Spain’s Costa del Sol (“sun coast”) is an overlooked, yet perfectly viable, option if you’re considering a Mediterranean yachting vacation. Southern Spain borders the sea, and the warm Mediterranean sun encourages the timeless Andalusian culture to mingle with vibrant, modern life in the various ports. This combination sleek-and-salty atmosphere is a fun place to explore from the decks of a private yacht.
Your point of entry will most likely be Málaga, which is the nearest city with a major airport and the capital of the Costa del Sol. But don’t be in a rush to get out of town! Stick around and check out this Andalusian metropole. The Picasso Museum is a must, and since you’re in Málaga you might as well see his family home too (on Plaza de la Merced).
Let Picasso’s innate creativity be an inspiration as you shop for souvenirs on the main thoroughfare (Calle Marqués de Larios) and experiment with local specialties such as fritura malquena (mixed fried seafood). The town Cathedral is also a beautiful cultural reference point visitors should see.
This is the spot on the Costa del Sol as far as some international bigwigs are concerned. You’ll find five star hotels lining the beach and a continuous string of tables that form a wonderfully communal open-air restaurant during summer months. This is typical of the effusive way that Spaniards like to live and eat. Though you’ll have a personal chef on board the yacht, you’ll love the proximity you have to real Spanish life once you step off the dock.
Walk the Plaza de los Naranjos, lined with the requisite orange trees, and let yourself relax as citrus and sea salt flood your senses. Though Marbella has a marina, Puerto Banús just west of town is the place to see and be seen. Have your captain take you there for the celebrity sightings, lush palm trees, and glistening white architecture.