Located on Spain´s beautiful mediterranean coast line, the Costa del Sol covers the Andalucia region, including the province and city of Malaga. Know as the “sun coast” due to the incredible climate year round, it is the birth place of the Spanish beach holiday and home to the Marriott´s exclusive Marbella beach resort. Filled with beautiful beaches which can get busy during the summer months, we thought we would share with you our pick of the top things to do in the Costa del Sol, when wanting to get out and explore.
A fantastic day out for kids and grown ups alike- a day of exciting, water-based thrills. The Aqualand water park in Torremolinos, is the largest water theme park in the region and is situated only 5 minutes from the city centre.
The park has a big selection of water slides for children of all ages and adults too; rapids to raft down; a mini golf course; a surfing section with metre high waves; a Jacuzzi and a tropical themed lagoon.
Selwo Safari Park
This African style safari park, is home to over 2000 species of animals. The animals live in natural habitats, where you can see lions, rhinos, giraffes and bears, as well as enjoying a journey through the botanical gardens and the stunning bird canyon. There also restaurants and refreshment areas spread throughout the park. A wonderful day out, for anyone who wants to reconnect with nature, whilst experiencing an authentic safari style experience.
The Alcazaba, Malaga
Set in the heart of Malaga’s historical district, The Alcazaba is a beautiful collection of ruins and buildings, where the rulers of Muslim Malaga once lived. The Alcazaba served as a fortress and palace, with the most notable sights being the arch of Christ and the patio de armas. Much of the premises have now been turned into an Arabic style garden. A must see for a cultural day out!
The Nerja Caves
One of Spain´s most popular and attractive historical sites, a trip to the Costa del Sol wouldn´t be complete without a visit to the Nerja Caves. A series of huge caverns, stretching almost 5kms and home to the world´s largest stalagmite- measuring 32 metres tall. Guided tours are possible for larger groups and on occasion, concerts are held with dinner at the Caves restaurant. After a visit to the caves, it is worth strolling through the quaint village of Nerja and having lunch at one of the authentic tapas restaurants, to complete the traditional Andalucian experience.
Marbella Old Town
If you didn´t want to venture further afield than Marbella, then why not swap an afternoon at the beach for a wander through the old town. Plaza Naranjos (orange square) is the perfect place to enjoy an early evening cocktail, sitting beneath the orange trees and people watching. Although small, the old town is full of traditional Spanish restaurants as well as several souvenir shops and a gorgeous church. The picturesque setting makes for some excellent photos, as a memoir of your visit to the Costa del Sol.
Butterfly Park, Benalmadena
Europe´s largest butterfly park won´t disappoint the nature lovers among you. Set in a Thai style temple, on the hilltop overlooking Benalmadena, the views alone make this a worthwhile day trip. You can walk amongst 1,500 exotic butterflies from all over the world, all of them more than happy to remain still for a few seconds, so you can get some good photos. They also have a small educational centre, where you can learn about how they are born, how they reproduce and how long they live for. You can also pay a visit to the Buddhist temple, which often has interesting exhibitions in the lower gallery.
No visit to the Sunshine coast would be complete, without a day trip to historic Ronda. Famed for it´s stunning architecture and bull ring, it makes for a truly authentic Spanish experience. The breathtaking scenery is highlighted by the El Tajo gorge, which divides this small town into the old and new districts. You can visit a local winery too, to sample the Spanish wines, before moving on to have lunch in the main plaza.
Picasso Museum, Malaga
Devoted to the most influential artist of the 20th century, the Picasso museum is set in the Buenavista Palace. The permanent exhibition is a collection of ten commented works, to introduce you to the legacy of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, in the same city he was born. The museum also has temporary exhibitions, as well as chamber music and other events, such as Jazz concerts and Poetry.
Pueblos Blancos (White villages)
All throughout Andalucia, you will notice several little whitewashed villages, nestled in the hills and they are the perfect place to escape the coastal crowds. These tiny little towns are where you will discover the region´s most authentic tapas bars- all offering food at an extremely reasonable price. Make sure you avoid siesta hours, as most shops and restaurants will close for the famous Spanish nap times!
All of the above mentioned destinations are accessible by car and can be done in a day, no matter where on the Costa del Sol you are staying. If you want to know more about accommodation options at a Marriott resort please feel free to contact us for more information.