With its year-round sunshine and warm temperatures, it can feel like summer on the Costa del Sol at any time of year. But the official high season of the year runs from mid-June to late September, just over three months when this spot in southern Spain becomes one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in Europe. In this article, we look at reasons to visit the Costa del Sol in the summer.
Reason 1 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – the best time of year for the beach
The Costa del Sol has plenty of beaches to choose from between Sotogrande and Nerja, and there’s something for everyone. Yes, the sands on the Costa del Sol in the summer can be packed to bursting point and yes, finding a spot for your towel can be a bit of a challenge, especially at the weekends.
But we think a day on the sands and in the refreshing Med makes a perfect holiday plan. Plus, the kids will have lots of other children to play with.
Not sure which sands to go to? Read our guide to the best Costa del Sol beaches.
If you can’t find a space for your towel, book a beach lounger and parasol, and relax in luxury. Prices start at €8 a day for two.
Reason 2 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – beach clubs and restaurants galore
Chiringuitos (beach restaurants) are something of an institution on the Costa del Sol, and you’ll find them dotted all along the coast. They range from cheap and cheerful to luxury and pricey, with just about everything in between.
All are open all day during the summer, the season for grilled sardines (espetos) and shellfish. Most stay open during the evening as well.
If you want something more upmarket, go for a beach club. The best (and most expensive) are in Marbella, where you’ll find classics such as Nicky Beach and Ocean Club. Los Álamos on the east side of Torremolinos also has a great selection, and almost all resorts have at least two good beach clubs.
Book ahead at any chiringuito and beach club in the summer.
Reason 3 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – pick of summer festivals
The summer heralds the high season on the Costa del Sol. Many festivals attract the world’s top artists – singers, musicians, dancers and orchestras – and have lovely locations. You’ll also find something for everyone from classical to pop via jazz, rock and flamenco.
Read our guide to festivals on the Costa del Sol, complete with dates and links to book tickets.
Reason 4 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – it’s feria time!
Several locations celebrate their annual fair during July and August, giving visitors the chance to join a quintessential Andalusian feria. If you’re on holiday on the Costa del Sol in summer, don’t miss the following fairs:
- Malaga Fair – a 7-day extravaganza of celebrations that take place in the city centre during the day and at the fairground at night. 12 to 19 August 2023. Read a guide to Malaga Fair.
- Antequera Fair – 4 days of bullfighting, horse parades and funfair rides in mid-August.
- Ronda Fair – a festival commemorating the town’s historic ties with bullfighting when locals, visitors and bullfighters dress up in traditional Goyesca style. First week in September.
Some villages celebrate the Conquest of Andalusia in 1492 with Moros y Cristianos celebrations. Locals dress up as Moors or Christians and reenact the battles. See them in:
- Benalauría – first week of August.
- Benadalid – last week of August.
- Alfarnate – mid-September.
- Casabermeja holds a renowned flamenco festival, the Festival de Cante Grande, in late July.
Different villages celebrate seasonal produce and those in summer include:
- Alfarnatejo – Gazpacho Festival on 1 August.
- Iznate – Day of the Muscatel Grape in mid-August.
- Cómpeta – Wine Night on 15 August, celebrating the area’s famed sweet wine.
- Almáchar – Day of the Ajoblanco on the first Saturday in September.
Pace yourself with the ferias because they’re busy, loud and hectic. Choose one to experience during your holiday and save the others for return visits (giving you the perfect excuse to come back!).
Reason 5 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – celeb spotting
It isn’t just you and me who choose to spend the summer on the Costa del Sol; it’s also a favourite spot among the world’s rich and famous. They tend to flock to Marbella – Puerto Banús during summer evenings provides particularly good celeb spotting opportunities – and Sotogrande, but keep your eyes open anywhere, and you’ll probably see more than one famous face while you’re on holiday.
Follow the buzz and there’s bound to be a celeb at the centre of it!
Reason 6 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – waterparks and water sports come into their own
The summer is the time to experience aquatic adventures, whether in the sea, in a river or at a waterpark.
In the Med – you’ll find canoe and SUP hire at most resorts in the summer. You can also rent out jet skis or try your hand at water skiing, banana boat riding and paragliding.
In a river – canyoning and rafting are popular water sports in the Costa del Sol in the summer, particularly in Benahavis and Nerja. The River Chillar walk is also a perfect hike on a hot summer’s day.
At waterparks – the Costa del Sol has three:
- Aqualand in Torremolinos.
- Aquamijas in Fuengirola/Mijas.
- Aquavalis in Torre del Mar.
Discover real adventure on the Costa del Sol, in and out of the water, in our Active Adventure Road Trip. Fun-packed holidays guaranteed!
Reason 7 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – great art exhibitions
The art museums in Malaga showcase world-class artwork all year round, including the summer months. Those at the largest museums such as the Picasso Museum and Pompidou Centre have some of the best but you’ll also find fine pieces at the Carmen Thyssen Museum, CAC Malaga and the Russian Museum.
Be sure to spend at least two days in Malaga to make the most of the amazing city. If you need inspiration for what to do and see, download one of our Road Trips. They all include two nights in Malaga, with themed activities.
Reason 8 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – feast on summer produce
As well as visiting the summer produce fairs (see Ferias above), July and August are perfect months for tasting local deliciousness. For example, tomatoes, watermelons, peaches and nectarines from the land, and sardines and shellfish from the sea.
Get your copy of the Costa del Sol Foodie Experience Road Trip for a gourmet-packed holiday in the sun. It offers a 24/7 foodie feast for the whole week, and costs just €4.95.
Reason 9 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – fab family atmosphere
This part of southern Spain prides itself on being a destination for everyone, including families. Add to this the fact that Spain loves children and you’re all in for a fun holiday.
While you’re here, do as the Spaniards do and allow your kids to stay up until all hours and join in all the fun.
Reason 10 to visit the Costa del Sol in summer – just because
In case the previous nine reasons aren’t enough, our tenth is the most compelling of all – you should pick the Costa del Sol for your summer vacation because it’s a great place to have a holiday. And at any time of year.
But don’t take our word for it – get that holiday booked in the calendar right now. And don’t forget your Road Trip guides to enjoy the perfect break for you, your people, your interests and in your time.
See you this summer on the Costa del Sol!