The Costa del Sol is an ideal destination all year round. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It caters for all ages with a wide range of attractions and facilities so there is something for all the family and everyone to enjoy.
We travelled to Malaga airport. From here we got a taxi to Torremolinos that cost 20 euros. As we were only staying for three days we decided Torremolinos was close to the airport but yet away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is just a short train ride costing approximately 5 euro per person. In January it is a quieter time to explore this top holiday destination along the coast.
The weather in the Winter season mostly has clear blue skies with the evenings being a little chilly making it a great time to visit for walking and hiking ect. There is so much to see and do with transport from Malaga airport easily accessible. The train from Malaga travels as far as Fuengirola with stops along the way at a lot of popular holiday destinations eg. Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola.
Malaga city on the southern coast is considered the capital of the province of Malaga on the Costa del Sol with a population of 600,000. It has a lot of history from museums, cathedrals, markets and beaches overlooked by Castillo de Gibralfaro, a castle overlooking the city.
Castillo de Gibralfaro – Malaga
The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro, dating back to the 14th century is standing tall on part of the Montes de Malaga mountain range overlooking Malaga city. It is one of the most visited monuments in Malaga. Today the outer walls can be seen and you can walk around the whole perimeter with views that must be seen. You can also visit the Interpretation Centre to discover the sites history.
There is a cafe and toilets upon entry however the the cafe was not open when we visited as it was off peak season, so remember to take a bottle of water especially if you are taking the zig zag steps that lead up to the entrance.
There is a lot of woodland surrounding the castle walls inside and out. If you are lucky you might even see a squirrel as they jump playfully from tree to tree. We were also watched by some seagulls and birds that perched on the high walls as we were walking through.
Autumn or Winter season is a good time to visit Castillo de Gibralfaro as there is a steep climb to the top. This can be more difficult in the Summer heat. Alternatively you can travel to the top of the hill on a bus, either way it is worth it as the views are spectacular from the top of the castle walls!
Alcazaba – Malaga
The Alcazaba is a medieval moorish palace with sea views located close to Castillo de Gibralfaro. It was built in the 11th century and is the best preserved Alcazaba in Spain. It is one of Malaga’s most important landmarks.
In times of reconquest it was one of the safest residences for Catholic kings because it was protected by three walls. Castillo de Gibralfaro was joined with walled paths. The horseshoe arches, fountains and courtyards are an example of Malaga’s interesting history.
The Archaeological Museum and the Ceramics Museum are located in Cuarto de Granadas. This is the centre part of the upper area where the kings and governors lived. Here you will see many ceramics dating back to the 11th – 14th centuries and the archaeologists work.
A combined ticket can be purchased for both the Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro. It is worth noting that they are visited separately as they are not connected at the top. The address for the Alcazaba is – Calle Alcazabilla, s/n. 29015 Málaga.
Picasso Museum Malaga
The Picasso Museum in Malaga is devoted to one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century in the city where Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born. It opened its doors in 2003 in the Palace of Condes de Buenvista, a National Monument from the XVI century. Picasso’s family members have donated and loaned approximately 285 of his works.
Port of Malaga
The port of Malaga is an international seaport located on the city’s Mediterranean coast. We did not visit on this trip but we see it from the viewing point about halfway to the top of Castello de Gibralfaro. It is the oldest continuously operated port in Spain and also the oldest along the Mediterranean. From a distance we see a cruise ship. A fishing fleet also operates from the port.
The Cathedral of Malaga in a Roman Catholic Church in the city. It is located near the Alcazaba and the Castle of Gibralfaro. Its interior is also of a Renaissance style. It has two aisles and the choir stalls are the work of Pedro de Mena. The north tower stands at 276 feet high making it the second tallest cathedral in Andalusia.
