HomeTravel ResourcesThe Greatest Locations to Go to on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Greatest Locations to Go to on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del SolThe Greatest Locations to Go to on Spain’s Costa del Sol

There are quite a lot of posts on the market waxing lyrically  about the fantastic thing about the Costa del Sol and telling you all of the locations it’s a must to go to.

The reality is that there’s quite a lot of ugliness on the Costa del Sol. There are additionally quite a lot of ‘ho-hum’ locations that, though good sufficient, don’t warrant a flight to the south of Spain.

On this publish I’ll cowl:

  1. the principle cities of the Costa del Sol (all locations we’ve personally been). I’ll provide you with my trustworthy opinion on every.
  2. I’ll inform you which it is best to take into account as a base within the area (and that are really value visiting). 
  3. I’ll additionally cowl some fascinating day journeys from the Costa del Sol…as a result of for probably the most half, the Costa doesn’t have many cultural/historic gems. The true gems lie inland and are a number of the most worthwhile locations you may go to in all of Spain.

Observe: this isn’t an Expat publish. This publish covers locations to go to as a vacationer. I’ve quite a lot of expats who get indignant at me due to how I describe their city or metropolis – however whereas some locations is likely to be nice to stay in, they’re not at all times thrilling for a customer (the alternative is true too – some locations which can be nice to go to aren’t essentially locations you’d wish to stay in). 


Map of the Costa del Sol


What’s the Costa del Sol?

The Costa del Sol doesn’t have official, outlined boundaries. The “Costa del Sol” (“Coast of Solar”) is a tourism time period which, because the 1960’s, has utilized to the stretch of coast in Malaga province. Nevertheless it’s usually accepted that the Costa del Sol stretches from Nerja (to the east) as much as Punta Chullera close to Manilva (to the west). It’s a complete of 150 km of shoreline. The Costa del Sol extends inland alongside a slim strip, together with some cities and cities within the foothills of mountain ranges. I’ll cowl a few of these beneath.

Town of Malaga is the largest metropolis on the Costa del Sol and the middle of the area. Cities to the west of Malaga have at all times been extra common: beginning within the Nineteen Fifties, Torremolinos was the primary well-known seashore vacation spot attracting celebrities from all over the world. Growth alongside the coast grew within the 60s and 70s to incorporate Benalmadena, Fuengirola and Mijas whereas Marbella turned a vacation spot for the wealthy.

To at the present time, the coast west of Malaga nonetheless receives extra vacationers. It’s additionally extra accessible – Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola are linked to Malaga (and Malaga airport) by a commuter practice line that may take them to these seashore resorts in minutes (10 minutes to Torremolinos, 45 minutes to Fuengirola which is the final cease). The coast east of Malaga will get much less vacationers and doesn’t have the big-name resorts that the west does. However the seashores are simply as good and the inland “white villages” simply as fairly.

A breakdown of the totally different city and cities beneath.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol
Torre del Mar




The Cities and Cities of the Costa del Sol


Town of Malaga is by far the biggest metropolitan space on the Costa del Sol. As talked about above, individuals typically skip it and take the commuter practice line from Malaga airport to the seashore resorts down the coast.

However Malaga ought to be visited, even when just for someday. It has an attractive previous city highlighted by the one-towered Malaga Cathedral. There’s a Roman theatre courting again to the first Century BC and two Moorish fortresses: the Alcazaba (a fortress/palace constructed within the eleventh century) and, up excessive above the town, Gibralfaro citadel (constructed within the 14th century). The views from Gibralfaro over the town and coast are fabulous.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


There aren’t too many historic highlights on the Costa del Sol so I’d suggest a cease in Malaga for all of the above.

Malaga additionally has a port and plenty of museums for individuals who desire a dose of tradition.

Extra right here: 24 Hours in Málaga.

