Famed for its spectacular weather, golden sands and turquoise waters; Andalucía’s 800km coastline stretches from Almeria to the Costa del Sol,and on to the Costa de la Luz. This popular coastal region attracts waves of tourists from all over the world because it offers a succession of unspoilt beaches with sweeping ocean views, secluded coves and cliff formations, along with salt marshes overflowing with spectacular fauna and flora.
Whether one is looking for a family-friendly beach, a high-adrenalin water sports centre, a quiet naturist zone, or beaches lined with chiringuitos offering mouth-watering fish and fresh seafood; Andalucía has it all.
The landscape of the Costa de Almeria is unique, offering rocky cliffs, salt marshes;wide, golden beaches and sand dunes: a habitat of great importance for numerous migratory bird species.
This stretch of coast also boasts beautiful natural areas, like the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Nature Reserve, declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1997, making it the largest protected area on the Mediterranean coast.
The Costa Tropical, situated between the Almería coast and the Costa del Sol, offers asub-tropical microclimate, with 320 sunny days a year and an average temperature of around 20º C due to its proximity to northern Africa and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Undoubtably the most well-known, and most visited, coastline in Andalucía is the Costa del Sol,which extends along more than 150 kilometres of sandy beaches in the province of Malaga.The coast of the sun is so called because it boasts a benevolent climate with more than 325 days of sunshine a year.
With plentiful beaches to suit all tastes, this beautiful coastline looks out across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa and Gibraltar, offering panoramic views and outstanding sunsets.
Formerly made up of a series of small fishing settlements, today the region is a world-renowned tourist destination and includes some of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, including Nerja, Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Marbella.
Famed for calm, warm and transparent waters, the scenery of the Costa del Sol is varied, seeing as many beaches are set between the mountains and the sea.
The Costa del Sol offers every type of tourist attraction, from water sports to leisure activities, along with luxurious marinas and some of the most exclusive golf courses in the region, hence a large percentage of the total accommodation available in Andalucía is concentrated on the western Costa del Sol.
The Costa de la Luz – Coast of Light – is a 200km section of coast that is fringed by the Atlantic Ocean: it extends from Tarifa in the south and along the coasts of the provinces of Cadiz and Huelva, to the mouth of the Guadiana River.
The Costa de la Luz has a number of natural attractions, the most popular of which is the breath-taking Doñana National Park, which was established as a nature reserve in 1969.
A beach lover’s paradise
It’s geographical location and its climate – with pleasant temperatures no matter what time of year one visits – make Andalucía the perfect place for those who enjoy the delights of the sea and lively beach activity to the full.
Many of Andalucía’s beaches have been awarded the blue flag of excellence for their amenities, cleanliness, quality and preservation of the natural surroundings. This year, 122 beaches and 21 ports have received the coveted blue flag, which is an initiative awarded by the Association of Environmental and Consumer Education (ADEAC) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Visitors will be spoilt for choice for the selection of Chiringuito bars, luxury beach clubs and water-front restaurants serving some of the most mouth-watering seafood and cuisine typical of the region.
One of the most traditional gastronomic delights on offer are the grilled sardines that are cooked on barbecues on the beaches, the aromas of which will tantalise the taste buds
and remind one that the summer has arrived. What could be better than a stroll along a golden beach followed by a lunch of freshly caught sardines and a glass of sangria?
Of course, one of the main attractions for those who love to spend time on the water are the numerous water sports centres offering speed boats, jet skis, kite surfing, kayaking, pedalos, canoes, and a host of other leisure pastimes.
Those of a competitive nature will find all sorts of beach sports and games;while people with reduced mobility will discover adapted beaches that offer a vast range of equipment needed to enjoy a day by the sea. This includes walkways that facilitate access to the sea, adapted showers and changing rooms, sun beds and shaded areas, and amphibious chairs that allow users to move around on the sand and in the water with great ease.
There are also pet-friendly beaches equipped with showers and drinking fountains specifically for dogs.
If it’s the beach-life one is looking for, then Andalucía has it all – from long lunches in a beachside chringuito, to dynamic water sports and family-themed attractions, or relaxing under the shade of a parasol on a sun lounger with a book: the choice is endless.
More information: andalucia.org