Villas in the Costa del Sol – a guide

So, you're pining for a fortnight of Spanish sun, sand and sea? A bout of glitz and glamour by the Med? Villas in the Costa del Sol are probably the perfect pick, shouldering above the sky-blue waters in towns like Estepona and Nerja to offer a pad in the midst of whitewashed Moorish centres and Blue Flag beaches. Read on for a guide to destinations and booking.

Favourite places to look for villas in the Costa del Sol

Choosing precisely where to book your villa on the Costa del Sol is the important first step to creating a Spanish escape that's right for you. Below are just a few suggestions that detail some of the best-loved spots along this stretch of sun-splashed shore.

A taste of style in Marbella

Costa del Sol villas hit a peak of style along the so-called Golden Mile that arcs along between the shimmering beaches and the dunes of Marbella and Puerto Banus. Close to the latter, you could bag elegant homes with private pools within earshot of big casinos. In the former, there's an enchanting old town area – the Barrio Alto – where tapas bars and farmers' markets continue to bustle.

Choose authentic rentals in Nerja

Nowhere do villas on the Costa del Sol come infused with more Andalusian charm than in the clifftop town of Nerja. By the slopes of the sometimes-snow-dusted Sierras de Tejeda, the village crowns the Spanish shore with the Balcony of Europe promenade, which buzzes with life throughout the summer. It also wears a tiara of stunning coves, from hill-backed Maro Beach to palm-sprouting Burriana.

Estepona villas by the sea

Unlike buzzing Marbella and the yacht-speckled harbours of Puerto Banus before it, little Estepona ticks over to a relaxed Spanish rhythm. That might be surprising considering it was one of the first places on the whole Costa del Sol to start drawing in sun-seeking visitors. Thankfully, the ancient Mudejar plan of the marina has survived, along with a core of characterful old homes strewn with bougainvillea and a vibrant Paseo Maritimo promenade, where water sports outfitters and sunbeds beckon.

Whitewashed homes in Mijas

Mijas might just be the most pristine example of a pueblo blanco still clutching the coastal sierras of Andalusia. It drifts like a thread of white mist over the hills behind Benalmadena, hosting elegant churches and plazas filled with tapas bars and art galleries. Because many of the villa rentals here are perched on high, they also come with swimming pools with sweeping views of Mijas Costa – the seaside section of the town – along the shore below.

Luxury Costa del Sol villas

This shimmering stretch of beaches and peaks and whitewashed villages has been touting the good life for decades. Over the years, A-listers, jet setters and yachters have made certain corners of the coast – from Marbella to pretty old Mijas – their summertime stomping ground, which means there's also no shortage of luxury places to kick back and relax.

Villas in the Costa del Sol with swimming pools

A swimming pool can supercharge any trip to a villa on the Costa del Sol with a dash of real luxury. There are all sorts of them on the menu, from shared pools in communal condominium grounds to enticing infinity pools that roll into vistas of Spanish sierras, olive groves and the cobalt-blue Mediterranean Sea.

Other luxurious features of Costa del Sol villas

You'll come across some villas on the Costa del Sol that are effortlessly elegant, channelling the same fashionista vibes of the towns where they make their home. They pop up along the chic walks of the Golden Mile out of Puerto Banus, for example, packed with designer kitchens, thought-provoking modern art and large decks where you can soak up the rays in privacy.

How secure a good deal on your Costa del Sol villa

No one likes to pay over the odds for a place to stay, particularly when those extra euros could go on sangria and flamenco shows. Cue these 3 hints for keeping costs down when booking your villas on the Costa del Sol.

Consider a trip in autumn

While you might not have post-30 summer scorchers in September and October, the autumn months tend to stay balmy in this corner of Spain. It's also when fewer people are crowding the beaches and competing for the best deals on Costa del Sol villas, meaning you could save a bunch on your seaside pad by coming outside of the main season.

Travel away from the coast

Although the Costa del Sol is all about sun and sand, there are plenty of alluring villas peppering the hulking Sierra de las Nieves, the wooded Sierra de Grazalema and other ranges inland. They make for a truly secluded and romantic trip, but could also be cheaper on account of their distance from the beaches.

Book villas on the Costa del Sol as early as possible

Give yourself a whole year or more to look forward to your Spanish jaunt by booking early. It'll not only fuel your wanderlust but also could end up saving you loads on the cost of a villa, as the best-priced deals will usually be snapped up fast by other travellers.