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Costa del Sol
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About Costa del Sol
In the 60s the Costa del Sol was the Spanish package holiday destination. And, while it's still got the sun, sandy beaches, friendly Mediterranean climate and lively resorts, these days the Costa del Sol has also begun to promote its culture just as much as its idyllic weather. And there's definitely light under this bushel. The Costa del Sol's accommodation options have also expanded beyond package resorts, and these days some of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol include chic boutique hotels, eco fincas and charming guesthouses. Not to mention the smart villas and apartments (for a selection of these visit our online partner, Booking.com).
Capital of the region, Málaga is one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you're here for the culture and history as well as the sunshine. Don't be put off by the 'airport hub' first impression, at Málaga's heart is a beautiful historic centre, and all the wonderful history you might expect from an old Mediterranean port city.
It's also been invested in, and in recent years this has meant the openings of several new museums and extensive restoration of 'the pretty bits'. Málaga is also has some of the region's best tapas bars.
It's not just Málaga, many of the Costa del Sol's resorts have charming old town centres - much maligned Marbella included. Once a whitewashed fishing village, Marbella's Old Town is a fascinating blend of Andalucían and Moorish cultures which is especially obvious in the colourful floral displays and narrow streets.
This part of Andalucía is also known for its numerous, pretty, white hilltop villages, including the old 'white village' of Mijas. All these villages and old town centres have fantastic regular markets, one of the most notable at Benahavis.
If you're looking for a glitzy break, Puerto Banus is marketed as Spain's St. Tropez. The area around a luxury marina, just south of Marbella, this is the best place to stay in the Costa del Sol if you want to be wowed by super-yachts and sports cars.
This is the patch where the wealthy, famous and royal have been papped. They're here for the sun, endless rows of high-end designer boutiques and the endless supply of excellent restaurants and strip of famous bars and clubs.
If you want to appreciate the area's natural beauty beyond the coastline take a trip on the Benalmádena Aerial Cable Car, which takes visitors 800 meters over Costa del Sol, soaring through the air to Mount Calamorro.
Or visit the El Torcal Natural Area, a striking landscape of bizarre limestone formations from 150 million years ago.
If you're looking for some of the Costa del Sol's more unique cultural offerings, the Picasso Museum in the Los Condes de Buenavista and the Royal Riding School of Ronda are two institutions worth visiting.
And if you're looking for something even more unique you're only a short drive from the monkeys of the Rock of Gibraltar.
Just don't forget that this is a very popular destination, especially during the peak summer months. So if you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol during July or August, you'll need to get organised and book well ahead.
For a Sunny City Break
- The Hotel Carabeo is a decadently decorated hotel overlooking the Mediterranean sea. There are some lovely antiques, as well as four poster beds. And several of the seven rooms have private terraces. The food is excellent, and very Spanish.
- The Town House is one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you like things whitewashed and un-fussy. It's very close to Marbella's Plaza de los Naranjos and the Old Town.
- Room Mate Larios in central Malaga is a lovely townhouse with a sunny outlook and a fantastic rooftop terrace and bar. It's a short stroll from all the highlights and consistently excellent.
For a Beach Break
- The Hotel Puente Romano is a Grand Andalucian seafront luxury hotel, with pretty much everything you need for the perfect beach break: a private beach, tennis courts, a spa, a kid's club and a choice of restaurants. And of course bright, but luxurious interiors.
- The Posada del Patio is a good five star hotel close to all Malaga's highlights. It also has rooms with private balconies and a fabulous rooftop terrace and an excellent restaurant. So you have great views and great beach access.
- Hotel Claude is a beautifully restored 17th Century townhouse converted into just seven suites. One of the first really nice boutique-y hotels in Marbella, the Hotel Claude is also one of the most romantic places to stay on the Costa del Sol.
- As well as having its own golf course and spa, the Marbella Club also offers tennis and horse riding. And it has its own beach, so this is one of the best places to stay in the Costa del Sol if you're looking for the perfect resort holiday. In the summer there's a kid's club.
For those on a Budget
- Room Mate Lola in Málaga is fresh and funky. All minimalist, white leather and zebra print, this 50 room hotel is in a great position close to the beaches, the markets and the nightlife. And rooms start from just £42 per night.
- Casa de las Mercedes in Málaga is a simple Andalucían guesthouse with lots of charm and a family-friendly atmosphere. Walls are white-washed, tiles are mosaic and floors are of stone flags. And rooms start from £46 per night.
- Casa la Concha is a set of chic, little B&B cottages set on a hilltop above Marbella. Quiet, relaxed and green, with lovely views of the Mediterranean, this is a great place for families because you have your own cottage to yourself.
- The Petit Palace Plaza in central Malaga is a lovely old townhouse on a charming cobbled street, but inside its rooms are modern and brightly decorated. And its got views of the cathedral.
For a holiday villa or apartment
- If you're travelling with a larger group of friends or family, the best option might be your own villa or apartment. For a wide range or properties to rent, visit our online partner, Booking.com.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in the Costa del Sol for you?
Best Hotels in Costa del Sol
Room Mate Lola 50 rooms from $57Málaga, Costa del Sol
Designer boutique hotel in the centre of Malaga. Zebra prints, white leathers, minimalist lines. A relaxed ambience in truly chic city style.City StyleDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - I Escape
Casa de las Mercedes 7 rooms from $63Málaga, Costa del Sol
A simple Andalusian guesthouse with lots of charm and a family atmosphere. White washed walls, tiled mosaics, flowering balconies, wooden beams and stone floors. An informal spot, and great value.Value chicSights nearby - Right in the heart of Malaga, close to both the University and the Picasso MuseumDiving - Good diving nearby.Local markets - Good for local colour.
