Spain has long been a favourite holiday destination for British families. In my case even more so owing to a Sevillano husband and two English-Spanish children. Even before I met my husband, however, I held a soft spot for Spain and spent some time living in Tarifa, the nearest point to Africa. These days we have a family home on the Costa del Luz where we retreat to most summers and where the kids swim, play in the sunshine and generally soak up the laidback Andaluz lifestyle.
It’s because of my affection for Spain and its blend of cultures, its love of food and its fabulous weather that I was delighted to partner with Lifestyle Homes who have a range of properties in development along Spain’s Costa del Sol. These properties, offered in a variety of sizes and architectural styles, are perfectly positioned for families looking for a holiday home in the Spanish sun – or even a permanent move! There are a range of apartments on offer (with 1-, 2- and 3-bedrooms) and a variety of complexes. Some enjoy coastal views, others easy access to golf courses but they all have one thing in common; an excellent location.
I tend to divide the Costa del Sol in two; the stretch that runs between Malaga and Marbella, and the part between Marbella and Gibraltar. The former includes the towns of Torremolinos and Fuengirola and hasn’t always held the best reputation, owing in part to the coach loads of boozy Brits who descend annually. The latter stretch of coastline, however, is more refined and has number of beautiful beaches. What’s more, visit during the off-season and you may well be the only people swimming in the sea. You can do that because the weather is almost always warm.
It’s along this prettier stretch of coastline that Lifestyle Homes have developed their properties. The apartments are also near some of the region’s most cosmopolitan towns on the coast. Swanky Marbella is where enormous yachts fill the port and excellent restaurants line the town streets. The more traditional towns of Casares and Estepona have managed to maintain their pueblo charm despite the increasing number of visitors. And Sotogrande is the kind of place that you could happily call home, and many expat families do just this, owing in part to the excellent international school here.
In addition to the warm waters and golden beaches, this region of Spain is also famous for its pueblos blancos. Set back from the coast in the hilly sierra, these traditional whitewashed villages with red-tiled roofs and steep cobblestone streets are easily accessible from the Lifestyle Homes apartments.
Of these hinterland towns Ronda is probably the most famous (it’s also one of the most visited cities in Spain). It sits on an inland plateau, encircled by the Serrania de Ronda and is famed for its El Puente Nuevo (the new Bridge) that offers magical views over the El Tajo gorge.
Another favourite is Gaucín that is known for its views that extend over hills of olive trees to Gibraltar and Morocco. Its Castillo del Aguilla is arguably its main attraction – it was built by the Romans and played an important part in Spain’s military defence. But for artists and bohemians, it’s the town’s laidback vibe and eternally good weather that has led to Gaucín becoming something of a community for creatives.
And then there’s Ubrique, a sleepy pueblo blanco that sits in front of the crag of the Cruz de Tajo. Known for its high-quality leather products it is also a favourite with designers including Louis Vuitton.
The reality is that this corner of Spain, like so many parts of the country, has a lot to offer families. There are outdoor activities galore, a fascinating history and culture to discover, glorious weather and excellent food. It is also the only region in Spain that produces red, white, rosé and dessert wines. And sherry! It really is a wonderful place for families, and I can’t wait to get back there this summer.
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This post was written in partnership with Lifestyle Homes. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own.