As one would expect, the Costa del Sol has an extensive portfolio of hotels, ranging from highly-regarded Leading Hotels of the World to family-friendly venues and all manner in between. The availability of hotel beds has increased steadily over the years and some notable hotels have opened their doors in recent times, including the landmark Finca Cortesin, Vincci flagship Estrella del Mar and the Crowne Plaza, modelled on an ocean liner.
The Costa del Sol is a veritable golfers' paradise with an impressive range of courses affording spectacular scenery under the sun, which has led to it also being known as the Costa del Golf. Whether you are a relative novice or a serious low-handicapper, you will find all manner of testing golf to suit your game.
The fantastic weather we enjoy here on the Costa del Sol means that sports lovers can enjoy a fabulous range of activities throughout the year. Commonly known as the Costa del Golf, visitors can choose from around 70 different courses to suit all tastes, abilities and budgets. Tour operators offer a range of bespoke golfing packages - from luxury golf experiences to corporate groups and holiday/golf combination breaks.
If you're feeling brave and fancy trying something a bit different, Marbella has a range of fun activities on offer that will bring out your adventurous side. Spot dolphins and whales on a 2 hour whale watching trip in the Med on a specially designed boat with experts aboard, or channel your inner aggression and enter the battle zone with a fabulously fun session of Paintball or Laser Combat.
The Costa Del Sol boasts some of the best beaches in Europe, many flying the European Blue Flag, which means they have showers, nearby restaurants and toilet facilities, sometimes lifeguards too, and are clean and safe for families. Many have sunbed/sunbrella concessions and water sports (think jet skis, banana boats, pedalos and para gliding).
Defined by Merriem-Webster’s Spanish-English dictionary as ‘temporary wood constructions on the beach selling drinks and ice cream’, these days most chiringuitos are better appointed while continuing to offer the simple charms of chargrilled sardines or a great paella and sangria, enjoyed with the sand in your toes and the sea breeze in your hair.
The sunny weather of the Costa del Sol makes dining al freco possible almost all year round. In Spain, long, lazy lunches and dinners that start late (around 10pm) are often preceded by an aperitivo (alcoholic beverage) or two on the seafront; in the quaint huts and summertime restaurants known as chiringuitos.
Over the last three decades, Spanish wines have made a huge leap forward and they are now deservedly recognised as among some of the best in the World. The first thing to look for is the Denominación de Origen, which, like the French Apellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC), gives a guarantee of authenticity, referring to the region the wine was produced in.
Marbella is a shopping mecca for anyone with money to spend. Whatever your heart desires, be it the latest designer fashion, fabulous interior pieces, state of the art gadgets or local specialty products, there's something to suit every taste and budget. Don't forget your credit card!
Marbella may the capital of golf, but it is also one of the leading spa capitals of the world. It is no wonder that Michelle and Sasha Obama headed for the Villa Padierna Hotel to unwind from all the political stress; with installations that are making the news in international publications, Marbella’s top spas offer some of the most sophisticated spa treatments in the world.
It's not just the beach and swimming pool that makes Marbella a fantastic place for kids. There are numerous attractions and activities that will entertain and educate your little ones.
In relocating to the Costa del Sol, many parents are clearly concerned about what kind of schools are available for their children to attend, and the same applies with the parents of first-borns who are living locally. They needn't worry, as a bit of research will bear out, for there are a number of highly regarded schools in this area, with excellent academic records to match.
Any true pet lover who has come to live in Spain from overseas has undoubtedly brought their furry friends along with them, for animals are an important part of the family. The good news is that Marbella is home to fantastic veterinarians, pet trainers and groomers.
Marbella residents are concerned with far more important things than living la vida loca; the local community is famed for its solidarity and commitment to non profit organisations and people in need both at a local level and all around the world.
State Healthcare in Spain is based on one's Social Security contributions through employment or being a self-employed (autonomo) person. Those holding a European Health Insurance Card which has been acquired in their country of origin previous to their travel to Spain may also be eligible.