Roman Theatre – Malaga
The Roman Theatre in Malaga is the oldest monument in the city. It was built in the first century BC. It was used until the third century AD. Over time the ruins were buried under dirt and lay undiscovered until 1951 as gardens were being constructed. After that construction was abandoned and the site was excavated which also involved demolishing Casa de la Cultura as it stood on a third of the site. Now it also has a visitors centre where you can learn the history and get any information you need. Again it is visible from Castello de Gibralfaro.
Hammam – Malaga
Connect to your inner nature in Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga. The ancient Arab baths in Malaga lets you experience the water journey, massages and rituals with a Hammam experience.
The water, light, aromas sounds and silence provides the necessary state of calm in order to re connect with who we are. The Winter service is just one of the Hammam spaces provided, it changes with each season.
The 90 minute session allows you to step into the warm, cold and hot baths and enjoy the relaxing purifying steam room. You can also enjoy a delicious mint tea in the lounge while listening to relaxing Andalusian music in peace.
Massages are available in 15 or 30 minute sessions. Aromatic essential oils are used that you can choose what is best suited to yourself.
Sea Life Benalmádena
In the centre of Benalmádena’s port Puerto Marina you will find Sea Life aquarium. There are many colourful fish, sea horses, jellyfish, eels and sea turtles. There are also sharks and two adorable sea otters named Maya and Oscar. You can also get your hands wet if you want to touch starfish among other sea creatures. The shark feeding times are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 12.30pm.
There are a few methods of transport to visit Sea Life. A short walk down hill from the El Pinillo train stop takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the port. Follow the N340 road. There is a bus available that operates every 15 minutes. The bus stop is Benalmar. If you would prefer to travel by taxi they are plentiful also.
It is an unforgettable experience for all the family. Booking online often works out cheaper. It also gives you a chance to plan in advance what day you visit, to catch one of the talks the aquarium offers.
Bioparc – Fuengirola
Bioparc Fuengirola was created in 2001 to protect endangered wildlife and is home to over 200 species that live in 4 different habitats. These are Madagascar, Equatorial Africa, Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific. The baobab tree in the park is one of the largest artificial trees in the world standing at 25 metres tall. Bioparc received an award acknowledging the marvellous reproduction of the enclosure known as ‘The Mangrove’ that includes an underwater view. It is home to fish, birds and an endangered turtle species. It is one of the world’s top conservation parks.
As you walk through the tropical forest with its lush vegetation, waterfalls and rivers you will see a lot of wildlife in their natural habitat including Gorillas, Orangutans, Tigers, Malayan Tapirs and Lemurs playing in the trees. On the forest floor you will see river hogs, giant snails and meerkats. In the ‘Claro de Selva’ you can see mammals and birds in their natural environment. There are two tours daily.
Throughout the months of July and August there is an option to go on a ‘moonlight visit’. During this later visit you can observe the nocturnally active species such as porcupines, leopards and flying foxes. The paths are lit with artificial moonlight and the air is filled with music from a forest soundtrack adding to the Disney theme. During the ‘moonlight visit’ the park is open until 1am.
Kids can have extra fun in Bioparc in the large play area that includes a miniature farm. There is no problem for visitors with disabilities as the park is mostly flat.
Sohail Castle – Fuengirola
Sohail castle sits on a hilltop overlooking Fuengirola and towering 38 metres over a river. There are centuries of history behind the walls. Originally build in AD 945 It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times and it still remains a symbol for the city of Fuengirola. It was renovated in the year 2000 turning it into a tourist attraction. There is a museum to visit and it often hosts festivals and concerts during the Summer.
Buses from Benalmadena run every 30 minutes. Catch one of the red urban buses that runs to the Miramar Shopping centre and after that Sohail castle is just a 5 minute walk along the river bank. Check the opening hours when you are planning your trip as they vary throughout the year.
Sould Park – Fuengirola
Sould Park is a mini amusement park located in Fuengirola next to the marina. There is rides suitable for kids up to 10 years of age. The theme is of a desert island and a jungle with inflatable slides, trampolines, carousels, bouncy castles and a small Ferris wheel.