Backside line? Make it some extent to go to Malaga, whether or not it’s as a daytrip from the seashores or as an in a single day keep.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol




Cities/cities to the west…



I’ll begin with Torremolinos, the primary seashore resort on the Costa del Sol and a spot that encompasses the very best and the worst of the area.

Within the 1950’s, Torremolinos attracted all the celebs. Individuals like Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly, Eva Gardner, Orson Welles and Salvador Dali would come right here.  It was the place to be. Its recognition led to the continued improvement of the Costa del Sol.

At present it’s nonetheless probably the most visited resort on the Costa del Sol. The spotlight is La Carihuela, a 2km stretch of seashores lined with eating places, bars and vacationer shops.  For those who love seashores and your concept of a vacation is sitting someplace, having fun with the solar and people-watching, then La Carihuela is ideal. 


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Old Town Torremolinos 1


In any other case, Torremolinos will not be a lovely place in any respect. The city is filled with the unattractive high-rises synonymous with the Costa del Sol. The previous city is uninspiring.

Torremolinos will not be Spain, it’s a place filled with vacationers from each nook of the globe coming for seashore, solar, drink and nightlife.

Backside line: I don’t suggest Torremolinos besides as a 1-night keep previous to flying out from Malaga airport. Resorts are plentiful, costs cheaper than in Malaga, the seashores are nice, and also you’re 10 minutes from the airport by practice or taxi.

Apart from that, give Torremolinos a miss.

Extra right here on Torremolinos: Impressions of Torremolinos.






When individuals suppose “Benalmadena” they’re often referring to Arroyo de la Miel, the coastal facet of “Benalmadena”.

Observe: Benalmádena is split into two principal areas: Arroyo de la Miel and Benalmadena Pueblo. Arroyo de la Miel is the coastal space and is kind of giant, consisting of Arroyo de Miel “previous city” and seaside resorts, a promenade, and Marina. Benalmadena Pueblo (the unique historic previous city) is a couple of 10-minute drive inland within the foothills of the mountains – it’s a small however fairly white village with nice views wanting down in direction of the coast. It isn’t usually the place vacationers keep however has a number of highlights value visiting.

Arroyo de la Miel’s highlights are very household oriented:  you’ll discover Sea life Aquarium, Selwo Marina and Benalmadena’s cable automobile which takes you up Calamorro Mountain (a lot of trails and mountain climbing up there). You’ll discover what I feel is probably the most lovely park on the Costa del Sol (Parque la Paloma), you may stroll the promenade and go to the Marina (which is common however which I discovered tourist-tacky to be trustworthy). In Benalmadena Pueblo you’ll discover Castillo de Colomares which is perhaps the strangest “citadel” you’ll ever see (it’s really a monument devoted to Christopher Columbus). The previous city additionally has Jardines del Muro, an important setting the place you get fabulous views over the coast beneath. Additionally shut by are Benalmádena Stupa (the best Buddhist stupa in all of Europe) and Mariposario de Benalmádena (a butterfly park).


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Castillo de Colomares


Benalmadena is value visiting particularly if in case you have youngsters and wish to preserve them entertained with all the varied highlights I’ve talked about above. It’s clear, tourist-friendly (a lot of eating places and bars catering to foreigners), and it has the identical quick access to Malaga as Torremolinos does with the commuter practice. It’s a pleasing place and I see why it’s so common with each vacationers and expats. And Arroyo de la Miel makes for a great base to see different locations like Malaga metropolis, Mijas and Fuengirola.

Backside line? A great place particularly if in case you have youngsters and desire a enjoyable vacation. It combines enjoyable actions and nature in a lovely setting.

Extra right here on Benalmadena: What’s Benalmadena like?





Fuengirola is the final of the large 3 seaside cities linked to Malaga by the commuter practice. It takes 45 minutes to get right here from the town (35 from the airport).

Fuengirola has a a lot totally different vibe than both Torremolinos or Benalmadena. With quite a bit much less guests, it feels very a lot Spanish. Individuals right here go about their enterprise, there are many shops and eating places – it appears like a Spanish metropolis with a number of busy streets and plazas. It additionally has a stunning seaside promenade which beats these in each Torremolinos or Benalmadena.

