Think of the sun-kissed Costa del Sol and no doubt your mind will wander to glorious golden beaches, beautiful blue seas, glitzy resorts and endless sunshine. Whilst this is what this iconic holiday hotspot is best known and loved for, there’s so much more to experience here that you may just be surprised!
Located in the south of Andalusia, the breath-taking Costa del Sol is also home to gorgeous gastronomy, superb shopping, fascinating museums and some incredible inland landscapes; all of which combine to create a fantastic holiday destination for those looking for guaranteed sunshine, whilst being able to do something that little bit different too.
Head to the Costa del Sol’s capital of Malaga and you’ll find some of the most fascinating museums in all of Spain.
The birthplace of the great painter, Pablo Picasso, there are museums dedicated to not only art here, but also archaeology, bullfighting, wine, cars, glass and crystal, and much more. Malaga’s undoubted highlight though is the Museo Picasso itself.
Housed in the unique Palacio de Buenavista in the heart of the city’s historic centre, this magnificent old building has been meticulously restored to befit the importance of the works of this influential artist.
Head off the beaten track
If you can prise yourself away from sipping Sangria on your sun lounger, you’ll find a stunning hinterland that’s home to breathtaking rural landscapes and picture-perfect Pueblos Blancos – the traditional white-washed villages that spill down from the Costa del Sol’s rugged hillsides.
Perhaps the region’s most famous of the Pueblos Blancos is historic Ronda, one of the oldest towns in all of Spain. Spectacularly situated on a mountaintop amidst the majestic high peaks of the nearby Sierras, the town is divided in two by the Tajo Canyon and its two halves are connected by the famous Puente Nuevo. Said to be the writer Ernest Hemingway’s favourite city in Spain, Ronda is home to stunning views, a long and fascinating history, and a beautiful medieval old town. A classic day trip that’s easily accessible from the coast, Ronda should certainly be high on your Costa del Sol itinerary.
Another place that’s certainly worth a visit is Antequera. Walking through this historically and culturally rich city, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Known as the ‘Crossroads of Andalusia’, Antequera is home to over fifty monuments and archaeological sites, perhaps the most notable of which is La Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor – the city’s most emblematic religious building.
Lace up your hiking boots
Easily accessible for day trips from your beach resort, the Costa del Sol’s hiking routes are nothing short of spectacular. With walking routes and footpaths suitable for all abilities, this is the perfect way to explore the area’s incredible biodiversity. One of the most unmissable routes in the region is certainly the Caminito del Rey – The King’s Path. A high walkway clinging to the sheer rock walls of the El Chorro Gorge and suspended 100 metres above the turquoise waters of the Guadalhorce River, this historic and remarkable cliffside path is often dubbed as ‘the scariest path in the world.’
A premier golf destination, the Costa del Sol ticks all of the boxes for an unforgettable golfing holiday. Home to over 70 golf courses, golf lovers will be in their element here. You’ll find the majority of the courses in Marbella, Estepona, Mijas and Benahavís, although there are a number of prestigious courses dotted throughout the region.