Would you like to explore the Spanish costas in the South and are not sure where to start? Which one you should see and which to avoid?
In this article, you will find a comprehensive guide to all the Spanish Costas (coasts) in the South, to give you a quick glance at what to expect.
I have also included the main cities and points of interest so you can make a quick decision about whether to visit or not!
Spanish Costas in the South: Getting There
If you’re focusing on Spanish Costas in the south, start your trip in a major city with a reliable airport. Your best bet will be the international airport in Malaga, which has excellent connections to all European destinations, and even direct flights to the US.
There are also other smaller airports within the south, which are mostly used for local flights.
Another alternative is taking a flight to Madrid and from there a high-speed train down to the south.
The journey from Madrid to Malaga takes around 2.5 hours with the high-speed train, which runs several times per day.
The other option is flying to Alicante or Barcelona if you want to start exploring the coastline further up there.
Spanish Costas in the South: Complete Guide
Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol is one of Spain’s best-known costas. Located in Andalusia, this Costa lives up to its name, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sun along the shore.
The region’s largest city, Malaga is an obvious headquarters for any stay on the Costa del Sol. This coastal metropolis draws visitors to its historic sites, top-notch museums, and beachy atmosphere.
Be sure to visit the 11th-century Alcazaba fortress, Malaga Cathedral, and Gibralfaro Castle. Save time for the Picasso Museum, the Roman Theater, and the city’s impressive Automotive Museum.
Public beaches dot Malaga’s coastline, making it easy to go for a swim or catch the sunset after a day out on the town.
See Also: The Perfect Barcelona Weekend Itinerary
Drive 45 minutes down the coast from Malaga, and you’ll come upon the community of Marbella, perched along the sea.
The town provides the perfect escape from city life, with hotels, idyllic beaches, and natural attractions, all with views of the nearby Sierra Blanca Mountains.
Top things to do include relaxing at Cabopino Beach, wandering the lush Parque de la Alameda, and admiring the windswept dunes of Artola. Kayaking, trekking, and canyoning excursions are available from Marabella, giving you another way to dive into nature.
Costa de Almeria
Located in Spain’s Andalusia region, Costa del Almeria encompasses the coastal communities of Almeria province. Visitors will enjoy a unique blend of history, rugged nature and beaches in this corner of the country.
The city of Almeria makes a perfect headquarters for exploring the coast- start by getting to know local history through Almeria’s architectural wonders.
Top attractions include the Moorish citadel of Alcazaba, the 16th century Almeria Cathedral, and the extensive tunnel system and former shelter spanning the city’s underground.
Almeria’s coastal position makes it easy to take engaging day trips from the city, especially if you have vehicle access.
The region is known for being home to Europe’s only desert- the Desierto Tabernas is a natural curiosity only 35 minutes from Almeria.
The desert’s highly unique fauna and flora are sure to surpass your expectations of a typically Spanish landscape.
Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata-Níjar
If you’d rather stick to the coast, the Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata-Nijar is another easy day trip from Almeria. Located 45 minutes west of the city, this nature preserve features turquoise waters, rugged cliffs, and plenty of wildlife.
There are multiple beaches within the park, including Playa de los Genoveses, Playa las Salinas and Playa San Miguel.
The park also has several trails-Las Negras to Cala de San Pedro is one of the most popular ones and offers hikers the chance to cool off at San Pedro’s pristine beach.
Measuring over 200km, Costa Blanca lies between Costa de Azahar and Costa Calida. Located in Alicante province, the coastline offers a classic Mediterranean getaway and is known for its popular beaches.
Drawing visitors from around the world, Alicante is a must-stop when choosing a place to stay in Costa Blanca. The city’s top attraction, the Santa Barbara Castle, dates back to the 9th century and offers museum tours.
After meandering the narrow streets and squares of Barrio Santa Cruz, head to Playa del Postiguet or Playa San Juan for an afternoon dip in the Mediterranean.
The city’s reliable tram system lets you explore faster and at your own convenience.
Located a short drive or bus ride up the coast from Alicante, Benidorm is another must-stop on the Сosta Blanca.
If you’re looking for a busy beach destination with a tropical resort feel, enjoy Benidorm’s nightlife, lively restaurants, and abundant accommodations.
When you’re not bar-hopping or sampling seafood, head to Levante or Poniente Beach to relax on the sand.
