There are hundreds of sights, activities and fun things to keep everyone happy on the Costa del Sol. We’ve picked out 10 ideas for starters… and no matter how many times you return, you’ll discover many more with new attractions appearing all the time.
1.Costa del Sol Equestrian Tour – Hipódromo Costa del Sol
Just 7 minutes from Select Marina Park, great horses and famous riders from the show jumping world are taking the opportunity for an intensive workout against the backdrop of the Mijas countryside.
From the 7th February, top riders from the UK – John Whitaker and Peter Charles – and France´s Michel Hecart will compete against riders from 30 different countries. The “green season” runs from 7th-26th February with the rest of the tour continuing from 7th – 26th March. The Autumn Cup returns in October and November with more fantastic show jumping on offer.
Sundays are the grand finale of each week´s meeting and with €600,000 of prize money to be won, the competition is sure to be fierce. With the chance to see international horses and riders, from the experienced to those training future medallists, why not lend your support at Hipódromo Costa del Sol.
It’s virtually on our doorstep: a short bus ride or turn left at the beach and keep walking. As the name suggests it’s FUN. If you love to stroll the prom, streets and thoroughfares of a lively tourist town, with interesting shops, international bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as enjoy authentic Spanish experiences – it’s for you. Explore the lanes radiating from the church dominated main square.
The town loves foreign visitors and visiting Spanish families adore Fuengirola. Everyone mingles in trendy tapas bars, joined recently by a gourmet marketplace! The best are located by the post office building, a few steps back from the sea.
3. Mijas Pueblo
Is a pretty, inland mountain village with sweeping views across the coast. Mijas (pronounced Mee-has) is a tourist magnet but retains a strongly traditional Spanish feel. Expect beautiful whitewashed houses and cobbled streets, with many bars, restaurants and shops, and a collection of museums recording village life, bullfighting, an amazing collection of miniatures, wine and chocolate making and, a more recent addition, a modern art centre dedicated to Picasso.
Religious sites include two 18th century chapels and several shrines. Many festivities are held throughout the year with Easter processions moving and magnificent.
Marbella is altogether different. Think celebs, luxury lifestyle, swanky nightclubs, champagne fuelled beach clubs and shopping… all go to create ‘Marbs’! Marbella’s walled Old Town and Orange Square come as a surprise: a maze of lanes with whitewashed buildings, churches, open air cafes and original shops. Walk the Avenida del Mar to the beach and admire/touch Dali sculptures. Neighbouring marina Puerto Banus is where stars and millionaires’ yachts are found; it also hosts a hugely popular Saturday market of antiques, clothes, arts and crafts. Ogle expensive international designer boutiques, top range cars and mega yachts; don’t worry, you’ll also find plenty of affordable style and souvenirs.
Been there, ‘dune’ this? Attractive Cabopino, roughly midway between Select Marina Park and Marbella, has a stylish marina with good restaurants, an ancient watchtower, an excellent family beach with Andy’s famous ‘chiringuito’ – and conserved dunes dotted with pine trees.
All the ingredients for a great day at the beach!
Both landscape and weather favour Sports on land and water. Long known as: ‘Costa del Golf’, this is a leading European golf destination with more than 70 courses and all level of challenges, complemented by fabulous country, mountain and sea views.
For something faster paced and adrenaline fuelled, roar across the ocean piloting a motorboat or jet ski, join a canyoning or canoeing expedition, go scuba diving, flyboarding, deep sea fishing or get active on a quad safari, horse riding, hiking, biking, tennis, sailing, surfing or windsurfing. Prefer to take it easier? How about a boat excursion, or whale and dolphin spotting expedition.
7. Selwo Aventura
On the subject of animals… Selwo Aventura is well worth the ride out to Estepona for a real safari style adventure. You can trek the park (wear comfy shoes) and brave the hanging bridges if you dare, to visit several zoned areas. But the highlight is taking the all terrain vehicle, with a guide, for the Serengeti Safari.
This allows you to get up close to many species of the African wild and actually feed giraffes, zebras, hippos and rhino. Eat a picnic in the Central Village, with its food outlets, overlooking the lion enclosure… Other thrills include a 116 metre lake crossing zip wire, high jumping Kuruka trampolines, and camel rides.
8. Mijas Aqua Park
Another memorable family day out is nearby Mijas Aqua Park. Exciting slides and attractions include Kamikaze, New Divedragon, Labyrinth and Wild River, a wave pool, kiddie play areas, mini golf and live entertainment.
With water, water everywhere, you may like to splash out and get drenched for a really special day that everyone can take part in (open April to October). Of course, you could just watch the youngsters while rocking yourself in a hammock, or gently relaxing in the Jacuzzi. There’s a picnic area and a restaurant.
9. Food & Drink
Spanish food bursts with character and flavour. Not the pie’n’mash territory that some folk believe, the Costa del Sol is dining out heaven. If you hanker for Brit foods you’ll find them, also Italian, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Chinese etc. Spanish eateries reign though, from bars serving tasty tapas (light bites) to upscale dining from award winning chefs, and cafés, beach chiringuitos and roadside ventas offering home cooking in-between. Acorn fed pigs supply succulent Iberico ham; goats’ cheeses are locally made; fresh seafood and fish are abundant; meats are griddled and roasted; spinach, peppers, avocados and rich red tomatoes add vibrancy. Be sure to try the region’s chilled vegetarian soups: salmorejo and gazpacho, refreshing to eat in the heat.
The 21st century has seen shopping opportunities rocket, with many bustling commercial centres, boasting influential Spanish chains such as Zara, Mango, Stradivarius and Pull & Bear. Expansion continues. The closest is Miramar, with a cinema showing English language movies, while super-size La Cañada is toward Marbella. On the outskirts of Malaga, with a local train stop, is village-style Plaza Mayor, with the novelty of low flying planes overhead! The coast’s most famous department stores are El Corte Inglés (the English cut), locations include Fuengirola, Marbella, Puerto Banus and Malaga, and the Irish owned clothes and home-ware store Dunnes Stores.