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Local Information on Costa del Sol and various towns in Costa del Sol

Local Information on Costa del Sol and various towns in Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol local information

The Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) enjoys over 100km of Mediterranean coastline from the city of Malaga to the Cadiz provincial border. The Costa del Sol is highly developed from the point of view of international tourism and is the favorite destination for many Europeans visiting Spain. The abundance of facilities, the wonderful climate and the hospitality of the people make the Costa del Sol absolutely ideal for lovers of leisure and entertainment. The most famous town is perhaps Marbella and one of the oldest towns being Ronda.

Select a village or town in Costa del Sol to view more information:

And'cian Villages

Alhaurin El Grande

(20 minutes from the coast and Malaga Airport)

Take the steeply rising road from Fuengirola to Mijas and one is soon in the foothills of the Sierra Mijas mountains. Crossing the foothills we soon drop down to Alhaurin el Grande. A large market town in a richly agricultural valley.

It takes about 20 minutes or so to reach Alhaurin from Fuengirola. The generally flat countryside surrounding the town is full of citrus orchards. There are approx 20,000 inhabitants. Quite a few British residents live in the area - non-Spaniards account for 20% of the population.

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(About 30 minutes from the coast and Malaga Airport)

From Malaga Airport we take the Cartama road and in little more than half an hour we are in Alora. There is a population of over 20,000 in the general area and Alora has every facility. We have followed the River Guadalhorce to reach Alora - passing the many farms that grow every kind of crop in the rich river valley soil.

Alora is the gateway to the spectacular Garganta del Chorro - a deep gorge that leads on to the 'Lake District' of Southern Spain - the Embalsas de Guadalhorce. These are huge man made reservoirs - now a National Park - and very popular with fishermen, campers, weekend picnickers and country lovers.

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(15 minutes to the coast - Malaga Airport approx 1 hour's drive)

A few miles inland from the regional capital - Velez Malaga - one finds the little hamlet of Trapiche. Here the road splits and we follow the left fork to Benamargosa - a distance of about 5 miles. This small town (population 2,000) lies in a flat fertile region about 300 feet above sea level. The village is typical of the region - Moorish in origin - being a maze of winding streets of pretty flower bedecked whitewashed pueblo houses. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants plus a Municipal Park with open air swimming pool for everyone to use.

Around the village are small farms with citrus fruit orchards, olive groves, vineyards and tropical fruit such as mangoes and chirimoyas. The hamlets of LA ZUBIA and TRIANA are closeby.

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Canillas de Albaida

(30 minutes from the coast - Malaga Airport is about one and a quarter hour's drive)

This typical Andalucian 'white pueblo' has 700 inhabitants. It's Moorish name means 'the white one' and records of Islamic settlements can be found in the 13th century. It's a sleepy little village of whitewashed houses basking in the sun.

There is the ubiquitous selection of bars plus a few small shops. Mainly Spanish residents with a smattering of foreigners. Many properties in this elevated spot have magnificent views down to the Mediterranean in the distance

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(15 minutes from the coast and Malaga Airport)

Just past Malaga Airport in the direction of Torremolinos, we turn north on a good tarmac road. Passing through Churriana we drive through open countryside dotted with fruit farms. The Rio Guadalhorce meanders around Cartama and its flat fertile valley is a centre for citrus fruit production. Good barbel fishing in the river too - and a number of riverside areas have been set aside by the local council for picnics and BBQs.

The population here is over 7,000 and the town offers every facility to residents - including a new Medical Centre. There is a lively open market every Sunday. Much less of a 'whitewashed pueblo' than many of the smaller villages - Cartama boasts many modern properties. Around the town are numerous small farms and in the hillsides overlooking Cartama are old farmhouses to renovate.

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(20 minutes from the coast and Malaga Airport)

Is only 13 miles from Marbella and with its 22,000 inhabitants is a busy market town. As one would expect from a town of this size there is every facility for modern living. The countryside around Coin is full of fruit farms and generally quite flat. The irrigation system used by local farmers dates back to the time of the Moors. Coin was once home to the now defunct ' El Dorado' TV series.