There’s not a lot to see in Fuengirola apart from Sohail citadel on the finish of the promenade. So some vacationers might discover the city boring. Alternatively, the seashores and promenade actually are lovely and for those who’re in search of a spot for a calming seashore trip (and an genuine vibe), then you definitely would possibly like Fuengirola. We really actually favored the city.


Fuengirola beach

Fuengirola castle

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


Backside line? Probably the most enjoyable, genuine place of the large 3 resorts to the rapid west of Malaga. A spot to come back for a seashore trip whereas experiencing an genuine Spanish city vibe.




Mijas Pueblo

Within the hills behind Benalmadena and Fuengirola lies what’s perhaps the prettiest inland city on the whole Costa del Sol.

Mijas is the standard Spanish “White Village” with its white buildings, vibrant pots of flowers and fairly plazas. In Mijas’ case, you may add lovely views of the coast, some fascinating historic websites like Chapel of the Virgin Mary of the Rock (la Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña) and the ruins of the previous fortress. You’ll see “donkey taxis” which I’ve by no means seen earlier than wherever.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Visiting Mijas pueblo

Mijas Pueblo 3


Mijas reeks in allure and prettiness. Nevertheless it’s not undiscovered, you’ll see a lot of vacationers coming right here on day journeys. Nevertheless it’s very a lot value it.

Backside line: come right here for a day journey. Or keep an evening. It’s a really fairly city and so far as I’m involved probably the most fascinating of the White Villages on the Costa del Sol. Observe: this tour from Malaga contains Mijas and Marbella. 





I’ll admit to having preconceived ideas on Marbella as a glitzy, unique and considerably synthetic place. That does exist however that’s primarily in Puerto Banus which is about 10 km away (and which we discovered very boring).

However the city of Marbella itself is attractive and historic. Of all of the coastal cities on the Costa del Sol (apart from Malaga), we discovered its previous city to be probably the most intact and fascinating. You’ll see lovely church buildings, plazas with fountains, previous fortress partitions, tons of little streets lined with crops and flowers. There’s a avenue filled with Salvador Dali statues that results in an extended seashore promenade.

Marbella is gorgeous.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Marbella one of best places on Costa del Sol


And Marbella doesn’t should be costly: we stayed in an condo 10 minutes outdoors the middle which wasn’t dearer than what we paid wherever else on the Costa del Sol. There we ate at a neighborhood restaurant the place we had a 4-course Menu del Dia which value 15 Euros.

Backside line: we ended up falling in love with Marbella. As I say, probably the most lovely previous city alongside the coast excepting Malaga. It’s additionally handy-sized: you may stroll the previous city then stroll all the way down to the promenade and benefit from the seashores. All the things is shut by.





half-hour down the coast from Marbella is Estepona.

I joked to Lissette that Estepona will need to have a military of horticulturists – I’ve by no means seen a spot so filled with crops and flowers as Estepona. Vibrant pots line all of the streets of the previous city, every in their very own color scheme. The promenade is literal a botanical backyard of bushes, bushes and unique flowers. It’s unbelievable.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Estepona Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


Though good sized, Estepona’s previous city doesn’t fairly examine to Marbella’s previous city in its points of interest. Nevertheless it’s infinitely prettier than that of Torremolinos, Benalmadena or Fuengirola.

What actually units Estepona aside are its seashores (lengthy, huge sandy seashores) and delightful promenade which winds down the coast. Estepona is a fairly place.

Backside line: If I wished a seashore trip west of Malaga metropolis, Estepona can be the place. It’s a relaxed, fairly place that has fairly a big expat inhabitants however which nonetheless feels authentically Spanish.





Cities/cities to the east of Malaga…



Nerja is the star vacation spot east of Malaga.