Hotel Carabeo 7 rooms from $89Malaga, Costa del Sol
A glorious hotel overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Decadent rooms feature antique style furniture, some with 4 poster beds and private terraces. Large, light apartments. Outstanding Spanish cuisine, outdoor pool, chic tapas bar and restaurant. Very romantic, family friendly, and by the beach.Romantic Break - On a cliff with Mediterranean views, enjoy the tapas, wander cobbled streets, explore the beach and soak in the peace and quietViews - Stunning views from the terrace restaurant.FamiliesSights nearby - Almijara y Alhama Nature Reserve is 2km away, Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Malaga
Petit Palace Plaza 66 rooms from $91Malaga, Costa del Sol
A contemporary hotel in central Malaga. A townhouse building on a cobbled street with modern rooms and family rooms with white washed walls, splashes of orange, and views of the cathedral. A chic hotel that attracts couples and families.FamiliesSights nearby - Central location next to Larios Street and the Cathedral. Picasso and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums close by.Local markets - Good for local colour.
Hotel Palacio Blanco 8 rooms from $86Vélez-Málaga, Costa del Sol
A restored 18th century palace in an outstanding location - near to Malaga's artistic scene and close to the coast's best beaches. Eight suites with white washed walls and wooden beams blend Moorish inspiration with contemporary comforts. Ideal for a romantic or a family break.Suites - Suites only.Local exploringLess £TownRecommended by - I Escape, Sawdays
Amanhavis Hotel 9 rooms from $98Benahavis, Malaga, Costa del Sol
Charming small hotel and restaurant with friendly owners in a Moorish mountain village. A short drive from the coast. Great food and pool in historic hilltop village location. Cosy country styled rooms. Ideal Andalusian escape.Total relaxation - Dip in the palm shaded pool, admire the views from the roof terraces and of course drink local wine.Sights nearby - Explore the lovingly conserved and unspoilt whitewashed village of Benhavis.Great walks - Wander through the diverse landscape, from mountains to valleys and coast.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Sawdays
Room Mate Larios 45 rooms from $102Malaga, Costa del Sol
Perfectly positioned townhouse hotel with cool contemporary interiors and no frills attached. Sunlit bedrooms and suites have attractive furnishings and balconettes. Fantastic roof top terrace and trendy bar. Great value and consistently excellent.Views - Stunning city views from the rooftop terraceDowntown - Very centrally positioned.Sights nearby - Bang in the centre of town. A short walk from the Cathedral and the Picasso MuseumSailing - Can be booked nearby.
Posada del Patio 106 rooms from $119Málaga, Costa del Sol
A good Five Star hotel close to all the attractions. Contemporary chic rooms and suites in browns, yellows and whites with private balconies. Fantastic roof top terrace with pool, excellent restaurant and good value too. A stylish spot in the centre of Malaga.Views - Superb views over the city from the rooftop terrace5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Beach LifeCity Style
Casa la Concha 5 rooms from $143Marbella
A chic boutique B&B with individual cottages sprawling through beautiful flora and fauna gardens. Set on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean and Marbella. An ideal location for a weekend wedding or a group/family holiday.Views - Of the Mediterranean and of Marbella.Groups - The whole house can be rented.Weddings - Tailor made wedding weekends.Private villas - 5 luxury cottages.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
The Town House, Marbella 9 rooms from $143Marbella
If you're looking for a chic and simple base from which to explore Marbella then this boutique B&B is perfect. White washed walls and wooden beams with a flash of antique decoration. A private and intimate destination.CharmingValue chicLess £TownRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Hotel Puente Romano 266 rooms from $286Marbella
Grand Andalucian luxury on the sea front. Beautiful sunny rooms and suites have white washed walls, parquet floors, creamy furnishings and private balconies. Many restaurants, tennis courts, spa, private beach and kids club. Perfect for beach life.LuxuryFamiliesFoodiesBeach LifeRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Hotel Claude 7 rooms from $286Marbella (Calle Ancha)
Sophisticated and elegantly restored 17th century townhouse, in Marbellas old town. The seven chic and individual rooms feature Moorish-style arched doorways, peaked timbered ceilings and understated contemporary touches. Sunlit interior patio, gourmet dining and rooftop terrace. Totally unique.City Style - Beautiful stucco façade, vaulted archways, and carved wooden doors refreshingly matched with sleek modern design.Local exploring - A discreet Andalusian oasis in a 17th-century mansion at the heart of Marbella's lovely labyrinthine old town.Sights nearby - Visit the enchanting Plaza de los Naranjos, with its lively terrazas, orange trees, and Castilian Renaissance architecture.Great walks - Wander the winding narrow lanes of the old town, pausing for wonderful food under the orange trees.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Kiwi Collection
Marbella Club 81 rooms from $389Marbella
A golf, spa and beach resort that offers a unique experience. Elegant in its classic style and luxurious with its outstanding facilities. Located in a natural paradise on the shores of the Mediterranean. An oasis of relaxation for families or those seeking something princely.Traditional - A quintessential Marbella resort — established by Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe in 195Private villas - Especially suitable for families or absolute privacy.Families - There is a popular children'c club in the summer.Garden - Manicured tropical gardens.Recommended by - Tablet, Fodors
Finca Cortesin 67 rooms from $663Marbella, Costa del Sol
A stunning golf resort with beautiful suites. The golf course is not the only wow factor - the spa, delicious food, and fantastic reception rooms make this an ideal place for private parties and gourmet spa breaks off the golf course.Golf - Championship 18-hole par-72 course spread over 70 acres, plus Nicklaus gold academy.Views - Exceptional views of the golf course and over the Mediterranean.Swimming Pool - Indoor and Outdoor PoolSecluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Kiwi Collection