Located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, in the westernmost Mediterranean area, the Costa del Sol spans 161 kilometres of coastline in Málaga Province, and it seamlessly goes into the neighbouring provinces of Granada and Cádiz.
The capital, Málaga City, is in right in the centre, being the hub of the communication network and dividing the Costa del Sol into two big areas: the east and the west.
Going eastwards from Málaga City, you will come to Rincón de la Victoria (12 kilometres), where many Malagueños have their weekend homes; Vélez-Málaga and its coastal district, Torre del Mar (35 kilometres), which attracts mostly visitors from Spain; Torrox (46 kilometres), where there is one of the largest colonies of Germans who have chosen the Costa del Sol for their second homes; and Nerja (50 kilometres), the most popular municipality in the region, mainly because of its famous cave.
The Western Costa del Sol is the more cosmopolitan. Its municipalities are Torremolinos (15 kilometres from Málaga City), Fuengirola (27 kilometres), Mijas (31 kilometres), Marbella (58 kilometres), Estepona (85 kilometres), and Manilva (97 kilometres).
All these towns, from Nerja to Manilva, are connected by the Mediterranean highway and the AP-7 tollway from Fuengirola to Cádiz.
Málaga is the smallest province in Andalusia. It has a surface area of 7,276 square kilometres, where over 1.5 million people live. On the other hand, it has the roughest relief. In fact, it is the second province in Spain, after Teruel, in terms of complex orography, crossed by several mountain ranges. In spite of this, all population centres are well connected and easily accessed, even those nestled in the hills in the hinterland.
Málaga comprises 101 municipalities grouped into nine regions. First of all, there is Málaga, which covers the same territory as the capital city in the centre of the coastal strip, by the wide mouth of the river Guadalhorce (385 square kilometres).
The second region is Axarquía (1,000 square kilometres), in the easternmost part of the province. It comprises 31 municipalities: Alcaucín, Alfarnate, Alfarnatejo, Algarrobo, Almáchar, Árchez, Arenas, Benamargosa, Benamocarra, El Borge, Canillas de Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Colmenar, Comares, Cómpeta, Cútar, Frigiliana, Iznate, Macharaviaya, Moclinejo, Nerja, Periana, Rincón de la Victoria, Riogordo, Salares, Sayalonga, Sedella, Torrox, Totalán, La Viñuela, and Vélez-Málaga, considered to be the regional capital.
In the north, between the mountain range connecting Serranía de Ronda with Axarquía and the big plains and meadows, there lie the seven towns that make the region of Antequera: Alameda, Casabermeja, Fuente de Piedra, Humilladero, Mollina, Villanueva de la Concepción, and Antequera, a city with a host of monuments and a rich heritage.
Costa del Sol Occidental (800 square kilometres) covers the municipalities of Benahavís, Benalmádena, Casares, Estepona, Fuengirola, Manilva, Marbella, Mijas, and Torremolinos, stretching along the coastal strip from Málaga City to Cádiz. The most touristy towns in Málaga and continental Spain are to be found here.
Also in the north there is the region of Guadalteba, which owes its name to one of the rivers flowing across it. The municipalities included in it are Almargen, Ardales, Campillos, Cañete la Real, Carratraca, Cuevas del Becerro, Sierra de Yeguas, and Teba.
Serranía the Ronda (1,260 square kilometres), in northwestern Málaga, comprises 21 different villages. They are Algatocín, Alpandeire, Arriate, Atajate, Benadalid, Benalauría, Benaoján, Benarrabá, Cartajima, Cortes de la Frontera, Faraján, Gaucín, Genalguacil, Igualeja, Jimera de Líbar, Jubrique, Júzcar, Montejaque, Parauta, Pujerra, and the major city of Ronda.
Nororma includes seven municipalities –Archidona (the largest and most populated town in the region), Cuevas Bajas, Cuevas de San Marcos, Villanueva de Algaidas, Villanueva del Rosario, Villanueva del Trabuco, Villanueva de Tapia–, which together cover 435 square kilometres.
In central western Málaga, Sierra de las Nieves is both a region and a nature park. It was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1995. In the foothills of the sierras, there are nine villages: Alozaina, El Burgo, Casarabonela, Guaro, Istán, Monda, Ojén, Tolox, and Yunquera.
Last but not least, Valle del Guadalhorce is a huge garden housing the villages of Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín el Grande, Almogía, Álora, Cártama, Coín, Pizarra, and Valle de Abdalajís. This region is close to Málaga City and well connected to it. Moreover, it lies next to wonderful natural settings of great environmental value.
One of the reasons why the Costa del Sol has become a world-class travel destination is the Mediterranean climate: mild all year round with an average temperature of 18º C. In the summer, temperatures rise to 25º C-30º C, whereas in winter the never go below 14º C during the day. There are hinterland areas, however, where the climate is continental and therefore marked by greater diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature.
The rainfall pattern also depends on relief. In coastal areas, the average annual rainfall is below 500 millimetres, while in interior zones it can rise to 600-800 millimetres or even over 1,000 in Serranía de Ronda, especially near Sierra de Grazalema.
On the whole, the climate of Málaga Province enables visitors to come all year round. In particular, the coastal strip, sheltered from the wind by ranges of relatively high mountains, affords over 300 sunny days a year and nice temperatures in all seasons.
Costa del Sol Tourist Board - Plaza de la Marina, nº4 - 29015 Málaga - Tel: +34952126272 - Fax: +34952225207 - firstname.lastname@example.org