With roughly 320 days of sunshine a year, the Costa del Sol well deserves the nickname "the Sunshine Coast." It's no wonder much of the coast has been built up with resorts and high-rises. Don't despair, though; you can still find some classic Spanish experiences, whether in the old city of Marbella or one of the smaller villages like Casares. And despite the hubbub of high season, visitors can always unwind here, basking or strolling on mile after mile of sandy beach.Technically, the stretch of Andalusian shore known as the Costa del Sol runs west from the Costa Tropical, near Granada, to the tip of Tarifa, the southernmost point in Europe, just beyond Gibraltar. For most of the Europeans who have flocked here over the past 40 years, though, the Sunshine Coast has been largely restricted to the 70-km (43-mile) sprawl of hotels, vacation villas, golf courses, marinas, and nightclubs between Torremolinos, just west of Málaga, and Estepona, down toward Gibraltar. Since the late 1950s this area has mushroomed from a group of impoverished fishing villages into an overdeveloped seaside playground and retirement haven. The city of Almería and its coastline, the Costa de Almería, is southwest of Granada's Alpujarras region, and due east of the Costa Tropical (around 147 km [93 miles] from Almuñécar).
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Things You Can't Miss
Typically urban Carvajal, with its yellow sand and safe swimming, is popular with families. Rent chairs and umbrellas; enjoy live music in the summer.
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Explore Almería, capital of the province of the same name. Stroll tree-lined boulevards and winding alleys; relax in lovely landscaped squares.
The megalithic chambers near Antequera are some 4,000 years old, made from stone slabs that weighed more than a 100 tons. Best preserved is La Menga.
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Buy produce at Mercado Central de Atarazanas, an iron structure incorporating a 14th-century Moorish gate that once connected the city with the port.
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Book a tour with Andalucian Guides to witness bird migration through the Straits of Gibraltar, a key flyway between Europe and Africa.
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