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Author: Ruben van der Zaag
Gold

The ultimate guide to golf in the Costa del Sol

09 December 2022
16 min. read
Ruben van der Zaag
There is a good reason the Costa del Sol is often dubbed the "Costa del Golf". With over 70 great golf courses to choose from, a golf trip to the Costa del Sol will not disappoint.
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With 300 days of sunshine per year in the Costa del Sol, you don't have to worry much about your wardrobe. (Photo: La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort by James Hogg)

Planning a golf trip isn't easy. Most golfers start with the weather. But then there's budget, golf courses, flights, car rental, hotel, things to do off the course, food and so on. Fortunately, there is a place that ticks all of the boxes: the Costa del Sol. To help you plan your trip, we've created this Ultimate Guide to Golf in the Costa del Sol. It answers all the questions you might have (well, at least a whole lot of them) and we'll give you some inside tips as well.

Location of the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is a region in southern Spain in the province of Andalucia. It stretches from La Línea de la Concepción in the west (right next to Gibraltar) and Nerja in the east. The Costa del Sol has a coastline of well over 150 kilometres. 

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A map of the Costa del Sol, stretching from La Línea de la Concepción (bottom left) to Nerja (top right).

Back in the days, before the Costa del Sol existed, the region consisted of just a number of small fisherman's towns. But in the 1920's - when Real Club de Campo (Today Parador de Golf de Málaga) was the first golf course that opened - the Costa del Sol became a real tourist destination. The Costa del Sol is situated between the lesser-known coastal regions of the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical.

Climate in the Costa del Sol

Most golfers want to play golf in a country or region where they have some assurance that the sun will shine during their trip, and we can't blame them. Golf is so much nicer in shorts and polos than in rain gear. 

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A golfer at La Cala Golf Resort enjoying the nice weather. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

Fortunately the Costa del Sol - translated as the "Sun Coast" - boasts more than 320 days of sun each year and an average temperature of 18 degrees. That means you won't even need warm clothing in wintertime as long as you stay near the coast. If you're planning to travel inland and visit some of the beautiful mountain villages, bring a jumper just in case.

Getting to the Costa del Sol

By plane

Getting to the Costa del Sol is easy. Málaga-Costa del Sol airport is the official airport for the Costa del Sol. It's located only 8 kilometres from the city centre and is perfectly connected to the whole of the Costa del Sol. There are many international flights to the airport, the most coming from London-Gatwick, followed by Manchester. Dublin, Amsterdam, Brussels and Copenhagen are also popular destinations to fly to the Costa del Sol from. In 2021 Málaga-Costa del Sol airport welcomed almost 9 million passengers.

At the airport are many options for car rental by all the well-known suppliers. It's even possible to rent cars or vans with a driver. 

By car (or train)

The excellent road network in the Costa del Sol road connects golfers with other cities throughout Andalusia via motorways and toll roads. Due to its location in the south of Spain it has to be said that getting to the Costa del Sol by car does mean a bit of a road trip. Unless you're coming from the nearby Portuguese Algarve (4,5 hours) it will take you at least 11,5 hours (from Perpignan in southern France) to get to the Costa del Sol.

Getting to the Costa del Sol by bus is also very easy, as Málaga Bus Station provides connections to practically all areas of Spain and all the towns and villages within the province.

By Boat

The Port of Málaga is located to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, on the coasts of the southern Mediterranean, sheltered by a natural bay. The Costa del Sol's capital is a destination for luxury cruises with Mediterranean routes. The Port of Málaga also provides direct connections with North Africa, with daily ferries to Melilla, which is an autonomous city of Spain located in North Africa.

Golf Courses in the Costa del Sol

Right, now we're getting to the good stuff. The Costa del Sol is very proud of having the greatest concentration of golf courses in Europe, and rightly so. With more than 70 golf courses spread out along the coastline, it's a true golfers' paradise. The good thing is that there is a golf course for everyone in the Costa del Sol. Whether you're looking for a high-end course or something a bit more accessible, no doubt you will find it here.

