As we explained in our last post, Spain is rich in culture, heritage and traditions. The Costa del Sol has a lot to offer on that front as well, but it can be easy for the average tourist to miss. So, we wanted to offer you five things to experience on your next holiday to the Costa del Sol so that you can really have the true Spanish experience, while still making the most of all the tourist attractions.

Eat Tapas – One of the best ways to explore a Spanish town is to “tapear” or explore the area by visiting its tapas restaurants. You can do this on your own, with a tour group, or as part of organised tapas events, where you can follow a set route with a booklet and a map to try out different tapas and find hidden corners. Marbella, Malaga and Estepona all have yearly tapas events, as do many other towns, so ask in your local tourist office. You can also check out this great website with articles about tapas in Marbella, Nerja, Antequera, Malaga, Torremolinos and Ronda to find out more.

Experience Flamenco – Andalucia is the birthplace of flamenco, with Jerez, Cadiz and Seville all hubs for this passionate art form. The unique sound, music, singing and of course dancing is central to ferias on the Costa del Sol, with people breaking into spontaneous song and dance at local bars, and hundreds dancing in traditional dress in large dance areas. There are also flamenco shows at hotels, restaurants and bars – some more traditional and authentic than others, but all amazing to watch. There are also many schools and teachers who can help you to learn flamenco so you can take part in the feria, which is a lovely skill to learn and really feel part of the celebration.

Stay up late – Summer on the Costa del Sol is hot and the hot weather effects how people live their lives, and so everything happens later and slower. Mornings are slow and lazy, 2pm calls for a long, leisurely lunch, followed by an afternoon siesta until around 5pm. Most Spanish families will go to the beach around 5pm or 6pm, leaving the beach around 8, heading home to shower and change before eating around 9 or 10pm. Drinks and partying happen from midnight onwards, with even kids’ activities organised for around 10pm. This may seem strange and take a little getting used to, but adjusting to the Spanish timetable will really help you to enjoy the area, as everything is done en masse and the atmosphere is wonderful.

Take a stroll – The tradition to “pasear” or stroll after lunch or dinner, is a great way to see the sights, work off a big meal and adjust to the relaxed pace of life. Stroll along the seafront promenade or around the old town after dinner, stopping to have an ice cream or a coffee, watch a dance performance or look at some market stalls or shops. Everything is open late and runs at a very slow pace, enjoy it and you’ll feel at one with the Spanish.

Party like a local – Try and time your trip to coincide with a local feria, it’s full of colour, music and life. Check with the local tourist office what is happening near you and what time things start and finish. There will often be a day feria from 1pm and a night feria from around 8pm – normally in a different part of town, so make sure you know where to go and when. When you’re there invest in a fan to stave off the heat, put a flower in your hair and sip a cold sherry, or a rebujito (sherry mixed with lemonade), listen to the music and enjoy the atmosphere.

We have a large range of quality holiday homes on the Costa del Sol, where you can experience all the excitement and local culture, as well as the convenience of a large international community, easy transport routes from the UK and Northern Europe and good facilities for tourists. Our helpful team can support you in choosing where to stay and what to do and you can download our free Costa del Sol holiday guide to help you make the most of this fantastic area.