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By turns, Costa del Sol is uniquely Andalusian, classically Spanish and altogether international.
At its most expansive definition, Costa del Sol, the sunshine coast, stretches 185 miles or so, from La Herradura on the easternmost tip of the province of Málaga to Gibraltar on the western border. Some 50 years ago, the jet set discovered the one-two combination of breathtaking natural beauty and balmy climate, turning fishing ports into glittering resorts and a hub luxury real estate and properties.
Its infrastructure is strong and well established with fast trains and good air service providing easy access to major cities. Málaga is one of Spain’s busiest airports.
Beaches showcase Costa del Sol luxury homes at their best. Some are shaded by palms, others overlooked by Moorish ruins. More than a dozen of the beaches that line the Mediterranean coast enjoy the Blue Flag eco-designation, which is given to those meeting strict standards of sustainable development and environmental management.
The area is known as much for its golf courses as its beaches. With dozens of courses, golfers flock here from all points of the globe. They also sail here. Puerto Banús, in Marbella, is an internationally famous yacht harbor, though sailors have a dotted line of marinas to choose among, some within close proximity to golf, polo and a heliport.
The residential real estate market has strong international representation. It is a haven for expatriates and second-home owners. The British have been buying here for decades. Its abundant sunshine is an irresistible counterpart to the rainy, overcast weather of the UK. Some argue it’s the best climate on the continent. More recently, a fast-growing Russian contingent has overtaken the number of Norwegian and German buyers, and the percentage of Eastern European real estate investors with high spending power is only expected to grow.
Glamorous Marbella with a classic Spanish feel continues to be a popular destination for luxury homebuyers. Real estate values remains strong. Marbella offers a range of homes, from private villas to coastal penthouses with high levels of security. Some of the poshest estates in the region are found on the Golden Mile of Nueva Andalucía, which is actually a four-mile coastal strip between Marbella and Puerto Banús. Roman ruins were found when the area was developed during the tourism boom of the 1960s.
Closer to Gibraltar is the private residential development of Sotogrande. The exclusive pedigreed Spanish luxury resort has grown almost organically over the years and now includes world-class golf courses, polo venues, fashionable beach clubs and some of the best-kept gardens in all of Spain.
Homes along the Costa del Sol are an architectural showcase, from Mediterranean to mid-century to post-modern. And, of course, there is the indigenous Andalucían architecture of terraced roofs and terracotta embellishments that make up the region’s indigenous soul.