Nerja has a fairly previous city, a lot of seashores, and is a good spot for eating places and nightlife. Outdoors of city, you may have the Nerja Caves that are a geological surprise and you’ll go mountain climbing within the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Pure Park. Frigiliana (which I’ll cowl beneath) is simply 10 minutes away. There’s tons to do in Nerja.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


Backside line: Nerja makes for a wonderful trip vacation spot with sufficient to maintain you busy for just a few days. Of all of the locations east of Malaga, it has the very best mixture of seashores/points of interest and eating. The one factor I’ll point out: of all of the coastal cities I’ve listed, Nerja’s seashores usually require you to go downhill or down steps to get to. Essential to know if in case you have mobility points.

A really detailed publish right here: The very best issues to see and do in Nerja





Frigiliana is one other of these White Villages which can be value a go to.

Simply 10 minutes from Nerja, it’s a small city of 3000 individuals constructed on a hillside. It’s a picturesque place of cobblestone streets filled with crops and flowers. Strolling by way of the city you’ll come throughout an previous fountain, a church and plenty of plazas providing nice views over the countryside.


Frigiliana white village costa del sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol



If in search of a comparatively straightforward hike, El Fuerte is true behind city.

Backside line: For those who go to Nerja it is best to go to Frigiliana. It’s well worth the half day of strolling round this gorgeous city.

Extra on Frigiliana: A Go to to Frigiliana




Torre del Mar

Torre del Mar has a number of the greatest seashores wherever on the Costa del Sol. I feel they’re positively the very best east of Malaga.

The seashores are lengthy, huge and clear. There’s a 3 km lengthy promenade the place you may hike, jog or bike (there’s a devoted bike path).

The city itself is nothing particular but it surely’s very clear with a wide variety of shops and eating places.


Torrre del Mar a highlight on Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


For somebody in search of a seashore vacation spot with out all of the vacationers you’ll discover in Nerja, Torre del Mar is an efficient different. It’s additionally solely 45 minutes from Malaga. And it’s about quarter-hour from Vélez-Málaga, a metropolis that will get little or no recognition for its cultural and historic highlights.

Backside line: The very best seashore vacation spot east of Malaga and nonetheless authentically Spanish.

Extra on Torre del Mar





Inland from Torre del Mar and within the foothills of the mountains, the town dates again to the Visigoths (round 8 BC) and was later occupied by the Romans and the Moors.

Vélez-Málaga will get little tourism which is a disgrace as a result of it has tons to see: a number of spectacular church buildings, museums similar to Casa Cervantes (devoted to Spain’s most well-known author), metropolis partitions constructed by the Moors, and a fortress atop the town providing nice views.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


If you’re bored with seashores, you may simply match a day of sightseeing in Vélez-Málaga.

Backside line: Vélez-Málaga is the sister metropolis of Torre del Mar, the 2 being just some kilometers from one another. If in Torre del Mar you have to go to Vélez-Málaga.

Extra: 30 Images that can make you wish to go to Vélez-Málaga




The very best of all of the cities and cities of the Costa del Sol

It after all is dependent upon what you’re in search of out of a vacation. But when it was me, I’d take into account these as bases for a Costa del Sol vacation:

Malaga metropolis. For its historical past, tradition, seashores and quick access to different locations.

Marbella. For its lovely previous city and seashores.

Nerja. For its mixture of fairly previous city, seashores, and surrounding pure highlights.

Estepona or Torre del Mar. For a calming seashore vacation.

Mijas Pueblo. Not essentially as a base…but it surely’s the prettiest white village on the Costa del Sol and ought to be visited.




The Greatest Day Journeys from the Costa del Sol

A few of Spain’s biggest cities lie inside an hour to 90 minutes from the Costa del Sol.





One among Spain’s most historic cities and the final stronghold of Moorish rule on the Iberian peninsula.

