Guest blogger Chris Miles is an accomplished travel blogger who enjoys all types of holidays, especially those that take him to the beach. He has visited a large number of continents in the world, although he usually finds himself gravitating back towards Europe and Asia.
Southern Spain is an attractive prospect at any time of year with its colorful beach-scapes, pulsing coastal resorts and access to some of the most historic cities in the country. Winter holidays on the Costa del Sol offer the irresistible chance to exchange gloomy skies and damp pavements for palm trees and warm sand underfoot, all under the shadow of the impressive Sierra Nevada mountains.
The Main Event
If you've come for a large dose of winter sun, chances are you'll want to know where to find the best beaches. Fortunately, the Costa del Sol is blessed with numerous Blue Flag-awarded sunspots, six of which are found at popular Torremolinos. The largest resort along the coast, holidaymakers flock here for the likes of Bajondillo and La Carihuela beach. The trendy beaches at Puerto Banus near Marbella manage a good combination of party atmosphere and chilled-out sunbathing, while El Cristo Beach in western resort Estepona is enjoyable for families as it's sheltered from the wind and home to plenty of shade.
Adventures in the Sun
The region has responded to the increasing numbers of tourists with an abundance of theme parks and attractions for groups and families. As you might expect, there's a fair amount of water-based activities, from the vibrant displays at the Benalmadena Aquarium to the wet-and-dry rides at Torremolinos theme park, Aqualand. Estepona confirms its family status with the Selwo Adventure Park, including safari tours, camel-rides and zip-lines, as well as overnight lodge accommodation if you fancy the whole package.
Winter Culture Fix
Whilst visiting the Costa del Sol, it's worth remembering that you're in Andalucia, one of the most historic regions in Spain. You can reach Granada in a couple of hours from the coast and experience the stunning Moorish legacy in the buildings here. Many tourists pass through Malaga via the airport, but those who stop find a buzzing port town, with cultural gems like the Picasso museum as well as a nightlife unmatched for exuberance. Plenty of smaller inland villages are also worth squeezing in, even on a quick winter getaway, to see the famous caves at Nerja or the whitewashed dwellings at Frigiliana.
The Costa del Sol has been a popular winter destination ever since British holidaymakers discovered it was under three hours away and with more frequent and low-cost flights every year, this shows no sign of fading. With a name as apt as 'The Sun Coast' and hotels to please everyone from golf-fanatics to those who like their creature comforts, the southern reaches of Spain remain the winter playground of Northern Europe.
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