and tradition, the Costa del Sol is a matchless option, offering a variety of homes that suit every taste and budget.

At Quadratia, we connect with your desires and aspirations. That’s why we’ve selected newly built homes for you located in the best coastal areas such as the Costa del Sol. Let us be your bridge to that idyllic life that you want so badly in the Mediterranean.

Have you felt an attraction to the Costa del Sol’s charms, or perhaps you’re interested in exploring other fascinating spots in Spain. If this is the case, we encourage you to take a look at this article that shows the best cities to live in Spain and covers everything from the Costa Blanca to the Costa Calida

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