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(30 minutes from the coast - Malaga Airport 1 hour's drive)

From the coast at Torre del Mar we travel inland on good tarmac roads - with wonderful views over the countryside and to the mountains in the distance. Comares is in an elevated spot about 2,000 feet above sea level. The village has a permanent population of almost 2,000. Mostly country folk working in agriculture. There are a smattering of foreigners - living both in the villages and in the countryside around. You will be amazed at how friendly the local Spaniards are - everyone is 'all smiles' and eager to assist in any way they can.

Comares was once an important military enclave and the ruins of the old Moorish Castle overlooks the village. The central square has a couple of popular bars and restaurants - even a Disco! Part of the square is given over to a balcony with magnificent views over the countryside and to the mountains. On the fringe of the village is a modern Hotel/Restaurant with an open air swimming pool - which can be enjoyed by local residents for the price of a soft drink.

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(30 mins from the coast - Malaga airport one and a quarter hour's drive)

Close to the busy resort of Torre del Mar - on the east side of Malaga - is the little fishing village of La Caleta. Here we turn north and pass through the villages of Algarobo and Sayalonga on our way to Competa. It is a tarmac road (British B road standards) that winds its way through the countryside and foothills of the Sierra Almijaras until we reach Competa - about half an hour's drive from the coast. This is the 'ruta del vino' or wine route and the south facing hillsides are full of ripening grapes. Once they are harvested they are then sun dried beside the farmhouses to form raisins. These are made into the sweet strong 'vino de pasa', or raisin wine - for which the area is famous.

The village of Competa lies in the foothills of the Sierra Almijara Mountains at about 2,000 feet above sea level. Many of the village properties and those in the countryside around have fabulous views out over the countryside and down to the Mediterranean in the distance. On clear days the African coast can be seen - as can the Rif Mountains in Morocco. The population here is about 2,500 and the village is much more 'discovered' than many others in the Axarquia. Over 40 nationalities live in and around Competa.

The region is scenically magnificent and many artists have made the area their home. The Sierra Almijara National Park provides the backdrop to Competa - a huge protected area full of subtropical plants, trees and wildlife. The Ski Slopes of the Sol y Nieve resort near Granada can be reached in two hours. This pretty village has a Municipal Swimming Pool, a daily covered market, numerous restaurants and bars, shops, banks, doctors and so on. Like most of the villages there is a daily bus service down to the coast and beyond. An important and enjoyable fiesta here is the 'Noche del Vino' on the 15th August - it attracts thousands of visitors.

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(25 minutes from the coast - Malaga Airport one hour)

On the east side of Malaga and with a population of 800. We are in the foothills of the Sierras here at 1,000 feet above sea level. The surrounding countryside is given over in the main to vineyards and olive groves. The grapes here are often sun-dried into raisins and the journey to this area is known as the 'Ruta de Pasa' or raisin route. The olive oil produced in the region was well known to the Moors in bygone times and is still a relished local product. The village itself is typical of the region with narrow streets and whitewashed houses. A 16th century church sits atop a little hill and overlooks Cutar.

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Rio Gordo

(35 minutes from the coast - Malaga Airport is under half an hour)

Rio Gordo lies in the La Cueva River valley and is about 25 miles or so from Torre del Mar and the coast on the east side of Malaga. The history of the town goes back to Roman times and in the 19th century its proximity to the mountains made it a centre for banditry - although these days, of course, this sleepy village basks quietly in the sun.

There is a population of almost 3,000 and it lies at an altitude of 1,200 feet above sea level. Like most of the villages of the region it has a lively weekly open market with locally grown fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, clothing and household goods all on offer.

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Torre del Mar

(A coastal resort - Malaga Airport, under 1 hour's drive)

Torre del Mar lies between La Caletta and Rincon de la Victoria. It is one of the most important seaside resorts in the region and has a huge selection of shops, supermarkets, apartments, restaurants and discos, as well as innumerable leisure facilities. The elegant promenade is one of the longest on the Costa del Sol. Just outside the town is Caletta de Velez - a fine Marina and fishing port.

The residents of Torre del Mar are mixed nationalities and as one of the premier holiday resorts in the area is very busy during the summer. The flat productive land of the coastal plain here grows many crops and has been a centre for sugar production for over 100 years.

