Costa del Sol – a road trip to remember
The Costa del Sol is a classic British holiday destination but a road trip allows you to explore much more of this beautiful coastline.
From Malaga to Estepona, it is a gorgeous driving route hugging the Mediterranean Sea and visiting all types of Spanish life. From the tourist hotspots of Torremolinos, the playground of the rich and famous in Marbella to quiet ambience of El Faro, the Costa del Sol is there to be discovered. With just an hour between Malaga and Marbella, it makes the region ideal for a driving holiday.
Touch down at Malaga Airport and you can begin your leisurely drive across the Costa del Sol. Among the largest cities in Andalucia and capital of its namesake province, Malaga has a wonderful blend of culture, architecture and leisure. On one hand you have the city’s historic centre and on the other you have the beautiful coastline it shares with the rest of the region.
Famously the birthplace of renowned artist Pablo Picasso, Malaga is somewhere that would not look out of place in the most elegant of masterpieces. It is characterised by some magnificent structures including Malaga Cathedral which stands tall in the centre of the city.
It pays homage to its favourite son with the Picasso Museum, where some of the artist’s finest works are displayed. At just €8, it is well worth taking a moment to explore the paintings and creations which put Malaga on the map. Take a trip up to Alcazaba, a Moorish castle dating back to the 11th century and one of the best-preserved of its kind in all of Spain.
With a couple of days to spare in Malaga, hit the beach with La Malagueta being the closest to the city centre. While there are smaller, quieter beaches along the shore, this is a perfect place to relax and watch the world go by.
Picture moment: Grab a snap of the magnificent of Alcazaba.
Driving from Malaga to Benalmadena: Take the MA-20 from Paseo Parque. This will become the MA-21 as it passes the airport before taking the N-340 into Benalmadena.
A short drive away from the family-friendly hotspot of Torremolinos is the town of Benalmadena. Often overlooked in favour of both Torremolinos and nearby Fuengirola, it is place with a lovely charm and feel to it.
Characterised by a huge harbour, where you can watch the yachts come into dock while you sit in one of the bars and restaurants dotted around. Benalmadena is made of three parts – Benalmadena Pueblo, Arroyo de la Miel and Benalmadena Costa, the latter is where you will find long stretches of sunny beaches and a vibrant nightlife.
Moving away from the coast and into Benalmadena Pueblo you will find an authentic side to the region. This quintessential Spanish town is filled with Andalusian townhouse, cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, a great place to escape the hubbub of the marina.
Picture moment: The quiet ambience of Benalmadena Pueblo.
Driving from Benalmadena to Fuengirola: Leaving Benalmadena, head for the AP-7 following the signs for Fuengirola. Exit towards Fuengirola/Mijas from the A-7 taking the third exit at the roundabout onto Av. Alcalde before reaching Carretera de Mijas into the town.
Around a 20 minutes drive from Benalmadena is a prime example of the Costa del Sol’s prosperity in recent years. Fuengirola was once a humble village, but now the influx of tourists has made it a major destination for holidaymakers. A couple days here will let you recharge the batteries before setting off once again.
Fuengirola is renowned for its beaches with eight kilometres of sandy shores hugging the coastline, but there is much more to this town than meets the eye. Take a trip up to Castillo Sohail, a Moorish castle built in 956 AD by Abd-ar-Rahman III, designed to shore up Spain’s coastal defence. It provides magnificent views over the coastline.
If you are looking for a more traditional side of Fuengirola then head to the Los Boliches area, built around the town’s old fishing port. Here you will find a much more relaxed atmosphere with numerous quaint cottages, authentic bodegas and the unmistakably Spanish narrow streets.
Picture moment: The view from the top of Casillo Sohail.
Driving from Fuengirola to El Faro: Head out of Fuengirola re-joining the A-7 heading towards Marbella/Torremolinos. Continue for 5.4 kilometres and take the exit toward El Faro/Cambio de Sentido.
Just ten minutes away from the liveliness of Fuengirola is the much more laid back town of El Faro. Characterised by its iconic lighthouse, from which it is named after, this part of the Costa del Sol offers some unrivalled views.
Here is much, much quieter than neighbours Torremolinos and Fuengirola and great for a night or two. An idyllic and charming beach is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike which there a couple of nice restaurants along the way for you to sit and people watch. A beautiful place to just simply relax.
Picture moment: Catch a snapshot of the bay from the beach.
Driving from El Faro to Marbella: Head back on the A-7 heading for Av. Severo Ochoa in Marbella. Take exit 184 and follow Av. Severo Ochoa and Calle Malaga to Av. de Nabeul into Marbella.
The final stop on this tour of the Costa del Sol is a haven for the rich and famous – Marbella. Anyone who is anyone spends their summers in this corner of Andalucia, living it up in the exclusive bars and clubs that populate this town. However, there is a different side to Marbella that has to be discovered.
Head to the Old Town, a place which can trace its history back to 1600 BC, to find the famous Orange Square. Dating back to 1485, this part of Marbella has blossomed into one of the most popular areas with a wealth of restaurants and bars. Sample some authentic Andalucian meats and cheese as you watch the sun go down. The perfect end to a perfect holiday.
Picture moment: Admire the beauty of Marbella’s Old Town.
A road trip is one of the best ways of seeing the Costa del Sol in all of its glory.
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