Access fee to the park works through a top up card. The card is free and you can top up as little or as much as you want. The rides are approximately 3 euros each.
There is a little cafe on site for refreshments to relax and have a rest in the outdoor seating area.
Fuengirola Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Train
The Hop-on Hop-off tour train is always a great way to explore and see a new city. There is one available in Fuengirola that will take you on the city tour train route. Some of the sights include Sohail Castle, Los Boliches, the sea front and city centre.
Aqualand – Torremolinos
One of the most popular family activities in the hot Summer months is water parks, so it is worth mentioning Aqualand In Torremolinos. It is the biggest water park in the area. With lots of slides, rapids and a surf area with a wave machine. It also has an 18-hole mini golf course.
Aqualand has a relaxing and inviting atmosphere with a special picnic area that can be rented for 4 euro for the day. You are allowed bring you own food and snacks into the waterpark but no glass is allowed for safety reasons.
From the train station Aqualand is just a 15 minute walk away so it is easily accessible. If you are travelling by car there is free parking. The address for your google maps is C/Cuba, n. 10, 29620 Torremolinos.
Costa Water Park
Is a trip to the Costa del Sol ever complete without visiting the beach?! Costa Water Park is an inflatable park on the sea front. With 6 locations along the coast, 3 of them are in Fuengirola. There is 1 available in Benalmádena, 1 in Elviria, 1 in Puerto Banus and 1 in San Pedro de Alcantara.
It is suitable for the whole family. Life jackets are provided. Open in the peak season months of June to September from 11am – 8pm and kept jelly fish free with under water nets where necessary.
Tickets are available on the beach or alternatively you can visit their website costawaterpark.com. There are discounts of up to 10% available for groups.
Tours From Malaga, Torremolinous, Fuengirola
Caminito del Rey – From Malaga
El Caminito del Ray translated The King’s Little Path is a steep walkway along the walls of gorge in El Chorro near Ardales in Malaga on the costa del sol in Spain. It was built in 1901 and was finished in 1905. After falling into disrepair over the years it was partially closed for over a decade. After approximately four years of renovations the walk way reopened in March 2015.
Originally the path was used for the transportation of materials for the workers of the hydroelectric power plants between Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo. It also helped facilitate the inspection and maintenance of the channel. It was constructed of concrete and rested on steel rails.
On a hike to Caminito del Ray you will enjoy nature, fresh air and some amazing views. It is approximately 1 hour drive from Malaga city. A guided tour with tapas is available where you can listen and learn the history of Caminito del Ray. Alternatively a private option is available so you can travel at your own pace. Routes are 7.7 km and 10 km long stretching between two gorges canyons and a large valley. It is not suitable for children under 8 years of age.
Jerez de la Frontera – From Malaga or Torremolinos
A great way to see the famous southern Andalusian city of Jerez de la Frontera is a full day tour. The city is best known for its Flamenco music, sherry/brandy production and considered the capital of Andalucian horse culture. It is also home to the Spanish Motorcycle Gran Prix.
Marbella – Tour Of The Old Town
The old town of Marbella is full of character. It is filled with charming white buildings, flowers and narrow cobbled streets preserved over time and keeping their originality in a popular busy tourist town. There is a lot of cultural and vast historical heritage to be discovered.
Alhambra Granada – Tour from Malaga
Alhambra palace and fortress is located in Granada and one of the top sights to see when visiting Andalusia.. It is one of the most exotic places to discover in Europe. The Nasrid palaces are formed by three buildings, The Mexuar, The Palace of Comares and The palace of Lions. It is UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tangier – By Ferry
Staying in the Costa del Sol and fancy a trip to Tangier? What better way to see the exotic sights of the Kasbah and stalls of the Bazaar than travelling to Tangier by ferry. Pick up and drop off available to your hotel.
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