Set on the southern end of Spain in the province of Malaga (with Marbella as its captal), the Costa Del Sol (as the name implies) is a sun-drenched coast that has a lot to offer. Here are our ten favorite things to do when visiting this amazing region:
1. Hit the Beach
The Costa Del Sol beaches have been awarded the coveted “Blue Flag” status. This is the gold standard for being pristine, so wherever you go you’ll always be close to a world-class beach.
The climate also sports the longest beach season in Iberian Spain, with consistent warmth from as early as April through the end of October. Even the winter season offers many days of sunshine and mild temperatures. Our favorite beach can be found at the ever popular Torremolinos resort area.
2. Hit the Links
With more than 70 courses, (more courses per square mile than anywhere else on the mainland) some have begun calling the area the “Costa del Golf”. Most courses are seaside and come with spectacular views of the aquamarine Mediterranean waters.
3. Soak in some Culture
The city of Malaga (birthplace of Picasso), features the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortified palace with outer ramparts that protect a peaceful interior. You’ll find museums dedicated to Automobiles, fashion and, of course, Favorite son Pablo Picasso.
4. The Magic of Ronda
A perfect day trip from the coat, this inland city offers postcard-like views from its 18th-century bridge crossing the El Tajo gorge. Stroll through “La Cuidad” to visit medieval churches, sample some Gazpacho (the city claims that it was invented here0 and step into the oldest continuously used arena (generally for bull fights) in all of Spain.
5. Sample the Local Wines
Around Ronda, in the microclimate influenced by the increased altitude, you’ll find 17 different wineries that you can visit. Sampling these unique Andalusian wines is an unforgettable experience as they come with a variety of tapas. Try some of the jamón ibérico and manchego cheese with a glass of Crianza , or some chipirones (charred baby squid) with some Blanca Joven white.
6. Munch on Espetos
This most iconic of Andalusian seafood snacks can be found all along the beaches at “chiringuitos”, special seafood bars where skewered sardines are grilled over wood fires. Sprinkle yours with some fresh lemon juice and wash it down with a local white wine served chilled.
7. Shop at the Atarazanas Market
The stained glass window over the entrance is an ic0nic sight at the entrance to this iron and glass building which is a food market that feels like a cathedral. Rather than a tourist trap this fresh and prepared food market makes up part of the daily shopping habits of the residents of Malaga. And if spotting all the delights offered gets you feeling puckish, there are places right outside that offer local beers and delicious tapas.
8. Explore the Cueva de Nerja
Discovered in 1959, the locals who first explored these caverns were stunned to find skeletons and ceramics dating back to the Bronze age. An exploration will expose you to majestic stalactites and stalagmites as well as prehistoric cave paintings. When you step out you get treated to breathtaking views of the coast.
9. Hike El Torcal Natural Park
This otherworldly park is less visited than many of the other coastal spots. There are three different trails including one that takes over three hours to hike. You’ll spot stone columns, magical-looking spires, deep valleys, and limestone terraces. See if you can spot some of the native wild Ibexes who seem to defy gravity as they scale the sheer walls.
10. Relax in the Jardín Botánico Molino de Inca
Located in the western part of Torremolinos, this bucolic garden sits at the source of deep natural springs that feed fountains and rivers. Under Moorish rule, the flowing water was used to power flour mills and these have been restored so that one can see the process once again.