Learn Spanish » Spanish Culture Blog » The Costa del Sol in Spain
The Costa del Sol is a region of world-renown on the southern coast of Spain in Andalusia famed not only for the beautiful landscapes, but also the huge stretches of sand beaches. The region is also home to cliffs, dunes, bays and estuaries. Some of the most notable towns along the Costa del Sol are Malaga, Torremolinos and Estepona, although the area encompasses many more.
- A hugely popular tourist destination, the Costa del Sol on the southern Spanish coast dates back nearly 2,800 years
- The name Costa del Sol was created in the 1960s as a brand to sell to foreign holidaymakers, and the tourist industry has increased existentially since the 1970s, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe today
With the earliest records suggesting that the first settlers, the Phoenicians, came to the Costa del Sol some 2,800 years ago, the area has been since occupied at various periods by the Romans, Moors and Catholics. All of these societies left architecture and legacies that can still be seen today, with some of the most notable landmarks visible in the ‘open museum’ of Malaga.
Due to Costa del Sol’s location on the Spanish coast, it is easy to see how the area became one of the most important port towns in the 18th Century. Its main trades were raisins and wine, and the industry was dominated by foreign merchants, making the area, and Malaga (the main port), very wealthy. Moreover, Malaga, in its central location along the Costa del Sol, became the Strait’s main defensive city following the loss of Gibraltar to the British in the Battle of Gibraltar, 1704.
While the Costa del Sol still had a primarily peasant and working class population towards the end of the 18th Century, there were enough, and ever-increasing numbers of, business-minded middle class to support the beginnings of the economic boom that came with the turn of the century. Following a depression in the 1880s and 1890s, in which many people lost their jobs and many businesses closed down, people turned to tourism to make money, and at the start of the 20th Century beaches were developed, and golf courses established.
The rapid growth of the tourist industry in the Costa del Sol was slowed down by the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. Nevertheless, after the two were over, the boom on the southern coast of Spain was reinvigorated, and having become a regular haunt of Grace Kelly, Orson Welles and Marlon Brando, naturally other tourists began to flock to the area, and as a consequence some very large and luxury hotels were built to meet demand.
Since the creation of the brand name Costa del Sol in the 1960s, which was designed as a marketing strategy, the area has become even more popular, with even more money being invested into the area in an effort to attract people to the beauty of the southern Spain coast. The renovation of Malaga airport (the main feeder airport to the area) and Malaga Port are still ongoing, and facilitate the huge numbers of tourists that visit the area.
Another attraction of the Costa del Sol is the food. Traditional Andalusian gazpacho is of course readily available, with peppers and tomatoes being abundant locally. Similarly due to the proximity to the sea, there is a lot of fresh fish, which is something of a delicacy in the area. The food, alongside the stunning landscapes and fascinating history, really makes the Costa del Sol a location that is not to be missed.