If you’re planning to visit, check out this guide on getting from Alicante Airport to Benidorm.
Parc Natural del Penyal d’Ifac
Just 25 minutes north of Benidrom’s clubs and crowds, you’ll find Parc Natural del Penyal d’Ifac, a nature preserve in Calpe.
The park features a huge limestone rock just off the coast- a stunning sight from any angle.
The vista-filled hike to the top of the Peñón de Ifach is the park’s most popular challenge and is well worth the effort.
Hiking tours, catamaran cruises, and snorkeling excursions are just a few of the activities you can book at Peñón de Ifach. Stay until sunset for unforgettable views of the Calpe harbor.
Spanning the shoreline of Murcia province, Costa Calida is just south of Costa Blanca. Murcia, its largest urban hub, is located slightly inland but still makes a great headquarters for traveling along the coast.
One of Southern Spain’s cultural gems, Murcia is an inland city located 30 minutes from the coast. The city’s Plaza Cardenal Belluga is a great place to begin your walking tour of Murcia.
The Plaza is also where you’ll find the Murcia Cathedral and Real Casino de Murcia, a private club that invites visitors to admire a 19th-century architectural wonder.
Museum-lovers will have plenty to do in the city- the Museo de Bellas Artes, Museo de Santa Clara, and the Archaeological Museum are just a few of Murcia’s cultural institutions.
Only a short drive from Murcia, coastal Cartagena boasts a long Roman past. Intact ruins include a Roman theater dating back to the 1st century B.C.
After admiring the theater, Cartagena’s Old Cathedral, and learning about the city at the local archaeological museum, head to Cala Cortina, the local beach.
Costa de la Luz
Setting itself apart from the other Spanish costas on this list, Costa de la Luz overlooks the Atlantic, not the Mediterranean.
This coastal jewel is known for its gorgeous beaches, charming communities, and more.
With the city of Cadiz as your base camp for exploring Costa de la Luz, you’ll have the region’s best at your fingertips.
The city’s windblown waterfront features the Cadiz Cathedral, San Sebastian Castle, beaches and plenty of seaside accommodation.
Restaurants, bars and local businesses line the shore, and there are plenty of chances to encounter Cadiz’ ancient past while discovering on foot.
Playa de Bolonia Tarifa
If Cadiz’s beaches get too crowded, venture an hour south to discover Playa de Bolonia Tarifa, located in the Bolonia village.
Lauded for its smooth white sands and sparkling sea, this beach is a must, especially if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Moroccan coastline.
Located between Malaga and Almeria, Costa Tropical is a perfect stopover between the two hubs.
While passing through Spain’s Costa Tropical, save a day or two for Motril, one of the region’s coastal towns.
While the town sits slightly inland, the Motril area is home to multiple beaches, including Playa de Granada and Playa de las Azucenas.
Attractions include the Salobrena Castle, the Pre-industrial Sugarcane Museum, and the local history museum. This easygoing, quiet town lets you catch your breath before moving on to a city like Malaga.
La Herradura Bay
Located east of Motril, La Herradura Bay offers yet another beachy escape on the Costa Tropical. The village features a sheltered beach with access to cool, calm waters.
Whether you’re scuba diving, snorkeling, or tanning, La Herradura promises a tranquil getaway on Spain’s Tropical Coast.
Also known as Costa Daurada, Spain’s “Golden” coast is just south of Barcelona. This makes it an easy addition to any getaway to the famed Spanish city.
Tarragona is Costa Dorada’s most popular city and makes an ideal base for touring the region.
Many attractions date back to the city’s Roman heyday. Visit the 2nd-century Amfiteatre Romana, and the 1st-century Circ Roma, and walk along the Roman wall that once surrounded the city.
After absorbing Tarragona’s impressive history, head to its beaches to soak in the sun and enjoy local bites.
Located a few minutes inland from Tarragona, Reus is a quirky Catalonia destination. A historic producer of wine and liquors, the city’s legacy defines it to this day.
The area offers a variety of vineyard tours and wine tastings. Other attractions include a museum dedicated to architect Antoni Gaudi and the ornate Casa Navas building.
About the Author: Lucia is a travel blogger living in Southern Spain, sharing her discoveries of beautiful locations, hidden gems and stunning historic sights on her travel blog Viva La Vita.