It's not called the Costa del Sol for nothing! This sun-kissed coastline enjoys as many as 325 days of sun around the year, meaning you'll more than likely experience great weather whenever you go. Spring is an ideal time to visit if you want to avoid the excessive heat of summer - above 30°C - and the subtropical rains of autumn, while still maintaining a pleasant 22 to 26°C during the day and high teens at night.
As with any holiday, it's advised that you take out a comprehensive travel and medical insurance plan prior to departing your own country. This is especially important if you plan to take part in strenuous hiking, water sports or other activities – for more information on the details, see our holiday extras page.
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is also an advisable precaution to take. This won't act as a substitute for insurance and will not provide you with any of the monetary reimbursement benefits, unless the treatment required is deemed to be an emergency. However, it will grant you access to the same level of immediate care and treatment as a Spanish national. As such, it's a good thing to have handy.
As members of the EU, UK nationals do not need a visa to enter Spain or Costa del Sol, but you must carry a valid passport. To keep abreast of all of the most recent passport information, visit the UK Government's Foreign Travel Advice page.
Both Malaga and Gibraltar airports serve tourists to the Costa del Sol, though the former has a far more convenient location to everyone except those staying in Sotogrande. The airport is roughly seven miles from town centre and can be reached by bus - which leaves twice an hour - or train, but, times vary so check the schedule here in advance of your trip.
Public transport is well organised and relatively cheap, with buses and trains connecting Malaga with all of the major towns on the coast and many smaller beaches as well. However, due to the vast size of the Costa del Sol, it might make sense to rent a car. Malaga airport is packed with all of the major international car hire firms, making the transition from two wings to four wheels as easy as possible. The maximum speed limit on Spanish motorways was recently reduced to 110 kilometres per hour (68 miles per hour) and is as little as 30 kilometres per hour (18 miles per hour) in certain built-up areas, so make sure you're aware of the limit before you set off.
Renting a bike is an environmentally-friendly and pleasant way to get around the coast, while many locales are even close enough to walk between.
Geared as it is towards tourism, finding family-friendly hotels and restaurants is no problem all along the coast. However, Benalmadena and Puerto Banus are reputed nightlife hotspots, so steering clear of hotels near the epicentre of bars and clubs is advisable if you want a quiet break.
There is a wide variety of family friendly activities to enjoy, including Aqualand waterpark or the Crocodile Park in Torremolinos, exotic animal safaris and zip-lining at Selwo Natural and wildlife spotting at the Butterfly Centre in Benalmadena.
112 is the emergency number for all services across Spain.
There is a British Consulate in Malaga, to which you should report immediately if you are a victim of crime, injury, accident or other emergency.
Address: Edificio Eurocom, Bloque Sur C/ Mauricio Moro Pareto 2, 2º, 29006 Malaga
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 08.30-13.30
Tel: 902 109 356
Fax: 952 359 211
Most pharmacies on the Costa del Sol are open 09.30-14.00 and 17.00-21.30 from Monday to Friday and 09.30-14.00 on Saturdays. 24-hour pharmacies are available – information about their whereabouts is normally displayed on the doors and windows of all pharmacies.
There are a number of hospitals dotted all along the Costa del Sol – comprehensive information on their addresses and contact details can be found here. In Malaga, the largest public hospital is:
Hospital Provincial Malaga, Avenida Carlos Haya, 29010
Tel: 951 030 100
Malaga Airport: Tel. +34 913 21 10 00
Gibraltar International Airport: Tel. +350 200 12345