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Velez Malaga

(5 minutes from the coast - Malaga Airport is under 1 hour's drive)

Velez Malaga is the regional capital and is about 2 miles inland from Torre del Mar. La Axarquia is the old Moorish name for the area east of Malaga and since ancient times Velez Malaga has been its most important town. Lying in the valley of the river Velez the areas main resources are agricultural products such as grapes and olives.

There is a population of 50,000 and this busy town has a good shopping centre plus numerous superstores specialising in the sale of consumer products such as furniture, electrical goods, etc. Velez Malaga is very much a Spanish town - with few foreign residents - although most Brits living in the general area will want to take advantage of the excellent shopping facilities from time to time.

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(15 minutes from the coast - Malaga Airport is 45 minutes drive)

Vinuela is about 10 miles from the coast and 30 miles or so to the east of Malaga. The village has a population of 2,000 or so and is about 400 feet above sea level. Through the Municipal area of Vinuela run the Guaro and Seco rivers - tributaries of the Velez. A dam has been built on the Guaro and this has created one of the largest freshwater lakes in Spain - Lake Vinuela. The creation of the lake has led to incalculable improvements to the agricultural production of the area and it is seen as a great tourist attraction.

The blue waters of the lake are full of fish and huge catches of carp are common. Black Bass - a sporting fish - grow to over 10 pounds in weight and are a rare delicacy. All water sports are allowed here except motorised boats. The lake is becoming of ornithological interest as the vast expanse of water attracts birdlife of all kinds. Walkers will be at home here as there are miles of lakeside paths to explore.

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Arroya De La Miel

Arroyo lies a mile or so behind Benalmadena Costa. Originally two separate villages, they now merge - and no one's quite sure where one begins and the other ends. This is another area with as huge concentration of British ex-pats. There's a bustling high street with plenty of excellent shopping facilities and a great selection of value for money restaurants. Lively nightlife too - centred around the Bonanza and Ibensa Plazas which border Benalmadena Costa.

The Tivoli World Open Air Amusement Park adjoins Arroyo. Tivoli is open for much of the year and as well as a fun fair, there is a choice of over 40 bars and restaurants, a western show plus top entertainment from many well known performers. Crowds flock to the Sunday Garden Market and the Friday Open Market in Arroyo is always popular.

Arroyo boasts a new medical centre plus a handy rail link which connects the town with Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Malaga Airport and the rest of Spain. Apartment blocks predominate in Arroyo. There are many studios and one bedroom apartments, providing holiday and retirement homes for a variety of nationalities. It's a popular area and many holiday home owners gain a useful income from letting. The Jupiter and Minerva complexes are particularly popular - they feature delightful gardens plus an amazing swimming pool complex, complete with a central island.

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A few minutes drive along the coast road from Torremolinos is Benalmádena Costa. Famous for its Marina with over 1,000 berths - everything from small fishing boats to luxury yachts. Restaurants, bars and shops surround it. This busy tourist centre has 5 miles of beaches and, like Torremolinos, enjoys an active night life.

One of the two Casinos on the coast is here - at Torrequebrada - which also offers nightly International Cabaret. There are many pretty developments of town houses and villas centred around Torrequebrada Golf Course. Puerto Marina in Benalmádena The main tourist areas of Benalmadena are like Torremolinos, dominated by apartment blocks. Purchasers often buy for holiday use - the attractions of the marina, great beaches plus some of the best leisure facilities in the area ensure a constant demand.

Self contained developments - such as Benal Beach - offer apartment purchasers every option: an aquapark, gym, huge gardens, shops of every kind plus bars/restaurants and a night-club.

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Benalmadena Pueblo

A mile or so behind Benalmadena Costa is Benalmadena Pueblo (Village). Apartment blocks dominate the coastline but around the village there are numerous urbanizations (developments) such as Monte Alto and Vera Cruz. This is villa land and the area is very popular with British residents.

Only a few minutes drive inland from Benalmadena Costa, the Pueblo overlooks the coastline. A typical village of whitewashed houses - off the main street there are many quiet backwaters - little cobbled streets of spotless homes. There's a good selection of small shops plus bars and restaurants. There are even a couple of British bars.

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Between Castell de Ferro and Calahonda, there is a distance of 11 kilometres. The countryside is characterised by steep mountains and rugged coves which are almost inaccessible by land. Small secluded beaches are hidden by this dramatic landscape. Calahonda, springs up before ones eyes, a place lying low down in a creek, where the deep blue water meets the white sandy beaches situated at the edge of the old village. Mostly populated by the British Ex-patriots.

