Old Moorish Walls of Ronda – Image courtesy of Spain On Line (sol.com)
Top attractions on the Costa del Sol
Take time to explore the fabulous Costa del Sol, which stretches for more than 150km along the south coast of Spain, east from Tarifa (the southernmost tip of Europe) just beyond Gibraltar to Almuñecar on the Costa Tropical, near Granada.
The busiest and the most densely populated area is the 70km stretch from Torremolinos (west of Málaga) to Estepona (towards Gibraltar) with Marbella at its centre.
Each town and village on the Costa del Sol has a distinctive character and offers a choice of must-see attractions, including the following. . .
Experience a choice of compelling Malaga holidays in this bustling commercial and residential port city, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and home to the best historic sites along the Costa del Sol – Spain’s most famous coastline.
Read more about Malaga . . .
Spain’s oldest, largest, noisiest and brashest resort is renowned for good budget accommodation, a lively beach scene and a vibrant and inexpensive nightlife that attracts a mainly young blue-collar crowd.
Read more about Torremolinos . . .
Fuengirola and Los Boliches
The quiet fishing towns of Fuengirola and adjoining Los Boliches sit conveniently between the two famous Costa del Sol resorts of Marbella and Torremolinos. While Fuengirola boasts a good range of high-rise apartments, hotels, discos and nightclubs to suit all budgets, nearby Los Boliches remains relatively unspoiled.
Read more about Fuengirola . . .
With its choice of clean European ‘Blue Flag’ awarded beaches, water sports, exclusive beachfront hotels, championship golf courses, haute couture boutiques and über-chic nightclubs, Marbella is considered Spain’s most stylish resort. This sunny Costa del Sol locale is a favourite of wealthy European aristocrats, the nouveau riche and Arab royalty.
Read more about Marbella . . .
Escape the more commercial resorts of the Costa del Sol for the quiet of Estepona, a less developed seaside village that still maintains an authentic Spanish ambiance. Explore the old quarter of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed buildings, ancient squares and friendly tascas (tapas bars).
Read more about Estepona . . .
Explore this authentic pueblo blanco (white village) with its pretty houses set on a cliff top. Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets and courtyards of the Old Town, visit the 17th century Church of El Salvador, enjoy the sea views from the Balcón de Europa.
Read more about Nerja . . .
Wander the narrow twisting streets of the picture-perfect old Moorish quarter of Ronda, known as La Ciudad. The Old Town sits on one side of the spectacular 100m-deep El Tajo ravine with views overlooking the rolling green Andalusian countryside, stretching across to El Mercadillo (the New Town), which dates from the Christian Reconquest of 1485 and sits on the other side of the 64m-wide ravine.
Read more about Ronda . . .
This idyllic Andalusian village is located in the foothills of the Sierra de Mijas at the end of a winding mountain road with splendid views of the coast. Drive yourself there or hop on a regular bus from Fuengirola for the 20-minute journey. Mijas extends from the hills down to the coast, with the coastal strip between Fuengirola and Marbella known as Mijas-Costa.
Read more about Mijas . . .
Discover Spain’s answer to France’s St Tropez. Puerto Banus is essentially a plush marina crammed with expensive yachts and cars and fringed by luxurious (and expensive) quayside restaurants, bars and designer boutiques. An orange-roofed Andalusian pueblo-style complex flanks the area; it was built in the 1960s to resemble the fishing villages that once lined the coast here.
Read more about Puerto Banus . . .
Rock of Gibraltar
Experience a slice of Britain in the tiny British colony of Gibraltar – nicknamed ‘Gib’ or ‘the Rock’. Gibraltar was seized from Spain by Great Britain in 1704 and, despite several heated attempts by Spain for its recovery, remains British to this day.
The 425m-high limestone rock soars out of the sea at the southern tip of Spain and is only 5.8sqm in area.
Read more about Gibraltar . . .
El Torcal Park Nature Reserve
Explore this unique 17km2 park on foot, horseback or by mountain bike. Choose from three marked hiking trails that wind through unusual limestone rock formations in one of the most impressive landscapes of Europe.
Take an easy 1.5km-long stroll or the 2.5km-long hike up to the 1200m-high Las Ventanillas (Windows) for panoramic views of the Málaga Valley. Or try the more challenging 4.5km-long route to a height of 1399m where you can see the whole of the El Torcal Park and across to the North African coast.
The park is an important area for birds migrating between Europe and Africa and is also home to more than 600 varieties of plants. El Torcal is located around 30km north of Málaga, near the village of Villanueva de la Concepcion.
Cabo de Gato Nature Reserve
This 460km² reserve offers the chance to watch more than 1100 species of fauna including flamingos, purple herons, stone curlews and seabirds such as terns, shags and puffins.
The park is characterised by volcanic rock formations including lava flows, volcanic domes and volcanic calderas. Recognised by UNESCO as a geopark, Cabo de Gato is rated as one of the wildest and most beautiful stretches of coast in Spain. The park is located near the city of Almeria on the southeast coast.