Are you thinking of a holiday on the Costa del Sol? You are probably looking forward to long warm days lounging by the beach and the pool, evening meals out and nights on the town in your resort. But there is so much more to the Costa del Sol than you might imagine. How about breaking up that lazy fortnight with a few days out and about? See what you think about these suggestions?

Ronda

Just an hour from the coast in a mountainous region of Spain lies the beautiful, historic city of Ronda. This unique city is in two parts, perched at the top of cliffs that are separated by a huge gorge – a must-see town that seems to transport you back in time. How about taking in the sights by horse and cart?

ronda

Your guide will take you to…

  • The Plaza de Toros – the oldest and one of the most beautiful bullrings in the world

  • The breathtaking El Tajo Gorge

  • The spectacular Roman Bridge, known as the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). Look down and you will see the old Roman bridge below

  • Ronda’s two museums

After touring, why not head for a nice meal or tapas…Ronda is well known for its range of fine restaurants and tapas bars.

Wherever you are staying on the Costa, you will find coach tours to Ronda are available. If you have a hire car, it is very easy to find, inland from Marbella. The journey itself, up a winding mountain road is spectacular in itself.

Malaga City

Having visited Malaga several times, it always surprises me that it is not more recognised as a tourist destination – at least that seems to be the case among British tourists. Malaga is a beautiful city, full of interesting historical buildings, wide boulevards paved in marble and a wonderful shopping centre. A great way to take in the sights is on the bus tour which takes place on a red, double decker London bus. This is a ‘hop-on-hop-off’ tour so when you see something that interests you, just jump off for a closer look. There are 14 stops throughout the city and a commentary is provided throughout.

Malaga-ayuntamiento

Are you pretty fit? If buses aren’t your thing, why not take the Malaga Bike Tour? Bikes are provided, as is a guide who will show you the sights at a nice, leisurely place. This tour can take you down the little back streets and plazas that other tours miss. This is a unique way to really get a feel for this great town. Don’t miss…

  • The Picasso Museum (Malaga is Picasso’s birthplace)

  • The Alcazaba – a spectacular fortress

  • Malaga Cathedral – the huge vaulted ceiling is truly amazing. The cathedral took 250 years to build.

  • The Castillo de Gibralfaro – a castle that overlooks the city, featuring breathtaking panoramic views

  • Malaga Park – a sea of tranquillity in a busy city.

Gibraltar

There are dozens of companies on the coast running tours to Gibraltar or you could drive there from Malaga in about 90 minutes. Gibraltar is a little piece of home, right here in the sun. As soon as you cross the border the ‘Britishness’ of the place hits you – from the old-style red phone boxes to British Bobbies. There is also a lively shopping centre featuring many shops that are familiar on the British high street. Gibraltarians are very welcoming to tourists. If you do get to visit Gibraltar, you will want to see…

  • A dolphin spotting boat ride – You are highly likely to see hundreds of dolphins though this is not 100% guaranteed

  • St Michaels Cave – a magnificent natural phenomena

  • The Great Siege Tunnels – Tunnels hewn from solid rock, cannons and a history lesson on the 300 years of British Gibraltar

  • Cable Car to Upper Rock Nature Reserve –visit the home of the famous apes

  • Ocean Village – Bars, restaurants and shopping right on the port side

  • Gibraltar Casino – open early till late, free entry – but be careful, as this is an easy way to become separated from your money.

  • Europa Point – fantastic views across the Gibraltar Straits to Africa

Don’t forget your passport!

Tangier, Morocco

OK, it’s not on Costa del Sol, it’s in Spain and it’s not even in Europe! But Africa is so close, so why not grab the opportunity to get over there and take a look. In many ways it is like another world!

Algeciras is the Spanish port across the bay from Gibraltar and is about one-and-a-half hours from Malaga by car or coach. Then you have the choice of a standard ferry crossing of 90 minutes or a fast 30 minute ferry to cross the Straits to Tangier, a busy and bustling Moroccan port. It is a good idea but not essential, to get yourself a tour guide…there are many available. If you booked a package trip including the bus and ferry, one may be included in the price. Your guide will show you around and keep you from being pestered too much.

There is so much to see and do that a day trip might not be enough. Here are some suggestions:

  • The Grand Socco – the entrance to the medina

  • The Medina

  • The Kazbah – the highest point in the city

  • The Old Spanish Church

  • Mohammed Drissi Gallery of Contemporary Art

  • The Souk – the chance to haggle for a bargain. Be strong but remember it is just their way of earning a living

Wherever you visit and whatever you do during your stay on the Costa del Sol, enjoy your stay!

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the travel industry working alongside local companies like Penguin Car Hire – who offer great rates for Malaga Airport travel.