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An Andalucian town, 85 kilometres from Malaga. Estepona is surrounded by fertile lands and lies on the foothills of the Cordillera Penibetica. The region is full of pine trees, evergreen oaks,cork oaks, orange and lemon trees, stretching out to the edge of the sea. The countryside is one of great beauty and variety. This was a roman city and there are many remains of fortifications. This is both, a fishing and agricultural area complementing this old Andalucian fishing houses with the more modern.

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The old Moorish Castle of Sohail dominates the western edge of town where the beaches are quieter. An Aquapark, two golf courses, superb restaurants centred around Calle Moncayo (known as Hunger Street), lots of bars and discotheques ensure that there is something for everyone.

Like most of the Costa Del Sol resorts, the centre and beachside areas are dominated by apartment blocks. On the outskirts of town are numerous pretty urbanisation's (residential developments) such as El Coto, Los Pacos, Campo Mijas, Torreblanca, Sierrasuela and el Lagerejo. All have a mix of detached villas, town houses and low rise apartments. The centre of town and the beach are rarely more than 5 minutes drive away. Most of these developments will have a mix of nationalities - British, Spanish and Scandinavians predominate. All are peaceful residential areas - like our garden suburbs - and ideal for permanent residents who want to be near town but far enough away as well.

Fuengirola By Night Fuengirola Beach

Carvajal and Los Boliches

Once independent villages - are much developed of recent years and have now become part of Fuengirola. Carvajal is beachside on the eastern edge of town and still retains its fishing village atmosphere - chiringuitos (beach bars) are plentiful here and locally caught fish and shell fish are available at amazingly low prices . Cosmopolitan Los Boliches is 'high rise apartment land' in the main. Full of British ex-pats - English is almost the first language.

Take the winding road from Fuengirola up to the picture postcard village of Mija and one passes some of the most sought after properties in the area. Residential developments such as El Lagarejo, Rancho de la Luz and Dona Pilar feature luxury villas. Montebello, Las Manatialles and La Noria are pleasant developments of town houses grouped around tropical gardens and swimming pools.

The twin 18 hole golf courses of Mija Golf are only 5 minutes drive from central Fuengirola and the beach. The course borders open countryside and the approach road to Mija Golf Course (the Carretera de Vantes) is renowned for its selection of roadside restaurants offering the best Spanish and International Cuisine. Of obvious appeal to golfers, properties at Mijas Golf are in the main of new or quite recent construction. Low rise (3 storey) apartments are popular buys often for holiday use with handy letting potential.

The Byblos Hotel is at the centre of the course - one of the finest hotels in Europe and used in the past by the late Princess Diana.

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La Cala

This quaint former fishing village is located midway between Fuengirola and Marbella. A tiny 'jewel' of a Marina plus some excellent restaurants are major attractions. The winding streets of the old village are overlooked by an old Moorish watchtower. Modern apartment complexes surround the old quarter, however new construction is carefully monitored and overbuilding is discouraged. In the countryside behind La Cala is a fine 18 hole Golf Course plus the newly inaugurated Hipodromo - The Costa del Sol's first Racecourse.

The new Racecourse is located a few minutes drive inland from beachside La Cala. It's Flat Racing only - at the moment - on sand. During the summer the first race starts at 11.30 in the evening! Betting is pari-mutual style - similar to the UK tote system. Entry is free and, as well as Spanish racehorses, there are often entries from well known English and Irish trainers. Other facilities available at the course include riding lessons, livery and stabling.

Race fans will know of the success of the Arab owned Godolfin horses in the UK. Many of these thoroughbreds are flown to Dubai in the winter to take advantage of the temperate climate - often returning to the UK in time for the start of the Flat Season with a definite advantage over their British contemporaries. It is envisaged that the La Cala stabling facilities will prove a magnet for British trainers eager to winter their charges in a temperate climate and emulate their Arab competitors. Lots of new housing developments around the Racecourse are in the planning stages and the future looks bright for the Costa del Sol's latest entertainment venue.

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Malaga is a favourite place for the English due to its therapeutic climate caused by the inland mountains that stave off the northern winds. Today the cities population is over half a million people but still retains its Andalucian character. Nearby vineyards produce grapes for the popular local wine and the surrounding landscape is dotted with citrus orchards and vegetable plots.