Granada is value far more than a daytrip, however for those who can solely afford someday then it’s a must to go there simply to see the Alhambra. It’s considered one of Spain’s Prime 5 points of interest.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Alhambra great daytrip from Costa del Sol


The Alhambra was the final stronghold of an important Muslim empire that at one level included most of Spain and Portugal. Like different Moorish websites (such the Actual Alcazar in Seville) it’s characterised by lavish structure and luxurious gardens. In 1492 the Moorish sultan surrendered the town to the Catholic monarchs (Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile) who took up residence right here. It was within the Alhambra’s Corridor of the Ambassadors that Christopher Colombus signed a contract with the monarchs (in April of 1492) that will lead him to his discovery of the Americas.

Moreover the unimaginable structure you’ll discover all through the palace, the Alhambra is a fortress constructed overlooking the town. The views are unimaginable.

Extra: 48 Hours in Granada

Getting there: about 90 minutes from both Nerja or Malaga by Alsa bus. Or prepare for a tour: This tour from Nerja, this tour from Malaga.





Córdoba was an important Islamic cities within the first centuries is Islamic rule, turning into the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba, the Islamic state that at its top managed a lot of the Iberian peninsula.

It’s an unimaginable metropolis filled with sights…however the spotlight attraction is the “Cordoba Mosque Cathedral” (the politically appropriate identify. Most individuals merely name it the “Mezquita”). It’s a big mosque overlaying an space of 120 sq. meters, making it one of many largest mosques on the earth. In its heart, a Cathedral was constructed following the reconquest of Córdoba by Christian forces.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Mezquita daytrip from Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol


We’ve seen a lot of unimaginable sights in Spain, however Córdoba’s Mezquita is probably the most beautiful factor we’ve seen.

Some extra photos right here.

Once more, Córdoba deserves greater than a day. However for those who solely have a day it may be finished by daytrip. You may take a highspeed practice from Malaga, it would get you to Córdoba inside an hour. Or you may take this tour from Malaga.





It’s one of the crucial common daytrips from the Costa del Sol.

Ronda is known for the bridge connecting the 2 components of the previous metropolis. Constructed within the 1700’s, it was a technological marvel on the time and remains to be beautiful in the present day.


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Ronda daytrip from Costa del Sol

Views in Ronda


However there’s much more to Ronda together with medieval partitions, church buildings, towers, a deep gorge, gardens and plenty of unimaginable views.

Extra right here: A Do-It-Your self strolling tour of Ronda

Not like Granada and Córdoba, Ronda can fairly simply be lined inside a day. Comply with the directions within the publish I’ve hooked up above.

Getting there: take the Avanza bus from Marbella, it’s take about 1 hr, 20 minutes. From Malaga, take the Damas bus. That takes about 2 hours. You too can take this tour from Malaga that features each Ronda and Sentenil de las Bodegas.





I’m shocked that Antequera falls below the vacationer radar. I feel it’s a spectacular metropolis with tons to see.

Highlights embrace a Moorish fortress sitting on prime of the town. The views over the town are implausible (attempt to go to on a Tuesday afternoon between 2 – 6 Pm when it’s free). The Dolmens are probably the most well-known points of interest in Antequera. Courting again nearly 6000 years, these Dolmens (stone-made tombs) are one of the crucial essential dolmen teams in all of Europe (extra on that right here).


The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

The Best Places to Visit on Spain’s Costa del Sol

El Torcal de Antequera from Costa del Sol


Antequera is a fairly place to find with some lovely church buildings: Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, Iglesia del Carmen and Iglesia San Juan de Dios are our prime 3.

Antequera is hilly, with mountains looming behind the town. Numerous nice viewpoints. But when there’s one factor it’s a must to do is hike El Torcal de Antequera. It contains a number of the most spectacular karst geography in Europe.

Antequera will be simply reached from Malaga: the excessive pace practice takes you to Antequera’s AV station in 25 minutes. This tour contains the dolmens and El Torcal – value it for those who don’t have your personal wheels.


What are your favourite locations on the Costa del Sol?


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