Families might seem fickle when it comes to holiday trends; but they’re more loyal than they appear, you just have to look at the Costa del Sol’s continuing popularity, for proof of that.
If anything, love for the legendary 150km long coastline has grown over the past two decades. Not least of all because the world’s woken up to the idea that the Costa del Sol is as much about captivating Andalusia, as sun-drenched beaches.
Of course, that doesn’t come as a surprise to Villa Plus. The UK’s villa holiday experts have long loved the most famous Spanish costa. It’s home to some of their finest family villas, and they know the area inside out, from seaside to high sierra.
So if you’re still undecided about where’s best in Europe this year for brilliant weather, fabulous beaches, and more culture, art, history and adventure than you could ever fit into a few weeks, here’s why Villa Plus highly recommends the Costa del Sol.
Direct flights from the UK to Malaga take less than three hours, and the Costa del Sol’s large, activity-packed resorts are as lively as ever.
For icons like Fuengirola, fun is still the local speciality, and water sports, waterparks and theme parks are fantastic. But these days, you can also expect tree-lined promenades, lush parks, sparkling Blue Flag beaches, cool cafés, restaurants, and great shopping.
Smaller resorts now make as much of their history and culture as their glittering coastlines so you’ll be just as enchanted by Marbella Old Town as its famous Golden Mile and great golf courses.
The likes of Estepona can’t fail to charm with cute, beachy chiringuito and views of Gibralter; and lovely Nerja continues to delight by easily mixing up Andalusian character with endless Costa del Sol excitement.
With a couple of days off to explore inland, it’s no exaggeration to say you could try a different Blue Flag Beach every day for a fortnight on the Costa del Sol.
From Estepona’s amazing El Cristo, one of the very few west facing beaches in southern Spain, to gorgeous Burriana in the centre of Nerja, you can take your pick from peaceful coves to spectacular swathes of golden sand stretching for kilometres.
Everything from cave diving to snorkelling makes the most of the crystal clear Mediterranean, kids can try just about any water sport imaginable, and Costa del Sol beach schools are great for beginners.
Naturally, there isn’t a single beach without a parade of restaurants, cafés and bars; right on the shore, or as near as possible. And all Blue Flag holders are family-friendly, with lifeguards during summer, and good baby and toddler facilities.
Tempting as it is to spend every minute on the beach, there’s more to the Costa del Sol than the seaside.
Mountains, a short drive from the coast, are open invitations for walking and cycling, and well-marked routes for families mean even younger kids can get in on the adventure.
Exploring tucked away Andalusian hill towns and villages could take up an entire holiday. But with a day to spare, try the unbelievable drama of precariously perched Ronda or the sugar-cube quaintness of ancient Casares: both less than an hour from Marbella.
Or visit Frigiliana, 20 minutes from Nerja, and said to be the prettiest village in all of Andalusia.
Kids love days out in Malaga too. The beaches are amazing, and end-to-end active, with cute clubs for under fives and serious sports to keep older ones entertained. The Old Town’s charming, and the place for traditional Andalusian cooking, as well as excellent tapas. And make sure you leave time to appreciate the millions of euros invested in city culture over the past decade. The fascinating Picasso Museum, Pompidou Centre Malaga, and the Carmen Thyssen Museum, are just a few examples of money very well spent.