Whether you are over here house hunting or you have already secured your dream holiday home, take a look at our top 10 things to do on the Costa del Sol when you are here.

1. Visit Malaga

Most people only ever associate Malaga with the airport. They fly in and head down the coast. Don’t forget about Malaga on your trip. If you do, you will be  missing an absolute treat and most people don’t realise the absolute gem that Malaga is. It has history, culture, a charming old town, a vibrant port area, beaches, five-star hotels, roof top bars, amazing tapas bars and restaurants… and the list goes on.

In the centre of town there is a Christian Castle, a Moorish Alcazaba and a Roman Amphitheatre. There is a labyrinth of tiny streets that are buzzing with restaurants, bars and shops. Malaga also has a huge Cathedral.

Did you know Picasso was born in Malaga? You can visit Picasso’s birthplace and the Picasso Museum right in the centre of town.

There is a clean and reliable train service that runs from Fuengirola to Malaga Centro from early in the morning until 11.30pm and it takes just 40 minutes.

The route between the port and the town centre is beautifully lined with trees and plants and flowers, and this is where you will find the Christmas market and food stalls during the many food festivals.

Malaga also has a thriving arts scene, with ballet, theatre and opera all hosting events regularly in the city.

Another ‘must visit’ is the huge Atarazanas market. The building is stunning and it is fascinating to walk around the different sections – meat, fish, vegetables, olives, bread. And around the outside, you can stop for a quick tapas and glass of cava.

2. The Costa del Sol’s Whitewashed Villages

Mijas Pueblo, Marbella old town, Casares and Benahavis are the whitewashed villages of the region and are wonderful places to add to your holiday schedule.

Mijas Pueblo is in the hills above Fuengirola, though it is still only 20 minutes from the beach. Right at the top of the hill you will find a path that circles around the church and gardens with amazing views over the coast. There are benches and musicians often set up and play. It is a great place to take a bottle of wine and a picnic and enjoy the spectacular vistas.

You have to visit the cave church – it is unique. Mijas also has its own bullring, an outdoor theatre, chocolate factory and an abundance of fantastic tapas bars and restaurants. Mijas is also famous for its colourful pottery and top quality leather products – though make sure you barter to get the price down. Mijas was hit hard by the pandemic, so pop up and visit and see all it has to offer. You will be welcomed with open arms.

Benahavis is the most mountainous village on the western coast. It is a beautiful 7km drive up the mountain. Did you know there are more bars and restaurants in Benahavis per square metre than any other town on coast? It is known as the ‘Dining Room of the Costa del Sol’. Benahavis is not just a village, but a small region of the Costa del Sol. Every twist and turn driving through Benahavis has wonderful mountain, nature and or sea views. 20 of the regions 70 golf courses are in the Benahavis area.

In the summer, there is a special river walk through the Rio Guadalmina, which is an amazing experience and the perfect way to cool down from the intense heat.

Casares is a picture postcard village in the hills on the route heading towards Gibraltar and after Estepona. It is nine miles up from the coast and is largely untouched by tourism. It has a labyrinth of colourful streets and an Arabic cast right at the top of the mountain. The village was built by Julius Cesar because the sulphur and alkaline rich waters helped a skin infection that he had suffered with since a child. Cesar also constructed a lavish villa in the village, which is considered a major historical landmark to this day.

Marbella old town is just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. It is network of up and down and twisting and turning tiny streets. There are bars, restaurants and beautiful shops with every turn. There are several plazas, where you can sit and watch the world go bar and enjoy some amazing Spanish food and drink. The most famous is probably Plaza de los Naranjos, which dates back to 1485 and is definitely worth a visit. You also have the stunning Iglesia de la Encarnación which seems to watch over the town. It was built in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Marbella old town is brimming with history and character. Don’t miss it!

3. Golf

The Costa del Sol is renowned as the Costa del Golf. It has 70 different courses along the coast – from Marbella all the way down as far as Gibraltar.

Some of the best golf clubs in Marbella include. Los Naranjos Golf Club. Marbella Club Golf Resort, La Quinta Golf and Country Club and Cabopino Golf Marbella.

You can find them all here: https://www.golfinspain.com/eng/golf-map/costa-del-sol/courses.html

4. Walk the Golden Mile

When you walk along the esplanade and past the marina in Marbella, you eventually leave the paved path and start walking on golden coloured gravel trail – the start of The Golden Mile. It is actually a lot longer than a mile. On one side you have beautiful beaches with the aqua blue Med lapping on the shores. One the otherside, you can take a peak at some of the most expensive properties in the world.

