COSTA DEL SOL

COSTA DEL SOL

SHANGRI LA FOR SUN SEEKING SWINGERS 

A favourite holiday haven of the British for almost 60 years, the Coast of Sun positively lives up to its name, experiencing an average of 325 sunny days every year. A coastline that stretches from beyond Malaga, the regions main gateway, to that vestige of the British empire, Gibraltar.

If the Costa del Sol wasn’t the birthplace of the foreign golfing holiday, it was certainly the place that popularised them, as golfers descended in droves during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Whilst loathed to use the hackneyed, self proclaimed nickname of the Costa del Golf, there’s no denying that the destination eats, drinks and lives golf, it is even on the road signs!

Although the first course opened in 1925, the Real Club de Campo de Malaga, otherwise known as Parador, the golf boom began when Robert Trent Jones Snr designed Real Sotogrande in 1963. This was followed closely by Las Brisas, Los Naranjos, the two courses at Mijas and most famously Sotogrande New later to metamorhorsise into Valderrama. The Trent Jones influence continued far beyond just the courses that bear his signature, as his able apprentice, Cabel Robinson, settled on the Costa and perpetuated the Jones legacy with the notable creations of La Cala, Finca Cortesin, Santana and more recently, the highly acclaimed La Reserva.

The courses on the Costa del Sol now number in excess of 60, designed by the doyens of golf course architecture, Dave Thomas, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros not forgetting Spain’s Picasso of golf course design, Pepe Gancedo!

As with most of the countries that lie adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, the Costa del Sol has been home to numerous ancient civilizations and the heritage many left behind resonates to this day in the culture, cuisine and architectural style. Most of its history can best be seen in its hinterland, a prime example being the city of Ronda, which spreads out either side of the spectacular 300 foot deep Tajo Gorge. Buildings seemingly teeter on the brink of the sheer cliffs which are spanned by the equally impressive 18th century Puerte Nuevo Bridge. Not a place to linger if you suffer with vertigo! The modern form of bullfighting was born in Ronda and the Real Maestranza bullring is the oldest in the world dating from 1785, a fitting stage for Spain’s finest Matadors to cultivate their legend.The journey to the city from San Pedro is worth the effort alone, with a tortuously twisting road traversing the mountains bestowing brilliant, breathtaking views.

Andalucia is notorious for its Pueblo Blancos, particularly the Costa del Sol, whitewashed villages that spill down mountainsides resembling overflowing froth! Of these, Mijas Pueblo is definitely the jewel in the crown, clinging precariously to the mountain from which it takes its name, it is a labyrinth of narrow, steep, cobbled streets. As Mijas preceded the internal combustion engine by a couple of hundred years, cars have no place in the village, but don’t despair! You will not have to resort to “Shank’s Pony” , in Mijas they have donkeys! They have plodded around Mijas for centuries. Once they carried marble from the local quarries, now they carry tourists. Mijas also boasts a bullring, but just to be different, it's square shaped rather than the traditional round arena. It may only be four miles inland from the frenetic razzmatazz of Fuengirola, but it feels like a different world! Quaint and quintessentially Spanish, a golf holiday spent in Mijas offers mesmerizing memories which will linger in your heart, to be cherished forever.


TORREMOLINOS/BENALMADENA

 Once the playground of the stars, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly et al, Torremolinos was the first of the Costa del Sol’s resorts to gain popularity with British tourists at the outset of the package holiday boom in the 60’s.The sun, sea and sangria combination plus magnificent beaches and pulsating nightlife continues to attract throngs of tourists every year. Near neighbour Benalmadena Costa boasts a charming marina surrounded by a plethora of bars and restaurants. Beautiful beaches abound, dotted with Chiringuitos (beach bar/restaurants) ideal for keeping the liquid levels topped up whilst soaking up the sun. Benalmadena provides the best of both worlds, a modern exhilarating resort on the Costa, whilst inland the old pueblo offers a taste of traditional Spain at a more sedate pace.

FUENGIROLA

Midway between Malaga and Marbella lies Fuengirola, once a sleepy fishing village that has transformed into a modern, vibrant resort whose prized asset is its five miles of sun drenched sand. As the sun sets, Fuengirola bursts into life, an abundance of pubs, British and Irish line the promenade alongside a raft of restaurants, discotheques and glitzy night spots. Away from the bright lights and loud music a bonanza of bodegas, tapas bars and enchanting eateries embellish the area in and around the town’s main square. With over a dozen top quality courses within 20 minutes drive, Fuengirola is an ideal base for a quality golfing holiday.

MARBELLA

Majestic Marbella, the hedonistic haunt of the rich and famous, probably the only city in Spain that hasn’t suffered from the recession. An outrageously opulent oasis for Saudi Princes, Hollywood hoi polloi, European royalty, billionaire tycoons and dare I say it...famous footballers! Not that Marbella is all glamour, golf and champagne parties; delve deeper into the old town and you will discover the delightful Plaza de los Naranjos or as it’s more commonly known, Orange Square, which presents a cornucopia of bewitching bars and rustic restaurants. 

On the western edge of the city you’ll find Puerto Banus, built in 1970, the grand opening was attended by the Aga Khan and Prince Rainier of Monaco amongst other such luminaries.This quickly established the port as the place to be seen and there are as many Rolls Royces and Ferraris  parked around the edge of the marina as you will find Renaults or Fiats. Behind the port is the sprawling Nueva Andalucia estate, now nicknamed Golf Valley.

ESTEPONA

The most westerly and ultimate of the Costa del Sol’s major resorts before reaching Gibraltar, whose airport is actually nearer to Estepona than Malaga and is a prime alternative as an arrival point. Despite the development of some of the finest 5* resorts and golf courses to be found anywhere on the Costa, Estepona has managed to retain its air of Andalucian authenticity. Its fishing port is still an important industry within the town and there is no better way to relax after an exhausting round of golf than to observe the fishing boats land their daily catch whilst imbibing an ice cold beer and enjoying the delicious local tapas! A stroll through the old town will reveal a multitude of fine restaurants and traditional tapas bars. Slightly further afield the short trip to the beguiling village of Benahavis is a must, such is the abundance of quality restaurants it is often referred to as “ the dining room of the Costa del Sol”

The Costa del Sol caters copiously for everybody’s tastes, whether it be bedazzling Benalmadena, frenetic Fuengirola, majestic Marbella, the beguiling charm and character of magical Mijas or regal Ronda. Whether your choice of aprez golf entertainment is delectable, dignified dinning or a carnival of clubbing, the Costa has it all.

With a plethora of planes from almost every UK airport, wonderful weather and an abundance of awesome courses it’s simple to see just what makes the Costa del Sol

SHANGRI LA FOR SUN SEEKING SWINGERS