Eastern Costa Del Sol: Guide for Prospective Expats

Costa del Sol Nerja

In this section of our Costa del Sol resort guide, we look at the east end of the coast.

This includes resorts located between Malaga city and the small town of Nerja, almost in the province of Granada.

The hilly area, with dozens of small white villages, is known as the Axarquía and is famous as the wine-growing region for sweet Malaga wine.

Resorts are listed in a west-east direction from Malaga.

Eastern Costa del Sol – general characteristics.

Scenery – the mountains lie much closer to the coastline making the landscape steeper and rockier. Several areas such as Nerja have dramatic cliffs and beaches tend to be smaller. Agriculture remains an important industry in this part of the Costa del Sol. Tropical fruits including mango and avocados are cultivated along much of the Axarquía coastline and grapes are grown for Malaga wine and raisins inland.

Weather – this end of the Costa del Sol has a drier and warmer climate than the rest of the coast. Winters are milder and it’s much less windy. Torrox is famed as having one of the best climates in the world.

Size – the eastern Costa del Sol has a much lower population and resorts tend to be smaller.

They attract fewer crowds in high season, although most are still packed to bursting point.

Expat population – far fewer foreign residents live on the eastern Costa del Sol compared to the west.

Cost of living – with the exception of Nerja, most resorts have a lower cost of living than those elsewhere.

Transport – a car is a must if you choose to live on this side of the coast. Public transport is by bus only and apart from a good service to Nerja and Vélez Málaga from Malaga city, limited.

Property prices – you can generally buy more for your money to the east of Malaga and certainly average prices sit well below those in Marbella and Estepona, for example.

Find out more about the Costa del Sol property market.

Expat amenities – the choice is limited and there are no international schools.

Golf courses – the eastern end of the Costa del Sol has very few golf courses and limited sporting facilities. Caleta de Vélez has a marina.

Rincón de la Victoria

Population (2016): 44,003

Foreign population (2016): 2,820; largest population group Italian

Distance to Malaga Airport: 31km

More information: tourism website

The first major resort you come across after leaving Malaga is Rincón de la Victoria and its satellite neighbourhood, La Cala del Moral. Both are practically suburbs of Malaga and attract mainly Spanish holidaymakers.

To cater for domestic demand, a lot of new construction took place before the property bust in 2008. Rincón has good amenities including a shopping centre and health services as well as excellent sandy beaches.

Torre del Mar

Population (2016): 78,890 (including Vélez-Málaga)

Foreign population (2016): 6,952; largest population group Moroccan

Distance to Malaga Airport: 50km

More information: tourism website

This small fishing village turned modern resort is officially part of Vélez Málaga, located inland to the north.

Torre del Mar with its high-rise blocks and excellent beach is very popular with Spanish holidaymakers in the summer. However, the resort also has a thriving expat community.

Vélez Málaga has a decadent air to it, although the town has recently opened two museums and restoration work is underway in the centre. Amenities are good and lie equidistant between Torre del Mar and Vélez Málaga, where you’ll find the hospital and shopping centre.

Torrox Costa

Population (2016): 15,098 (including Torrox Pueblo)

Foreign population (2016): 4,094; largest population group British

Distance to Malaga Airport: 64km

More information: tourism website

Torrox Costa and Torrox Pueblo (located slightly inland) are small resorts with mostly apartment and townhouse developments, popular with expat residents.

The beach is excellent and there’s a particularly fine seafront promenade. Amenities are limited and residents travel to nearby Vélez Málaga for most facilities.


Population (2016): 21,204

Foreign population (2016): 5,337; largest population group British

Distance to Malaga Airport: 80km

More information: tourism website

Nerja ranks as one of the most attractive resorts on the Costa del Sol. It’s also one of the few to keep its original charm, although development has been intense over the last decade.

Nerja Caves are world famous and one of the big Costa del Sol tourist attractions. Nerja is also home to some of the most unspoilt beaches on the Costa del Sol particularly those around the Maro cliffs to the east of the town.

Nerja is small and popular with holidaying families and expat retirees. Amenities are reasonable, although for some services you need to travel to Vélez Málaga.

All Costa del Sol population statistics from Junta de Andalucía data 2016.