This would become an extremely long blog post if we were to write about all golf courses in the Costa del Sol, but we have made some selections that might help you plan your next golf trip.

The 3 Best Golf Courses in the Costa del Sol

Some of the world's best golf courses are located in the Costa del Sol. Most of these courses are close to Sotogrande in the southeast of the region. View the top-10 golf courses in Andalusia (where the Costa del Sol is located).

1. Real Club Valderrama

Valderrama is considered one of the best-maintained courses in the World and has been regularly included among the Top 100 courses in the World since 1989. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1974 and has hosted many professional events, including the 1997 Ryder Cup. Quality does come at a price here as green fees for visitors (if you can get one)are € 450. Put that one on your bucket list.

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9.3
125 Reviews
Real Club Valderrama
Spain, Andalusiafrom €450
2 golf courses18 holes

2. Finca Cortesin Golf Club

Finca Cortesin is the official venue for the 2023 Solheim Cup and is considered one of Spain’s best golf courses and absolutely Spain's Best Golf Resort. As you would expect of a resort featuring one of the world’s top 50 hotels, delivering outstanding customer service is at the heart of the Finca Cortesin experience.

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9.2
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9.2
214 Reviews
Finca Cortesín Golf Club
Spain, Andalusiafrom €320
1 golf course18 holes

3. La Reserva Club Sotogrande

Located less than five kilometres from Valderrama, La Reserva Club Sotogrande is another must-play for any golfer visiting the Costa del Sol. The course was designed in 2003 by American architect Cabell B. Robinson and has wide fairways that lead onto large greens with gentle but challenging undulation.

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9.0
111 Reviews
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outstanding
9.0
111 Reviews
La Reserva Club Sotogrande
Spain, Andalusiafrom €260
1 golf course18 holes

The 3 Best Golf Resorts in the Costa del Sol

We know that there are a lot of golf courses on offer in the Costa del Sol, but sometimes you might just want to stay in one place and take it easy. That's when these golf resorts come in handy. They all have 36 holes or more, so you don't even have to leave the premisis if you don't want to.

1. Villa Padierna Golf Club

Villa Padierna golf club features three 18-hole golf courses, Flamingos Golf, Alferini Golf and Tramores Golf. You'll also find the Tramores Golf Academy (led by 2005 US Open Champion Michael Campbell) and practice facilities. 

The beautiful Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Resort features 125 rooms, suites and villas.

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8.3
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Villa Padierna Golf Club
Spain, Andalusiafrom €114
3 golf courses54 holes

2. La Cala Resort

La Cala Resort is very popular amongst golfers. With three 18-hole courses (America, Asia and Europa), a 107-room four-star hotel, Spain’s leading Hydrotherapy Health Spa, four restaurants and multiple bars, La Cala truly is a golfing mecca in the heart of the Costa del Sol.

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8.1
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8.1
442 Reviews
La Cala Resort
Spain, Andalusiafrom €58
4 golf courses54 holes

3. San Roque Club

Located between Jerez and Marbella, almost at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, San Roque Club is one of the best Golf & Country Clubs in Europe. San Roque first opened its doors in 1991 with the opening of the Old Course. In 2003, another 18 holes course was opened and so the New Course was born. Currently, there is one luxurious villa you can stay in, but four more are constructed in the next two years.

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2 golf courses36 holes

The 3 Best Value for Money courses in the Costa del Sol

Playing the best courses in a country or region usually means having to pay a lot for that quality as well. Even though the Costa del Sol isn't the cheapest region to play golf in due to its popularity, it's good to know that there are many courses with great price-quality. Below are the three courses with the highest rating for "Value for Money" by reviewers on Leading Courses.

1. Benalmádena Golf

Benalmadena Golf, designed by Marco Martin & Blake Stirling, is a great 9 hole Pitch & Putt par-27. It's ideal for beginners, but also for experienced golfers to improve their short game. "Fantastic 9 hole Par3 course, really useful to test the delicate short game, plenty of hazards to keep you on your toes", as one of the reviewers says.

