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Sandwiched between Torremolinos and Marbella, the former fishing village of Fuengirola is now one of the Costa del Sol’s biggest players. It’s got the high-rise hotels, buzzing bars and tourist-friendly restaurants to prove it, but there are also side streets and squares crammed with upmarket tapas places and chic boutiques. And a Moorish castle adds a bit of history. The real draw, though, is the super-sized sandy beach.
Teetering on the rocks on the southern tip of Andalusia – about 40 minutes from Malàga – is Nerja, AKA the jewel of the Costa del Sol. You’re in classic Costa territory here, with sandy beaches and an all-night bar scene. There’s tumultuous history to explore, too – the centrepiece is the Balcon de Europa, a viewing platform that was once part of a battle-torn castle. No wonder King Alfonso XII made Nerja his holiday home back in the 1880s.
Torremolinos’ next door neighbour is a gracious and well-loved resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol. It lines up modern hotel complexes and apartment blocks along the 10-kilometre seafront area called Benalmadena Costa, but also packs in plenty of Andalusian appeal in the Spanish part of town.
Torremolinos is a bit of a dab hand when it comes to holidays – and it’s got 3.5 million yearly visitors to prove it. This is one of the oldest and best-loved holiday places on the Costa del Sol, with a pedigree going back to the early Fifties. Back then, it was a haunt of Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Nowadays things still revolve around the sandy beach, but there’s party nightlife and great shopping in the mix, too.
Marbella waved goodbye to its fishing village roots decades ago – now this Costa del Sol goliath is home to 300,000 Spaniards and Brits, as well as one of the world’s highest concentrations of Rolls Royce cars. The glitz factor is high on the seafront Golden Mile, which throbs with bars and clubs. But there’s a traditional side, too, in the calm oasis of the old town.
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