The city is split into two parts by the Rio Guadalmedina river. Eastwards lie the narrow and crowded back streets of the old town, while to the west, a modern expansion of urban development stretches all the way to Fuengirola. Crowds are one penalty of a rapidly expanding centre of tourism and commerce on Spain's hottest coastline. Off season or at least out of hours, it is simpler to enjoy a city that may be poorly endowed by national standards but is rich in a variety of ways and full of character.

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In 1953 Marbella became an 'in' place for a fair clutch of the rich and famous and titled, and so it has remained, although dramatic changes have occurred since. Its residential population is now estimated to be in excess of 80,000 people , with a large 'holiday home' population that only spends parts of the year here.

There are three marinas packed with luxury yachts. The old town has been renovated without spoiling it, and is now more comfortable for its inhabitants and more attractive for visitors. Three words which sum up Marbella, which are used by the tourism promoters in Marbella are 'Marbella is Marvellous'. Marbella's old town is a warren of narrow streets and remnants of fortifications built by the Moors who held the town until 1485.

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One of the finest examples of the 'white villages' of Andalucia, Mijas still retains much of its charm with little whitewashed houses perched on the hillside. Its narrow streets are restricted to pedestrians and donkeys (who act as taxis). Mijas has the country's only square Bull Ring (together with a Bull Fighting Museum) and some interesting churches including one that has been hewn into the rocks. Other monuments give insight into Mijas's past - Roman, Moorish and Spanish.

Mijas Costa The journey along the old road from Benalmadena to Mijas, among the pine groves and little villas that mark the route, is like a continuous balcony with impressive views over the countryside out to the warm blue sea. Mijas can also be reached from the centre of Fuengirola, travelling along a winding road up to the picture postcard village - one passes some of the most sought after properties in the area. Residential developments such as El Lagarejo, Rancho de la Luz and Dona Pilar feature luxury villas. There are also pleasant developments of town houses grouped around tropical gardens and swimming pools.

The focal point of Mijas is the lovely Andalucian Square. Higher in the village itself, the streets turn into flights of steps - the higher you climb the quieter it gets. Mijas is a beautiful village with lots of little shops, pavement bars and restaurants with panoramic views.

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Mijas Costa

This area encompasses numerous urbanisation that line the Mediterranean between Fuengirola and Marbella. Developments such as El Faro, Las Faroles, El Chaparral, La Cala, Riviera del Sol and Calahonda which is probably the largest. All will have a mix of nationalities - Calahonda and Riviera del Sol have the largest number of British property owners. Many are permanent or semi-permanent residents plus of course there are plenty of holiday homes. Most purchasers will opt for one of the low rise modern apartments, although each development has its share of detached villas plus town house complexes.

All the Mija Costa urbanisation are close to long sandy beaches and all have shopping malls. The commercial centre that fronts Calahonda has just about everything, including a Barclays Bank and a Medical Centre. Numerous Golf Courses are also on the doorstep.

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Mountains move away from the sea a little and the village of Nerja appears like a ship in full sail, in a tiny creek standing proud on a cliff, in the foothills of Sierra Almijara. Once a small fishing village, but now more like a small town, it is a very picturesque area of natural beautiful scenery with unusual coves which are difficult to get to by land. Just as the sea here is rich in exquisite fish, so too is the land, rich in sugar cane, yams and other delicious fruit.

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Pizarra is a tiny town lying 30 kilometres upriver in the Guadalhorce valley at the foot of the 350 metre high Sierra del Hacho. Still a largely farming community, it has so far managed to avoid the threat of absorption by the spreading metropolis of Málaga in spite of the recent appearance of the two commuter settlements of Zalea and Cerralba on its western face.

Neither the Romans nor the Moors made very much of Pizarra and it had to wait for the coming of the Christian era to get its real start. In 1483 a hundred settlers arrived, led by the indefatigable Don Pedro Romero de Figueroa, and determined to build a town. The reason for the reluctance of earlier people to put down roots in the spot was an eminently practical one. High above it was a huge, unstable rock, forever threatening to crash down upon them. The rock, known as the peñasco, was more than 5000 cubic metres in volume and weighed almost 3000 tons. It continued to threaten those brave, crazy or fatalistic enough to live beneath it until 1988 when, after it showed definite signs of cracking, the authorities finally blew it up.