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7.6
37 Reviews
7.6
37 Reviews
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Spain, Andalusiafrom €18
1 golf course

2. Miguel Ángel Jiménez Golf Academy

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Golf Academy is a golf academy with its own style, with the philosophy of one of the most important players in the world of golf, Miguel Ángel Jiménez. "Very funny and enjoyable, challenging par 3 perfect to improve the short game and to spend a good day with the children."

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8.3
20 Reviews
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Golf Academy
Spain, Andalusiafrom €30
1 golf course

3. Calanova Golf Club

Calanova Golf Club is situated in the beautiful golf valley behind La Cala de Mijas at Costa del Sol - only 5 minutes from the Sea. The course is easy accessible and the golf buggy is always included in the green fee. "I find myself returning to this course over and over again. It has such a lovely layout and beautiful views all around."

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8.2
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recommended
8.2
654 Reviews
Calanova Golf Club
Spain, Andalusiafrom €69
1 golf course18 holes

Where to stay in the Costa del Sol

Whether it's a hotel, campsite, rural house, hostel or parador, there is no shortage of great places to stay in the Costa del Sol. Below is a selection of places to stay in the Costa del Sol suited for golfers. We've focussed on areas with the most golf courses nearby.

Golf accommodation in Sotogrande

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The Lobby of the SO/ Sotogrande hotel. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

SO/ Sotogrande

Located on the outskirts of Sotogrande right next to Almenara Golf Club and around the corner from San Roque Golf Club, La Reserva Sotogrande, Valderrama and many more, SO/ Sotogrande offers stylish rooms and luxurious suites. With outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness facilities alongside landscaped gardens, beaches, polo and golf opportunities galore, there is no end to the amount of fun and pampering to experience. Although, with four restaurants and bars offering some of the finest cuisine in the region, you may never feel the need to leave the resort.

Golf accommodation in Estepona

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One of the luxurious suites of the Kempinski Hotel Bahía Beach Resort & Spa. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

Kempinski Hotel Bahía Beach Resort & Spa

Kempinski Hotel Bahía Beach Resort & Spa is located in the charming fishing town of Estepona. It offers amazing views over the Mediterranean and features numerous exclusive guestrooms and suites. The hotel also offers a selection of restaurants where you can savour the best Andalusian dishes. Relax in the spa or in the three outdoor pools. An impressive hotel that will indulge you in total luxury.

Golf accommodation in Marbella

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Andalusian vibes at the Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Resort. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Resort

Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Resort is a tremendous five-star luxury hotel located in a quiet and picturesque setting between Marbella, Benahavís and Estepona, just a few minutes from Puerto Banús. Surrounded by three golf courses and a calm lake, it guarantees a unique experience of serenity and disconnection.

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Hotel Claude is a lovely boutique hotel in the centre of Marbella. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

Hotel Claude

If you're looking for something a bit more central in Marbella, Hotel Claude Marbella is the best boutique hotel in town. The tones of colour and light that define the Costa del Sol come together here to create elegant and sophisticated spaces that you can enjoy with your loved one, family or friends. 

Golf accommodation in Mijas

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Surrounded by 3 golf courses, La Cala Resort is heaven for golfers. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

La Cala Resort

The enchanting beauty of the rolling Spanish countryside, the warm Mediterranean sun on your skin and the scent of wild mountain flowers. The La Cala Resort sure is a place to remember. It has a breathtaking view of the stunning Andalusian countryside and feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the coast, yet it's just 20 minutes from Marbella and only 30 minutes from Malaga airport.

Golf accommodation in Malaga

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Gran Hotel Miramar sure is "grand", but also located in the centre of the city. (Photo: Turismo y Planificación Costa del Sol)

Gran Hotel Miramar 5*

Live the very finest of the Costa del Sol at Gran Hotel Miramar Málaga, a luxury hotel whose superb location guarantees an unforgettable holiday with the best restaurants, museums, beaches and shops on its doorstep. Its 190 unique guestrooms have been designed down to the last detail to make you feel extremely pampered.

