Costa del Sol in July
First off, it’s worth stating the obvious: that the Costa del Sol in July is an amazing place to be. Whether as a tourist or a resident, you’ll experience consistent daytime temperatures of over 30°C and long evenings to barbecue, socialise or relax on your balcony to your heart’s content.
In addition to the famed quality of life – which I could go on about but won’t for the sake of staying on topic – there is also a lot happening in Andalucía this month, which you may or may not be aware of.
In this post I talk about just a few of the stand-out goings-on, from a cool cave festival to Kool & The Gang and from ferias to flamenco competitions. So, here goes…
Music and the arts
When you talk about the arts, Málaga always has something to offer without fail. Whether it be a special exhibition at one of its various museums, a dance workshop, a music concert or a new theatrical performance, there always seems to be something going on in Pablo Picasso’s city of birth.
Cine abierto 2019
It comes as no surprise, then, that the open-air cinema festival, cine abierto, has returned in 2019. Many districts in the city centre get the green light to put up a big screen and show films over the summer (the dates this year being from 24th June until 14th August), which normally start at around 10pm.
Although not the first film festival in the provincial capital this year, this cinematic offering is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the combination of cinema and a great open-air atmosphere… something you almost certainly couldn’t do back in your home country because of the weather, too!
Modern & Contemporary Art Show
If visual arts are more your thing, you might want to catch the Modern & Contemporary Art Show1 from 30th July until 3rd August at Marbella’s Convention Centre.
Also in Marbella is the Starlite music festival2, which comes to life this month and has a jam-packed schedule full to the brim with the world’s most influential artists from both the past and the present day.
Names like Kool & The Gang (16/07), Jamie Cullum (19/07), Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson (20/07), Sting (23/07), John Legend (24/07), Diana Krall (25/07) and Spanish pop stars Melendi (30/07) and Pablo López (31/07) will all be gracing the Costa del Sol in July to perform on Starlite’s glitzy stage.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Nerja International Music and Dance Festival3, which takes place on stages inside the Nerja Caves and, this year for the first time, outside the caves in the surrounding gardens.
The cave concerts started this year on 29th June and the festival goes through until 3rd August, with special concerts promised from the likes of Spanish singer-songwriter Ana Belén and famous fiddler Ara Malikian.
I must say I’ve never been to a summer concert there, but given how breath-taking and awe-inspiring the caves are on just a normal visit it is certainly on my bucket list for things to do on the Costa del Sol in July.
Sports fans spoilt for choice
In the world of sports alone, July has provided some great entertainment. From the engrossing tennis at Wimbledon (come on, Roger!) to the Women’s Football World Cup (which will probably be officially changed to something like the “Soccer Superbowl” if the USA continue winning it), it’s been great for a sports fan like myself.
Then there’s the ICC Cricket World Cup, which sees England take on New Zealand in this Sunday’s final. Golf’s The Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland is just around the corner from 18th to 21st July, while cycling’s Tour de France – or “watching paint dry”, as I prefer to think of it – comes to a sprint finish on 28th July.
As if all of this weren’t enough, there are also lesser-known tournaments and more niche events going on at the moment.
The Island Games 2019 are being held in Gibraltar this week and the last of the finals in the 12 participating sports are being disputed today. At this point, I must give a shout out to the Gibraltar squash team, some of whom I have been training with for the last year or so and who have put in a great effort to prepare for the competition… brilliant work, guys!
Santa María Polo Club
Not far away from the rock – around a 15-minute drive, in fact – lies Sotogrande, home to Spain’s leading and most prestigious polo club, Santa María4.
Polo enthusiasts gravitate towards the Costa del Sol in July and August to sip champagne and enjoy the finest matches in picturesque Sotogrande, which is hosting two big tournaments in the near future.
The Polo Women’s Tour starts today, in fact, and runs until this Sunday 14th July, while the 48th International Polo Tournament is a mammoth, month-long competition starting on Wednesday 24th July and not finishing until 31st August.
Like I said, if this is your sport of choice, you have pretty much wall-to-wall polo for the next month and a half, so get yourself down to Sotogrande! For the uninitiated, it’s a very good day out and not nearly as stuffy as you might think.
If you think Spanish culture is all about tomato-chucking, burning giant papier-mâché figures, huge paella parties and trying not to get gored by bulls, you would only be partially right.
There are many Spanish traditions – some religious, some not – that are upheld to this today and have remained unchanged for centuries. While I understand that the grandeur and ritual of certain processions and observations does make some people feel uneasy, I personally admire the dedication and community spirit that accompanies their celebration.
They are the highlight of the year for the locals and everyone, old and young, pulls together to make them go off without a hitch.
One example of such a celebration is the Fiestas del Carmen in Los Boliches. Our Lady of Carmel is the patron saint of the fishing village now annexed to Fuengirola, which of course gets very busy on the Costa del Sol in July, and the very unique observance to the saint on 16th July every year is witnessed by thousands of intrigued onlookers.
For more about this celebration, check out the blog I wrote on it this time last year.
La Cala de Mijas town party
If you’re looking for something a little more chilled out, head to the Feria de La Cala de Mijas (La Cala’s annual summer party) between 24th and 28th July.
In true Spanish style, there will be no shortage of food, drink, music and fireworks, while other activities include comedy sets, a horse parade, a fancy dress contest, a flamenco dance-off and (bizarrely) a fishing competition.
Talking of Andalusian ferias, the mother of all summer parties gets underway on Thursday 15th August in the shape of the Feria de Málaga. Undoubtedly the biggest and arguably the best municipal party on the Costa del Sol, you should definitely get down there if you’re anywhere near Málaga in mid-August!
If you're on the Costa del Sol in July, or what's left of it, do you think you'll go to any of these places? Which plan most peaks your interest? As always, leave me a message in the comments below!