As a major tourist hub in Spain, Costa del Sol is an essential stop along many Mediterranean cruise routes and is the most popular summer destination for Europeans. Packed with the most beautiful beaches in Southern Spain and the most developed tourist infrastructure in the country, Costa del Sol is fully designed to meet the needs of the modern holidaymaker.
But if you are looking to go alittle deeper into the Spanish culture and history, will Costa del Sol satisfy you? Go beyond the touristy-clodded beach towns and you’ll find a charismatic side to Costa del Sol that few see. Aside of wide stretches of beaches and upscale Spanish resorts, you’ll find charming old towns and villages as well as emblematic monuments such as the Alcazaba fortification and Roman theatre ruins in Malaga.
What you will manage to see and do in Costa del Sol depends on how long you’ll be here for — you can easily combine a visit to Malaga city with a side-trip to Granada and a beach vacation in Torre del Mar. If you are on a short vacation or simply stopping by, there are plenty ofÂ attractions in Costa del Sol as well asÂ free things to do in Costal del Sol that can make your trip worthy and memorable. If you’re short of time, check out our 2-days in Malaga itinerary suggestions.
How to get to Costa del Sol
International visitors can easily fly direct toÂ Malaga International Airport, one of Spain’s biggest airports and the main gateway to Costa del Sol. Malaga Airport is located 8 km from the city centre with excellent communication links to the whole of the Costa del Sol. Most of the traffic handled by the airport is from the European Union. London-Gatwick is the destination with the greatest number of passengers, followed by Manchester, Dublin, London-Luton, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Brussels. The airport also serves destinations in the U.S., Mexico and the Cairibbean.
By train, Malaga is well connected to Madrid, with a high-speed train (AVE) taking just 2.5hours to complete the journey. Prices are not cheap though, with one-way fare starting from 68 euros. Madrid is well connected to other cities viaÂ Spanish trains as well, such Barcelona (6hours), Granada (1.5hours) and Valencia (3.5hours — high speed).
To get from Malaga airport to the various beach towns, there are regular buses that depart every hour and most towns are within an hour’s drive from the airport.
Buses represent one of the best ways to travel in Spain and Malaga is well connected to all the major Spanish cities.Â Buses in Spain are efficient, punctual and comfortable, even for long-distance journeys.
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What to Do and See
Constructed on a 70,000 sq.-meter land, the Aqualand is the most popular and the biggest theme park in the area. It offers a range of water rides such as Black hole, Kamikazi, Niagara and Twister. The areas of the park are called: Fast River, Infant’s Park, Jacuzzi and Tropical Lagoon. Throughout the park there are hambugerias, pizzerias and self-service restaurants. Also, there is a small golf course as well as gift shop where you can buy souvenirs. With the admission fee of â‚¬21 for adults and â‚¬15 for kids, one can able to experience all of the rides inside the park (discount coupons are available on theÂ official website)
To get to the park you can catch a bus or train from Malaga. Buses are also available from BenalmÃ¡dena Coast, Arroyo de la Miel, Playamar and Carihuela, while trains are also available from Fuengirola.
Selwo Adventure Park
If you are enthusiastic about the nature and of safari, Selwo Adventure Park is an ideal place to visit. This park covers more than 100-hectare land and contains all of the normal free roving animals in their natural homes that have been particularly remade for the park. You will be able to see all sorts of birds and animals.
Camping is allowed within the park and there are special discounts available on theirÂ official website.
There are direct public buses which link the park to Malaga (bus 307).
Cable Car at Benalmadena
The cable car or teleferico from Benalmadena up to the peak of Monte Calamorro is quite a new attraction in Costa de Sol. It offers a great view of the most tremendous sea coast. On a clear day you can see as far as Gibraltar and the North African coast.
There are also marked hiking and biking trails which offer exciting views while coming down the mountain. You can take the bike in the cable car for free.
The cable car is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
The newly fully renovated Fuengirola Zoo is a sight in Costa del Sol is very proud of. It is fairly small and located in the hub of Feungirola although has been intended and designed in such a manner to provide the traveler a feeling of roominess much further than its limits.
The zoo is open every day from 10 a.m. daily. It closes at different hours, depending on the season. An adult ticket costs â‚¬15.50, while a child ticket costs â‚¬10.60.
Gibraltar’s The Rock
Your trip to Costa del Sol will never be complete if you haven’t been to Gibraltar. Filled with history, the place also serves as a sanctuary of tax free purchasers and it is the home to the only undomesticated troop of apes in the continent of Europe. Also, you can take a tour around the bay to see wild dolphins or otherwise go to the mysterious caves of St. Michael.
Currently containing a wonderful collection of the works of the great artist, the museum located in Malaga, Pablo Picasso’s native land, is an excellent addition to the continuously increasing attractions on Costa del Sol.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Thursday, 10am-8pm; Friday to Saturday, 10am-9pm; Sundays and Holidays, 10am to 8pm. The admission fee is â‚¬6.
Where to Stay in Costa del Sol
There are a variety of places to stay, varying in price range and style, as well as location. From high-range luxury hotels to beachfront resort to simple backpacker’s hostels, you can find a myriad of accommodation scattered throughout the region. If you’re looking to explore Spanish culture, your best bet would be to stay in the old town of Malaga. If you’re seeking a relaxing vacation on the beach, then theÂ beach resorts in the nearby towns such as Torremolinos and Torre del Mar might be right up your alley. For travelers who like a bargain, there are many inexpensiveÂ Malaga hostels that provide comfortable rooms, a great location, and a conducive environment for both families and groups of friends. There are alsoÂ cheap hotels in Malaga and short-term-apartments that have prices ranging down to â‚¬37 a night.