Family Travel Tips for Spain's Costa del Sol

June 02, 2010

Costa Del Sol family travel tips Beach day 

Exotic Andalusia Spain's famous Costa del Sol with it's rich history, ancient ruins, fascinating culture and traditions is a perfect European vacation spot for the whole family, including kids. As I told the Frugal Traveler in the New York Times, "Spain is great for families". Over 60 million people visit this area every year and many, like us, are return visitors. It has the best winter weather in Europe and is over hundred miles long, filled with sandy beaches, rolling hills and  majestic mountains. 

Stunning Costa Del Sol, Spain Family travel tips Spain

After spending the last four winters in Spain in a small village on the far eastern part of the Costa Del Sol, bordering Costa Tropical, my best tip is spend less time in the high-rise monstrosity, package-tour areas of the western Costa del Sol like Torremolinos, Puerto Banus , Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Marbella. You will miss the authenticity and  awesome natural beauty of this area of Spain and will see little difference between it and  the suburban sprawl of Southern California, Miami Beach, Honolulu, Benidorm , Costa Brava or any over built beach area that caters to holidays or vacations  in the sun.

Gorgeous Costa del Sol mountains family travel tips, golf

Tip number two, skip the summer high season because it is over crowded and hotter than the dickens ( usually well above 100 so you will be dripping sweat even in the shade.) I agree with the Spaniards that it is insane to visit Andalusia in July and August. If you want to visit Spain then, be smart like a Spaniard and head to green Northern Spain which is often rainy, but quite pleasant in July and August and not crowded in places like gorgeous Galicia. Even Madrid is too hot in summer then and the whole government moves to San Sebastian for July and August. Thus, think Galicia, Austrias, Bilbao, or beautiful Santillana and Altamira,the Sistine chapel of prehistoric art.The good news is that prices are also better in the Costa Del Sol when the weather is best. The summer heat is only for the sun-starved Brits and northern Europeans that are desperate for some sun in summer as they often get very little at home even in July and August.

Family travel tip Costa del Sol beaches mountains spring flowers 

Costa del sol family travel tips Spain fountain village

Family travel tips Costa Del Sol Andalusia Spain beach

Andalusia beauty country side family travel tips costa del sol 

Tip three head to the rural areas and a classic small white village,  .there are many to choose from. You will be able to walk to everything you need in the village and get a sense of the authentic lifestyle of Andalusia plus great little restaurants, stores and every rental or small hotel  has a pool Mass transit is great in the Costa del Sol and you can rent a car quite cheaply to visit other nearby areas like Ronda, Seville, Granada or Cordoba and the Mesquita ( all must-sees). It's particularly nice to be in a traditional rental home right on the main street in the oldest section of town. Even better, try to schedule your time there when there is a festival going on which is pretty easy to do in Andalusia because there are so many. 

Sun Costa del Sol, Spain, beaches, family travel tips 




Tip four is come in springtime which is probably the very best time to be here. All of these photos were taken in the last three months. The locals tell me that it is not this green in the summer as the hot sun bakes everything. It's warm enough to go to the beach, but not too warm to also hike around the country side or beautiful little villages. Wild flowers are just everywhere! Fall is another nice time and we enjoy the whole winter here which are mostly sunny, but can get cool at night.  



  andalusia horses, goats countryside

Costa del sol, spain, andalusia flowers

We will really miss our beautiful winter home as we have fallen in love with this area and it's people. We will miss the sounds of the horses clomping by, the oxen carts, the braying donkeys, baaing sheep,roosters and church bells or loud firecrackers announcing another holiday.  It has been a little bittersweet this winter knowing we will start wintering in Asia starting this year so that Mozart can immerse deeply in her Mandarin at a school there. Thankfully, we will be back every spring and  to pick up our RV to do a summer tour of Europe then back in the fall when we leave it here to fly off on more world wandering. . There is still plenty of the Costa del Sol ( sun coast) that is pure, stunning and authentic. Bargain prices too!

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David Crandall

You know, it's just cruel to post such beautiful pictures when I'm stuck at a desk. ;)

Actually, it's one of the things that I like most about this site. It is continued inspiration for me to work to get out of my 9 to 5 and set my family free. I'm so impressed with how you guys are living your life as a family! You are a continued inspiration!!!


David- ;) Thanks for your kind words & I'm really happy that our experience can inspire you towards more freedom for you and your family!


Spain is so gorgeous and where better to stay than.. in a castle! I'm one of those people with big "fairytale" dreams so when I went to Spain I was determined to feel like a Princess; I'd highly recommend the Cases de Son Barbassa in Mallorca: They offer hiking, scuba diving, horseback riding; everything. Plus it's just GORGEOUS.

Happy Traveling!


Love reading you posts. What inspiration and information. Our Texas family of five is tranfering to Dubai and your blog will be a guide. Contact us if you are in Dubai. My daughter is Mozart's age and would love to meet her. Happy travels in Asia. We lived in Singapore for four years & loved traveling the region.


Jennifer- Thanks! Well, Mallorca is a long way from Costa del Sol and Andalusia, but it another great area of Spain. There are tons of great castles in Spain..they have a parador system that is really cool, so anyone wanting to find a castle in Spain, will find TONS. One thing that has no shortage in Europe is castles. ;)

Emhowle- Thanks so much for your kind words & invite! We'd love to meet when we get to Dubai! We are looking forward to the adventures in Asia ( but not the heat ;)!


hi, I'm about to move to Andalusia in the next few months;I do agree that immersing yourself into the local culture is important especially as it is so rich in variety:I love the traditions and fiestas of Andalusia.I hope you and your family enjoy your next location.all the best

David @ Malaysia Asia

Stunning place and wonderful family tips! I can't wait to see what you will be writing about when you arrive in Penang, Malaysia.



Thanks David! We are so looking forward to our fist winter in Penang and meeting you! See you soon!


These are absolutely stunning photos. Spain truly is beautiful and another thing. The mountain drop back is more stunning and more lush than anything overrated Cape Town can boast.


To the author.
In my previous post I meant to say "back drop" so please alter if you decide to publish. Thanks

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