a Costa del Sol includes 300Km. of the Spanish Mediterranean Coastline belonging to the Provinces of Málaga, Granada and Cadiz. Recently, the Granada Province coastline was redesignated as the "Costa Tropical". It is protected from the northern winds by a mountain which sometimes reaches down to the edge of the sea. This privileged coast consists of a series of large beaches, fishing grounds, coves half-hidden among cliffs & sports harbours. The mild climate, scant rainfall and the sea breeze produce a semitropical vegetation with frequent oleander, palm-trees, cypresses, hibiscus and Pinsapo (only grows in Málaga and Cadiz, find it on the white village Itinerary). The proximity of very different countryside - mountains, valleys full of orchards and the sea - is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of this coast, which has all the attractive features of the Mediterranean scenery and forklore.
As it was easily accessible from the most important places of the ancient Mediterranean world, at an early stage the Costa del Sol was visited by Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians. The Roman empire also moved its tentacles towards it and left considerable traces which the traveller can admire in the provincial and municipal museums. But it is the period under Islamic rule which left the deepest mark, not only as regards the oriental atmosphere of many of the villages, but also as regards the most traditional means of earning a living: the orchard crops, an unquestionable legacy of the wise lesson taught by their original Arab owners, and the crafts where the Islamic roots of the techniques and designs are always evident. The popular music and the magnificent Muslim buildings, which the traveller must include on his visit at all costs, occupy a place of prime importance among the characteristics of Andalusian culture and consequently of the Costa del Sol.
Christianity in these lands coincides with the Modern Age. Between the 16C and 18C the cities and cities were endowed with churches and palaces by then totally Westernised, although occasionally it is possible to discern Arab traces in the Baroque forms of the less official art and architecture. There the traveller finds a long series of modest rural parish churches. Visiting them in the course of wandering through the small whitewashed streets in every village on the Costa del Sol is almost as obligatory as getting to know the halls, rooms and gardens of La Alhambra.
Apart from the villages with a rural air, today there are housing developments, yacht harbours, golf courses, centres of entertainment, night clubs, museums and monuments, and many other tourist attractions. Fortunately, all of them blend perfectly with the traditional, peaceful atmosphere enveloping towns and villages, miraculously and faithfully preserved in their original mould. However, holiday on the beach with all the attractions it may have in this part of the Mediterranean Sea is not the only thing the Costa del Sol has to offer: by making short trips the traveller has the opportunity of getting to know the most genuine aspects of Andalusian culture.
In addition to the folklore provided in the tourist centres, it is also possible to reach the heart and soul of the popular celebrations. Las fiestas, Holy Week, flamenco competitions and bullfights are probably the best recommendations for the travellers who are not satisfied with the first thing they come across. Tasting the wines of the area in charming wineries from other times and trying the pescadito (deep fried fish) prepared in accordance with the demanding rules of popular cooking to the ever present "international cuisine".