Spain’s Sun-Kissed Costa del Sol
The sun-soaked Costa del Sol certainly lives up its name. This literal “Sun Coast” stretches over 300 kilometres along the south coast of Spain from Nerja to Estepona, skimming Gibraltar and ending just a stone’s throw from Africa. Whether for a longer stay or a whirlwind day trip, this area offers a range of relaxing, active, and cultural options to fit every backpacker’s personal taste. In this article, we take you through some of the best attractions on and around the coast.
Where to Visit on the Costa del Sol
Marbella is famous for being a holiday haunt of the rich and famous. Indeed, you might just catch a glimpse of a holidaying star on a visit to the magnificent marina Puerto Banús. However, Marbella offers so much more than star-studded retreats and a host of buzzing nightclubs.
The cultural highlights of Marbella include the Avenida del Mar. Culture vultures won’t want to miss the statues which line this road connecting the city centre to the coast – they were made by none other than Salvador Dalí.
The Parque de la Alameda is another gorgeous, sun-kissed spot in the centre of Marbella.
Torremolinos and Benalmádena
For those looking to disconnect completely from reality and soaking up sun, sea, and sand, the Torremolinos and Benalmádena offer the perfect holiday spots. Both are home to a variety of hotels with private beaches and bars. Relax by the pool during the day and head out to the vibrant club scene in the evening. For a refreshing day activity, check out the water park in Torremolinos. The variety of slides is perfect for a little friendly competition!
The stunning old town of Fuengirola will inspire any traveller to reach for their camera and snap the winding streets and beautiful buildings. The inhabitants of Fuengirola painstakingly repaired the Sohail Castle. Dating back to the Moorish period, this castle is the hallmark of cultural heritage in the region. Elsewhere in Fuengirola, the nature conserve Bioparc is a great excursion. The park is home to over 200 species of animals, including free-ranging monkeys.
Hungry after all the sightseeing? Fuengirola’s multitude of restaurants and tapas bars will offer everything you are looking for.
Just the right mix of adventure, relaxation and culture awaits you in Nerja. This small town on the Costa del Sol features a large beach and wonderfully clear, warm water. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, simply jump in from a great height of the surrounding cliffs. Especially among a group of friends, this offers great fun and will be an unforgettable part of your holiday – at least it was for us!
If you prefer to stay dry, take a stroll through Nerja’s picturesque old town and enjoy the unforgettable view from “Europe’s balcony.” Alternatively, visit the awesome caves of the area. A five-kilometre-long network of dripstone caves awaits you. This is also an important site for the research of prehistoric Andalusian life.
Day Trips Around the Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol White Villages
For a real romance novel experience, take a trip into the hinterland to see the famous white villages. Photographs and postcards just don’t do their splendour justice. Nestling on the hillside, these picturesque villages don’t feel like real life. You’ll be imagining your new life in this picture-perfect tranquillity in no time and won’t want to leave! Our highlight of the area is Frigiliana, with its stunning view over the sea.
Málaga, Pablo Picasso’s hometown, is considered an Andalusian jewel. The combination of the typical Mediterranean flair, especially the palm-lined, wide boulevards in the city centre, and the irrefutable Arabic influence in the architecture will quickly captivate you. What’s more, Málaga offers plenty of attractions, such as the Alcazaba, the Gibralfaro Castle and, the museum dedicated to the city’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso. Want to learn more about Málaga’s highlights? Take a look here.
Ronda, another white village, is one of the most rewarding destinations in all of Spain. Getting there will make your heart beat a little faster, as the village can only be reached via a winding mountain road. The adrenaline and the astonishing views are worth the trip in itself.
The city rests on a rocky plateau, sitting directly above a deep gorge. It’s sure to amaze you just as it did us! You’ll get the impression that just one of the gusts of wind could easily send the entire city plummeting into the abyss.
Ronda’s singularity does not only come from its location: the city boasts a quaint old town and one of the oldest and best-preserved bullrings in the country.
When spending your holiday on the Costa del Sol, you might as well visit one of Europe’s oldest cities. We are not kidding! Even though you probably thought of Rome, Athens, or something similar, Cádiz, located on the Spanish Atlantic coast, dates back further than Roman times. Like other Andalusian cities, Cádiz boasts a picturesque old town, which is great to explore on foot. However, the best part about Cádiz are the stunning sunset views each night.
While admiring this spectacle on the beach in Cádiz, make sure to turn around too, to take in the sight of the village. The golden roof of Cádiz cathedral glimmering in the last rays of sunlight is an epic sight.
If you aren’t one to spend your holiday lazing on the beach or visiting museums, you need to check out Tarifa, Spain’s southernmost city. Why is this? Well, Tarifa is one of the world’s biggest and best surfer’s paradises. Fans of wakeboarding and other water sports will also not want to miss it. Feel free to bring your own equipment and jump in or rent or buy or rent gear at one of the many shops. If you don’t have any experience but would like to change that, numerous surf schools offer courses for students of all ages and experience levels.
We already mentioned Tarifa being Spain’s southernmost city, right? From this vantage point, when visibility is clear, you can see 14 kilometres across the sea to the African mainland.
No matter what kind of holiday you’re after, the Costa del Sol can cater for it. Marbella, Torremolinos and Benalmádena allow you to awaken your inner party animal. In Fuengirola and Nerja you can experience the perfect mix of beach and city.
If you’re drawn to bigger cities, the cultural sights and bustling vibes of Málaga and Cádiz are just round the corner. If you are more the type for quiet spots, then take a detour to the white villages or enjoy the unique atmosphere of Ronda. Adventure seekers will be thrilled by the beaches of Tarifa. One thing’s for sure – a Costa del Sol tour will never be boring!