The Costa del Sol is often thought of as a tourist packed, summer destination. With it´s well maintained beaches (many of which are given blue flag status for cleanliness) unbeatable climate, and stunning scenery- there are not many places in Europe, which are better for an “escape the crowds” Autumn break.
Just a short plane ride away from the UK´s chilly climate, the sunshine coast boasts 320 sunny days per year! Your chances of enduring an entire week of rain, are slim to none. Stretching from the stunning caves in Nerja, to the jet set playground of Puerto Banus- this family friendly region of Andalucia is also known for it´s gastronomy, museums and outdoor activities- there is something for everyone, not just beaches.
Rincon de la Victoria to Nerja
To experience authentic Spanish life, the coastline villages and mountain pueblos east of Malaga are unbeatable. As opposed to the hip nightspots of Marbella and Puerto Banus, flamenco sets the rhythm here- so you can expect to see lively fiestas in typical villages such as Velez Malaga.
When it comes to filling your time visiting interesting sights, the choices are plentiful and varied – ranging from Moorish ruins to Roman remains, scattered along this quiet strip of coastline. Nerja’s caves are famed for their fantastically coloured stalagmites and aside from a worthwhile visit here, the main attraction here is that authentic laidback lifestyle.
If you are feeling peckish, you can head to a chiringuito restaurants, which are abundant in seaside towns like Torre del Mar or Torrox Costa. Order Spanish omelette tortillas and a glass of locally brewed Malaga wine, then raise a toast to the varied charms of this sun-blessed region!
Malaga to Ronda
Malaga is the birthplace of world renowned artist, Pablo Picasso. With two, world-class museums dedicated to the works of Spain’s legendary artist, Malaga is also the hometown of the Hollywood star, Antonio Banderas.
You can discover ‘Zorro’s’ favourite view of this sprawling seaside town from the Alcazaba at the top of the city, before having a walk through the labyrinth of shady streets in the old town. Malaga has plenty of attractions to keep you busy, but be sure not to miss include The Interactive Museum of Music, home to Europe’s largest collection of musical instruments; El Cid a store selling handmade sombreros and Casa Aranda, a pastry shop where you can sample a local speciality: fried pastry churros, dunked in a bowl of hot chocolate.
From Malaga, a winding road through pine forests leads to the dazzling cliff top town of Ronda loved by author Ernest Hemingway, where you can visit Spain’s oldest bullring. En route, don´t forget to make a pitstop at the Lobo park- a gorgeous nature reserve, where wild wolves wander in semi liberty.
Fuengirola to Torremolinos
Fuengirola is an extremely popular area amongst British tourist. Especially with those visiting with families, due to the amount of attractions here.
With its seven-kilometre stretch of sandy beach and picturesque Arab fortress, it is one of the Costa’s most popular destinations. On the pretty Plaza de la Constitución main square you’ll find cafes and shops selling local souvenirs, whilst the impressive Bioparc Fuengirola just outside of town showcases wild animals, including the endangered Sumatra tiger, in stunning natural surroundings.
Travel further east along the Costa del Sol and you’ll find the resorts of Benalmadena and Torremolinos, whose restaurants serve a wide selection of European food as well as local delicacies. With the SeaLife aquarium and Selwo marina right on the doorstep there’s plenty to keep the kids happy here, but if seals and dolphins don’t tempt them why not try the breathtaking rides at Tivoli World or whiz them to the top of Calamorro Mountain in a cable car?
Sotogrande to Marbella
The Valderrama golf course is a huge lure for golfers, but if golfing isn´t your thing, you can hop in the car for 20 minutes and have a wander through Estepona’s charming cobbled streets, cafes and colourful fish market.
For a taste of the high life, travel further along the coast to Marbella, where you can spot celebrities in the yacht-studded harbour of Puerto Banus, shop-till-you-drop in boutiques along Avenida Ricardo Soriano, or treat yourself to some TLC at one of the city’s sumptuous spas.