What to do in the Costa del Sol

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Ronda should definitely be on your list of places to visit in the Costa del Sol. (Photo by Chris Unger on Unsplash)

When you're not on the golf course, there are many other activities and attractions in the Costa del Sol. Some popular things to do include visiting the many beaches, exploring the historic city of Málaga, visiting the Picasso Museum, hiking in the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, and tasting the local cuisine.

Some of the most popular and picturesque villages in the area include Mijas, Ronda, Frigiliana, and Moclinejo. Mijas is a traditional white-washed village with narrow streets and stunning views of the Mediterranean. Ronda is known for its dramatic setting and historic sights, such as the Puente Nuevo bridge and the Plaza de Toros bullring. Frigiliana is a pretty village with a rich history and colourful streets, while Moclinejo is a charming rural village with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. 

What to eat in the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol offers a variety of delicious seafood and other local dishes. Tapas are very popular but there are many other popular foods to try in the Costa del Sol.

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Loads of nice food to choose from in the Costa del Sol. (Photo by Sandra Wei on Unsplash)
  • Gazpacho: The famous cold tomato soup which is typically served as a starter
  • Pulpo a la gallega: octopus cooked in a traditional Galician style, often served with boiled potatoes
  • Boquerones: fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar and served as a tapa
  • Tortilla española: a Spanish omelette made with potatoes and onions
  • Paella: a famous Spanish dish made with rice, vegetables, and seafood or meat

In addition to these dishes, the Costa del Sol is also known for its fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as its olive oils and wines. So be sure to try some of the local produce and enjoy a glass of wine with your meal.

What budget for a trip to the Costa del Sol

How much a golf trip to the Costa del Sol will set you back of course depends on many factors. Starting with which time of year you plan your visit. High season in the Costa del Sol is from February-May and October-November. During that time of the year green fee prices, hotel rooms and flights all rise to their peak. But in the remaining months you can get a much better bargain.

Another factor is whether you're looking to play the top courses like Valderrama, Finca Cortesin and La Zagaleta or if you settle for courses that are less famous - but still very well worth it.

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Being well-prepared can save you money. (Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash)

If you're a bit more on a budget, there are several ways to save money on a golf trip to the Costa del Sol. Some tips:

  1. Plan your trip during the off-season: The peak tourist season - so not specifically golf tourists - in the Costa del Sol is typically from June to August, when the weather is warmest and the most popular attractions are open. If you plan your trip outside of this time period, you may be able to find better deals on green fees, flights, hotels, and activities.
  2. Book your flights and accommodations in advance: If you know when and where you want to go, booking your flights and accommodations in advance can help you save money. Many airlines and hotels offer discounts for early bookings, so it can be helpful to plan ahead.
  3. Look for package deals: Some travel companies offer package deals that include flights, accommodations, and activities at a discounted price. These packages can be a good option if you want to save money and have everything planned out in advance.
  4. Consider alternative accommodations: Instead of staying at a traditional hotel, you could consider staying at an Airbnb or a hostel, which can be less expensive. You could also consider staying in a smaller town or village outside of the major tourist areas, which may offer more affordable options.
  5. Avoid tourist traps: The Costa del Sol is a popular tourist destination, and many businesses in the area cater to tourists. To save money, try to avoid tourist traps and look for local restaurants, shops, and activities that offer more authentic and affordable experiences.

Overall, the key to saving money on a trip to the Costa del Sol is to plan ahead, compare prices, and be open to alternative options. By doing your research and being flexible, you can find ways to save money without sacrificing the quality of your trip.

Why you should visit the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is a popular destination for golfers due to its beautiful weather and abundance of high-quality golf courses. The region has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, sunny summers, making it a great destination for golfers year-round.

Add a wide range of other attractions and activities, such as the beaches, historic towns, and delicious local cuisine, and you've got an attractive destination for golfers and non-golfers alike.

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