Eventually you will come to a jetty. In the summer, many people jump off and swim. But take a walk to the end, turn around and look back at the amazing views down the coast and of the impressive La Concha mountain in the background. It is stunning.

A little bit further and you will come to the famous Puente Romano hotel and resort. It is its own little whitewashed village, surrounded by gardens and waterfalls. It is definitely worth a look around, but only take a seat for drinks if you are not on a tight budget.

5. Water Parks

If you have kids, then the two big water parks in the area will be a ‘must visit’ during the summer months. There are two popular water parks just – one just outside Fuengirola called AquaMijas and one in Torremolinos called Aqualand. The water parks are usually open from April through to September.

6. BIOPARC Fuengirola

This is a beautifully designed boutique zoo in the centre of Fuengirola. The BIOPARC has recreated tropical rainforests from across the world. There are hundreds of different animals, including flamingos, a tiger, a leopard, chimpanzees, meerkats, orangutans and gorillas. It is open all the way through to 10pm in the summer. https://www.bioparcfuengirola.es/

7. Skiing

Did you know you could be skiing in the morning and on the beach in the afternoon? The Sierra Nevada is just 90 minutes away from the Costa del Sol and the chance to indulge in some winter sports. The chairlift takes you up to 3,000 metres and there’s more than 100km of skiing available to you.

In the summer, the area is perfect for hiking and cycling. The lifts are open in July and August so you can easily reach the highest peaks. You can find out more about skiing and summer season in the Sierra Nevada here - https://sierranevada.es/.

8. Ronda

Ronda is a fantastic day trip or even somewhere to go and stay for a couple of days. It is veiled in history and you will find historic building with every step you take.

The Puento Nuevo is probably Ronda’s most famous landmark. It is the bridge that you see on all of the marketing materials. It connects the old town with the new town. It took 42 years to build and was completed in 1793.

Ronda’s bull ring, built in 1785, is the oldest in the country and where Spanish bullfighting was born. You can visit the arena and the museum there.

Mondragon’s palace was built in 1314 and was a King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella’s residence. It now houses the city’s museum and boasts stunning palace gardens.

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent is supposed to be one of the most beautiful squares in the city. The city also has Arab baths, which are in excellent condition. If you like wine, Ronda is on the official Andalusian Wine Route, with 20 wineries registered. Look out for Ronda wines in the supermarkets and in bars and restaurants along the coast.

9. Day Trips

You can take a day trip to Gibraltar from the Costa del Sol. It is about an hour from Marbella. Just don’t forget to take your passport. But, we think, if you are heading that way, don’t go to mini-England, why not head a bit further along to the stunning coastal town of Tarifa?

This charming historic walled town is where the Atlantic meets the Med. The beaches are vast. The sunsets are spectacular. Walks around the town are beautiful and fascinating. The bars and restaurants and cafes are cosy and welcoming. You might very well spot dolphins and whales.

It is a hot spot for surfers and kite surfers. If you are not partaking in the water sports, then don’t forget your jacket as it can get pretty windy.

Take a trip there for a couple of days and soak up a completely different vibe.

10. Ports and marinas

The Costa del Sol has some fantastic ports and marinas to explore. Here are are a few that are worth a visit…

  • Malaga port is a mix of shops, markets, bars, restaurants, luxury boats and cruise liners. A great place for people watching and just watching the world go by.
  • Benalmadena Port has won awards for its architecture. It is a labyrinth of water channels weaving in among bars, restaurant, hotels and apartments.
  • Cabopino Port has a host of bars and restaurants to choose from. On the beach side, there are a couple of fantastic live music venues, including Andy’s Bar. It is not an English bar. It is actually run by South Americans. Great spot to sit, relax and enjoy the wild beaches of Cabopino. It is also a good place to start a walk along the wild beaches. You could walk to Elviria, Marbella or all the way to Puerto Banus along the spectacular beaches.
  • Everyone knows the iconic Puerto Banus. If you like fast cars, designer labels and luxury boats, then this is definitely worth a visit.
  • Estepona marina is relative new and is a great social sport. There is a wonderful walk from the marina into Estepona town centre.
  • Duquesa Port is another very social spot. A great place to explore and is flanked by some wonderful wild beaches.