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The Costa del Sol - Spanish gold

The mild climate and beautiful beaches of the Costa del Sol have made it Spain's most popular tourist destination, and it's therefore the most developed region of the Spanish coast. The Mediterranean here is perfect for swimming, warm and straight, and you'll readily find hotels, restaurants, and things to do wherever you go. It's divided into several parts.

The eastern Costa del Sol is fairly highly developed, but not as developed as the western Costa. You'll see 200-meter high cliffs standing over the sea where the Sierra Almijara meets the Mediterranean. Nerja, the most important city in this region, is the most likely place for finding a hotel, and it's surrounded by little tourist towns. The Nerja Caves are here, and an annual music and dance festival takes place within the caverns. A footpath at the bottom of the town leads to several coves and beaches.

The western Costa del Sol stretches to Cadiz, and is very important to Spanish tourism. Malaga International Airport is in the center of this area, and the N340 runs through here, taking tourists to all parts of the area.

What to Do

The most important part of the Costa del Sol is the coast -- the beaches, to be exact -- and you'll find many lovely places in the area. The Playa del Cristo in Estepona faces west, giving maximum sunshine to visitors. The San Pedro is filled with beach bars, and has a long paseo maritimo to make it easy to find parking. Bora Bora and Guayaba Beach are to the west, and to the east are Victor's Beach and Babaloo Beach, both loaded down with nice beach clubs. At the Playa Nueva Andalucia, South Pacific style palm trees shade beach clubs and developed beaches, as well as crowded parking lots. Mistral Beach has panoramic views of the Costa del Sol, and it's a wonderful place to relax and be lazy. And the Puerto Banus is the busiest beach, loaded with tourists and locals any time you visit.

There are many things to do besides visit beaches. For instance, the natural parks in the area are extensive and fascinating, including all sorts of terrain from mountains to desert. Waterways and estuaries abound, and water sports and walking tours make the most of land and sea. Whether you hunt, fish, or just stroll, you'll find places of vivid natural beauty.

Andalucia has one of the richest histories of any place in Europe, and this is largely due to its position, on the coast divided by a narrow strait from Africa. The Costa del Sol's history is filled with neolithic hunters, with Greeks and Romans and Phoenicians, with Moorish invaders and pirates, with adventurers making port from the New World. Many of these peoples have left behind traces, and ruins and historical sites have yielded up many treasures for local museums.

Bullfights and zoos provide different ways to see the Costa del Sol, and casinos and amusement parks provide more artificial pleasures. The Parque de Attractions Tivoli is one of the finest amusement parks in Spain. Take a train from Malaga to Ronda or Fuengirola, or a driving tour to the Pueblos Blancos and the surrounding natural beauty.

From cathedral to sports bar, from the dolmens and caves to the high-speed ferry into Morocco, you are guaranteed to find things to do here at the Costa del Sol.