The Costa del Sol is one of the most popular places in Spain, and it has a wide range of things to do, from hiking to sunbathing on the beach. We are looking forward to the summer season and if you are planning where to go, Málaga and the Costa del Sol is definitely a great destination. In this post, I would like to share some places to see and activities to do during your time in Costa del Sol as well as some tips!
THINGS TO DO IN COSTA DEL SOL AND MALAGA
If you are planning to stay for a few days in Malaga, these are the main things I would not definitely miss:
The Alcazaba is a perfect place to immerse yourself in history, learn about the culture and enjoy the top views. It is a beautiful palace-fortress on the top of a hill with oranges trees, fountains and amazing architectural designs. If you want to come for free, there is a free tour every Sunday from 2 pm. Don’t miss the Roman Theatre and Mirador de Gibralfaro next to it. From Mirador de Gibralfaro you can get amazing sunrise and sunset pictures of Málaga.
This is Málaga’s main street located in the city centre. If you love shopping and food, this is a must! You can find all the high street brands and a good range of restaurants and tapas places. However, if you are coming with a budget, I recommend going to Vialia and Centro Comercial Larios (two big shopping centres with restaurants and bars also located in the city centre.)
Muelle Uno and Malagueta Beach
Muelle Uno is a beautiful port with many different shops and restaurants which is always full of activities and events. Locals just enjoy walking on it or having some food in the restaurant terraces. However, if you want to have a different experience, you can get boat trips or a Segway.
Malagueta Beach is the main beach and it is located next to Muelle Uno. It’s a very convenient one if your accommodation is in the city centre. However, it can get very busy during the summer season so if you want to go to a different beach with less crowd, go to La Misericordia beach which is 15 min by bus.
For more activities, be sure to read our Top 10 Things To Do In Malaga article!
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN COSTA DEL SOL
Nerja is a beautiful small town which is about a 40 minute drive from Malaga. It’s worthy to visit because of its white beautiful streets, the sea views from the Balcón de Europa, the transparent clear beaches and Nerja Caves.
If you travel to Malaga in the summer, I really recommend visiting Nerja during the weekdays because it can get very busy on the weekends, especially on Sundays when everyone is off. If you prefer a more adventurous experience, you can hike along Río Chillar (Chillar River) but make sure you take good shoes and swimming wear with you because it can be very rocky.
If you want a different experience, Marbella is a perfect place for those who like shopping, luxury brands and partying. Puerto Banus is your place if you want to treat yourself! It is very well-known for its luxury shops, yachts and expensive cars. However, if you are more interested in partying, some of the most famous party places are Ocean Club and Nikki Beach. They organise many different events during the summer and they have live music and very tasty food.
Nevertheless, if you are not interested in the luxury lifestyle of Marbella and you want a relaxing version of it, San Pedro de Alcántara beach is calm and beautiful. Also, you can visit Marbella old town from a different perspective.
Benalmadena is a town about 15 to 20 minutes drive with a good range of things to do. If you are an animal lover, I really recommend visiting Parque de la Paloma, a lovely park with rabbits, turkeys and chickens that run freely and there is a beautiful lake with views.
Next to Parque de la Paloma is Selwo Marina, a small marine park that has animals such as seals, dolphins, and penguins. If you love the heights, check out the Benalmadena Cable Car which takes you to the top of the mountains where you can enjoy stunning views of Benalmadena and out into the sea. If you prefer to chill, there is nothing better than going to the Playa de Bil-Bil and walking through the promenade or sunbathing.
Last but not least, if you are after monuments, this a very good town for it as well! You can find the Castle of Colomares (built as a tribute to Christopher Columbus) and the Buddhist Temple.
Mijas is a town that is divided into two: Mijas Pueblo and Mijas Costa. Mijas Pueblo is a small town on the mountain side which is quite special because of its views and the white streets and alleys full of local shops with beautiful traditional crafts, pots and souvenirs. Apart from enjoying the amazing coast view, you can see the donkey rides or go to the town square where flamenco shows and other events happen.
Mijas Costa is the coast side of this town where you can enjoy the sun in La Butibamba Beach, one of the best beaches in this area.
Torremolinos is a town next to the airport and Málaga itself. It is a good place to book your accommodation if you want to make the most of the beach and still go to Malaga easily. Los Alamos Beach is the most popular beach in Torremolinos because of the beach clubs and chiringuitos.
During the day, you can get a sunbed in one of the beach clubs and enjoy a drink or meal while listening to music. I really recommend going to Tanit Beach Club because of its relaxing atmosphere. Apart from the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Torremolinos such as going to Aqualand Water Park or visiting Parque La Batería, a beautiful park with an artificial lake where you can rent rowboats.
Torremolinos has a train that goes directly to Malaga city centre so it is well communicated and you can stop in Plaza Mayor on your way, a big shopping mall with plenty of shops, cinema and restaurants.
WHEN TO VISIT COSTA DEL SOL
The hottest and busiest month is August, however, I think it is one of the best months to visit Costa del Sol because there are so many events going on.
This include the Malaga Fair which normally starts in the middle of August and lasts for 10 days. In addition to this, there are many other towns that have their own summer events and you can check the Costa del Sol event calendar.
If you want to have a different experience, go in Easter to see the religious processions that take place in the city centre during all day and which last seven days, eat Torrijas (similar to French toast) and enjoy the spring season. Whenever you decide to visit Costa del Sol, it is always a good time because there are always events and you can enjoy the sunny weather most of the time.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY
Costa del Sol is generally much cheaper than other Spanish destinations such as Ibiza, Barcelona or Madrid, however, there are a couple of things you can do save more money. For example, when it comes to food, go to tapas restaurants or bars because when you buy a drink, a tapa comes free most of the time.
Also, instead of renting a car, take advantage of public transport! Buses and train passes are very regular and affordable.
HOW TO GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS
Spanish people are usually very friendly and talkative so it is not difficult to meet them. However, you can check language exchanges in Pachange and Meet Up in which you can find places where the language exchanges take place. You can also connect with locals or other international people in Málaga by using Tandem.
When people think about Spain, they normally think about paella, jamón and olives. However, there is much more Spanish food! If you decide to visit Costa del Sol then try some of the local dishes like espetos de sardinas (grilled sardines), ensalada malagueña (potato salad), pescaito frito (fried fish) and porra antequerana (Spanish cold tomato soup.)
The most popular place to eat in Málaga is El Pimpi, located in the city centre next to the Roman Theatre and Alcazaba. However, I really recommend going to the “chiringuitos” fish restaurants on the beach to try the best sardines and fresh fish!
For dessert and breakfast lovers, I really recommend visiting La Bella Julieta in Malaga city centre. They have an amazing red velvet cake. If you prefer having some typical churros, Casa Aranda is your place! They have been making tasty churros for many years.
Wherever and whenever you decide to visit Costa del Sol, you will be amazed by the views, the friendly people, the different range of activities you can do and last but not least the tasty food.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit the Costa del Sol and Malaga. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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