Spain’s southern coast, the Costa del Sol, also know as the Spanish Riviera, is a fun, sunny and historical place to visit. This area spans from Malaga to Gibraltar (yes, that huge rock!). It has kept to its Spanish roots, and because it is not the fanciest of places, (there are not an obscene number of resorts), the Costa del Sol is a place to visit, stay warm, relax and explore.
Malaga, is one of the places on the Costa del Sol that does have resorts, but it is still very traditional. Malaga is a great place to start your tour of the Costa del Sol because you can get there easily by car, train or plane, and it has plenty of places to stay, visit, wander and enjoy.
How to Get To Malaga
From any of the major cities, like Madrid or Barcelona, you can fly into the international Pablo Ruiz Picasso Airport in Malaga. You can also take a train from these cities as well into the train station in Malaga, Explanada de la Estacion (they even have high speed rail).
Where to Stay
Hotel Don Curro
This is the hotel my friend and I stayed in. We chose it because we were young, had never been to Malaga and wanted something that was centrally located. We booked it online and lucked out. This was a great place to stay. Close to the Mediterranean and local attractions, there was so much to do. The rooms were clean and fresh and the amenities aplenty – car park (we rented a car because we were going to drive all over the Costa del Sol after while staying in Malaga), air conditioning, a bar and restaurant, room service and so much more.
Room Mate Lola
Also close to the sea, friends stayed at this hotel and enjoyed it very much. Close to the port, the Picasso Museum, the Roman Theater and more, this hotel is also in a great location. With babysitting services on request, reservations by request, an indoor private garage and more, this hotel can handle all your needs. With rooms as low $104 a night (for a standard room) the price is very reasonable.
What to Do
Malaga is sort of a starting point for the Costa Del Sol since it is where you arrive. Check out the sites, old historical buildings and churches, then rent a car or take a taxi or bus and explore the coastal towns. I have listed just a few of our favorites (because there were so many things we enjoyed), but there are plenty of cute villages and sea towns to check out, shop for inexpensive gifts, sit on great beaches and eat great food.
Teatro Romano de Malaga
This Roman theater, part of the Alcazaba, was a site to see. It had been underground and hidden for many years. Take a guided tour through this old Roman, architecturally ancient theater. Admission is free, and they are closed on Mondays.
Cathedrals are gorgeous in Europe, and this is one of them. Built between the 16th and 18th centuries, there are Arabic and Roman influences.
Nerja used to be a fishing town, but the village, now a resort town on the sea, still keeps it’s old world charm. After the beach, we went to Cueva de Nerja, the caves. The caves were discovered not long ago in 1959 and are a big tourist attraction, but worth seeing. Since we’d rented a car, it was only a 30 mile drive from Malaga.
Also about a 30 mile drive from Malaga, you can also take a bus from the airport in Malaga to Marbella for about 4 Euros or about $5.50 US currency. A little more ritzy then some of it’s neighbors, Marbella attracts Hollywood stars and wealthy CEO’s. The beach is beautiful and worth checking out is the Renaissance style Orange Square, or La Plaza de los Naranjos.
Where To Eat
They eat a lot of seafood in Spain, so if that is something you love, you will not be disappointed. Also try tapas.
El Gato Con Botas Santiago, 6 Malaga Spain
This restaurant is near the Picasso museum and serves some of the most delicious and traditional Spanish tapas – which are delicious finger foods of all varieties.
Parador de Malaga
We chose this because of it’s view.It is the side of a mountain overlooking Malaga. It is government owned, however, the presentation and decoration are great. The food is okay, but ask for their specialties because those are very good.
Cortijo Hidalgo – in Nerja
We stayed late and had dinner in Nerja, and we were glad we did. Someone had recommended it to us, and warned us that there is no menu or wine list. We just went in, they asked what we liked and from that they made what they thought we would eat. And we did. A great find.