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Has anyone been a snowbird (January-March) at Costa del Sol?

We're interested in spending a winter somewhere along this area of Spain. I would appreciate any feedback related to long-term visits,30 days or more, during this time of year. I've been reviewing climate history focusing on the Marbella region, any input on rainfall would be appreciated. Additionally, are these beach towns dead zones during that season or are restaurants etc. open for business? We are folks that enjoy the beach on any sunny day above 60 degrees I am quite surprised that the majority of condos in the area close their outdoor pools in early autumn until May. Thanks, any other geographical locations with this type of vibe you can suggest would be appreciated. The coast of Turkey west of Bodrum, or Crete? We're in the wine phase of discussions for 2023 travel,(pour a glass and bounce ideas).

Posted by
3607 posts

There are many communities of mostly British retirees along the coast, but otherwise it is quite the dead zone in winter... does not compare with Florida!
Nighttime temperatures do dip in the single digits (Celsius), and the pools aren't typically heated, hence closed. Rain is not the issue, it's just... not that warm.
Staying in Spain, the Canary Islands (Tenerife or Gran Canaria if you want somewhere busy and not too windy) would be a FAR better bet.

Posted by
2505 posts

Agree with Balso, this time of year most northern Europeans go even further south, to the Spanish Canary Islands or the Portuguese Islands like Madeira or Azores .

Posted by
698 posts

I concur with the above posts. The Canary Islands is where most Europeans tend to seek sunshine at that time of year. Teneriffe, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote are the biggest islands and the most popular in that order.
We were on the Costa Del Sol in March of 2019. It wasn't really warm enough to be sunbathing on the beach. In comparison, It was about as warm as the Northwest coast of Florida (Pensacola/Panama Beach area) - which as you know can be iffy for an early Springbreak trip.
If you do decide on mainland Spain, just watch out for the towns that tend to have a high population of ex-pats (Nothing against the British as I am one myself living in the US) but some of the towns are worn down by over development of condos and the Spanish Charm has been replaced. Just research carefully. Torremolinos is one place I would avoid.
Having said this, I love Spain in March for wandering its southern villages and cities.


Posted by
4580 posts

I've travelled to the Costa Del Sol on a number of occasions during the winter months. Temperatures average in the mid teens (celsius) during the day and drop at night. It's typically sunny and in the sunshine it's usually warm enough for shorts and T-shirts (for those of us used to northerly climes) however it can get windy along the coast.

The towns along the coast are primarily geared towards tourism so a lot of places close for the winter however places are still open for locals and ex-pats although choice is limited and the bars and restaurants catering for the British ex-pat brigade tend to be places worth avoiding unless cheap beer and all-day breakfasts are your thing.

As for outdoor pools, most are unheated and during the winter many will be closed due to a lack of users and the financial cost of employing a lifeguard at applicable pools.

If you want to explore the area it's worth noting that the elevation rises not far from the coast and temperatures drop rapidly, you can easily find yourself in single digits within 30 minutes drive from the coast, there's even a ski and winter resort in the Sierra Nevada national park.

Posted by
5467 posts

I have given up with mainland Europe at this time and I head to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands where the weather is more reliable. I stay in Lajares, in the north of the island. It’s a quieter island than Tenerife or Gran Canaria.

The Azores and Madeira are much further north and therefore cooler and much wetter. Turkey and Crete can still be cooler. Cyprus is generally warmer - Paphos is a good base.

I have had very mixed weather experiences around Cadiz/Jerez in Spain. The warmer days are very pleasant, but there will also be some cool, wet days.

Posted by
26 posts

Hi was just in Malaga over the weekend weather was great sunny and mid 60s during the day walked on the beach sat at beach side restaurant had lunch and drinks the pool at our hotel was open didn’t use it but the weather was great lots of people out enjoying the sun on the beach was a great way to end our two week Andalusian vacation

Posted by
20797 posts

The Wikipedia entries for many cities have climate-summary charts with rainfall data. Here's the entry for Marbella: I compared Marbella's temperatures to those in Palermo, Sicily, and Marbella's are higher.

Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is much warmer, on average. The island is drop-dead gorgeous.

Fuenteventura in the Canary Islands is somewhat warmer. Its major advantage seems to be that it gets very, very little rain year-round.

A location on an island is somewhat limiting for such a long visit, however.

Posted by
27426 posts

If you are going for the full three months (I know Feb is short but Jan and Mar are long) be careful of the 90 day Schengen limits...

Posted by
2 posts

We've been here in Costa del Sol since Nov 30, it's been great. The weather has been good overall with daytime highs in the 60's to as high as 70. Overnight we've seen the mid 40's, but usually it's been mid fifties. We've had one 4 day period of rain and two episodes of wind 20-30 MPH for several days in a row. The silver lining is the tourist numbers are way down. Even the Alhambra was not nearly as busy as usual. If you are seriously thinking about Costa del Sol I would say, go for it. Stores are fully stocked, rents are affordable, the wine is a bargain, the weather's tolerable and tourist numbers are off by a good amount. What's not to love?

Incidently, we need to make a move at the end of February and Fethiye, Turkey is under heavy consideration. I think we're vibing. LOL

Posted by
14773 posts

Tel Aviv is warmer than the Costa del Sol and our outdoor swimming pools close from Nov to at least mid-April . . . . except for one which takes its water from the Mediterranean and only brave hearts swim there in those months. Even when it's in the low 70s during the day (and if it's below 60 we consider it to be COLD), the water would never warm up enough.