Until a few years ago Málaga was a town on the North-East side of Picasso Airport. The majority of tourists would not visit it due to lack of information and infrastructure but all that has now changed.
Málaga today is one of the best cities in the world to live in and visit, it is by right the capital of the Costa del Sol.
Thanks to massive investments by private enterprise, local authorities and regional government, Málaga enjoys an infrastructure second to none. The high speed train takes thousands of daily passengers to and from Madrid in less than three hours, dozens of cruise ships are dropping anchor in the harbour every month and many companies are planning to make Málaga their permanent base.
The Picasso Museum has received an average of one million visitors per year since 2003 and the CAC Museum of Contemporary Art is at the cutting edge of Europe’s modern art.
It is not unusual to walk into the pedestrian city centre and see hundreds of recently landed tourists mixing with hundreds of young international students, who choose Málaga to study anything from languages to law, giving the city an exciting and vibrant atmosphere.
All this coupled with it’s near perfect climate, beautiful beaches, great eating places ( traditional, modern and ethnic), superb theatres and of course the many festivals (from religious to jazz to film and book) guarantees that whichever month one decides to visit Málaga there will always be something exciting happening.
A quarter of a million Northern Europeans cannot be wrong.
This is a conservative estimate of how many Europeans have chosen to live on the Costa del Sol. To this number we must add those that own a second residence and so spend long periods of time here.
Then there are the tourists, millions of them, in lesser or greater quantities depending on the time of the year.
Over fifty golf courses,each one more beautiful than the other, fantastic skiing facilities in the Sierra Nevada, children’s attractions from water parks to wild life parks, dozens of exciting shopping centres and of course hundreds of miles of beaches and a great night life. This is the Costa del Sol.
With over 300 days of sunshine, its mild winters, reasonable cost of living and two and a half hour flight to most European capitals, the Costa del Sol comes up as the preferred place to be - according to every market research carried out in Northern Europe.Yes, we also have the same social problems that are found in Amsterdam, Manchester or Milan but the big difference on the Costa del Sol is that THE SUN IS SHINING.
Travelling south from Málaga airport to Torremolinos on the N340 you will find a sign for the C344 to Churriana, simply follow that road and within few minutes you will be in Alhaurín de la Torre.
Twenty years ago the population was no more than 8.000 and very few visitors bothered to stop on their way to Alhaurín el Grande and Coín.
Taking advantage of its proximity to Málaga the town has grown to a population of over 30.000 people.
With good management and taste, the local authorities have ensured that the enormous growth has happened in an orderly fashion and with respect to the environment.Large tree lined avenues, lots of fountains and facilities for bicycles and pedestrians as well as good schools and sport facilities have made this town a favourite with young middle class Spanish families, who commute to the provincial capital for work and enjoy a superb quality of life in their free time.
Nestling on the north side of Sierra de Mijas 27km from Málaga and 20km to the airport and the Costa del Sol beaches Alhaurín el Grande has fought hard over the last twenty years to maintain its culture and traditions and at the same time improving its infrastructure.
This vibrant town boasts two golf courses within 4km of the town centre, good social and health facilities and it is attracting a large number of Northern Europeans who prefer to live away from the hustle and bustle of the Costa del Sol towns.Alhaurín el Grande’s main industries are construction (and it’s ancillary services) and agriculture, so it is not unusual to see a large part of its 23.000 population heading for the building sites on the coast early in the morning. Even so the town with its many restaurants and bars comes alive in the early evening until the small hours of the morning.
Only 8km from Alhaurín el Grande, Coín is in the heart of the Guadalhorce Valley and has for years been at the centre of the agricultural industry in the area.
Land Registery, Courts of Justice and many other regional administration offices ensure a continuous daily flow of visitors to the town which is famous for its two ferias and an amazing New Year’s Eve street party.In recent years a large number of Northern Europeans have made Coín their place of residence prompting the local council to appoint a special councillor to help them to integrate into the local community.
With a population of just over 3.000 Monda together with Guaro represent the typical white villages of Andalucía.Since the 1960’s the people of Monda have found work in the Costa del Sol’s hotel and catering industry, this being due to it’s proximity to Marbella only 15 minutes drive away.
Only 3km from Monda and with a population of 2.000 Guaro has one of the most forward looking and visionary mayors in the whole province.
Sport facilities, a concert hall (under construction), a residential home for the elderly, a thriving agricultural cooperative and the now world famous Luna Mora festival (in September) are just a few of the projects and innovations carried out by this young enthusiastic man and his team.Despite all the changes Guaro still reminds a typical tranquil and sleepy Andalucian white village much loved by everyone.
Seven kilometres from the coast nestling comfortably in the mountain side at 430 metres above sea level, enjoying spectacular views over the Mediterranean and Moroccan coast and a population of just over 8.000 people, Mijas is without a doubt the prettiest of Andalucian villages.
The actual jurisdiction of Mijas spans from Fuengirola to Marbella therefore the total population is actually more than hundred thousand many of whom are foreign residents. For this reason the council boasts an efficient department helping with the many needs of those who do not speak Spanish.Mijas pueblo has proved such a tourist destination over the years that an annual international festival held in June attracts tens of thousands of people to it representing every nationality of the world.
Strategically positioned by the Guadalhorce River, Cártama was a very important Roman town for many centuries and when the empire declined so did Cártama.
In recent years the building of the technological park in Campanillas and it’s proximity to Málaga (only 10km away) have revived Cártama’s fortunes. With a new provincial hospital projected to open in 2015 as well as a specialised industrial park for agricultural products, the economic future of Cártama is assured.
Most foreign residents living in the Cártama area do so in small fincas dotted around the town. Any services which are not available locally are just a few minutes drive away in Coín, Alhaurín el Grande or Málaga.A few years ago an international school was opened in the Cártama area called Sunland, its high standards have quickly established it as the school of preference for middle class foreigners.