It was still there in 1922 when the palace of the Conde de Puerto Hermos was used for the Conference of Pizarra, when leading politicians and soldiers gathered in an attempt to find a solution to the war then raging in Spanish Morocco. The count had built his palace in the 19th Century, after buying the land cheaply. The palace still stands in the centre of town, but is in private hands and not open to the public.

One place that is most definitely open to the public is Pizarra's Municipal Museum. The village owes this jewel in its crown to the American painter Gino Hollander, who spent many years in the town. Beginning in the 1960s he amassed an impressive array of archaeological artefacts from many eras, including the Roman and the Moorish. When he eventually left Spain to return to America, his collection came into the hands of the local authorities, who took over a disused farm complex and turned it into the museum.

Although the museum no longer bears Hollander's name, as it once did, it still denotes one of its two rooms as "Gino Hollander's Room", and includes numerous examples of his painting. The items on view are eclectic, ranging from Iberian brooches and Roman and Moorish pottery to almost contemporary rural furniture and farm implements. Attached to the museum is a bar restaurant serving a variety of food, which makes a trip to the site extremely rewarding.

Pizarra should be congratulated on making the most of its unexpected legacy. Now that the war in Spanish Morocco is long ended, the palace of Conde de Puerto Hermos is no longer required by the politicians in far off Madrid, and Pizarra lives its quiet life unhurriedly in the sunshine. Málaga, meanwhile, prowls around it like a hungry lion walking the horizon and wondering whether to pounce.

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Puerto Banus

The magnificent pleasure port of Jose Banus, named after its creator is located on the Marbella sea front and is one of the most beautiful spots in the Mediterranean. Andalucian architecture and the most modern complement each other with stunning views out to the Mediterranean. A place where the rich & famous people meet.

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San Pedro

San Pedro is situated 10 kilometres from Marbella, with outstanding scenery, mountains like the humps on a camels back reaching for the blue waters of the Med. The character is typically Andalucian with narrow streets lined with beautiful white houses leading to Avenues and squares with gardens and palm trees. The old roman town once called Silniana disappeared in the fourth century destroyed by an earthquake, roman ruins still remain.

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The fun capital of the Costa del Sol and only 5 minutes drive from Malaga Airport. The centre around Calle San Miguel and Avenida Carlotta Alexandra throngs with bars, restaurants, pubs and Discotheques - Dutch, British, Spanish, German, French, American - every nationality is represented. You could eat and drink in a different bar or restaurant here every night for a year and still only scratch the surface.

Away from the bustling centre normality resumes and there are many charming backwaters. Six miles of uninterrupted beach -broken only by the rocky promontory of Castillo de Santa Clara, which separate the Banjondillo and Carihuela sections of town. Scores of charming family run fish restaurants overlook the beach at Carihuela - everything is available from simple tapas (snacks) of prawns in garlic to Lobster Thermidor or Dorada a la Sal (sea bream baked in salt). There is a lively weekly street market - fruit and vegetables are gift priced compared to the UK. Weekly shopping can be done at Hiper Torremolinos on the by-pass road.

There are plenty of family run self-service supermarkets throughout the area, remember though that the siesta is alive and well on the Costa del Sol and most small shops close at 2pm reopening at 5pm until 8 or 9 in the evening. A huge Aqua Park is open throughout summer. The parador del Golf caters for golfers and the sights of the regional capital, Malaga, are only a few minutes away by train, bus or car. A must for most Brits is a visit to El Corte Ingles in the centre of Malaga - a huge department store where you can spend the whole day.

Many property purchasers here will opt for one of the inexpensive apartments that make up the area. Most will buy for holiday use - often renting out in their absence. Superb beaches, enviable shopping facilities and lively nightlife ensure that Torremolinos retains its reputation as one of Europe's Premier holiday locations.

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Following the coastal road from Nerja in the direction of Malaga, sometimes the mountains give the impression that they are about to lead into the waters of the Mediterranean, most of the route you will enjoy the sight of many large unspoilt sandy beaches. This ancient roman settlement is only 3 kilometres from the coast it is a very beautiful village and is surrounded by picturesque views.

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